As any parent will tell you, taking little children to a restaurant can be a fraught affair. Thankfully, a handful of establishments in the Cape has taken the fraughtness of the situation into account by creating safe and spacious play areas close to the eating action, providing high chairs and crayons, as well as fun activities to keep the little darlings entertained. These are our favourite child-friendly restaurants in the Cape.
Warwick is one of those wine farms where children and adults instantly feel welcome and at ease.
Why we love it There are eight picnic pods, dotted throughout the beautiful gardens and lawns, where you can recline on oversized cushions and blankets beneath umbrellas. The unique private picnic experience (with partial service and full shade) offers a specila kiddies’ menu.
Or, eat at The Deck, with its amazing views over the sloping lawn and dam.
Why the kids will love it Kids will love the fun playground, wide-open spaces and, above all, the fountain, perfect for splashing and swimming in. (If you visit on a hot day, pack a change of clothes or a swimming costume for the little ones.) They’ll also enjoy Nemo-spotting in the dam.
Contact 021 884 4410, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Warwick Wine Estate, R44, Stellenbosch
2. Coffee BloC
Found on the beautiful Buitenverwachting wine estate, this low-key spot serves delicious coffee, good breakfasts and light lunches.
Why we love it The coffee is among the best to be found in the beautiful Constantia Winelands, and the dreamy farm setting is sheer bliss for the little ones.
Why the kids will love it The garden area outside the coffeeshop has a wide-open lawn, with an ancient oak tree that’s home to a family of owls, providing hours of entertainment for the children. Squirrels and fowls also inhabit the area, enhancing the farm experience.
Contact 021 794 5190, email@example.com
Where to find it Buitenverwachting, Klein Constantia Road, Constantia
3. Stables at Vergelegen Bistro Restaurant
Situated on the historic, world-renowned Vergelegen Estate, this wonderfully relaxed and stylish restaurant is surprisingly child-friendly! And with magical gardens, a beautiful manor house and breath-taking views of the Hottentots Holland mountains, it offers an all-round pleasurable outing for parents and children.
Why we love it The relaxed, bistro-style Stables offers a varied menu with contemporary dishes in a warm, family-friendly atmosphere.
Why the kids will love it Aside from the fairtytale-esque forests and gardens, there’s a charming outdoor play area, complete with swings, a slide and a water feature, as well as a carved-wood car and animals. The resident cat provides hours of entetainment, as do the flowers interspersed throughout the gardens, and the historic camphors that protectively reside over the grounds…
Contact 021 847 2156, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Vergelegen Wine Estate, Lourensford Road, Somerset West
4. Bob’s Bagels
This teeny streetside café in the Deep South opposite the Kalk Bay Park in Rouxville Road is somewhat of an institution in the area. It’s perfect for a lazy weekend outing, especially since parents can browse the nearby shops, restaurants and galleries on the way home.
Why we love it It shares floor space with the Potter’s Shop, meaning you can browse the jaw-dropping ceramics, art and photography, before or after you’ve ordered. In addition to delicious bagels and good coffee, there are a few decadent treats to choose from, including brownies and fudge.
Why the kids will love it There’s a fabulous park across the road, with ample shade and some tables and chairs for the adults to sit while the children play on the slide, merry-go-round swings and jungle gym.
Contact 083 280 0012, email@example.com
Where to find it 6 Rouxville Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
5. Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards
With its rambling, view-drenched garden and relaxed, airy interiors, this friendly and inviting family-oriented destination is a wonderful day out.
Why we love it Fresh, laidback, affordable food in the Franschhoek Valley is sometimes hard to come by, but here you’ll find a rotisserie-based buffet (with lots of options) and easy-drinking wines. As you would expect from any Rupert-family project, the winery has exceptional tasting facilities set around an imposing bar where you can sit and sample the wide range of available wines, while the little ones have the time of their lives in the outdoor play area.
