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Family-friendly feasts

Here are our picks for family-friendly feasting. Places with a decent kids' dinner menu but enough atmosphere to make it worth the effort for the adults, too.

Cafes

  • Sipriana Cafe in the Capital Gateway shopping complex is on the fringe of the CBD, has ample parking and a fenced playpen. There's an extensive menu, and with seven child-focussed retailers dominating the complex you'll find yourself with plenty of familiar company.
  • La Cloche is a great option if you're heading north to the Hutt Valley or beyond. This French cafe has a large play area and delicious food. Best of all, its right next door to Animates, one of the biggest and best pet stores in the city, where you'll often find families 'browsing' the puppies, kittens, birds, reptiles, fish and more...
  • Mojo at Wellington Zoo is great, even if you're not visiting the 'best little zoo in the world'. Great play area and pygmy marmosets behind glass next to your table make this cafe one of a kind.
  • Chocolate Fish Cafe in Shelly Bay is particularly good on a warm day. A slice of kiwiana campground styles, a beautiful view across the harbour, beanbags on the grass or picnic tables, ride-on pedalcars and bikes. The menu is based around sandwiches straight off the barbecue - simple, classic, and absolutely delicious.

Restaurants

  • Joe's Garage will be a familiar franchise to many New Zealanders, with seven of their cafe/restaurants dotted around the country. Their successful recipe of quality grill-style menu in a relaxed setting works well for families. One of the Wellington restaurant's features most popular with families is the old-school toybox, complete with chunky vintage die-cast vehicles and other toys.
  • One Red Dog down on the waterfront is a popular pizza & pasta joint that's ideal for family groups. You can half 'n' half your pizza to cater for varied tastes of your pack, and the booths are spacious and comfy. For the littlest pup, they've got the genius clip on high chairs made by Wellington company phil & teds.
  • Bebemos in Newtown is a busy little Brazilian-style restaurant/bar in Newtown. The atmosphere is colourful and friendly, the food diverse, but manageable for junior palates, and for grown-ups, a fantastic selection of craft beers and wine on tap (yes, wine on tap). Kids are supplied with things to draw with, there's a basket of toys and on Sundays, kids eat for half price.
  • The Southern Cross is something of a Wellington institution, located on a site that's been home to a pub for over 100 years. The outside garden bar area is one of the most pleasant places in the city to enjoy a sunny afternoon. They work hard to look after families, with a kids menu that looks to have been written by someone who's actually met a few. On weekends between 10-2 they go all out, laying on craft tables, colouring competitions and facepainting. And Thursday mornings from 10am they have a room dedicated to parents and kids with couches, carpet for crawlers, a specialist staff member whose only job is childminding and...no kidding...a massage therapist offering FREE 10 minute back, neck and shoulder messages.
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