Melbourne for Family dine-in

Are restaurants open in Melbourne for Family dine-in?

Dining out with your family can be a fun and enjoyable experience, but what if you don’t want to cook or order in, most restaurants are open during the day, and some offer special family deals. 

There are plenty of great places to eat out with your loved ones. However, it's always a good idea to call ahead and check hours of operation, as they may vary depending on the restaurant. 

As the holidays approach, more and more families are looking for restaurants to accommodate them. Are Melbourne restaurants open for family dine-in? The answer is yes! There are many great places to choose from, so read on for some of our top picks whether you’re looking for American, Italian or Chinese food.

Family-Friendly Restaurants In Melbourne

The following list is my favourite recommendations for where to eat Melbourne CBD with kids (north of the river) that doesn’t involve a fast-food chain or where you have to compromise facilities with bad food. Some are cheap and cheerful. Some are higher end.

Just a note about my definition of family-friendly restaurants Melbourne CBD considering challenges of space in the city:

With many of these family-friendly restaurants in Melbourne CBD, timing is key. Avoid the before work and lunchtime rush of office workers and peak weekend times, and you’ll have a more pleasant experience. We eat lunch around 11/11:30 am and dinner at 5/5:30 pm. Bon appetit!

Finally, while it's not strictly an eatery, Queen Victoria Market – and its associated night markets, the Summer Night Market and Winter Night Market – is an unmissable location for Melbourne city foodie browsing and local street eats.

Melbourne Cbd Family Restaurants – Federation Square

Pilgrim Bar

Pilgrim Bar is situated by the Yarra, and kids will love watching the boats and cyclists along the river.

It features an all-day sharing menu so you can pick and choose large or small dishes according to your appetite. For kids, they offer a cheese toastie or pasta with Napoli sauce – it’s not on the menu, so you need to ask for it.

They have high chairs, scrap paper for drawing (ask) and an accessible toilet with change facilities.

At Birrarung Marr, you’ll find the excellent Artplay playground and Artplay children’s art studio, which hosts free drop-in play events (such as Artplay Inside Out and Artplay Backyard), exhibitions and paid booked workshops.

It's also close to Flinders Street Station, making it easy to have dinner in Melbourne city then hop on the train home.

Vaults 15-19 Federation Wharf, Federation Square 

Riverland Bar

Riverland is right next to Pilgrim and owned by the same people. While I prefer Pilgrim for lunch or dinner (as it tends to be less busy), Riverland has the advantage of being open from 11 am if you need food or coffee before midday.

For lunch, they offer a tasty kid's menu with $10 meals.

They also provide high chairs and an accessible toilet with change facilities. Again the Artplay playground and Artplay are just nearby.

Vaults 1-9 Federation Wharf, Federation Square

Hero at ACMI

Next to ACMI is the spacious Hero at ACMI, a CBD restaurant with all-day food and a wine bar. While there's no kids menu, the restaurant has loads of room for prams, cosy booths for families and a series of dishes that might suit Italian-loving kids.

There are also menu items that you can grab and go.

Within ACMI, you’ll find accessible toilets and change facilities and the excellent free exhibition ‘The Story of the Moving Image.

Federation Square

Transport Public Bar

By night it's a rowdy sports bar, but by day, it's quite spacious, and there's a ping-pong table at your disposal!

They have pram access, high chairs, kids menu, and it's one of the best restaurants in Melbourne CBD for killer views of Flinders St Station, Federation Square or the river depending on where you sit. The only downside is that the accessible toilets are on the Mezzanine Level, which means you'll need to take a lift if you've got a pram.

Transport Public Bar, Federation Square

Melbourne for Family dine-in

Taxi Kitchen

Depending on what you order, Taxi Kitchen can be pricey – but wow, what food and what views!

Admire the 180-degree view of the CBD, Yarra River and the Arts Precinct while you dine on the exquisite Asian-inspired sharing menu.

There’s lots of room, high chairs and accessible toilets in the Mezzanine Level (go down in the lift). If you go on a weekday, it’s often quiet. One of the best restaurants in the city for a splurge or special occasion where you can still take the kids.

Level 1 Transport Hotel, Federation Square

Chocolate Buddha

When is a sushi train not a sushi train? When it's a sushi shinkansen (bullet train)!

Chocolate Buddha serves good Japanese food in cool surroundings, refurbished by Peter Maddison (Maddison Architects), but the main drawcard for families is in the sushi train. There are tablets to order from the extensive menu, or you can choose dishes from the food train.

It's one of the restaurant's city visitors, and regulars will enjoy it, and there are outdoor tables with great views of the big screen at Fed Square.