Why the kids will love it Buffet-style eating, we find, is always a win with toddlers: if they don’t like the lamb, dish them up some chicken, and so on… But it’s the outside area that really makes Leopard’s Leap a dreamy destination for young families. The wide-open lawns, water features and two jungle gyms (in view of the restaurant seating) means the little ones can play, while you enjoy your meal.
Contact 021 876 8002, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it R45, Main Road, Franschhoek
No matter who you speak to, the same sentiment rings true: there’s something about Boschendal that draws you back, time and again.
Why we love it Perhaps it’s the beautiful grounds (complete with a magical rose garden, reminiscent of The Secret Garden), the heritage Cape Dutch buildings, or the two lovely restaurants? Or maybe it’s the authenticity of the experience and the largesse of the offering that typifies a Cape wine farm in every way.
Why the kids will love it The Werf – Boschendal’s innovative, country-style restaurant – has a lovely play area inside the main area to keep kiddies entertained. And, of course, Boschendal’s wonderful organic garden, complete with a graded water feature and a pig’s pen across the way, is nirvana for the young (at heart). Enquire about the fun pony rides (R50).
Good to know During season, kids can enjoy either a Rose Garden or Werf Farm kiddies’ picnic.
Contact 021 870 4200, email@example.com
Where to find it Boschendal Estate, Pniel Road, Groot Drakenstein, Franschhoek
7. The Millhouse Kitchen
Located on the beautiful Lourensford Wine Estate, this contemporary gardenside eatery offers a cool industrial-rustic ambience, with indoor and outdoor seating. Until recently the food was so-so (bordering on not good), but the past few meals we’ve had there have been delicious.
Why we love it Cool interiors aside, there’s an unmistakable country feel to this charming eatery.
Why the kids will love it In addition to a lovely kiddies’ menu, there’s a delightful garden space right in front of the outside deck, where your little ones can make new friends while spending time outdoors.
Good to know The Millhouse Kitchen also hosts kiddies’ birthday parties, where you can bring your own cake and goodie bags.
Contact 021 847 0030, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Lourensford Wine Estate, Helderberg Rural, Cape Town
8. Open Door
Open Door is situated on the historic Constantia Uitsig farm, which dates back to 1685 when Simon van der Stel was Commander of the Cape. The outside deck is child-friendly, and overlooks the adjacent fenced-in kiddies’ play area, where a wooden tractor, viewing deck with binoculars, swings, see-saws and a slide will keep them busy for hours.
Why we love it It’s stylishly decked out, and the food is rather good, too.
Why the kids will love it In addition to the delightful play area, there’s a Bike Park across the way, which offers a fun escape for kids. Afterwards, explore more of the beautifully restored estate.
Contact 021 794 3010, email@example.com
Where to find it Constantia Uitsig, Spaanschemat River Road, Fir Grove, Cape Town
9. The Foodbarn
The Foodbarn Restaurant is famous for Franck Dangereux’s delicious and decadent fine-dining. Yet, this top Cape Town eatery also offers a relaxed, barn-style atmosphere, merging the best of both worlds. Its leafy location in Noordhoek Farm Village further enhances the relaxed vibe.
Why we love it The consistenly good service, great food and wonderful atmosphere.
Why the kids will love it While the adults tuck in to the beautifully plated food (which looks and smells as good as it tastes), children can tuck into their own delicious eats, from the well-thought out kiddies’ menu.
The closed-in outdoor play section, which is shared with Café Roux, has a sand-pit, jungle gym, swings and a see-saw, as well as an old tractor and a playhouse.
Good to know The Foodbarn also caters to kiddies’ birthday parties, allowing you to celebrate your child’s special day at this beautiful restaurant.
Contact 021 789 1390, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Noordhoek Farm Village, Corner Village Lane and Noordhoek Main Road, Noordhoek, Cape Town
This low-key Italian-owned trattoria offers delicious food, friendly service and a warm, homey atmosphere.
Why we love it It’s modestly decked out, but ticks all the right boxes in terms of atmosphere. And the pizzas are tasty, too.
