5pm, back from playdate, nothing in the fridge – what are you going to do?
Could get takeaway but hey – where’s the fun in that for any even slightly-interested-in-food adult?
Solution – pack up little Johnny and Thabo into the car and head out to one of these places which serves decent food, welcomes the whole family and gives you a well-earned break.
Il Leone, Green Point
This is a good restaurant for well-behaved children so if the only restaurant experience your kids have had so far is rushing around like lunatics at the Spur, perhaps take them somewhere else before heading here.
But if your kids can sit nicely, like to colour-in and enjoy delicious pasta, then you will find a warm, family-friendly welcome here.
They have kids TV on Sundays as well and the food is fabulous for grown-ups.
Café Paradiso, Tamboerskloof
My son loves coming here because he gets whisked off to the kitchen to do his own cooking whilst we eat and drink in peace.
The lovely team in the kitchen meanwhile, will supervise cupcake-decorating, biscuit-making and pizza-rolling, all finished off with decorating a box to take your culinary treasures back home.
Very relaxed all round, although maybe not ideal for those with very young kids.
Deer Park Café, Vredehoek
Whatever you do, make sure you book here because this is a pretty busy and popular venue all the time.
It’s set in the grounds of a kiddies playpark so you can sit at the top of the hill and see your children race around exhausting themselves, before they return for healthy and tasting food.
Last time I went, there was no space for a changing mat in the loos which surprised me – let us know if things have changed.
The Italian Kitchen, Tokai
Make your own pizza outside the confines of the restaurant chain! Yes, I know that Primi lets you do this too, but this is a nice, individual restaurant which serves great parent-food, so I’ve chosen this instead.
The staff are very accommodating and friendly and service is speedy so your child’s work of pizza art comes back to the table very quickly after he or she has concocted it.
Good wine list too.
I don’t know why parents don’t take their kids to Asian restaurants as in my experience, the flavours and manner of eating is perfect for them.
We stick to starters here mainly, and my son loves chicken satay, wontons, spring rolls and duck pancakes and because it’s all finger food with sweetish dipping sauces, there is plenty for him to try.
The staff are very helpful and friendly and it’s open throughout the day so great for early bedtimes on school nights.
Claremont Cricket Club, Constantia
This is going to be the next big thing for families in the Southern Suburbs.
It’s set between two cricket pitches so OODLES of space, there is a small jungle gym as well and the kids menu is perfect for those who don’t want to sit and eat as there are snacks to go such as mielies and Viennas on a stick.
Parent-food is generous and tasty and I can’t wait for better weather to go and spend several hours on a Friday evening chilling out with friends.
Café Roux, Noordhoek
This has a lovely playground which borders onto Foodbarn which is also family-friendly although slightly more grown-up.
Café Roux hasn’t fallen into the ‘we’ve got a playground so we can get away with serving crap food cos parents will come anyway’ trap which several other restaurants I can name have done.
The food is always delicious and wholesome and the kids’ food is fabulous.
Amici di Massimo’s, Hout Bay
Whilst Massimo is in Italy hopefully making a good recovery from his health problems, the restaurant is being run by friends who are still preparing the same wonderful thin-crust pizzas and delicious, hearty Italian fare.
The little jungle gym out front still entertains kids although and the friendly and accommodating staff do their best to make families feel welcome.
Toad & Josephine / Noordhoek / Southern Suburbs
Oh okay, I’ll list a chain restaurant then. Actually, this isn’t really a chain of restaurants as much as a small group, but all three have kids menus, all three offer excellent value parent-food and all three pride themselves on being relaxed, easy-going and accommodating places for families to dine.
Check out when the rugby games are on TV as they might not be great times to bring your delicately-nurtured kids to the pub!
Jonkershuis, Groot Constantia
A slick, neat operation which is well-versed on coping with large numbers of kids, particularly at weekends.
There is space a-plenty for kids to run and run so bring a football and a blanket, order some wine and chill out.
The service is swift, the staff are efficient and the food is well-cooked and tasty.
Read more on: