When you have kids (especially hungry ones!), sometimes you just want to go out for dinner somewhere easy. Somewhere that's got a few good choices on the Kids' Menu as well as delicious options for the adults - so no one misses out on what they feel like. Younger children often ask for chicken nuggets, pasta or pizza, whereas many older kids are happy to try a wider range of international options - as long as there aren't any hot chillies or too many vegetables disguised on their plate! Each child is different, so it is handy to have a few options up your sleeve to see what they feel like.
These are some of the kid-friendly dinner restaurants that our family have enjoyed around the city, however if you have your own favourite that the kids get excited about, please leave a comment at the top of this article. Hopefully, you will find somewhere on this list that makes your kids say "Wow, that was yum Mum!" and completely clear their plate! There is always room for dessert however - especially at the first venue...
A wide range for all the family at Star Buffet, Kambah. Image: Original photos from Star Buffet Facebook
Star Buffet is the only family buffet in Canberra and it is open for both lunch and dinner with varying prices, depending on when you visit. For example, if you visit on a Friday or Saturday night, children cost $2 x their age up to the age of 12. This means if you have a 4 year old, it will cost just $8 for all they can eat, including a wide range of yummy desserts! The range of food is simply astounding for both adults and children - if you enjoy Asian cuisine then you will spend some time at the sushi bar, stir-fry and dumpling stations! This buffet is located inside the Scottish Burns Club, so if you live inside the ACT it will cost $5 for one person to join up before you go in. Prepare to be overwhelmed! See here for details.
International restaurants can be found all across the city, however if you are looking for a good choice of Asian restaurants, then you can't beat walking along Woolley Street in Dickson for the biggest range. Other places to try back in the city include Indian food at Tikka Take, Greek cuisine at Zeus Street Greek, Mexican fare at Guzman Y Gomez, Chinese at Sammy's Kitchen or Malaysian dishes at Papparich. If your kids love a sushi train, then check out Hero Sushi in the city and Sushi Bay in Belconnen.
Chicken Hokkein Noodles from Dickson Noodle House, Woolley Street
Brodburger is another favourite with families and locals in Canberra, located on the Kingston Foreshore next to the Canberra Glassworks and Old Bus Depot Markets. If you sit at an inside table, they have a range of family board games to play while you wait for arguably the best burgers in Canberra. If you would prefer to enjoy your burgers with a view, take them down to the Kingston Foreshore and relax by the water. See here for details.
Mookie is a fun burger joint in the city centre, with a wide range of burgers to choose from and popular "concrete" ice-creams for dessert. This is a handy one-stop-shop for tasty burgers, delicious sides and desserts that will be loved by the whole family - especially us big kids! See here for details.
Clubs around Canberra are a popular way to enjoy a family meal together, with all of them having plenty of options for the kids and most having a playground, kids area or colouring-in to entertain the kids while they wait. Some of the most popular Clubs with play areas include the Gungahlin Lakes Club, Canberra Southern Cross Club Jamison, the Hellenic Club, Canberra Southern Cross Club Woden, Erindale Vikings and the Calwell Club. See here for a full listing.
Catch Fish and Chips is located on Lonsdale Street in Braddon and is designed to look like the old fish and chip shops of yesteryear, with plastic strip curtains to walk through and plastic outdoor seating. As well as the tasty fish and chips, you can also buy chiko rolls, potato scallops, dim sims, fresh prawns, burgers, poke bowls, beers, milkshakes and more. The "Little Nipper" box for kids contains 4 fish cocktails and chips for $8. See here for details.
Snapper on the Lake fish and chips can be found at Yarralumla, with outdoor seating and a grassy picnic area by Lake Burley Griffin. This casual eatery is particularly popular with families in summer - take your own picnic blanket and drinks and enjoy fish and chips by the water. See here for details.
As Canberra is a family-friendly city, kids will be welcomed into venues all across the city. Where is your favourite family dinner restaurant that you go back to time and time again? Please leave a comment at the top of this article with your family's top pick.
Once you find a venue that has something for everyone, it isn't just the kids who get excited about going out for dinner!
Fish and chips and something for everyone at Catch Fish and Chips, Braddon. Image: Catch Fish and Chips Facebook