Happy Place (for parents): Original Pancake House
Original Pancake House
Address:1445 Portage Ave at the Clarion Hotel
Neighbourhood: St. James
Other locations include:1049 Pembina Highway,204-452-1040; and1 Forks Market Rd, 947-5077.
OK, first off: Apologies for the happy face pancake photo. It was taken on the fly because, just out of frame, a three-year-old was so intent on attacking the bacon 'hairdo' that a proper, nicely framed picture was not going to happen.
This is actually a good sign. If you're a parent trying to have a meal in a restaurant, any restaurant, having your kid anxious to attack a meal, any meal, is a victory. That's why The Original Pancake House goes to the top of the heap for family friendly spots.
Breakfast, generally speaking, is a safe bet for kids, especially when you dress up a dish with a happy face. That decorative flourish gives kids permission to play with their food. What could be better?
You know what else is also great? Feeding three generations at one table and keeping everyone happy. Grandma, son and grandson (with daughter-in-law in tow) chowed down on eggs, crepes, pancakes and blintzes during a post Christmas brunch at the St. James location. Everyone was satisfied. (Side note: Polo Park Mall is located right next door for a brunch/shop combo.)
The Original Pancake House isn't about award-winning food or breaking culinary boundaries. Diners will be served decent, breakfast favourites in fast order. (They also serve lunch and dinner. Click here for menu.) The kitchen team pumps out the orders fast and furiously, which again for parents, is a huge plus.
The Original Pancake House is also quite lively at peak times. (Translation: noisy.) This liveliness is perfect for families with wee ones. No one at surrounding tables will be bothered by a fussy baby or a tantrum-nutso toddler. They won't hear a thing.
About the food: The Original Pancake House has breakfast down. Order eggs, bacon, pancakes and all the fixings and you will be satisfied.
On our recent visit, I went outside the box and had a plate of blintzes with blueberries. Three stuffed crepes oozed with rich, creamy, melted cottage cheese. Chilled blueberries, added to every forkful, cut the cream with a touch of sweet.
Across the table, Grandma indulged in a Banana Split Crepe with strawberries, chocolate syrup, bananas and whipped cream, followed by a quick double shot of insulin. This breakfast dessert is pure indulgence.
So, if you have a hankering for breakfast fare, want to please the toddlers, parents and grandparents in one pass, and need a noise-friendly spot for the whole family, The Original Pancake House is the real deal.
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