Why the kids will love it While there are no special children’s facilities, the restaurant welcomes all visitors, young and old. And who can resist a thin-crust pizza?
Good to know Posticino has an equally popular branch in Hout Bay.
Contact 021 439 4014, email@example.com
Where to find it Albany Mews, Corner Albany and Main Roads, Sea Point, Cape Town
11. Rhebokskloof Estate
This pretty Paarl estate has loads going for it: not only does it produce lovely wines and MCC, the food is good, the service is friendly, and there’s loads to keep the kids entertained in a picturesque setting. On busy days, expect a slight wait – definitely worth it for us.
Why we love it Although the interiors are inviting, it’s the outside shaded patio and garden seating that visitors gravitate towards… And with stunning views of the lawns, garden and clear blue, willow-encircled dam, it’s easy to understand why. What’s more, the food is delicious (some of the best we tasted in Paarl).
Why the kids will love it We visited on a Sunday to find the whole place alive with the sound of children playing. Pony rides are available on the lawns, and there is a lovely play area outside, within sight of the eating area.
Contact 021 869 8386, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Noord Agter, Paarl Road, Windmeul, Paarl
Situated in The Alphen Hotel, this chic, all-day Italian eatery is surprisingly family-friendly!
Why we love it Stylish child-friendly restaurants are not easy to find, but here you have a choice to sit in the gallery-like inside space, or on the outdoor terrace, which overlooks a central water feature and the gardens.
Why the kids will love it Sunday Funday is the perfect outing for city-dwelling folk seeking a relaxed-country vibe. With a secure play area, supervised by a qualified child minder, the kids are kept busy with face painting, interactive games, and other fun activities.
Contact 021 795 6300, email@example.com
Where to find it The Alphen Hotel, Hohenhort Avenue, Constantia, Cape Town
13. The Barn
In the heart of Elgin at Old Mac Daddy trailer park, The Barn offers cool, country fare in an airy, modern setting. The farm itself is the ultimate (apple-)country retreat – famous for its snazzy trailers and awe-inspiring setting. You don’t need to be an overnight guest to dine here.
Why we love it Whether you’re after a day in the country, or a stopover en route to hermanus and beyond, The Barn is a tranquil yet vibey spot. The local-is-lekker Scandi-SA interiors and decor – courtesy of a local design team – are fabulous.
Why the kids will love it Being a farm, Old Mac Daddy’s offerings are child-friendly by default, with loads of family-friendly activities to enjoy, including tractor rides and zorbing. For older children, there’s SUPing and catch-and-release fishing. The property also has a wonderful kids’ centre, while The Barn itself offers a varied kiddies’ menu, with lots of healthy alternatives for picky little eaters.
Good to know Booking is essential.
Contact 021 844 0241, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Old Mac Daddy, Elgin Valley Road, Elgin
14. Vredenhof Organic Estate
This small holding outside Somerset West is not a far cry from Old Macdonald’s fabled farm… Though, one telling difference could be that ol’ MacD probably wasn’t this health- and eco-conscious in his farming practices… In fact, Vredenhof Organic Estate is one of a few places in SA where you can buy and eat freshly harvested, organic produce… all while enjoying that quintessential, blissful farm experience!
Why we love it Though it’s rustic, a little scruffy and decidedly low-key, the restaurant serves a wide variety of delicious (and healthy) food – everything from quiches and pastas to wraps, pizzas, burgers breakfasts and sugar-and-flour-free cakes and desserts, as well as smoothies and organic wines and craft beers.
Why the kids will love it In the indoor play area, kids can explore a pirate ship, fairy caravan and castle, while the relaxed outdoor area has a large play pen and variety of adorable petting animals. The mini-golf course and large outdoor chess set are added attractions
Good to know Vredenhof also hosts and caters for children’s parties. They prepare delicious, healthy meals, cakes and drinks for children and parents to enjoy.
