Celebratory family dinners - they can be a bit of a nightmare can't they? I'm talking when you all want to go out to celebrate, say Pop's birthday, and you need somewhere that can accommodate a big group, serves decent food that suits various dietary requirements, and that is kid friendly as there are quite a few grandkids to cater for. Trying to find a restaurant that ticks all of those boxes can be tricky, but never fear as I have found somewhere more than suitable, but I suggest that you get Pop to foot the bill as it is a wee bit expensive!
We got stuck in traffic on the way home from the city one evening and my baby piglets starting squealing that they were hungry. So we decided to stop into the first restaurant that we saw hoping that the traffic congestion would ease whilst we ate dinner. That restaurant was a Taste of Tuscany in Carlingford. The restaurant occupies a corner block on busy Pennant Hills Road. We found a car park easily in a side street and walked up to the restaurant. On arrival we were warmly greeted by the staff and shown into the second larger room of the restaurant, because this is where all the families were dining - smart move!
As soon as we sat down the waitress brought colouring pencils to the table for the boys (and us) to use to doodle all over the white paper table cloth. Our drinks order was taken (it is byo) and the waitress asked if we would like garlic bread to which she received a resounding yes please from my "starving" babes. I meanwhile checked out all of the cute families dining around us. There were small families like ours and big tribes of families celebrating special occasions. There are big and small tables, loads of high chairs and relatively easy access for those of you who have prams and if you need to use the loos they are out the back near the kitchen (no baby change table).
The soft drinks and hot crunchy garlic bread was delivered quickly so the boys were kept quiet for a wee while. We then ordered their dinner from the $15 Children's Menu. The choices were fairly typical - fish & chips; nuggets & chips; schnitzel & vegies; penne napolitana; or spaghetti bolognese. The $15 included a soft drink or juice and a scoop of vanilla ice cream with topping. The boys went for the spag bol which again was delivered in record time and the portion sizes were perfect for two ravenous boys. When it came time for their ice cream, the boys declared that they were full! So the lovely waitress placed their ice cream in a take away container for us - a very sweet gesture indeed.
The adults menu is huge in typical Italian style (it was pages and pages long). Whether you like pasta, pizza, risotto, steak, seafood, veal, chicken or salad you are spoilt for choice at the Taste of Tuscany. Most menu items are between $30 - $40, so it's not your cheap suburban Italian restaurant and hence why I recommend to take Pop along with his credit card to pay. However the food is beautifully presented and large in size, so you will not go home hungry.
Mr Munch and I shared a Pago pizza ($36.90). The base was covered in pesto and then topped with king prawns, sun dried tomatoes, ricotta and a sprinkling of chilli. We loved the topping however the base was a bit too soggy for our liking. I prefer to eat my pizza with my hands, however this was definitely a knife and fork operation as the base wasn't firm enough to hold. Only a minor complaint however as our dessert was nothing short of magnificent! The tiramisu! It is was of the best I've ever eaten and I wished that we hadn't decided to share one. It was presented beautifully, and it was perfectly creamy with just the right amount of booze in it. It's worth the journey to Carlingford just to try this little beauty.
Most Italian restaurants are family friendly and they are always a safe bet when you are out and about with kids and need to find somewhere on the fly for dinner. We loved every aspect of our experience at the Taste of Tuscany and I'm sure we will go back, but this time we might take Grandpa and his gold Amex x
What's you favourite Italian restaurant for an extended family dinner in Sydney Little Munchers?
324 Pennant Hills Rd, Carlingford NSW 2118
Open Wed - Sat from 5pm
Sundays 12pm - 3pm