You wouldn’t normally drag the family along to a Michelin-star restaurant, but then Tim Ho Wan isn’t your average Michelin-star restaurant. Visit this franchised dumpling bar that originated in Hong Kong and you can be in and out in half an hour. Tuck in to steamed pork dumplings, vermicelli rolls with shrimp, spring rolls and everyone’s favourite, the baked buns filled with barbecued pork.
On a sunny day, the courtyard at Trunk Diner is a great place to grab burgers, hot wings and quesadillas. There’s a separate kids’ menu, plus it’s got high chairs and colouring-in supplies.
Din Tai Fung is another import – this time from Taiwan – and it does amazing dumplings, which always seem to go down well with younger members of the family (it might have something to do with being able to eat them with your fingers). If it’s not too busy, take them to watch the staff folding the dumplings into parcels behind the glass partition. Pleasingly, there’s plenty of room between tables if you’ve got a pram, and high chairs can be requested.
It’s smart but still quite casual and the staff at Grain Store welcome family groups - it's open for breakfast and lunch. The food is locally sourced and presented beautifully, plus there’s lots that kids, especially slightly older ones, will enjoy – and parents will love. It’s also close to SEA LIFE Melbourne.
It’s been feeding the Melbourne masses for almost 40 years and, although it’s often associated with late-night kebab stops, Stalactites is a great spot to take the kids. After all, what youngster doesn’t like dips, souvlaki and, if all else fails, chips. There’s a kids’ menu too, with small-person versions of giros, calamari and Greek spaghetti. Plus, they’ll be in love with the dining room, where stalactites hang from the ceiling.
If you’ve been entertaining the troops at NGV: International or taken them to a show at Arts Centre Melbourne, Bluetrain at Southgate is one of the closest kid-friendly restaurants. The menu is varied and there are great wood-fired pizzas. The kids’ menu offers some good suggestions, plus it comes with a design they can colour in. Pencils are supplied in cute little buckets.