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Giraffe – Islington

29 – 31 Essex Road
London N1 2SA

Giraffe’s focus is on fresh healthy food from around the world, with an extensive menu so everyone can find something they will love. Giraffe is a very relaxed and child friendly spot for parents to refuel during a day shopping in Islington’s trendy shops. Children are made to feel very welcome with a bright orange balloon, cheery staff and a few at-table activities.

Opening Hours: Open from 8 am Monday – Friday, from 9 am weekends & bank holidays.

Website: Visit Giraffe – Islington website

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Written by Janis P.

One Comment

  1. As it turned out this was our second visit to a Giraffe restaurant. The first had been in Reading for a proper, grown-up meal and we’d loved it. We’d arranged to meet our London contingent for a family catch-up and they’d suggested Giraffe down the Essex Road in Islington. My first reaction whenever anyone suggests meeting in a restaurant is to run screaming for the nearest Macca Ds so it was with gritted teeth that I ducked under the (very) orange canopy and shunted my three children through the (very) wide doors.

    Between us we were four adults and six children ranging from seven years down to two weeks old. Our table was huge and furnished with a variety of chairs and a big, square poof type thing and, as we settled, we were offered high chairs for the smaller children and no-one fussed when we spent the first 20 minutes faffing with pushchairs, multiple layers of clothing, newborn babies and menus. There was nowhere specific to leave buggies except outside the toilets which was fine but could have got a little congested. Once we were all seated we had to catch up with all the family gossip so it was at least half an hour before we got down to some serious ordering.

    The staff were fantastic: attentive without being overbearing, engaging with the kids but respectful of the fact that the adults were there to make the final decision on meal choices – in short everything you’d expect. The kids played with the crayons and paper provided for a while, then tried to collect as many of the multi-coloured plastic giraffes as they possibly could. They were noisy and messy and more than a bit boisterous and it was all fine! The rest of the diners comprised a mixture of families, couples and groups of friends and, unlike other ‘child-friendly’ restaurants there were no children racing around playing aeroplanes or throwing food or generally behaving appallingly *phew*. The decor and lighting were, well ‘cool’ really, and very conducive to a relaxing meal – how many times have you said that about a family meal out? The music blended into the background, doing a good job of creating a harmonious hum that was enough to mask most of the juvenile shouts.

    And then there was the food! To be honest, the last thing you expect from a ‘family’ restaurant is good food. The gratitude that somewhere has actually allowed you and your progeny to sit and eat at a table with plates and everything is usually enough to ensure that you gulp down whatever is put in front of you, smiling grimly and fantasising about Langhams. But this was different, the kids menu is normal kids fare with a bit of an edge…my son tried the Foccacia pizza and loved it, and the prices were amazingly good value for money. The ‘grown-up’ food was exactly that: loads of choice, generous portions and everything was perfectly cooked and presented. We went for the whole caboodle, wine, beer, dessert and ‘everything’ and we walked out stuffed and happy. We paid about £90 for the five of us so not Macca D cheap but good value for the amount we ate and drank.

    Would we go back? Without a doubt!

Fratelli La Bufala

Giraffe – Hampstead