6 of the Best Kid-friendly Al Fresco Dining Spots in Melbourne

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See that? That's warmer weather! Prime outdoor eating time! Ah summer in Melbourne, you beautiful thing.

If you want to take the family for a lunch or dinner outing where the atmosphere is relaxed and jovial, the air is warm and clear, and the food is good, then we've got 6 fantastic foodie places just for you.

The only question is: which one?

1. STREAT

With a superb garden eatery that bills itself as "dog and kid friendly", you know you're onto a winner at Cromwell St STREAT in Collingwood. The courtyard is sunny and spacious, the food good, and the vibes even better - STREAT is a hospitality social enterprise helping youth with jobs across their four cafes. Your patronage is also helping to provide support in the areas of personal case managers and drug, alcohol, and mental health services, workplace training, and assistance with finding safe, long-term housing options for those in the program. 

Chow down on goodies like Haloumi beet hash, sorrel, witlof, roasted carrot hoummus, & pomegranate dressing, White corn tortillas with broccomolé, pickled carrots & roasted cashew crema, and Southern French sweet fritters, almond cream, poached white peach & stone fruit sorbet alongside excellent coffees, juices, and a range of other drinks.

Buy coffee for home or work, buy a STREAT cookbook from the cafe, or make a donation while you're there - it feels good to get involved.

What you need to know:

  • Located: 66 Cromwell St, Collingwood
  • Opening Hours: 7.30am - 4pm Monday - Thursday, 8am - 4pm weekends, closed Fridays.
  • For bookings: Phone (03) 9629 4222
  • More information: streat.com.au

Image credit: STREAT Facebook

Image Credit: Il Cantuccio Facebook

2. Il Cantuccio

Il Cantuccio is so much like your nonna's place you will feel right at home. Mario and his wife Lory are so welcoming, their meals are so hearty, and their restaurant is so cozy that it's so hard to leave! They are accommodating with kids and meals, and children are always welcome. Feast on traditional hearty Italian food (you will not leave hungry, let me tell you), and soak up that festive Lygon St atmosphere with their kerbsite seating. 

What you need to know:

  • Located: 209 Lygon St, Carlton
  • Opening Hours: 6pm - 10pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 6pm - 11pm Friday and Saturday 
  • For bookings: Online, or call (03) 9347 9959
  • More information: ilcantuccio.com.au
Image Credit: Jijis Place Facebook

3. Jiji's Place

For more homestyle warmth further north, hang out at Jiji's place - their back courtyard is pram-friendly and chock-full of toys (including a trampoline!) for the kiddies to play in while you grab a bite to eat outside. 

The kids menu is popular, featuring ​freshly made toasty or dippy egg, Byron Bay cookies, babycinos or ‘warm’ chocolate drink (as opposed to hot!) and milkshakes or juices. Kids also get a special treat at the counter on their way out! The staff are great with kids.  

For the grownups, their Mediterranean-inspired dishes are indicative of the area and ultra-delicious. We've never had a bad meal yet! The play area is seriously impressive, though it can be hard to get the kids to sit still long enough to eat because there's so much to play with! But it's great food with great fun for kids and it's a fanastic place for a meal.

What you need to know:

  • Located: 87 Rose St, Essendon
  • Opening Hours: 6am - 5pm Monday - Friday, 7am - 3pm Saturday, closed Sunday
  • For bookings: Book online or call (03) 9337 7030
  • More information: jijisplace.com.au
Image Credit: The Stables Facebook

4. Stables of Como

For a cafe with a difference, check out the converted stables at Como House, where the food has a high pedigree (coming from iconic Melbourne cafes Porgie + Mr. Jones, Snow Pony, and Friends of Mine), the surroundings aren't your average busy city street, and when you're done, you can tour the stunning historical mansion, play croquet on the lawn, or walk off your lunch with a stroll through the extensive and beautiful National Trust gardens. 

The outdoor eating area is shaded, and clear blinds keep the weather out when it is anything less than perfect. For eats, you can find a variety of old-fashioned cakes and sweets, salads, poke bowls, all-day breakfasts, drinks, and desserts. There is no set kids menu, but there is a "Como Jnr" of a ham and cheese toastie with chips, and juice/milkshakes on offer.

What you need to know:

  • Located: Corner Williams Rd and Lechlade avenue, South Yarra
  • Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm, 7 days
  • For bookings: On the website, or call 03 9827 6886.
  • More information: thestablesofcomo.com.au

5. Leroys

Leroy's is popular with ellaslist and the parents of Melbourne, thanks to its renovated garden and fantastic kids playground, featuring cubby house with slide, ladder and climbing wall, shaded sandpit and a bunch of toys and cool equipment. 

Grab lunch or dinner at one of the timber booths under the shade of large umbrellas, the burgers are fantastic and the kids' menu pretty solid. Check out our explorer review and see for yourself! You'll wonder why you haven't gone earlier.

What you need to know:

  • Located: 5 Mason St, Newport
  • Opening Hours: 7am - 4pm Monday - Friday, 7.30am - 4pm weekends
  • For bookings: Bookings available weekdays only, call 9391 9009
  • More information: leroyscafe.com.au

6. Mister Hoffman Cafe

Niddrie has a fantastic cafe in Mister Hoffman, where a locally-sourced seasonal menu based on recipes of grandmothers past can be taken outside in the modern and light-filled al-fresco seating.

The cute kids food includes Coco Pops, porridge, "Green Lantern" avocado on toast, poached fruit, eggs on toast, cheese toastie, pancakes, cheeseburger, chips, and nuggest and chips. Something for even the fussiest eaters!

What you need to know: 

 

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