Between pleasing the picky eaters, scouring limited menus, and trying to find something even remotely wholesome, feeding the kids at a restaurant can drive a parent crazy. But places do exist that are actually great for dining with the little ones. Offering everything from build-your-own meals, babychinos and kiddies cocktails to grilled calamari, buttery pasta and cheesy burgers, these popular eateries have something for every mini foodie in the making.
Aroma Café (Sandton)
This quaint coffee shop offers a great kiddies’ menu for both breakfast and lunch, as well as some sweet treats to end off the meal. Options like the mini egg-and-bacon breakfast (R26), the meaty cottage pie with cheese mash (R29), and homemade smores (R15) are sure to keep tummies full. There is also a lovely playground for the little ones to enjoy.
This delightful eatery caters for the whole family. Grown-ups can relax and enjoy flavoursome dishes while the tiny tots can tuck in to corn on the cob (R27), mac ’n cheese (R41) or a plate of ribs and chips (R60). Most kiddies’ meals are served with carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes to keep things healthy. The menu is baby-friendly, too, with a wholesome offering of fresh fruit-and-veg purées (R34).
A secure play area with a jungle gym and slides will keep the little ones busy, and afterwards they can tuck into the menu with seafood items like fishcakes served with potato wedges (R36) or a plate of grilled or fried calamari and chips (R44).
Gia’s on Montrose (Morningside)
Nestled at Montrose Nursery, this café provides a perfect escape from the busy city where you can unwind with the family. There is a fun play area to keep the kids busy, and the children’s menu boasts bites like cheesy hot dog and fries (R41) or penne napoletana (R41). The tots can even enjoy a frothy babychino (R9).
Happily Ever Laughter (Bedfordview)
A delightful playground with a jungle gym and unique children’s entertainment and party facilities make this venue a hit with parents and the little ones. The kiddies can choose from options such as toasties served with chips and juice (R41) or a bowl spaghetti bolognaise (R40). For dessert, a ice cream snowman surprise is on offer with a choice of toppings (R30).
In promoting their good-food-for-little-people campaign, Junipa’s options that are suitable for young palates are indicated on the menu with a smiley face. The kids’ portions are all served at 65% off the normal menu price. Little foodies can tuck in to options like salmon fish cakes (R71), a creamy carbonara pasta (R55), or something from the little-people pizza menu, which includes a few delicious toppings for a smaller margherita. (R40)
Moyo (Zoo Lake)
A creative art space is made available for children on weekends and public holidays, with activities like beading, painting and various games. To fill the tums, the kiddies’ menu has options such as chubby chicken sliders (mini burgers) with a light honey-mustard-mayo and chips (R40), or battered False Bay fish bites with chips and tomato sauce (R40). If you’re looking for a little more, grab the kids’ combo (R57), which includes any kids’ meal, a milkshake or soda and an activity pack.
This trendy family eatery offers an exciting menu with options for adults and children. The little ones can choose from items such as a baby regina pizza (R42), a tasty kiddies cheese burger and chips (R50). For a sweet option, the little one can order the French toast, which is slice of pan fried brioche served with a fluffy marshmallow (R22) and sip on a hot chocky (R16).
Panettone Café (Parkview)
The large menu for the bambinos offers everything from bolognaise pizza and macaroni and cheese to a homemade burger and fries, fish fingers and sticky pork riblettes (all R34). For a slightly healthier option, a wholesome veggie platter is offered with a selection of fresh, seasonal veg (R29).
Villa San Giovanni Ristorante (Wonderboom Airport)
The exciting playground will keep your children entertained for hours, and even the fussiest of eaters should be won over by the large kids’ menu. Pasta portions such as the saucy spaghetti bolognaise (R37) or the cheesy lasagna (R47) are popular choices, as is the make-your-own pizza option (R35). The desserts include candy-floss ice cream (R26), chocolate brownie (R25), and in addition to the gourmet milkshakes, toddlers can slurp up cute kids’ cocktails like the strawberry jelly tot sling (R25).
Voodoo Lily Café (Birdhaven)
This easygoing spot serves up a brilliant build-your-own-meal for the kids. The tots have a choice of burger ingredients, mac ’n cheese (R28), chicken strips (R22) sweet potato chips (R15) and cauli cheese (R32) to make up a delightful plate of food. There is also a spaghetti dish on offer, served with bolognaise, pesto or butter (R32).