Federation Square, Cnr Swanston St and Flinders St, Melbourne

Best Family Restaurants Melbourne Cbd – North Of Bourke St

Tim Ho Wan

The world's cheapest Michelin star restaurant has a popular outpost in Melbourne, serving some of the best food in the Melbourne CBD.

Avoid peak hours (weekend lunchtimes), and you can be in and out in 30 minutes. If you're waiting in line, they'll give you the menu to order from in preparation.

It's a little bit squashy, but they can accommodate prams, they have high chairs, and the food is shareable, so kids can have as much or as little as they like. Lady AB's pick is the steamed sponge cake, Baby 2.0 loves the golden tofu – and everyone raves about the BBQ pork buns with good reason. Note toilets are about 250m walk inside the shopping centre.

Tim Ho Wan, Shop 15-17, 206 Bourke St, Melbourne

Emporium Cafe Court

Emporium’s food court on Level 3 is a cut above the rest, with choices ranging from sushi to pho. If you're wondering what to eat in Melbourne CBD when everyone would prefer something different, Emporium has a solution!

Train kids will enjoy the sushi train on level 4 at Tetsujin (though the not-as-baby-friendly sushi train at Sushi Hotaru is better quality).

Pick a table, park your pram, grab a high chair, and the excellent parent's room is right nearby.

Emporium Cafe Court, Level 3, Emporium Melbourne, 287 Lonsdale St Melbourne

New Shanghai

New Shanghai is a stand-alone restaurant inside the Emporium Cafe Court, and it's one of the best restaurants in Melbourne city for pan-fried dumplings.

Depending on where you sit, there’s room to park a pram, and they have high chairs, plus you can access the Emporium parent's room. We always request to sit at the bench facing the kitchen to watch the chefs' deft fingers at work making every single dumpling by hand.

Emporium Melbourne, Shop 323, Level 3, 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Din Tai Fung

Head to Din Tai Fung for some of the best dumplings in town, including their famous xiao long bao. It's a rare restaurant in Melbourne city with lots of room for prams, plus they provide high chairs and automatically bring plastic cutlery and crockery for young kids. There's no special kids menu, but my kids love steamed dumplings and buns.

Emporium Melbourne, Level 4, 287 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

Mr Tulk

Mr Tulk is one of the best places for lunch in Melbourne CBD after visiting the State Library of Victoria.

Just roll down the corridor, and you've arrived! There are a few steps to get to the main dining area or sit outside on Latrobe Street or grab a takeaway for the SLV lawn. They don’t have high chairs but have little stools and tables if your kids are old enough, plus room for a pram in some areas. There are change facilities within the library.

328 Swanston Street, Melbourne (enter via Latrobe Street)

Operator 25

Operator 25 is a restaurant in Melbourne CBD inspired by the origins of its location! It's an Asian-inspired brunch and lunch hot spot located in a heritage-listed telephone exchange.

There’s pram space, high chairs and an accessible toilet (no change table) and the playground at Flagstaff Gardens and Queen Victoria Markets are both within walking distance. 

25 Wills Street, Melbourne

Melbourne for Family dine-in

Denmark House

Denmark House is a beautiful hub for Melbourne’s Danish community, and the space and restaurant is open to the public; go up the lift to the third floor.

It's the best restaurant in Melbourne CBD for authentic Danish food. For lunch, they offer smørrebrød (open-faced sandwich) on rye bread as well as Danish pastries, cake and sides.

It’s quiet. There's a pram room, a changing table in the lady's toilets, and they even have stylish Danish Leander high chairs.

Level 3, 428 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

+39 pizzeria

+39 Pizzeria is named after the telephone prefix for Italy, and it serves some of the best pizzas in Melbourne. Note that the lunch menu is only available Monday-Friday.

The venue can be a tight squeeze, so visit at non-peak times, but they have a high chair. The closest parent's room will be in Melbourne Central. 

362 Little Bourke Street Melbourne

Secret Kitchen Melbourne City

Secret Kitchen Melbourne City is one of our favourite places for an authentic Hong Kong-style yum cha experience.

Expect trolleys, hungry scrum, a massive corner fish tank and of course, heaps of dumplings. My kids love the piggy buns! It is very popular, especially on weekends, so make sure you book ahead. We always book for the first sitting on Sundays, which means you can often score a rockstar free car park on Exhibition Street right at the front door.

222 Exhibition St, Melbourne

Musashi Ramen Bar

Walk along Russell Street at any time of day, and it's evident that Melburnians love ramen! There are so many people queueing outside numerous ramen shops, so it can be hard to choose.

When you have kids in tow, you don't want to be standing outside in line, waiting for a stool at a tiny bench so that you can sprint-slurp your bowl of noodles. That's why we visit Musashi Ramen Bar, which offers delicious ramen, pram parking at the front of the shop, proper seating and high chairs for babies.

