Azabu.

Planning a family outing? These are the best kid-friendly restaurants in town

While the likes of Prego have long been the go-to for those with kids in tow, there are actually a number of restaurants around Auckland that offer the kinds of environments and menus that the whole family can enjoy. Here, we round up the ones to book these school holidays.

Azabu

With a menu dedicated to kids 12 years and under, this stalwart Japanese destination with locations in Ponsonby and Misson Bay is right on the money. Once the little ones have chosen between six pieces of sushi, a bento box or something from the menu for ‘bigger kids’ like chicken karaage, they get a little pack full of coloured pencils, paper and chopstick joiners (which help teach kids how to use them properly). Did we mention they also throw in a scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce on the house?


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Gemmi

Gemmi

Italian trattoria-inspired eatery, Gemmi, offers a ‘Family Meal’ come the weekend, serving up free pasta for the kids while their charges enjoy a meal and glass of something delicious. This Commercial Bay-based spot offers a relaxed, convivial vibe coupled with quick service and mouthwatering food that is never over-complicated — all the makings of a kid-friendly joint, if you ask us.

Akarana Eatery

Being a family man himself, Nic Watt’s Akarana Eatery in Okahu Bay is designed to be an all-inclusive space where parents and children can easily spend the entire day. As the adults tuck into fresh oysters and buttermilk snapper wings, little ones can play on the front lawn and take their pick from tempura fish and chips, Margherita pizza, ice cream and Nutella calzoni. They even offer a delicious brunch menu packed with family favourites.

Children's dining experience at The Grounds
The Grounds

The Grounds

Arguably the most family-friendly eatery in Auckland, chefs Ben Bayly and Mike Shatura have committed to creating a space that has all the tools to keep the kids entertained. From colouring books and one of the city’s best playgrounds to a menu featuring handmade pasta, dumplings and warming toasties, a dining experience with the children at The Grounds is always a smooth and enjoyable ride.

Non Solo Pizza

Long lunching at Parnell’s NSP need not be reserved for the grown-ups, with this Italian institution’s ‘Bambini’ menu offering plenty to satisfy smaller appetites. Find a thoughtful selection of tasty pizzas, pasta and chicken cotoletta complete with shoestring fries and seasonal veg. For dessert, the Nutella pizza is a must-try. The best part? For only $25, kids can choose a secondi, dolce and a drink. Bellissimo.

Baduzzi

Get ’em started on the good stuff at a young age with Baduzzi’s kids menu. Featuring dishes like handmade buttered pasta with herbs and parmesan, delicious lamb meatballs braised in tomato sauce, and chicken schnitzel with marinara sauce and fried egg, just as much care goes into this menu as the main one, and it shows.

Masu

Masu

SkyCity’s Japanese stalwart has long been a family favourite. The kids can enjoy a bento box with all the beloved Japanese delicacies, all while mum and dad enjoy some delicious fare from the regular menu and soak up the relaxed atmosphere.

Amano

Famed for its pasta, this Britomart restaurant is perfect for an early dinner. The standard menu has some great options for kids such as the bran loaf at breakfast and the chargrilled chicken for lunch. However, these are far from the only options — the kitchen will endeavour to make anything from the menu work for younger diners. Whether that be with smaller portions, the addition of chicken or the removal of any ingredient, Amano is here to keep kids happy.

Prego

It’s hardly surprising that Prego would make this list. For decades this delicious stalwart has been rated one of the best places to go for a family-friendly affair. There, you’ll find a dedicated menu of child-friendly Italian classics, all served with a scoop of ice cream to keep bellies well and truly satisfied.

Lobster Mac & Cheese
Lobster & Tap at Auckland Fish Market

Auckland Fish Market

Every kid loves fish and chips, so why not take them to the ultimate seafood destination? At Auckland Fish Market you can order from a variety of different purveyors serving everything from sushi to lobster fried rice. Following your family feast, head on over to Silo Park for a stroll while the children have their fun on the playground.

