Taste buds a-tingling? Take a break from cooking and test out some of Canberra’s top cafes and restaurants. From sushi to gelato, this mouth-watering list rounds up the best of the best when it comes to family-friendly menus and venues. Don’t take our word for it. Every eatery comes with a five-star recommendation from Canberra kids and teens in the know.
Pepe (5 years) recommends the chicken schnitzel and prawn rolls from Mee’s Sushi lunch menu. The chain has three stores, including one in Manuka. You can always grab a California roll to enjoy in a park. Big sushi fans should also taste test the offerings at Hero Sushi Train. “It’s fun to choose from a heap of food on the conveyor belt,” says Louis (11 years). “It’s filling and really nice Japanese food.”
Also famous for its burgers, this establishment’s name precedes it. There is a Brodburger venue in Kingston, near the Glassworks (perfect for a bite after visiting the Old Bus Depot Markets) and in Capital Brewing Co. in Fyshwick. Jack (7 years) loves the hot dog and fries. “I like to hang out in the play area after I’m done,” he says.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then it will draw you like a magnet to Ricardo’s Café at Jamison. They have great all-day breakfast and a lovely, long lunch menu, but it will be the cakes and pastries that catch your eye.
Salotto Bar and Kitchen
‘Salotto’ translates to ‘living room’ in English. You will certainly feel at home in this family owned and operated Italian restaurant in Kingston, which first began in 1975. The relaxed indoor and alfresco areas will transport you to a sprawling piazza in Rome.
“We go to Salotto for special birthday dinners,” says Maeve (9 years). “I like the candles on the tables and drawing on the paper tablecloth. I leave messages for the waiter! And they have great Spaghetti Bolognese.”
“Milky Lane in Braddon is great for their burgers, mac and cheese croquets and awesome milkshakes,” recommends Sabine (7 years). Think old-school American milk bar meets funky hipster recreations. The vibe is colourful and playful and there are great plant-based options if you’re that way inclined.
Hansel and Gretel
For food as good as a fairytale, Sufjan (10 years) recommends going out for breakfast or morning tea at Hansel and Gretel in Phillip. They’re famous for their freshly roasted coffee and sweets. Pick up some nuts, dried fruit or deli specials while you’re there.
Owned and operated by Uncle Tan and his friendly staff, this Griffit favourite offers fun, light and stress-free food perfect for a quick budget dinner. Ted (10 years) strongly urges you to try the crispy squid. “Don’t bother asking for any of mine,” he says. “I won’t share.”
Gungahlin Lakes Club
More than 70 hectares of greenery sprawl out from this spacious, modern clubhouse, which is ideal for large groups. There are great daily specials and events to look out for. “There’s always something yummy on the kids’ menu that we like,” says Matilda (11 years). “It’s fun to leave the grown-ups and hang out in the games room or kids room where there are lots of different games you play, or a movie to watch.” More info here.
Frugii Dessert Laboratory
Weird and wacky meets all-round deliciousness at the three-part dessert heaven of Frugii. The Pozetti section keeps the ice creams ready for your cones or cups, the Stick Freezer looks after the ice cream desserts and the Cake Fridge contains desserts such as tarts and choux pastry. Feeling brave? Try more unusual ice cream flavours such as ‘Vegemite on Sourdough,’ ‘Beetroot and paprika,’ or ‘Butter Chicken.’ Otherwise, stick to the tried and true options. Lauren (15 years) recommends the dark chocolate gelato.
It’s all burgers, pizza and fried chicken at this Braddon eatery, which operates out of an old mechanic’s shop. Grease Monkey have recently taken to the streets with their food truck, so keep your eyes peeled! “My pick from Grease Monkey is the Meat Lovers Detroit style pizza loaded with beef brisket, cabanossi, pepperoni, bacon, ham, caramelized onion and Motor City cheese,” says Oscar (13 years).
The Hungry Buddha
Spice it up with Himalayan flavours from this Nepalese restaurant in Belconnen, well-versed in catering to families and large groups. The Hungry Buddha’s butter chicken comes recommended by Charli (14 years), who also loves the Fijian-Indian fusion of Rama’s. “The warm service and range of great curries at Rama’s is our family fave,” says Charli. “I love the veggie and fish pakoras!”