Going out for dinner is a weekly occurrence for a lot of Sydneysiders. The cuisine is as multicultural as the population, and the budget choices range from cheap and plentiful to fine dining; here are our top picks for great places to take the whole family and not break the bank.
Feed the little folk
The enjoyment of eating out doesn’t have to stop just because of the pitter patter of little feet appearing in the home. While some dining rooms may suggest “you must be this tall to eat here”, others are more than happy to welcome whole families, regardless of their age. It’s also important that children eat well, avoiding the fatty fast food options, which are often less than appealing for mature palates. Here are some great places to take the kids when cooking at home is just not an option, or when you just fancy a change of scene.
Nice day to go to the pub!
One thing many new parents miss are the days of stopping at the local pub for a meal. It’s good to know that in Sydney some pubs have recognised this and gone a little out of their way to make their establishments family friendly. The Hotel Pennant Hills is a great example, opposite Pennant Hills Railway station, the newly refurbished pub has a menu to match, with suitably priced kid-sized meals along with burgers, pizza, pasta, and more gourmet fare for parents. They even have an indoor play area, and free entertainment on Sundays to keep the little ones occupied while older patrons enjoy a drink after dinner, or catch a game on the big screen.
If a trip to Sydney’s northern parks is on the cards, booking ahead at the Belrose Hotel will ensure a table for the family in the bistro. Open for lunch and dinner every day, they have recently revamped the whole place with a child friendly attitude that last year won them recognition from the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food guide as the best family friendly hotel in town. Their gigantic indoor playground will surely have any younger patrons agreeing with the SMH, and the quality of the menu and the wine list will not draw any complaints from the rest of the family. Of course these are not the only pubs to cater to children, Terrey Hills Tavern has a good kids menu, and many RSL clubs cater well for youngsters.
Food on the move
After a trip to the Monkey Baa Theatre Company at Darling Harbour, keep the kids enter-trained with a trip to Umi Sushi at Darling Quarter, next to the Chinese Garden. The sushi train must be the most novel way of delivering food ever invented, bringing a seemingly infinite selection of tasty morsels to eat without leaving your seat. There is also an extensive a la carte menu, including the delicious udon noodle dishes, as well as traditional Japanese and modern desserts. Next door is the new free playground with flying foxes, water play and climbing ropes to wear little ones out before heading home.
Most parents will know that some children take forever to finish their meals. Tiny kids have tiny stomachs, and they are often happier picking at little bits of food all day rather than eating a big meal all in one go. A perfect solution for tiny tummies could be visiting a Farmer’s Market, like the ones at Bondi and Eveleigh, where the producers of the food often have samples available to try. Kids can take their own time and test all the available food on offer, from fruit and veg, to cheese and meats. They might even discover a liking for food they had never considered before, perhaps even meeting the growers and learning about where food comes from.
While the Opera House and Harbour Bridge are probably the most easily recognisable structures in town, the Sydney Tower has punctuated the skyline since the early 1980s. Taking the kids up to dine in the buffet while enjoying the epic views over Sydney and the Harbour is a great way to feed them and keep them entertained. Especially as Monday and Tuesday all year, the kids eat free in the dining room, which extend Monday to Thursday in school holiday periods. They will even cater for children’s birthday parties.
It’s easy to see the options for dining out with the family are by no means limited to fast food. There are plenty of places in Sydney with both children and parents in mind when it comes to eating out. Next time it’s too much of a chore to cook, maybe try out one of these suggestions for an enjoyable meal out with the whole family.