Just because you've entered the world of parenthood, doesn't mean you have to welcome the world of chicken nuggets, frozen fish fingers and mushy purees. A common misconception is that when kids come along, the nights out at great restaurants have to stop, but that's simply not true. Many fabulous restaurants pride themselves on being child-friendly and most offer a good range of kid-friendly meals. Search well, and you'll even find a few that provide pens, crayons and other sources of entertainment.
Melbourne has a strong reputation as a city full of food lovers, so it's little wonder that they are leading the way in terms of family-friendly restaurants. The following restaurants understand that sometimes you need the kids fed in a hurry. They get that dining out is a real treat and you want to enjoy every minute. They grasp that great service can make an incredible difference to how your children behave throughout your meal and they go a long way to make you feel at ease with kids in tow.
Upper Square, Federation Square
In the upper square of Federation Square lies Cafe Chinotto, a family-friendly Mediterranean cafe serving wood-fired pizzas, pastas and salads. The large alfresco dining area is relaxed and friendly and staff welcome kids in for a casual lunch or early evening meal.
894-896 Dandenong Road, Springvale
Being a family operated business, the La Festiva team know better than anyone how important it is to feel comfortable when eating out as a family. The modern Italian menu is served on colourful hand-curated plates and spun-gold glasses that ignite the senses and highlight the fun atmosphere. Despite not being open long, La Festiva has garnered a dedicated fan base, largely because of it's innovative and exciting menu and relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant has a kids menu and has regular deals and specials on offer to make eating out as a family that little bit easier.
Chin Chin at Koto Moon
647 Rathdowne St, Carlton
Described as 'a little pearler' on breakfast radio, Chin Chin at Koto Moon has been a Carlton favourite for over 14 years. Offering classic and original dishes from South-East Asia but with contemporary presentation, Chin Chin's at Koto Moon is Asian cooking at its best. Both BYO and fully licensed, this is a laid back, affordable restaurant serving exceptional food with great service. We recommend the homemade dimsums, which are both delicious and just the right meal size for young kids.
32 High St, Glen Iris
10km south-east of Melbourne's CBD sits Glen Iris's Preserve Kitchen. Popular with the locals, chef Jason Aitken serves up a range of treats, such as Hervey Bay Scallops and Crab and Leek Croquette. They've also got their own children's menu for any junior gourmands you bring along with you. A super cute courtyard makes alfresco dining something special and the contemporary surrounds together with the impeccably presented food will have you coming back time and time again.
La Piazza Allegra
572-274 Glenhuntly Rd, Elsternwick
La Piazza has been modelled on a traditional meeting place, much like those you will find in every small Italian village. It's a place where you can meet with friends, relax with the family and know that you are guaranteed a good time, as well as a good feed.
La Piazza's brand promise is "Square of Happiness" and happy is exactly how you will feel with a visit to this newly established restaurant. The food is made with the freshest ingredients, meals are generously portioned and great value for money and the service is outstanding. There's even a DVD area designed to keep the kids occupied while you eat.