We go to Canberra quite often as we have family there and also Mr Munch works in Canberra an awful lot. On his last assignment we decided to tag along because it coincided with school holidays, and I also thought that it was time to Little Munch the Nation's Capital (in a week)! So here is a list of places we have visited, some more child friendly than others, but we were welcomed with open arms at each establishment so that is always a good start when dining out with kids. I have broken the list down into different experiences so you can choose what style of dining option fits your family the best.
SUPER DUPER KID FRIENDLY
The Hellenic Club - Woden
We dined at the Hellenic Club twice - it was the closest eating venue to where our hotel was located and it is the perfect place to dine with the whole family because at night time is feels as the whole family population of Canberra dines there! The big draw card of the Hellenic Club is its very well equipped Playworld. This jungle themed space has a climbing playground, ball pit for little kids and big kids, xBox360 and playstation games - so kids of most ages are entertained. The Club has 4 different venues that you can eat at but the Bistro is the place to go because it is right next to Playworld. The food is typical Club fare - with the Roast of the Day being very good as well as the Greek items on the menu. The kids menu choices are fairly typical of what you would find in any Club and mostly deep fried. There also is a Trattoria next to the Bistro which is a little bit more upmarket and they have a kids eat free deal if you are in and out before 7pm every night of the week. The meals are a little healthier for kids as they aren't deep fried. You don't have sight of the Playworld from the Trattoria, so I suggest you dine here if your kids are older or let them play before or after your meal.
On the last day of our stay when we had to check out of our hotel at 10am, the Club became a refuge for us. We went there late morning and spent a good few hours. The boys spent most of the time playing on everything in Playworld and as it was so much quieter during the day they didn't have to share the space with too many other kids. They only came out when they needed food, water or a pee! I spent most of the time working and people watching until it was time to get back on the Little Munch wagon and head off to explore a couple more kid friendly cafes and playgrounds before our final departure.
Matilda St, Woden ACT
Open 7 days
Tulips Cafe - Piallgio
Tulips Cafe is located in Pialligo, a suburb full of nurseries and cafes. My research had found that Tulips was a bit of a favourite amongst Canberra mothers so we checked it out on our last day in the Nation's Capital. Now I can see why it is a favourite, it ticks all of the Little Munch boxes and they do some awesome school holiday activities for kids. We just didn't have the best experience when we were there. We had arrived just after what must have been a hugely busy lunch period. The staff were not exactly friendly or particularly keen to serve us food, so I just ordered a coffee and bought the boys ice blocks. We sat out the back of the cafe where their playground is and this is the best spot to sit with kids so they can run around and play on some of dated play equipment. However the inside and out the front of the cafe are much cleaner and where we will probably sit next time we visit, so that we can road test some of their yummy sounding food - the coffee was brilliant but expensive in comparison - $4 for a small!
8 Beltana Rd, Pialligo ACT
Open 7 days from 7am
FOR HIPSTER FAMILIES
Mocan & Green Grout - New Acton Precinct
I think Mocan & Green Grout is the coolest cafe in Canberra - it's pure hipsterville. It's located in a trendy new development in Canberra called New Acton. We've eaten at Mocan & Green Grout a few times for breakfast and have always had an awesome experience. The staff are seriously sweet, the food is delicious and the coffee is damn fine. Their menu covers everything from a bacon and egg roll to some seriously fancy pants eggs that looked like edible art. Mocan & Green Grout have their own vegie/herb patch out the front and we saw Chef come and pick some herbs which ended up on my breakfast. They are all about sustainability and supporting local producers/farmers and the surrounding agriculture areas of Canberra have some seriously good produce to offer. Mocan & Green Grout don't have a kids menu but for breakfast our boys love their freshly baked chocolate croissants and yummy hot chocolates.
