Many a frazzled parent has been rescued by Bambanani’s attentive childminders and varied equipment. A wonderland for kids, the restaurant offers endless entertainment, from a dress-up closet to pottery classes – there are even baby gyms for the tiniest of tots. The food gets a thumbs up, too: look out for interesting choices like shakshuka (Israeli-style spicy baked eggs).
Munch Café, Parktown, Bryanston, Sherwood, Kramerville
The nursery setting of this pretty al fresco restaurant allows grownups to unwind fully while the kids get rid of excess energy at the adjoining playground.
The Cedar Square favourite has been joined by an even bigger, better sister eatery at the World of Golf. Expect state of the art play equipment, including a soccer pitch and craft activities.
Free range Lifestyle Centre
This hub is that rare beast on the kiddies’ restaurant circuit: an establishment where food is taken seriously. Make that three establishments, actually, since you’ll have your pick from The Lot Restaurant (fresh, deli style offerings complete with a home-style deli section); the Lot Bakery and Deli (where you can stock up on grass-fed free-range beef and Banting delicacies) and Fresh Culture Café, for irresistible coffee. See more info here.
Ri’Stretto Al Fresco Cucina
One word: pizza. Actually, the menu is rather diverse, but the pizza makes it definitely worth a second visit. The kids will think so too, especially as they can make their own mini masterpieces.
Gia’s on Montrose
There’s something special about this outdoor eatery; probably the fact that it’s family-owned. It’s laid-back and low-key, and the food tastes like it’s been cooked with love.
Probably better described as ‘child-friendly’ rather than a family restaurant, it wouldn’t be right to leave this much-loved local off the list. The picturesque setting and warm service make any visit here feel like a mini-break.
The lakeside location of this restaurant makes for an extraordinary view and a languid atmosphere. Tuck into hearty fare while the kids amuse themselves with boat rides or a take gander around the petting zoo.
Pretty much all you need to know about this kids’ paradise is that it offers camel rides. Oh, and it has a touch and feed farm. Now you can settle back and enjoy your lunch, knowing it will be some time before the children come looking for you.
If ever you’ve battled to get your kids to eat their five-a-day, this vegetarian café is for you. Best for wholesome brunches (the Elemental eggs benedict is a favourite), pizzas with decidedly different toppings (the Ideal Luncheon with spiced cauliflower, potatoes, chutney and coriander is a winner), or indulge in gluten- and dairy-free treats.
AJ’s in the Park
The Craighall Sports Club is home to this humble eatery, which has swiftly grown a loyal band of regulars who can’t say no to its thin-based pizzas.
- Lisa Witepski