Afro-boer’s Tots and Tantrums menu is great for parents looking to take their picky eaters along for breakfast or lunch. They offer simple favourites like toasted sandwiches in plain cheese (R25), ham and cheese (R28) or smoked chicken and cheese (R35); plain spaghetti with olive oil and parmesan (R30) or ham and cream (R45); and a delicious soda float (R30) that will have any child excited.
La Vie Lente (Lynnwood)
This beautiful establishment set in the far East of Pretoria is a delight for parents and kids alike. Their expansive lawns are perfect for play and the menu for the little ones is equally charming. Choose from banana French toast with syrup and fruit (R38), tomato meatballs with fries (R48) or the kids’ platter, which includes sausages, chicken nuggets, cubes of cheese and cherry tomatoes (R68).
Spiced Coffee Restaurant @ Ludwig’s Roses (Pretoria North)
This very popular coffee shop offers a lovely kids’ menu. The farm breakfast comes with eggs, sausage, bacon and toast (R39), while the Pizza Face with homemade tomato sauce and optional bacon pieces (R38) will have any child jumping for joy. They also offer a range of toasted sandwiches and ice creams.
Papachino’s (Silver Lakes)
Their Bambinos menu is filled with great classics. The Bambino burger and fries (R34) and Hot Diggity Dog (R32) are fan favourites, as are the Socca Shoelaces (R32), which is their version of spaghetti and meatballs. They also offer great waffles (R42) and flapjacks with bacon and banana for breakfast (R32).
Toni’s Fully Furnished Pizza Co. (Menlo Park)
If your bambino likes pizza and pasta, Toni’s is just the place. Their kids’ menu offers classics like spaghetti bolognaise (R35), pasta alfredo and a selection of kid-friendly pizzas. You can also order any of the pizzas on the menu in a smaller size for the little ones.
Isabella’s Petite (Greenlyn)
Isaballa’s Petite caters for your little princess’s every craving. Belgian waffles with bacon and syrup (R46), egg in the hole (R10), baked beans and cheese on toast (R19) and a kiddies’-size crumbed chicken burger served with a feta and tomato side salad and chips (R35) are all on offer.
Boiler Room Café (Morningside)
While Boiler Room Café does not have a specific children’s menu, the kitchen is accommodating and the normal menu has very child-friendly options like the breakfast bun with bacon, egg and basil mayo (R38) and toasted sandwich jammed with bacon, banana and peanut butter (R38). There’s an intriguing array of milkshakes, and the café sells locally made Wicked Donuts (R16), which are just that, and for any age group.
Circus Circus Beach Café (Snell Parade)
Circus Circus Beach Café embraces little ones of the human and canine kind. The two-legged ones can tuck into a one-egg frittata pan with bacon (R28), oats (R18), millionaire’s macaroni (R39), sticky riblets (R65), crumbed chicken strips (R47) and the cheese burger (R49) and finish off with ice cream and Willy Wonka’s chocolate sauce (R26). The back of the café has a kids’ play area and the veranda is a stone’s throw from the beach.
Freedom Café (Greyville)
Freedom Café has a fairly limited but delicious kids’ menu – think pancakes with honey (R30), French toast with syrup (R30), mac ’n cheese (R30) or mini burgers and fries (R35) – although the regular menu doesn’t preclude them. There are also monstrous slices of rainbow cake and macarons to make little hearts happy.
Sage Café (Ballito)
Sage is a child-friendly venue that follows through with wholesome, home-style nosh. Breakfast includes toast with lashings of Nutella (R22) or homemade sausage and chips (R28), and lunch ranges from grilled calamari (R48) to spaghetti bolognaise (R40) or gemsquash filled mince and topped with melted cheddar (R29).
Lupa offers an all-Italian experience for families and for an all-inclusive R65, little
Lupas get their choice of a lasagne, spaghetti Bolognaise, penne Alfredo, spaghetti loula (all with homemade pasta) or a wood-fired pizza plus an iced tea and ice cream.