If you want to check out hipsterville, the best place to sit with kids is outside. The inside is quite small and the kitchen takes centre stage so there are some safety concerns for wandering little ones. Outside there is plenty of room for prams and kids to have a wee wander - just watch out for all of the cyclists as this is one of their favourite pit stops for coffee (the cafe also doubles as a bike maker!) . There is some really funky sculpture around the cafe (eg the big bellied man in the photo above) and our boys had great fun inspecting them all.
1/19 Marcus Clarke St, New Acton South
02 6162 2909
Open 7 days; Mon - Sat from 7am; Sun from 8am
Urban Pantry - Manuka
The best breakfast I had during our week away was at the Urban Pantry in Manuka. Manuka is a posh suburb of Canberra full of gorgeous people, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. On first inspection I didn't think the Urban Pantry was going to be that kid friendly. It doesn't tick many of the Little Munch child friendly boxes BUT that doesn't matter when you have staff who interact and charm the pants of your kids. From the moment we sat down to the moment we left every member of staff made our kids a priority. From asking the boys directly what they wanted to eat and drink (and offering them options as they don't have a kids menu) to serving their breakfast quickly after ordering, the boys were made to feel important and as though they were paying customers. When one of the boys chucked a hissy fit and started an almighty sulk they were swooped on by a waiter and told that if they smiled and finished their breakfast he would give them a marshmallow at the end of our meal! They both scored 2 marshmallows each. I thoroughly recommend a visit to the Urban Pantry, the food is delicious, coffee is seriously good and the service was top notch and even though it may not be as kid friendly as other places we visited in Canberra the attitude of the staff to kids more than makes up for it.
5 Bougainville St, Manuka 2603
02 6162 3556
Open early 7 days
MEAL WITH A VIEW
Little Brother - Red Hill
Little Brother is a relatively new member of the Canberra dining scene. It's name comes from the fact that it is downstairs from its fancy pants sister restaurant - Onred! Little Brother is the casual version of Onred. Basically if you are on a date night you go to Onred and if you've got the kids in tow you go to Little Brother. Either way you are in for a great experience.
Red Hill offers some amazing views all over Canberra and these can be easily seen from both inside and out of Little Brother. We dined at night time with Canberra twinkling in front of us. During the day you could have a great game of eye spy, seeing who can spot all of Canberra's landmarks. The interior is quite funky and there is room and access for prams and kids to move around a bit.
Little Brother have a kids menu and really kid friendly staff. The food is a bit on the expensive side (obviously because of the location) but it is oh so delicious. If you just fancy a takeaway coffee and a cookie you can also grab one and just go outside and stare at the view. It was fairly quiet the night we dined so we received excellent service. Just a word of warning if driving up the hill of an evening - there are loads of kangaroos around, so take it slow!
50 Red Hill Dr, Red Hill Lookout
02 6273 1166
Open Thu & Fri 11am till late; Sat & Sun 9.30am till late
MEALS WITH FAMILY/FRIENDS
Caphs - Manuka
We met up with some family members when we were in Canberra and we needed some where to have dinner that would accommodate 7 of us at short notice. The venue had to be kid friendly, offer food that was suitable for different tastes and located in the inner south of the city. Caphs in Manuka ticked all of those boxes. Even though Caphs is located in a posh part of town it isn't pretentious at all, it's almost a bit retro and the art deco building that it is housed in has been trading as a restaurant since 1926. Caphs is a cafe, bar and restaurant where you can sit either inside or out. The inside is full of tables and little ones are best to sit in high chairs and not prams as there isn't much space to manoeuvre them.
They have a kids menu that also doubles as a colouring in sheet, so our boys were occupied throughout the evening completing the tasks and eating their very yummy meal. The kids meals are huge, as are the adults meals. Staff were really friendly and there were loads of noisy families dining so our boys (all 5 of them on this occasion) fitted in perfectly and we had a great night at Caphs. The only negative was trying to find a car park. There are loads of popular restaurants in Manuka and not that many parking spots. So maybe dine early or be prepared to do the block a couple of times before you score a spot.
