Melbourne is a city of many restaurants and cafes. Everywhere, from the city centre to the outer suburbs, you are likely to find plenty of options of somewhere to eat.
However, if you are planning on taking young kids then the range of options shrinks. Places don’t ban kids explicitly but they can be subtly made to feel unwelcome or a cafe might just not be great for kids in the first place – too small, too boring.
But there are still plenty of kid friendly cafes in Melbourne to choose from. Many places will make some effort, with paper and pencils for drawing for example, but there are some places that are just way better than the rest.
In this article, I share my top 5 best kid friendly cafes in Melbourne!
Top 5 Best Kid Friendly Cafes in Melbourne
Rumours, North Carlton
There are not enough child friendly cafes in Melbourne with a play area. This fantastic cafe is one of the best for casual dining with children thanks to its awesome rear courtyard and play area.
Under previous ownership (and name), this place had a sandpit but that’s been replaced with some fake glass, a large amount of toys to play with and the typical colouring and drawing equipment. Plus, there’s a large screen with kids shows on with some small beanbags to watch them from.
With all these options, it means that the kids can run off after ordering without getting bored waiting for food.
All the tables in the courtyard are within easy view of the play area. It makes for a much more relaxed meal.
In general, the whole atmosphere is nice and relaxed and every time we’ve been there, the staff have been great with the kids and nice and friendly. Indeed, the staff help make this one of the best kids cafe Melbourne has.
No cafe is worth going to – no matter how friendly for kids – if the food is no good. The food at Rumours does not disappoint. The menu is typical of a Melbourne cafe but well done and prices are reasonable.
The kids menu is small but most of the menu can be adapted for kids if there’s something else to take their fancy.
If I have one negative to say of Rumours, it’s that the menu is limited in terms of options. Between the breakfast and lunch menus the list of dishes is enough but both menus aren’t always offered concurrently. It’s a minor quibble though.
Otherwise, Rumours is an excellent place for a kid friendly brunch in Melbourne. Our kids never mind coming here and it lets us enjoy a relaxed lunch or brunch.
Want to know more? See our full review on Rumours.
Rumours is located at 743 Nicholson Street, North Carlton, near the corner of Pigdon Street. From the city centre, it’s easy to reach Rumours by the #96 tram (to East Brunswick).
Park St. Dining, North Carlton
Play areas are good but being next to a playground is better. That’s the big draw card at park st dining for families with young kids – it’s right next to a small playground. The playground is small and meant for smaller kids (our oldest daughter finds it all a bit beneath her) but, being fenced, it’s ideal them.
There’s seating inside, but, unless it’s raining, the choice seating is outdoor next to the playground. From here, it’s easy to sit, eat and drink while watching the playground. Instead of worrying about whatever the kids are up to, you can supervise and eat. It’s heated in winter.
In addition to the playground, park st has a good collection of books to sit and flick through, plus some toys, pencils and paper. Between all that and the playground, it’s easy to keep the kids occupied and happy while waiting for food.
Like Rumours, the menu at park st. is short. However, it seems to work somehow, with enough options and variations of those options that there seems like plenty of variety.
The kids menu is small – some of the options on the rest of the menu can work for kids but some won’t, so the range for children is not that great.
There’s no problem on the taste, though. Everything I’ve had here is fantastic. The kids never complain either.
Even though the dishes may be a bit more expensive than other places – most being in the range of $15 to $25 – the quality of the dishes is excellent.
You can read more in our full review.
Park st. dining is located on Park Street, North Carlton, 150 metres west of Nicholson Street. See their website for the menu. It can be reached on the #96 tram.
Serotonin Eatery, Burnley
This isn’t just a cafe (or eatery). No, this is a “happiness centre”. That might sound a little bit over the top but it’s not just talk. Seratonin’s menu is full of vegetarian, vegan and organic options full of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps raise our brains’ levels of serotonin – one of the main chemicals that impacts on our level of happiness (hence the name).
So if you’re out for a nice, meat-laden brunch with your kids then this place is not for you. However, if you’re after healthy cafes for kids in Melbourne then Serotonin is more than worth a look.
An unusual, if healthy menu, doesn’t mean a place is great for kids. What makes this place right up there as a kid friendly cafe in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne is the great and friendly staff that turn eating out with kids into a relaxed and enjoyable time for all.
That said, the menu is worth the trip alone. Maybe super healthy eating isn’t high on your list but with options like Peanut Butter smoothies, iced gingerbread lattes and positive pancakes, it’s hard not to put the renovations and cynicism aside.
Plus, it all looks amazing and appealing to even fussy eaters (unless they are hardcore carnivores). Kid friendly, healthy eating surely does not get any better or easier.
The Serotonin Eatery is located at 52 Madden Grove, Burnley, very close to Burnley Station. See their webpage for more details, including their crazy-appealing menu.
Pepper Cafe, Flemington
Located right next to Newmarket Station is the the charming Pepper Cafe. In a shop that was – apparently – the former Girdwood’s Hygienic Library. From the outside (and even the inside) the Pepper Cafe looks small with small tables and cramped all round. It looks rather un-kid friendly.
However, what earns it a place on the best cafes for kids Melbourne is a combination of the great menu and the all-pervading friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
The tables on the outside are the best to give you a bit more space but, even if you’re inside, it’s a great place to come.
The staff are fantastic and, on our visits there, they enjoy interacting with kids. They also do things that make it easier to eat out with kids automatically. Like getting plastic cups, removing knives if needed and preparing a dish so young eaters don’t need to cut things up.
Then there’s the food – which in my opinion is worth the trip alone. Yes, the menu is rather typical for an inner city cafe but it’s done really well. It might seem small, but it’s varied and full of options. Even better, it’s all well priced and tastes fantastic.
In short, don’t let looks deceive you. This cafe is a top choice for brunching with kids.
You can read our full review of Pepper for a deeper look.
The Pepper Cafe is located on Pin Oak Court, Flemington, next to Newmarket Railway station. See their website for the menu and opening hours.
Convent Bakery, Abbotsford
This lovely bakery is on the grounds of the former Abbotsford Convent and is surrounded by the Collingwood Children’s Farm. Surrounded by its kid-appealing neighbour, the bakery is in the old convent building.
There is no playground but there’s a lovely lawn for kids to run around with tables and chairs outside from which to keep an eye on things. Even if you’re not going to the children’s farm, it makes a great choice and one of the best kid friendly cafes in Melbourne.
Being a bakery, rather than a cafe like the rest (although there’s coffee, never fear!), there’s no breakfast on the menu. Instead, there’s a great range of pizzas, sandwiches, pastries and anything else a bakery makes.
With everything made in the bakery and many ingredients grown on or around the grounds, everything is super fresh and tastes great.
There are plenty of choices and variety. Prices are reasonable too.
If you’re visiting the children’s farm then a stop here makes for a yummy kid friendly lunch in Melbourne.
See the bakery’s website for more details. You can walk to the bakery from Collingwood train station.
Looking for something more adult? Check out these Melbourne food tours.
What do you think makes for a good kid-friendly cafe or restaurant? Have any recommendations to add to our list? If you would prefer a kid-friendly buffet instead, read this list of the best buffets in Melbourne.