Family-friendly feasts: child-friendly eateries
They feature great kids' (and adults') menus alongside staff who are sympathetic to the occasional mid-meal meltdown.
160 The Esplanade, Petone, Lower Hutt
Perched on Petone Esplanade with views across Wellington Harbour, Seashore Cabaret combines retired merry-go-round horses, carnival kitsch, pinball machines, and colourful custom-made furniture to create a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
The menu offers a kaleidoscope of delicious vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes to family-friendly classics including burgers, curly fries and thicker-than-thick milkshakes. There’s plenty of dining space indoors, plus some tables on the deck for sunny brunching.
497 Karaka Bay Road, Karaka Bays, Wellington
Scorch-O-Rama is a prime example of a spot where you’ll sit back and say to yourself, ‘you really can’t beat Wellington on a good day’. It’s a bright and bustling café on the shoreline of Scorching Bay, a popular sandy beach on the Miramar Peninsula.
Scorch-O-Rama has a fantastic brunch and kids’ menu, and their coffee is from classic Wellington roastery, Havana. Sit inside the cafe or opt to be seated across the road from the café with the sea lapping the shore beside you. There's a specially placed pedestrian crossing to keep the staff safe as they deliver your coffee across the road. A true ‘only in Wellington’ experience.
30 Cochrane Street, Lyall Bay, Wellington
Spruce Goose began life as an airport terminal building and for more than 50 years was the home of the Wellington Aero Club.
Now a popular seaside café, bar and restaurant with sweeping views of Lyall Bay and Wellington Airport – people of all ages are entranced by watching the surfers, waves and planes coming and going.
After a walk or swim at Lyall Bay, this laidback and colourful eatery is the perfect place to head with the whole family for a meal or a snack.
One Red Dog
56 Customhouse Quay, Wellington
A Wellington favourite since it first opened in the 1990s, One Red Dog specialises in family-friendly pizza and pasta. The restaurant’s waterfront location at Queens Wharf, makes it a popular place for a pre-show meal.
With service that’s laidback while still professional, One Red Dog is the kind of place you can take the kids and relax. There’s a special kids' menu which includes a 'make your own pizza' where ingredients are brought to the table and your mini Massimo can create their own culinary masterpiece.
There’s plenty of delicious option on the ‘adult’ menu to keep the grown-ups happy, too.
5 Tory Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Joe's Garage on Tory Street is a café and eatery with great music, good coffee and tasty food presented by attentive and enthusiastic staff.
With a laid-back atmosphere, Joe's Garage is a great place to bring the kids (and the dog), listen to some cool tunes and enjoy a cup of Joe's Garage coffee and the grill-style menu.
Their kids’ menu is extensive with a breakfast, all-day and dinner menu featuring mini pancakes, burgers and more. Their old-school toybox, complete with chunky vintage die-cast vehicles and other toys is a total hit with kids, too.
18 Majoribanks Street, Mt Victoria , Wellington
Everybody loves a burger, and Burger Liquor can provide a burger to suit almost everyone – regardless of age or dietary requirement. Their menu features classic burgers, tacos and salads.
There’s an impressive selection of fries, any way you like them - including topped with butter chicken curry sauce. On the liquor side of things, there’s beers and cider on tap, an entire menu of rum and bourbon to wash it all down, plus a range of non-alcoholic options. The atmosphere is fun and laid back, with loud music and friendly staff. It’s a burger party.
For existing Burger Liquor fans, note that BL has temporarily relocated to Majoribanks Street.
Chocolate Fish Café
100 Shelly Bay Road, Maupuia, Wellington
Chocolate Fish Café at Shelly Bay is the go-to for enjoying a classic Kiwi seafood barbecue in the sun.
Chocolate Fish's specialty is seafood sandwiches featuring paua (abalone) and mussel fritters straight off the barbecue – simple, classic and absolutely delicious. If seafood isn’t your thing, there’s lots of other options on the menu, plus a great kids’ menu, too.
Grab a spot on a beanbag on the grass or nab a picnic table and soak up the beautiful views across the harbour, as the kids run around on the grassy lawn. It’s a slice of heaven.
Grill Meats Beer
227 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Grill Meats Beer on Cuba Street is a casual eatery and bar with a fun atmosphere, great burgers and beers. Its run the same folks behind Logan Brown, an upmarket restaurant just across the road, so you can expect the same high quality and attention to detail, but in a more relaxed setting.
The open kitchen at the centre of the eatery produces food of the sweet, smoky, spicy grilled persuasion with juicy steaks, burgers and snack plates to share – their JFC – Japanese Fried Chicken – is a must-order. Grill Meats Beer is a great place for families with a kids’ menu that doubles as a colouring-in activity.
2 Taranaki Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Experience Māori-inspired cuisine in a stunning location beside the Whairepo Lagoon on Wellington’s waterfront. Located in Te Raukura, Te Wharewaka o Pōneke, Karaka Café is an architecturally award-winning modern venue with indoor and outdoor dining spaces.
Their signature dish is a café version of a traditional hāngī meal, including rewena (Māori potato bread) or legendary fry bread. The terraced grass by the lagoon is a popular spot for a drink on a sunny afternoon or evening - get there early and claim yourself a bean bag and park up until the sun sets.
Southern Cross Garden Bar Restaurant
39 Abel Smith Street, Te Aro, Wellington
The Southern Cross Garden Bar and Restaurant is incredibly family and child-friendly and puts on an impressive array of activities for the little ones and their grown-ups throughout the week.
Their weekend family-friendly brunch is legendary – a kids’ activity station is set up offering free face-painting and colouring-in activities, allowing parents to enjoy their long black and scrambled eggs.
The Cross has a great kids’ menu that’s always available, as well as a great adults’ menu, too. With an array of indoors and outdoor spaces, The Cross is a place that people of all ages can all equally enjoy.