Franklin St, Manuka 2603
02 6295 9783
Open 7 days: 8am till late
Rocksalt Restaurant - Hawker
Hawker is located in the north of Canberra. The local suburban shops (like in so many suburbs of Canberra) is home to an awesome restaurant called Rocksalt and just next to it is a playground. Rocksalt is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and tapas in the evening. The menu has a definite global feel to it and it very gluten free and vegetarian friendly so there is something to suit all palates and diets.
We had a delicious breakfast (the zucchini and corn fritters are superb!) sitting on an outside table whilst the boys made new friends in the playground. They brew a decent Adore coffee and serve the standard babycino with a marshmallow. There are loads of options on the breakfast menu for kidlets and at lunch or dinner time they have a dedicated kids menu that doubles as a puzzle/colouring in sheet.
Service was fast and friendly at Rocksalt but it's also the sort of place you can linger over a long breakfast and catch up on all the gossip with your friends and family whilst the kids run amok in the playground. Being located in a shopping centre there is plenty of parking available and very easy access for those of you who have little ones in prams.
4/78 Hawker Place, Hawker Shops
Open 7 days from 7.30am
Jazz Apple Cafe - Civic
Most people who visit Canberra end up in Civic at some stage (the famous Carousel is on the Plaza). Here you will find the delectable Jazz Apple Cafe otherwise know as the Cupcake Emporium. There are so many variety of cupcakes to choose from. Our favourites were the Sticky Date and Rolo cupcakes. Once you stop drooling over the cake cabinet full of the cupcakes, make your decision, order and pay at the counter and they will bring your sweet treats to you. There is seating inside and out but the seating outside offers plenty of space for kids to run around as well as easy access for prams. Right next to the cafe is a very cute teddy bear shop and the Civic Fountain as well as other cute sculptures are also near the cafe for your kids to check out. If you and the kidlets need to run off some of the calories you have just consumed, head to Glebe Park which is not too far away - just ask the friendly staff for directions.
222 City Walk, Civic
02 6247 0342
Open Mon-Fri: 9.00am - 5.30pm; Sat: 9.30am - 3.30pm
Stripey Sundae - Gold Creek Village
A visit to Gold Creek should be on every families itinerary when they visit Canberra. It is home to the National Dinosaur Museum, Cockington Green, the Canberra Walk in Aviary, the Canberra Reptile Sanctuary as well as loads of gorgeous shops and places to eat. We have visited the area numerous times over the years checking out a different place on each visit and have always had a great time.
You know that song "I scream, you scream ,we all scream for ice cream" well that's exactly what the boys did after our visit to Cockington Green earlier this year. They wanted a cold sweet treat and that's what we found at Stripey Sundae. Located in a cute old house this ice cream parlour stocks some of the most delicious home made ice cream we have ever tasted. They have your basics and your little bit weird flavours in stock as well as other sweet treats and baked goods. The space is very homely and there is plenty of room for prams. A cute little table with kids activities is also set up if their kids get bored of eating their ice cream!
11 O'Hanlon Pl, Nicholls
Open Thu - Sun: 10am - 5pm
Here are 3 more cafes that you most definitely should check out if you have time in your schedule. I have written full reviews of them, so just click on the name and happy reading x
The Best Child Friendly Cafe in Canberra
Tommy & Me - Macgregor
Child Friendly Cafes Out of Town
Food Lovers Market - Bungendore
Grandma's Little Bakery - Collector
If you need somewhere to stay, team Little Munch recommends the excellent Alivio Tourist Park in O'Connor and the ABODE Hotel in Woden!
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CANBERRA CHECK OUT: http://www.visitcanberra.com.au/
On our next visit (Easter 2016) we are thinking of checking out the following places:
* Little Oink - Cook Shops
* The Cupping Room - CBD
* Bittersweet - Kingston
* Brodburger - Kingston
* Snapper on the Lake - Yarralumla
* Hoi Polloi - Museum of Aust. Democracy
* Floresco - Aust. National Botanic Gardens