Contact 021 855 0363, email@example.com
Where to find it Vredenhof Organic Estate, Bredell Road, Firgrove, Somerset West
15. The Rumbullion at The Roundhouse
While The Roundhouse is a well-known fine-dining establishment, The Rumbullion offers a more relaxed approach, with a killer setting, overlooking Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles mountain range.
Why we love it Enjoy an assortment of tapas-style fare at one of the umbrella-shaded picnic benches, while the kids romp around the rolling lawns.
Why the kids will love it The garden is partitioned, which makes hide and seek particularly fun, plus they’ll also enjoy the tasty items of the picnic menu.
Contact 021 438 4347, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it The Roundhouse, Round House Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town
16. Pearl Rock Terrace at Laborie
This relatively new eatery – which opened in May 2017 – has brought a fresh foodie change to Laborie Wine Farm. Replacing the former Taste restaurant, Pearl Rock Terrace offers delightful al fresco dining, casual and tasty food (tapas, pizza, and more) – and of course, impressive views of Paarl Rock and the wine farm… It’s perfect for lazy lunches or dinner beneath twinkling stars.
Why we love it It’s a relaxed, beautiful location. If the weather’s bad, head indoors – otherwise, you definitely want to be on the view-drenched terrace.
Why the kids will love it There’s ample space for children to run around, and a lovely outdoor play area, within sight of the terrace.
Good to know Its sister restaurant, Giovannis, is now located in the farm’s manor house; be sure to pay it a visit, too.
Contact 021 807 346, email@example.com
Where to find it Laborie Wine Farm, Taillefer and Main Road, Paarl
17. Blue Water Cafe
Set on Imhoff Farm, Blue Water Café’s laid-back farm atmosphere and new Cape country fare makes it a win for adults and children alike. Parents can enjoy a tasty meal (although there’s usually a wait, as it can get very busy), while the kids excitedly run around on the safe, enclosed lawn.
Why we love it Situated in the original 1743 Cape Dutch farmstead, the café overlooks a dam and petting farm. You can sit inside the cool, old-fashioned dining room or outside on the child-friendly porch. Before taking your seat, you might like to explore the other shops and attractions at Imhoff Farm.
Why the kids will love it There’s a fun jungle gym and rope swing outside on the lawn, where children relish the free reign they have here, playing before the food arrives. Also, next door’s Higgeldy Piggeldy Farmyard is stocked with everything from adorable baby bunnies to curious emus (and is available for self-catered children’s parties).
Please note Due to unruly child behaviour in the past, they no longer allow petting of small animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs.
Contact 021 783 4545, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Imhoff Farm, Kommetjie Road, Kommetjie, Cape Town
18. The Vineyard Hotel
Dating back more than two centuries, this grand old dame is loved for its timeless elegance, stylish and spacious rooms, top-drawer dining options, and its seven-acre garden that backs up onto the mountain.
Why we love it It’s hard not to be charmed by this hotel, and all it offers. There’s hardly a better setting to enjoy a chilled glass of sauvignon blanc, while the littlies do their thing.
Why the kids will love it During high season, there’s a fun kids’ club (for hotel guests), as well as enchanting, shaded garden walks, a wishing bridge and even some free-roaming mountain tortoises, of all sizes and ages. Also, all hotel restaurants boast extensive kiddies’ menus, including favourites such as hake and chips, cheese burgers and hot dogs.
Good to know After a long day, weary little ones staying at the hotel are treated to a variety of children’s books (available in the rooms). Nanny services can be organised should parents wish for some time alone exploring the city and surrounds.
Contact 021 657 4500, email@example.com
Where to find it Colinton Road, Newlands, Cape Town
We also rate
- Café Roux
- Doodles Beachfront (Blouberg)
- That’s Eat (Durbanville)
- Gardener’s Cottage
- The Wild Fig
- The Playshed (Oude Molen)
- Deer Park Café
Restaurant research by Tamlyn Ryan
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