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Eating out with kids in the CBD or nearby

Boulder, Colorado
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Eating out with kids in the CBD or nearby

Hello!

We are in Canberra for the next 2 months in the CBD area with no car and a 1-year-old and 3-year-old. This is our third extended visit to Canberra, and one of the big problems we have had is trying to eat dinner out with the kids. It seems like everywhere we go, it isn't kid-friendly at all and people give us unpleasant looks for having kids in, and there are no other children in the restaurants. We are limited to places in the CBD and very nearby because we are walking. We always go very early (right at opening time), and our kids are well-behaved (quiet, stay in their seats, etc.). We order food for them. Is this just how it is in the CBD because there aren't many kids here? Could we be doing something wrong? Are there particular places that are recommended with kids, where adults can have a beer (please, not the Hogs Breath Cafe...)? We haven't experienced this problem anywhere else in Australia, but most of our time is spent in Canberra. We have been here for almost a month now and haven't ventured out with the kids for dinner after having such bad experiences last year! Any advice would be appreciated :)

Sydney/Melbourne
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1. Re: Eating out with kids in the CBD or nearby

Are you sure you are not misinterpreting 'looks'?

It's unusual for kids not to be welcome anywhere other than very upmarket restaurants and perhaps pubs and bars later in the evening.

Early dining in most places, as long as they are well behaved, kids should be welcome.

My suggestion would be go wherever you want and ignore any 'looks', real or perceived, you may get. If as you say, your kids are well behaved then there shouldn't be a problem.

Have you tried the Chinese restaurants in Dixon? It's just a short cab ride from Civic and I know there's always loads of kids around there.

South Pole
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2. Re: Eating out with kids in the CBD or nearby

there are so many badly behaved kids in retaurants these days u may be just getting a cursory look over by others sizing up the potential for disruption.

am sure if your kids behave then most wouldn't think about it again.

sydney
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3. Re: Eating out with kids in the CBD or nearby

I'm also going to suggest Dixon - lots of choices & Zeperelli's in particular is great - I've eaten there heaps of times with junior sports teams (bit older than your two) and have always had great service and been able to find something on the menu for everyone.

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Eating out with kids in the CBD or nearby

thmoore means

Zefferellis (and I'll back that up as a good choice)

also consider Wagamamma and possibly Kingsleys.

I'm with lien on that one...

several of our local restaurants are starting to say no children u10 on Saturday nights...and I'm talking cafe style places that are usually fully booked and it has come about because the parents let the kds play up and down the tables..those who do the right thing get punished

In the past we have had our table booking moved when we've walked in with the kids (I have actually seen a waitress rub us off one table then put us on another)

Canberra
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5. Re: Eating out with kids in the CBD or nearby

Dickson

If you find North Quarter at the Canberra Centre (where Wagamama and Kingsleys are located) and you go 1 block north, you will come to a major road - Cooyong St. Cross over (where the big McDonalds, with the drive through is) and you are in Braddon - up that street - Lonsdale and parallel to it - Mort St are full of little informal cheapy cafes. there are 2 decent italians, cheapy mexican chinese, and indian, a gourmet pizza, Cornucopia Bakery is one of Canberra's best. I'm told there is a new good vietnamese noodle bar plus a scattering of more traditional cafes.

If in Cooyong street looking West, across Northbourne Ave (it turns into Barry Drive) just past those lights is a Turkish Pide House which is very kiddie friendly.

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Canberra Centre
Canberra Centre
354 Reviews
Canberra, Australia
Wagamama
Wagamama
26 Reviews
Canberra, Australia
Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Eating out with kids in the CBD or nearby

Thanks down under... (was only game to correct one speller as currently fighting the french! and have to maintain some degree of humanism)

after the above experiences I am loathe to recommend other than the chains..our strip changed in just a week...(I have heard it has been knee jerk as parent is suing/threatening one place cos kid got burnt by a coffee when said child was playing hiding around a table, but this could just be hearsay)

Boulder, Colorado
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7. Re: Eating out with kids in the CBD or nearby

Ok, thanks everyone. I am thinking now that American accents plus small kids are just going to generate eye rolls wherever we go- what can you do? I can understand that.

Wagamamma is the only one of the suggestions here we have tried. It just didn't really work for us.

I am glad the taxi thing came up- last year we couldn't do a taxi without taking a car seat, but I think they allow you to use the seatbelt for kids over 1 in the ACT and I forgot about that change in our situation.

We eat out a lot at home, so our kids are accustomed to the idea that they can't get up from their seats, and we try to bring enough distractions to keep them entertained throughout the meal. But if it doesn't work, we take turns walking them around outside- we never let our kids move away from the table in a restaurant. In my opinion, that is just too dangerous with people walking around with heavy trays of hot food and glassware.

So, with all of your reassurances, we tried going out again tonight and it went well. We went to a place that is decidedly not really kid-friendly, but we thought what-the-heck since the kid-friendly places so far haven't really panned out. We went to Debacle and it went well. The food and beer were good, the kids were good, and it was a pleasant walk on this longest night of the year. And, we were home by 7 so no bedtimes missed!

Thanks, again- I am not sure I would have relaxed enough to try going out again tonight without some reassurance!

I will update before we leave with places that did work out for kids on the off chance anyone else is looking.

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Debacle
Debacle
258 Reviews
Canberra, Australia
Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: Eating out with kids in the CBD or nearby

Great to hear....

My kids have eaten out since they were tiny....we often asked for an extra chair to turn sideways or they slept under the table..not always the best hygienic choice..

sometimes it's just turn the other cheek..if the kids are good and no one says anything..success..

Boulder, Colorado
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9. Re: Eating out with kids in the CBD or nearby

Last two replies came in while I was writing- I didn't see the "burn" rumor until after I posted mine, but having sloshed coffee around running kids in a younger life, it wouldn't surprise me.

One of our bad experiences with a cafe was in Braddon last year, and we really need places that open at 5 or 5:30 as our youngest goes to bed at 7, but I will check into some of these. We are very familiar with the Braddon area.

Thanks again!

Canberra, Australia
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10. Re: Eating out with kids in the CBD or nearby

Have you considered the Ainslie Football Club On Wakefield Ave?

Very kid-friendly & the meals are at the "better" end of club-food.

ainsliefc.com/index.php…

Only a km or so north of the city (not sure if that is too far).

They also run the Canberra City Bowls Club which serves meals Wed-Sat - never eaten there so not sure what it is like, but it is closer (Elder St, Braddon)