Dining at Giovanni’s, Macdonald Aviemore Resort

I've long felt that when parents are away with their children one of the most stressful episodes of the day can be finding somewhere to eat where the menu suits the whole family, there are healthy options for the kids (not just orange food i.e. chicken nuggets and chips), a speed of service that suits the younger, less patient customer, and an atmosphere where you feel welcome as a family.

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The photo that puts children enjoying food at the heart of Giovanni’s

When we arrived at Giovanni’s restaurant in Aviemore’s Macdonald resort it was clearly recently refurbished. One touch I particularly liked were the photos of children munching on lasagne, sooking up spaghetti and licking the bowl clean, decorating the walls. You can eat here as a couple, you can dine as a group of friends but, as a parent, I knew my little ones were welcome as the photos said it all. They instantly put me at ease. We’d booked a table for 5.30pm so the restaurant was busy, lots of families, with a relaxed, informal atmosphere.

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Mr Toddler peruses the menu.

FOOD – When we rocked up to Giovanni’s we were on the fifth meal of our trip. I confess the previous meals my kids had eaten comprised of pizza, fish goujons and chips, sausages and beans, then thankfully some lentil soup so I was dreading to discover a stereotyped kids’ menu of junk food. At Giovanni’s we weren’t handed a children’s menu, instead we were told we could order anything off the main menu as a half portion, at half the price, for our tots. I was delighted. Normal food for my children to enjoy.

Our kids happily shared our caprese salad starters, you can’t go far wrong with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, then they ate their bodyweight of the Penne Alla Genovese which was basically a simple pasta with basil, parmesan, pine nuts and cream. This dish was a massive hit, our kids ate a LOT. We’d also ordered the Linguini Gamberi with prawns and cherry tomatoes as my toddler is currently intent on emptying the oceans of prawns. The menu did clearly say the dish contained chilli but whilst it was too spicy for our little ones I happily finished it off.

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Healthy Caprese Salad

The children then had a scoop of ice-cream, we were on holiday after all, and I had a pretty mind-blowing tiramisu. It was Giovanni’s interpretation of tiramisu including a luscious zabaglione (egg yolk sauce) with chocolate chip chunks dotted through it as well as the signature coffee flavour. It really worked for me.

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The wonderful tiramisu. I’d return for dish that alone.

SERVICE – The restaurant was busy but service was swift.  Yes, we naturally waited a little between courses but when Mr Baby decided it was time to take a walk around the restaurant nobody cared or batted an eyelid. He wasn’t the only baby doing this! At Giovanni’s you order drinks from the bar waiters and food from the restaurant waiters. Despite having a 50-50 chance of choosing the right person I never do – am I the only one? Mr Baby’s high chair was waiting for him when we arrived (rather than dad having to find a high chair and move the furniture around to make it fit whilst I hold onto two wriggling kids). A small detail like this is a nice touch when you book in advance, they know you’re coming and   they know you’ve requested a high chair.

MEMORIES – My highlight of the night was overhearing a mother at the table next to me joking to her son to sit still and pretend he was enjoying himself. I laughed out loud and said we may very well be saying the same things to our unruly pair – all parents know what those moments feel like. Thankfully I can safely say both families ate well and had a relaxed evening.

The bottom line is that I’d happily make a point of eating at Giovanni’s the next time I’m in Aviemore. It’s probably not the cheapest Italian you’ll find in the town but with modern decor, good service, good food and a family friendly outlook it was exactly what we were looking for. And if you’re staying onsite it’s a bit of a no-brainer.

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28 Comments

  1. Reply

    Deborah Nicholas

    January 9, 2017

    It sounds like a great family friendly place to eat and that is sometimes hard to find!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 9, 2017

      Exactly. That’s why I like highlighting venues where all the family are welcome.

  2. Reply

    Alina

    January 9, 2017

    Looks delicious and like it was a lot of fun. It’s always good to be served quickly even if it’s busy, I hate waiting around!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 9, 2017

      I know. It’s nice not to be rushed in a restaurant but swift service is definitely a bonus.

  3. Reply

    lisagraham1

    January 9, 2017

    This sounds like a great restaurant. My kids sound like yours, they don’t like the chicken nuggets and burger menus and want proper tasty food. We love going to restaurants where we can all enjoy a good meal.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 9, 2017

      My son currently loves prawns and mushrooms but he wouldn’t turn down chips, crisps, sausages and fish fingers:-) It’s just about variety and options.

  4. Reply

    Anosa

    January 9, 2017

    I don’t have kids but I know we struggle when we take my nephew out and all they have are chicken nuggets. Great to find a restaurant that can cater for all.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 9, 2017

      Yes it’s all about balance whatever your age.

  5. Reply

    five little doves

    January 9, 2017

    Oh this all looks delicious!! My kids are all about the chicken nuggets though! Ha!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 10, 2017

      So are mine, but not every meal! Nice to have a wee mix, and to have the choice.

  6. Reply

    motherhoodtherealdeal

    January 10, 2017

    It’s so rare to find family friendly restaurants that aren’t purely kiddie so this sounds like a great option to keep everyone happy.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 10, 2017

      Yes, you easily dine there as a group of friends for some informal Italian food, and later in the evening I’m sure a lot of couples have quite romantic evenings, but there was a great family vibe when we dined at 5.30pm.

  7. Reply

    Sophie Whiffen

    January 10, 2017

    This looks like a lovely family friendly restaurant! Will bookmark it for later!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 10, 2017

      Yes, it’s a good to have a thorough list of recommended places when you’re on the road!

  8. Reply

    beautyqueenuk 👸🏼 (@beautyqueen_UK)

    January 10, 2017

    I love that it is family friendly and you are right, you can never go wrong with a caprese salad x

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 10, 2017

      So healthy and light, all the more room for tiramisu!

  9. Reply

    ChelseaMamma

    January 10, 2017

    That looks perfect, love that the kids get normal ,meals

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 10, 2017

      They love traditional kids menus too but after a few days away it can get a bit much so a ‘normal’ meal is a refreshing change.

  10. Reply

    Notmyyearoff

    January 10, 2017

    I love love places that do half portions of real food. Sometime it’s so dull with the constant chicken nuggets isn’t it? And swift service is just so important with small ones. It looks like a great place to go!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 11, 2017

      Yes, I never return to places that take an absolute age to serve customers, whether I’ve got the kids or not. And half portions are such a tempting idea for kids.

  11. Reply

    Ana De-Jesus

    January 10, 2017

    I think more restaurants should be like this and offer half price food for kids. Plus Tiramisu is my absolute fave so I would love me some.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 11, 2017

      It’s such an obvious idea isn’t it! You’d think it would be less work too.

  12. Reply

    Healthy Cooking Mom

    January 11, 2017

    Its really difficult finding family friendly places to eat, we haven’t found one yet where we live this sounds fantastic.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 11, 2017

      In some ways it shouldn’t be difficult to be ‘family friendly’. It’s mainly about being nice, and welcoming. We felt very comfortable in Aviemore, hopefully you’ll find somewhere near you soon.

  13. Reply

    fashionandstylepolice

    January 11, 2017

    The food sounds and looks great. Good to know such restaurant exist.

  14. Reply

    Keely

    January 12, 2017

    It sounds like a lovely night out and that tiramisu! Oh my…

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 13, 2017

      I felt quite spoiled 🙂

  15. Reply

    Anna

    January 13, 2017

    The restaurant looks fab and the food delish. All this time I thought food for kids is half-priced, I cant believe that is not. x

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