Hangry children can be scary. Before the warning signs start, head to these family-friendly restaurants and cafes. From pint-sized pizzas to milkshakes for minis, eating out with little nippers is a cinch in Melbourne.
Take the kiddos for a stroll along Southbank and stop off at Hopscotch. This slick urban brewery is complete with an indoor-outdoor deck. Kids’ menu staples include buttermilk fried chicken and falafel burgers, all served with chips, a drink and nitro ice cream. Watch their eyes boggle as the coolest sweet treats appear in a smoky nitro haze.
Authentic with a twist, Banoi is the perfect spot for young palates to try Vietnamese street food. We’re talking BBQ pork loaded taco bao buns and maple sriracha chicken ribs. Tradition prevails here too, with delicate prawn wontons and hearty pho making a mark on the menu. Kid’s gone vego? They’ll love the uber crispy salt and pepper tofu with sticky soy rice. Wash it all down with a custard apple smoothie or coconut crush and take in the cool mural covered interior.
All aboard this Southbank crowd-pleaser. Boasting stunning views of the Yarra, Bluetrain offers an expansive menu the whole family will enjoy. Keep the little tackers busy with colouring-in placemats, before tucking into carbonara or crumbed chicken. The cherry on top? A delectable range of ice-cream sundaes with all the trimmings.
Park the pram at Riverland, this sprawling urban beer garden offers primo views of the Yarra. Outdoor tables are generously sized and scattered under trees, so there’s plenty of shade. Kids can choose oozy mac’n cheese or crispy-crumbed schnitzel, while you kick back with a local beer or vino.
Kids will never suspect Seedling’s smoothies are chock-full of healthy stuff. Choose from raw chocolate, dragon fruit or summer strawberries and cream. There’s also a range of sweet treats and take away salads. Located on Flinders Lane and Little Collins Street. Weary parents can power through the day with a bulletproof coffee – a formidable mix of double espresso, butter and coconut oil.
Mrs Zan’s Kitchen
Prepare for wide eyes and full stomachs at this hidden gem in Chinatown. Mrs Zan’s Kitchen offers endless shelves stacked with fresh ingredients for a choose your own adventure style feast. Kid’s can customize their meal with everything from purple potato noodles to cheese rice cakes. Let them pile high and pick whatever they want – it’s only $2.99 per 100 grams. Bonus for little foodies: you control the level of spice!
Renzo’s Bar Cafe is a Melbourne unicorn – great food, gorgeous views and an entire kid’s menu under $13. Mini munches on offer include chicken croquettes, pizza, pasta and ice cream. Happy hour from 4pm to 6pm means mum and dad can enjoy a well earned spritz or negroni for $7. Finally a benefit to eating out early!
Order via the touchscreen at China Red and wait in wonder as mouth-watering morsels appear, as if by magic. Watch as skilful noodle throwers and deft dumpling chefs create masterpieces behind a glass window. Kids will fall in love with adorable dolphin-shaped dumplings. And don’t forget to order a double serve of the Shanghai xiao long bao. You won’t regret it.
Find this little piece of Paris tucked away off Flinders Lane. Take your pick from Roule Galette’s huge range of authentic French crepes. Keep it simple with a sugar and lemon classic, or indulge in a decadent salted caramel, almonds and ice cream combo. Keep a lid on sugar intake with savoury options like egg, ham and Emmental cheese. Bon appetit.
Feel like a regular in no time at A25 Pizzeria. The waiters in this casual eatery are super-friendly, flamboyantly Italian and attentive with kids. The pizzas are so tasty the munchkins may fall silent with delight, and then hone their negotiating skills in a bid for their share of the last slice. The menu means business when it comes to gluten-free dishes – both the Docklands restaurant (under the Myer headquarters) and sister eatery A25 in Lonsdale Street are accredited by Coeliac Australia, which means glutastic diners can relax and enjoy the hubbub.
And if you really want to treat them…
PHAT fried ice cream
If they’re still not full, give into the pleads and head to PHAT Fried Ice Cream for creamy scoops of vanilla ice cream, deep-fried in crispy batter. Topped with sweet indulgences like caramel sauce, popcorn, and marshmallows, they’ll leave on a guaranteed sugar high. Find them at the bottom of Shed A at Queen Victoria Market.