We asked mother of twins Alida Ryder – who also happens to be one of our editorial panel members and winner of our 2010 award for Best Local Food Blog – to recommend her top five eateries that serve delicious food and cater for her kids.
Before I had children, I used to look at parents struggling with their kids in obviously non-child-friendly establishments and wonder why they didn’t just go to one of the restaurants with jungle gyms, chicken nuggets and child-minders to look after their little brats. Never once did I think that maybe those parents were tired of eating those ghastly nuggets themselves and that sometimes, you want (need) good coffee and a more sophisticated environment. This was something I learned quickly as a new parent. Also, that it’s important to teach children table manners and how to sit still at a restaurant from a young age – something that’s a little hard when they’re allowed to run around with a fish finger hanging from their mouths.
Not many restaurants accomplish the ideal balance – serving delicious food, catering for my kids (including healthy meal options), and allowing me to relax, knowing my child is taken care of – but I’ve found a few that I’m eager to share with you.
Toni’s is a firm favourite with parents in Pretoria. The pizzas and pastas are delicious and attractively presented, and the kids’ play area is well equipped with sturdy, modern jungle gyms and plenty of room for the little ones to play.
Isabella’s Petite is the perfect spot to take your little girl to if you want to treat her to a proper high tea or a tasty meal. The menu includes cheese omelettes, ham-and-cheese melts and homemade fish fingers. This is also a fabulous party venue for girly parties and themes include Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Little Mermaid.
Papachino’s has a winning recipe when it comes to being child friendly. The menu is varied, and the food is excellent and offers great value for money. Kids are spoiled with modern jungle gyms, colouring-in supplies and a kids-only pizza-making station where they are guided to make their own, creative pizza creations.
Afroboer is a delightful, fresh addition to the child-friendly establishments in the capital. Their Tots and Tantrums menu includes a variety of toasted sandwiches, gourmet boerewors rolls, milk and cookies, and soda floats. Allow the kids to run around on the expansive lawns while you enjoy a perfect coffee and one of the best croissants in Pretoria.
The Barn Restaurant situated on Irene Dairy Farm (a working farm) is a delightful spot for breakfast on a weekend. On a Sunday you can expect a delicious breakfast buffet (kids between six and 12 pay half price). Children can play on the shady lawns and take a tour of the farm and experience the cows being milked.