Andiamo

Neighbourhood eatery Andiamo is all about looking after locals, so it’s no surprise they are pros when it comes to catering to children. Here, you’ll be pleased to find a selection of slightly-tweaked versions of its famous spaghetti, calamari, mac and cheese and meatballs ready to satisfy young palates. What more could you want?

Hallertau

Take the whanau out to Riverhead or Clevedon for a meal at Hallertau that caters to just about everyone, young and old. The kid’s menu comes with the likes of wood-fired pizza, delicious chicken burgers, pasta, panko crumbed fish, and a variety of sweet treats (including a build-you-own-sundae situation), with something sure to fill the hungriest of tummies.

The Blue Breeze pork shumai
The Blue Breeze Inn

The Blue Breeze Inn

They’re short on a kids’ menu, but not on flavour — something you’re never too young to get acquainted with in our books. The steamed pork and prawn dumplings are an excellent option to share with littles, as is the peking duck with pancakes. When paired with a side of the wok-charred broccoli, you’ve got yourself an easy, tasty and fuss-free dinner.

Sugar at Chelsea Bay

Satisfy the kids’ sweet cravings in the most epic way at Sugar at Chelsea Bay’s factory. Even the fussiest eaters won’t be able to resist French toast with fried brioche and maple, or the range of tempting cabinet treats. With an interactive zone, outdoor playground and plenty of space to run around and exert every bit of energy, there’s no need to fear the sugar high.

Man O’War

The perfect place to enjoy the beauty of Waiheke Island with the whole family, Man O’ War is a great place to park up with the kids for a casual bite. This idyllic spot is located on the Eastern side of the island and boasts a sprawling lawn right next to a beautiful beach. Whether you pack a picnic to enjoy with some glasses of Man O’ War’s exceptional wine (parents only, of course), or indulge in some delicious food at the restaurant, the setting of this vineyard is unparalleled and allows plenty of space for little ones to run around.

Ebisu's kids menu for a family night out
Ebisu

Ebisu

Boasting a special menu dedicated to their littlest diners where all meals come with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce, Ebisu is the perfect place to go for family night out. And while the kids are tucking into a teriyaki chicken or salmon bowl, a delicious bento or sushi roll, parents can be enjoying Ebisu’s famous Japanese fare in peace. Win-win, we think.

The Heke

Enjoy a raft of delicious food, wine and beers within The Heke’s sprawling gardens. This relaxed destination is super family friendly (and even dog friendly too, we’re told), where the chefs prepare everything over glowing coals and the craft distillery and brewery on-site will ensure that parents can enjoy a libation or two while their kids enjoy the activities on the lawn. Offering a mud kitchen, a sandpit, cornhole games, climbing structures and a (very fun) bouncy platform, as well as live music and a menu of classics for the whole family to enjoy, The Heke is well worth an afternoon visit.

Burger Burger

Because burgers are great for everyone, Burger Burger is easily one of the best places to enjoy a meal with the whole family. From its delicious menus including one dedicated to kids where burgers, fries and more come with shakes or housemate sodas, to its friendly service to its cool, casual vibe, Burger Burger’s venues are an easy and always satiating solution for a fun family outing.

Ayrburn

Those heading South for the holidays would do well to make for Ayrburn — the spectacular new dining destination on the outskirts of Arrowtown boasting a number of exceptional venues perfect for kids and their charges alike. The Dell is the destination’s social lawn and a more than perfect spot to park up with kids for the afternoon, soaking in the peaceful setting. The kids can grab a gelato from The Dairy nearby, a destination filled with whimsical sweet treats that promise to hit the spot every time, while parents can keep their glasses full at The Burr Bar or The Manure Room. Or, book lunch or an early dinner at The Woolshed, Ayrburn’s casual, bistro-style eatery promising day-to-night fare that the whole family can enjoy wholeheartedly.

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