The Roost (Gillits)
The Roost has a simple concept that makes for a great family outing. Roast baby chickens are served with a bowl of hand cut, triple-cooked chips sprinkled with Maldon salt and a Greek salad for R110. Kids love that the chips are limitless! There are also four ice cream flavours to choose from that make the perfect dessert when dolloped onto a cone.
Bon Amis (Durbanville)
An outdoor jungle gym and a children’s menu complete with activities on the back will keep the little ones happy. For breakfast, kids can tuck in to flapjacks with choc chips and maple syrup (R28) while lunch options include chicken strips with French fries (R38), pizza with ham and cheese (R41), and gourmet milkshakes.
Café Paradiso (Gardens)
A range of children’s projects are available until 8pm (3pm on Sundays), including icing cupcakes and making pizzas or chocolate chip cookies (R48). Their children’s menu includes items like scram on toast (R30), chicken nuggets and chips (R48), crumbed hake royale (R50), and more.
Café Roux (Noordhoek)
Situated in the charming Noordhoek Farm Village, this family-friendly café overlooks a large playground with a jungle gym, slides, seesaw and more. A kids’ menu features items like toasted chicken mayo sarmies (R39), mini burgers (R40) and easy-to-eat cocktail sausages (R40), all of which are served with a choice of one side.
The Company’s Garden Restaurant (Gardens)
The pretty outdoor area of this busy spot is built for playtime, with hanging wicker playhouses set amongst the trees and a life-size chessboard. A kids’ menu features favourites like cheesy toasties (R35), crumbed chicken strips and fries (R42) and pasta with red sauce (R40). If you’re bringing along the tiny toddlers, there is an option of soft weetbix with banana and warm milk (R30).
Con Brio Bistro (Vredehoek)
This eatery has an inviting and cosy atmosphere for the whole family. Children under 13 can order a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs served in a tasty tomato sauce (R40) or crunchy battered fish strips with golden chips (R40).
Die Damhuis (Melkbosstrand)
A lighthouse-style jungle gym will work up the little ones’ appetites at this beachfront spot. The kiddies’ menu includes options like fried baby hake and chips, creamy pasta with crispy bacon and chicken, and chicken nuggets (all R40 each).
Dunes (Hout Bay)
This seaside destination has ample activities to keep youngsters busy, with its gorgeous sea views, soft sand and a jungle gym. The children’s menu includes seafood delights such as old-fashioned fish and chips or calamari (R44) as well as pizzas (R35) and juicy ribs (R65).
Dutch Haven (Durbanville)
At this comfortable child-friendly café, kids can play on the jungle gym with swings and a slide, while those under four have a designated play area. A kiddies’ menu features items like cheese griller, egg, bacon, chips toast (R38), chicken and beef burgers (R32), and nutella pancakes (R22), while a baby section offers Purity (R12), Flings (R6) and finger biscuits (R8) for the toddlers.
Franky’s Diner (Sea Point)
Burgers, milkshakes and playtime galore are on offer at this 50s-style diner located on the bustling Main Road, an ideal spot for birthday parties. The little ones can feast on cheese burgers and chips (R50), toasted cheese and chips served on corn bread (R30), or a plate of potato smileys (R15). Kids eat for free Mondays to Thursdays from 12pm to 8pm.
This scenic Winelands eatery serves up a range of dishes for children, including a toasted house sarmie with free-range chicken and baked crisps (R38), and a 125g steak served with fries and cucumber sticks (R52). The homemade ice cream sundae with meringue and fudge chips will definitely satisfy the sweet tooth (R30).
Lime Tree Café (Bergvliet)
A petit kids menu is on offer at this bright and breezy café, including a range of toasted sandwiches, comforting plate of French toast with bacon and syrup (R38), or mini beef or chicken burgers (R45).
Open Door (Constantia)
This elegant restaurant’s menu has a dedicated section for the youngsters. Mini foodies will love the gourmet options such as the roasted chicken breast and broccoli bake (R69), the spaghetti with pea sauce, crispy bacon and parmesan (R62), or the cookies and steamed milk for pud (R32).
Tables at Nitida (Durbanville)
Beautiful, rolling lawns, a dedicated play area and a kiddies’ menu will please parents and kids alike. The bambinos can enjoy options such as ham and cheesy pasta (R40), fish and chips (R34), and ice cream cones with sprinkles (R14).