The service is quick and friendly, so you can still sprint-slurp your noodles if you need!

Level 1/181 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000

ELLA Melbourne Central

A food court with a difference, ELLA (corner of Elizabeth Street and Lonsdale Street) offers laneway dining with lots of different eats to choose from – take your pick from ramen to pho, sushi to bao.

Cnr Elizabeth & La Trobe Sts, Melbourne

Stalactites

Stalactites is a Melbourne institution known for its tasty Greek food, including giros, meat platters, moussaka and salads. They have a generous kids menu and offer gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan dining options.

177-183 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

Child-Friendly Restaurants Melbourne Cbd – South Of Bourke St

Brunetti 

The flagship store from Melbourne stalwart Brunetti is large, glamorous and delicious.

There's a pram room, high chairs and spacious toilets and we love going for cakes, pastries and their thick Italian hot chocolate. There’s also a Brunetti inside Level 3 of Myer Melbourne.

250 Flinders Lane Melbourne VIC

Betty's Burgers

Push your pram up the ramp and pull up a (high) chair for some of the best burgers in town. Betty's Burgers has two kid-friendly restaurants in Melbourne CBD.

There's a kid's menu, though. Kids can easily eat an adult-sized burger! Finish with a ‘concrete' American style frozen custard with mix-in toppings.

97 Elizabeth St, Melbourne

Dodge Padang

Dodge Padang‘s tagline is ‘Come Hungry, Bring Friends' at this bustling family restaurant in Melbourne CBD.

The Little Collins location of this underground Thai restaurant can be accessed via stairs or a lift if you have a pram, they have high chairs, and the accessible toilet has a changing table. There's no kids menu as such, but there are enough non-spicy/kid-friendly options to keep little gourmands happy. On a weekend visit, see plenty of babies, toddlers and kids slurping up noodles and pulling at roti.

Service is fast, and the Thai food is authentic, delicious, generously proportioned – and super cheap.

A small serve of their famous Tom Yum soup noodles (which you can get with zero chillies for kids) is $7.50. Warning: quite au fait with chilli, and the Tom Yum soup is rated 1-7 for heat. Tried one, and it was already HOT!

353 Little Collins St, Melbourne

The Grain Store

Stunning light-filled space filled with delicious salads and sandwiches with a focus on local and sustainable produce.

As a Melbourne CBD family-friendly restaurant, The Grain Store has a high chair, and a disabled public toilet is nearby, and it’s a good pit stop for Melbourne Aquarium as there’s not much that’s great and kid-friendly around that area.

The Grain Store, 517 Flinders Ln, Melbourne

Henry and the Fox

Spacious all-day eatery with an enclosed AstroTurf courtyard great for crawlers. There’s room for prams. They have three high chairs, change facilities, accessible toilets, and toys.

The menu has large and small options though no specific kids menu. This is another of the Melbourne CBD kid-friendly restaurants that's a good spot before/after Melbourne Aquarium. 

Henry and the Fox, 525 Collins Street Melbourne

FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants

When a family sits down together, it helps them handle the stresses of daily life and the hassles of day-to-day existence. Eating together tends to promote more sensible eating habits, which helps family members manage their weight more easily.

Six things to do when the parents visit Melbourne

  • Port Phillip Estate. 
  • The Colonial TramCar Restaurant. 
  • High tea at The Hotel Windsor. 
  • Dinner at Morris Jones.
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
  • Como House and The Stables.

Family restaurant (plural family restaurants) An eating establishment that serves relatively simple food at reasonable prices and welcomes children and adults.

Family-style restaurants offer tableside service and non-disposable dishes while keeping the menu moderately priced. The ambience of a family-style restaurant can be comfortable and inviting.

Family-style meals can be an opportunity for children to practice valuable life lessons like sharing, mealtime manners and healthy food choices. Family-style dining can also help your kids gain independence and self-confidence. It's a fun way to help children learn to eat better—and to learn dining etiquette, too.

Conclusion

School's in for budding food buffs, with this round-up of food-related activities, classes and kid-friendly restaurants.

It's every food-loving parent's civic duty to educate their offspring in the ways of deliciousness. An appreciation beyond chicken nuggets and spag bol is more than mere boasting rights: research shows that food preferences are formed in early childhood and can affect a person's eating habits for life.

But we also know there's a fine line between gently cultivating the next generation of connoisseurs and letting your little darlings practice their restaurant manners on an unappreciative audience.

So we've taken a kids'-eye view and rounded up a bunch of things that make Melbourne's food scene tick.

Resources:

23 Best Family Restaurants in Melbourne CBD

10 family-friendly restaurants in Melbourne

Family-friendly Melbourne restaurants and fun activities for junior foodies

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