Parents share the best family-friendly restaurants in Cape Town and Gauteng
Tired of being cooped up in the house with bored kids? Desperate for a decent cup of coffee somewhere that allows the kids to play safely? We asked those best qualified (South African moms) to share their favourite kid friendly restaurants with us.They didn’t disappoint - these are the most popular restaurants to experience with kids of all ages, in Joburg and Cape Town.
Hidden away in Cape Town’s Hout Bay is a wonderland of playgrounds, splash-pools, open spaces and barnyard animals for children of all ages to enjoy while the adults indulge in an expertly prepared cappuccino. Black and Brew offers diners a simple menu of family friendly meals like the Mommy & Me Platter?of nibbles, a range of breakfast options and firm favourites like pasta and burgers.
Parents looking for a finer dining experience must try Open Door in Constantia, about 40 minutes from Cape Town’s CBD. Set in a renovated schoolhouse, this eatery offers a rustic charm alongside sophisticated menu options like Saffron Poached Pear Salad or Blood peach Panna Cotta. Children can choose from a handful of healthy options like pan roasted hake with butternut fingers and cucumber, but they will most likely prefer to spend hours in the adjacent playground.
For a fun meal out with the kids visit Franky’s Diner in Seapoint, Cape Town. Kids eat free Monday to Thursday, and the authentic 50’s diner includes an indoor play area which makes this eatery a great choice for the winter months. Even more enticing – it’s open 24 hours a day so pop in for an early breakfast next time the kids get up at 6am.
Klein River Cheese Farmstead is situated in the Overberg, about two hours from Cape Town. The cheese farm aims to offer “a celebration of cheese, picnics and family”, and delivers this in the form of artisanal cheeses crafted on the working farm, a selection of picnics that include a playful kid’s basket and plenty of space for adventures.
A large play area compliments Café Roux, which offers a menu with a wide range of offerings including vegan options. Naturally you will also find family classics like toasted sandwiches and burgers. Time a visit just right and diners will enjoy live music or a pony ride for the kids. The café is set amongst a variety of other little stores, so families can grab a cone at Kristen's Kick-Ass Ice Cream or a fresh loaf from the Foodbarn Deli on the way out.
For a seaside adventure, parents can enjoy fresh seafood while the kids run around in the designated play area at Die Damhuis. The eatery employs a qualified childminder on weekends, for parent’s extra peace of mind. The building is a National Monument, adding extra interest to your meal. The menu caters to vegetarians and kids, alongside offerings like Mussels in White Wine and Blue Cheese, Oxtail and Pickled Fish.
The Tasting Room at Stanford Hills
In addition to acres of grassy land to explore, The Tasting Room offers kids a sandpit, trampoline and jungle gym, and for the more adventurous there are a number of small boats which can be paddled around on the dam. Parents can enjoy tapas in front of the fire in the renovated original farm cottage or take in the view with a glass of wine on the stoep.
This boutique restaurant offers so much fun for children, from an enticing menu to several exciting play areas, it may be hard to choose what to do first. Based in Bedfordview outside Johannesburg, Happily Ever Laughter has specials for the parents too, such as infused gin tasting sessions or painting events, as well as bespoke themed parties for kids once a month. Check their site for specials too.
Another popular Bedfordview hangout for parents is the Chevy Lane Family grill house. This 50's racing-themed diner offers well priced kids meals, as well as a variety of salads to balance their 50’s themed fare of burgers, nachos and hot dogs. Separate kids and teens areas ensure parents will have time to enjoy their meal, while the kids are entertained by an assortment of exciting attractions.
With six branches spread around Gauteng, this popular eatery is well within driving distance for many families. The Papachinos chain prides itself on offering state of the art playgrounds and young chef activities like pizza making, which explains why it’s such a popular go-to for Joburg parents. And since card-carrying pensioners get 25% off, it’s a great place to take the whole family for a special meal.
With its farmyard setting, Trés Jolie in Ruimsig provides a safe place for children to take a camel ride, enjoy being creative with sand art kits, feed the farm animals, bounce on the jumping castle or explore the playground. The menu offers diners a choice of classic Mediterranean meals, South African dishes and fresh pizzas, with kids specials on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Bambanani Restaurant offers unique entertainment facilities, including a state-of-the-art four storey covered jungle gym, dress-up area and sand art, a media room and a children’s library. They also hold themed events for kids, so keep an eye on their site for upcoming events such as pottery and woodworking classes. The menu is extensive, offering diners a range of international flavours such as Argentinian chimichurri steak, Moroccan salad and Singapore noodles. Kids can choose from their favourites like mac and cheese and chicken nuggets.
Here all the fresh produce is grown on the premises, the breads are freshly baked and the tagliatelle and lasagne are homemade. The Parks Farm, which is based in Benoni, has a good selection of meals on the children’s menu, and salads, pastas and pizzas for adults. Kids can play in the play area or make their own pizza, and the whole family can take a tour of the working hydroponics farm.
Set on the Vaal River in Vanderbjilpark, Stonehaven on Vaal offers children a multitude of fun activities, including a slip slide, trampoline, tree houses, sandpit, table tennis and pool for swimming - all set in a picturesque garden. The extensive menu offers tasty meals for the whole family and includes a selection of doggy treats for the family’s four-legged fur babies too.
Do you know of great family and child-friendly restaurants that we haven't included in this list? Let us know about them in the comments section below or email us!