Let’s face it, eating out with the kids is not always what it’s cracked up to be. You head out with the littlies in tow as a means of escape, lured in by the thought of sipping on a Bloody Mary while the rug- rats tuck into a nutritious meal, you haven’t lifted a finger to prepare. In reality, thinking your kids will just slot right on into a normal dining situation can be fraught with peril. After all, very little matches the horror of a tantrum in a busy restaurant, a pizza on their head, or your kid asking the woman at the table next to you what the red spots on her face are about? That said, if you are game enough to take them out, venue is everything. Here are our picks of the least hazardous cafes and restaurants serving good food worth its salt.
Of all the dinner joints out there Prego understands we are here for a good time not a long time—keep them busy and serve them quickly. Kids menus/games and coloring pens are put on the table instantaneously, the order is taken promptly and the food arrives minutes later. Dessert (ice cream) is included with any kid’s main and arrives in immediate succession. Mission accomplished.
Newmarket, Sylvia Park, New Lynn
With highchairs that attach to the tables and a menu that delivers a lot more than chicken nuggets and chips, Wagamama is the shizzle. The stir fried rice with chicken and vegetables, or chicken cha hann is a hit—and you don’t have to clean the rice off the floor when they’re finished!
This one’s a no brainer folks. Catroux’s menu is uber kid-friendly—think peanut butter and jelly bagels or boiled eggs and soldiers. A sandpit, chalkboard and toys at the rear end of the café, away from most of the tables and patrons, means you and your sprogs are well looked after.
A loud and buzzy restaurant always helps eliminate the noise that inevitably follows when kids enter the stage. There is enough going on at Mexico so that you can relax and not worry about about kids being kids. Plus, it has kids’ menus (and masks—fabulous if you see someone you know and need to deny ownership) highchairs, crayons and activity sheets to keep them entertained while you enjoy your time away from home.
At Circus Circus café, bronzed lions at the door welcome you in and with its name and bright décor, it should come as no surprise that it welcomes children. The food is good with a good-sized menu to to make sure everyone is kept happy.
Avondale Sunday Markets
While it’s not a restaurant or café per say—the Avondale Sunday Markets are buzzy, serves plenty of food and best of all, is set in the great wide open. Well, specifically a racecourse, that doubles as a farmers market come Sunday. There’s more than enough to feed the kids with here— Cambodian salads and Maori stew are a hot favourite.
Bedford Soda and Liquor
Yep, we’re hitting Ponsonby again, which seems to be a Mecca for catering to sprogs. At Bedford Soda and Liquor, the laminated menus and marker pens are everything here. The kids spend hours ticking the boxes and coloring in every inch of the menu. The main event is the meatballs and kids can pick their own sauces and toppers. Genius. As an added bonus, it straddles a walkway/ outdoor courtyard making handstands and cartwheels in between bites all the more achievable.
Charlie and George
Bright and cheerful interiors are coupled with wholesome food and good coffees at Charlie and George. Situated in the new housing development, Stonefields, they offer colouring in and a hopscotch outside to help with the sprogs.
“Ho Ho Ho Me Hearties”…or so to speak. If your little angle is actually a little pirate (or at least fascinated by them) than Swashbucklers is your go-to. Situated on the water’s edge in Westhaven Marina, there is plenty of outdoor space to let the kids run free. As you might expect from the location, seafood reigns supreme on the menu, but it still offers a variety of other healthy dining choices. The Kids Pirate Menu features kids grilled chicken salad and tortillas to name a few.
Looking for more things to do with the sprogs? Here are 50 Things To Do With Kids In Auckland.
Image Credit: Swashbucklers