Eating out with kids can be a lot of fun, however it pays to have some extra tricks up your sleeve when you decide where to go. Kids Eat Free venues are great options for dining during the week (particularly if you have a birthday celebration), as it doesn't matter if the kids leave half their meal on their plate. Also if you find a venue that has a playground, colouring in, stickers, games room or activity books, then you are onto a sure-fire winner for a great night out. Another added bonus is if the kids are happy, then parents have a greater chance of enjoying the entire meal - without interuptions. So let's start with the best deals that we all want to know about - where can kids eat FREE in Canberra, for kids under 12?
* Details correct as of August, 2016. Check with each venue before you visit to confirm.
North Side of Canberra
Ainslie Football Club and Gungahlin Lakes Club both have Kids Eat Free deals each Monday evening between 6pm-9pm, for members of the Club only. Choose a kids meal from the Lakes Menu with any full paying adult. Choose between nuggets, fish, pizza, steak or bolognaise. Club regulations apply. See website here or call 02 6248 8422 (Ainslie) or 02 6242 6283 (Gungahlin) to confirm.
Raiders Belconnen have their Kids Eat Free deal on Tuesday evenings in Café Flavorz, between 5:30pm-9pm. They also have an indoor playground for the kids to play at afterwards. Club regulations apply. See website here or call 02 6254 1044 to confirm.
Raiders Gungahlin don't offer the same deal at the time of writing, however they have a colourful playground for the kids to enjoy at their Zest Café. See website here.
Outback Jacks in Belconnen and the CBD both have a Kids Eat Free deal between Monday-Wednesday, 5pm-7pm. For dinner kids can choose between pizza, fish, chicken nuggets, mini burgers, bolognaise, steak or ribs off the Kids Menu . See website here for Belconnen or call 02 6251 8381 to confirm. See website here for Canberra CBD or call 02 6262 5549 to confirm. Also available during school holidays. Although the Canberra City store has new owners, when I contacted them to ask about their deal, they confirmed they were the same as the Belconnen outlet.
For an article on Outback Jacks Belconnen, see here.
Lighthouse Pub in Belconnen is a lakeside pub with a Kids Eat Free deal each Sunday. This deal is for both lunch and dinner and is available with any adult meal purchased. See website here, with the deal shown on their Facebook page. Call 02 6253 0390 to confirm.
Raiders Weston has Kids Eat Free on Monday nights, when adults buy a main meal from their Café Lime menu. Kids can choose between chicken, fish, sausages and pasta off the Kids Menu. Club regulations apply. See website here or call 02 6287 8600 to confirm.
Kusina Filipino Restaurant in Weston has Kids Eat Free nights between Tuesday and Sunday between 5pm-7pm. This deal is for children aged 8 and under and they will enjoy a drink, meal and ice-cream from their specially designed kids menu. Adults need to pay at least $25 for their own meal to receive this deal. See website here for details or call 02 6288 8461 to confirm.
Hogs Breath Café at Woden and the CBD both have Kids Eat Free deals on Monday and Tuesday nights for both lunch and dinner. An adult needs to pay at least $20 for their own meal to receive the deal. Kids can choose between calamari, fish, pasta, pizza, nuggets, steak and cheeseburger. See website here for Woden or call 02 6162 0572. See website here for Canberra CBD or call 02 6257 8501 to confirm.
See the Hogs Breath Café 2016 ad below, courtesy of You Tube.
Canberra is a very family friendly city, with most cafes, restaurants, clubs and pubs offering kid-friendly options or tasty kids meals. If you have young children, venues with a play area or a colouring-in supply is an added attraction to keep the young ones happy. Canberra has so many kid-friendly venues to choose from that they can't all be listed here, so following is just a quick list of my personal favourites around the city, north and south. If you have a favourite, please feel free to add a comment to the bottom of this article and add your own. Starting with a personal favourite...
Jamies Italian (CBD) is a popular restaurant located on Bunda Street, with friendly staff making your kids welcome. With booth seating, reams of stickers to give out, colouring in, badges to wear when they eat their greens and a tasty Kids Menu to choose from, it is easy to see why this venue is so popular with families. For adults, Jamie Oliver's mains, salads and pizzas live up to expectations. See website here.
The Pancake Parlour (CBD) is a cosy restaurant, located in a basement restaurant in Alinga Street. This wood panelled restaurant opens at 7am daily - which is ideal for the early risers in your family. Kids can enjoy colouring in and sitting in large booths, while the whole family can enjoy breakfast off their extensive Menu. This venue is a particularly warm and inviting place to be on a chilly winters morning. See website here. See the Canberra Facebook page for all the latest deals and menu additions.
Ivy and the Fox (a few minutes from the CBD) is a café located at Old Canberra House in Acton, with a leafy outside area to sit in on a sunny day and grass for the kids to run around on. Their Kids Menu choices for breakfast include coco pops, cheese on toast and fried egg on toast. This venue is popular on the weekends with families with free parking and plenty of room to run around. See website here.
Adore Tea (Gungahlin) at Gold Creek Village in Nicholls is a popular tea house with over 200 tasty teas to choose from. They also have a cute Kids Menu including a Mini Lunch Box with toastie, apple and juice box or perhaps pick Banana Bread Bites or a Jelly Teacup. See website here. Whilst you are at Gold Creek, also check out George Harcourt Inn , Stripey Sundae ice cream parlour and Café Injoy (outside the Canberra Reptile Zoo) for popular family friendly options.
Henry's Restaurant is located inside the Southern Cross Club at Jamison (Belconnen), Phillip (Woden) and Greenway (Tuggeranong). At Henry's you will find an extensive Kids Menu, colouring in, playground, arcade games and a host of activities to keep your kids entertained at all venues. They also provide a $2 meal for kids under 3, which is a small version of the Roast of the Day. Club regulations apply.
For an article on Henry's play area in Woden, see here.
Brodburger (Inner South) at Kingston is a family-friendly burger restaurant outside the Canberra Glassworks. This venue is popular each weekend, with board games to play with while you wait. The burgers are huge for the adults and there are baby sizes available for the kids. See website here. Why not visit on a Sunday when the Old Bus Depot Markets are next door.
For an article on Brodburger and their other business Brodogs, see here.
Snapper on the Lake fish and chips (Inner South) on Lake Burley Griffin at Yarralumla is also a popular family choice, with a range of fish options as well as chicken nuggets included in a snack pack. There is a large reserve on the water to play on, so why not take a soccer ball to play with afterwards. See website here.
Fox and Bow café (Woden) in Farrer has a few tasty choices in the Kids Menu and they also have a basketball hoop and hopscotch located in the alley beside the café. This locals cafe is tucked away at Farrer shops, but is worth tracking down for a tasty meal for all ages. See website here.
So why cook, when you can take the kids out for a free meal or discover a new family friendly café, club or pub that you can all enjoy. With so many families living in Canberra, there are more kid friendly eateries opening up each year to large crowds. Have a chat to other parents at the school gate, keep an eye on local advertising and of course, check back with Weekendnotes to hear about new venues opening all the time. With so many current Kids Eat Free deals around the region, there is plenty of opportunity to take advantage of some tasty offers this week - why don't you try one out tonight?
You can't get much better than free! Source: Raiders Weston website