Looking for one of the best kid friendly restaurants in Vancouver BC? The Cactus Club Cafe offers delicious dishes and an atmosphere that suits family nights out, and large group events all at the same time.
I don't write about chain restaurants on this blog.
Except now, I do. Just this once (okay, this might be my second time).
When we traveled up to Victoria BC and Vancouver BC, we were looking for a large restaurant close to our fabulous hotel where we could enjoy a nice meal with my family and my cousin's family. I did massive research, as usual: I checked Yelp, Zomato, Google reviews, and local Vancouver BC travels sites and blogs. Plus, I asked my cousin, who lives just outside of Vancouver BC.
All roads led me to the Cactus Club Cafe, folks. All. Roads.
The Cactus Club Cafe
The Cactus Club Cafe currently has 29 locations throughout Canada, with a large number of locations peppered across British Columbia. We met my cousin and his family for dinner at the Cactus Club Cafe - Coal Harbour, just a short walk from where we were staying during our visit, at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel.
The vibe is upscale but not in a stuffy, hushed tones way; the space is filled with lively conversations and hearty laughter from every corner, making it a truly comfortable restaurant for diners of all ages.
From the colorful lighting to the stylish bar, even to the large modern bathrooms (the women's bathroom is pictured above), this Cactus Club Cafe location is a fun, vibrant restaurant for so many different occasions.
As a bonus: the location is right next to the Olympic torch sculpture from when the 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver BC. The torches light up at night, and it's a spectacular sight (and great photo opp!) against the city skyscrapers from one direction and the harbour from the other.
Food + Drink Bliss
As with all of the restaurants we visited during our Victoria BC/Vancouver BC trip, I ordered a local wine while my husband ordered a local craft beer. The dark red wine you see above is a slightly sinful, rich Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc ($15/6 oz). This deep purple wine hails from Oliver BC and is a full bodied red with intense black fruit flavors.
The menu differs slightly from each location, and if you visit the Cactus Club Cafe website you can scroll through and see menus from each location. Here's a look at what we enjoyed at the Cactus Club Cafe - Coal Harbour location.
We started with some super spicy Chicken Wings ($13.50) and a plate of garlicky green beans.
While there is no official children's menu at any of the Cactus Club Cafe locations, the menu is not only packed with kid-friendly items, but all locations have an unprinted rule that they will basically make whatever the customer orders. That said, even my picky eaters were able to find dishes on the main food menu that they enjoyed.
There's always the classic Chicken Tenders ($13.50) - panko-breaded chicken, sea salted fries, honey mustard dip. The breading is crispy and the chicken tastes fresh and delicious. My French fry connissours gave these fries a hearty seal of approval: they had just the right amount of crisp on the outside and just the right amount of potato per fry.
One of the kids enjoyed the Pesto Chicken Quesadilla ($11.75), which was a cheese quesadilla made with blended cheeses, basil pesto, sundried cranberries, honey lime dip and served on a bed of tortilla chip slices.
Perhaps one of the most popular dishes at Cactus Club Cafe is their Butternut Squash Ravioli with Prawns ($24.75) - butternut squash and mascarpone ravioli, truffle butter, sautéed jumbo prawns, pine nuts, crispy sage.
Hubby and I ordered this as an appetizer (comes with three large ravilie and prawns) while my cousin's wife ordered the entree, shown above. The crispy sage is the perfect flavor finisher for the sweet mascarpone ravioli and buttery prawns and pine nuts. Delicious!
For my main course, I ordered a half size of the Raincoast Greens Salad ($17.50/full size). It has fresh greens, grilled chicken breast, avocado, tomatoes, spicy pecans, cucumber, feta, lemon-thyme vinaigrette. This is a very filling salad, and a very large salad for a half sized salad, so I was happy I took the waitress's advice and just ordered the half! There was still a lot leftover, and I was stuffed. However, it wasn't my favorite dish of the evening, and I think the next time I would try something else as a main course.
For hubby's main course, he ordered the Short Rib Pappardelle ($22.50) - slow-braised short rib, porcini mushroom cream, grana padano. This was my personal favorite dish of the night. The short ribs were so flavorful and so tender, the papardelle was perfectly al dente, and the porcini mushroom cream sauce was light yet packed with earthy rich flavor in each bite.
The meal was delicious, the company was delightful, and the view was absolutely incredible. I highly suggest going to the Cactus Club Cafe just before sunset so you can wine and dine and recount the day's travel adventures while soaking up the beauty of the sun setting over the harbour as the city lights twinkle on.
So yes, this is a chain restaurant. However, it is the most un-chain-like restaurant I have honestly ever dined in: it feels more like a swanky local hot spot that somehow manages to hit the sweet spot of large menu + tasty food + fun atmosphere + gorgeous views. I love how kids are made to feel special here, and how they can truly order something that suits their tastes... but that there are also several options on the regular menu that even the pickiest eaters will likely find enjoyable. We had a great time meeting up with family here during our visit, and we would definitely go back again in the future!
Cactus Club Cafe - Coal Harbour
Because of the stellar location, I highly recommend getting reservations ahead of time.
1085 Canada Place
Vancouver, British Columbia
Call for reservations: 604.620.7410
Sunday - Wednesday 11am - 12am
Thursday - Saturday 11am - 1am
Have you ever eaten at a Cactus Club Cafe before? What dish looks most appetizing to you?