The Foodbarn (Noordhoek)
In addition to the great communal grassy play area and jungle gym outside, this beautiful restaurant serves mouthwatering meals for both adults and kids. The children’s menu includes prawn fritters with sautéed potatoes (R46) and lamb cutlets with a mash fritter (R48). For pickier pups, options of crumbed mozzarella fingers with fresh tomato sauce (R32) and buttered noodles (R24) are also on the list.
Bertus Basson at Spice Route (Paarl)
Here the young ones are treated to a creative menu (including a fun colouring-in sheet on the back), which allows them to build their own meal with meaty bits, veggies and fillers. Wholesome and easy-to-eat options include rice-flour-dusted calamari (R35), cauliflower purée (R15) and sautéed gnocchi (R20). The kids will also get a gigantic cookie with their meal to decorate for dessert.
Bread & Wine (Franschhoek)
This vineyard bistro offers a petite a la carte menu for the cherubs. The list of snacks includes cheesy pizza toasts with mozzarella and tomato, ham or salami (R20 or R40), fish and chips (R45), or a pick-and-mix board with cheese, fruit, ham and salami (R40).
Café Blanc de Noir (Stellenbosch)
The little ones can order off the kids’ pizza menu with options like a simple margherita (R35) or a tropical ham and pineapple pizza (R60). The outdoor jungle gym alongside the vineyards promises hours of exploration.
The warmer days are ideal for a picnic in the garden. The little ones’ picnic baskets are filled with yoghurt, chips, juice and a boerewors roll or peanut butter and jam sandwich (R45). For a sweet treat, home-baked brownies with choc sauce are also on offer (R20).
Dornier Bodega (Stellenbosch)
Younger guests can order off the special menu and play on the jungle gym and sandpit. Munchies include a selection of toasted tramezzini with farm chips, a bacon-and-mozzarella flammkuchen (R55), beefy macaroni and cheese (R50), chicken mayo wrap (R50) and more.
This family-friendly restaurant boasts a secure kids’ play area as well as a small, dedicated children’s menu with options of penne and meatballs (R30), hot dog and chips (R25) or French toast with a fried egg (R25).
Eight at Spier (Stellenbosch)
The restaurant terrace overlooks sprawling green lawns with a wooden jungle gym to keep the spring chickens busy. Comforting offerings of mac ’n cheese (R45), cheese burgers (R55) and crumbed chicken fingers (R55) are available. If there’s room for dessert, the double-thick milkshake is a winner (R28).
Leopard’s Leap (Franschhoek)
This gorgeous wine estate comes kiddie-proofed with a jungle gym and a massive lawn for children to run and play. A simple children’s menu is also on offer with toasted sarmies (R55), pastas (R45), burgers (R65) and chips (R25).
Manuka at Southey’s (Somerset West)
The youngsters can run in the large play area with shaded jungle gym, jumping castle and waterslide while the children’s menu offers a variety of options like linguine with alfredo sauce (R39), fish fingers with chips or rice (R35), and a ham-and-cheese pizza (R39).
The Millhouse Kitchen (Somerset West)
This comfortable eatery on the stunning Lourensford Wine Estate will keep children happy with the large garden and jungle gym while parents enjoy a wine tasting and Italian fare. The Little People menu features everything from pork bangers and chips (R30) to cheese-covered margherita pizzas (R28). Sweet options include ice cream scoops (R15) or Las Paletas ice lollies (R24).
Stables at Vergelegen (Somerset West)
This modern bistro offers little VIP menu from which the kids can choose delicious breakfasts, mains or desserts. Morning options like the ham-and-cheese toastie with sautéed potatoes, while midday favourites include grilled steak with chips or seasonal veggies (R60) and gooey macaroni cheese (R55). To finish off, treat the tots to a rainbow vanilla cupcake for R30.
Stone Kitchen (Wellington)
With plenty of activities available at this picturesque home-style bistro, the little ones will work up quite an appetite. Grilled sausage and fries (R35), cheesy beef burgers (R40), and slices of kiddies’ pizza (R35) are sure to satisfy.
Have we missed your favourite spot to dine with your mini-foodies? Please tell us about it in the comments.