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23 Best Family Restaurants in Melbourne CBD

Melbourne is a foodie’s paradise! But finding city restaurants suitable to dine out with kids in Melbourne’s CBD can be a difficult task.

Melbourne is full of hole-in-the-wall establishments in the city's famous laneways but you can still find great family restaurants CBD Melbourne where there's space, high chairs and even somewhere to play! Here's my selection of the best child friendly cafes and restaurants in Melbourne CBD. Coming soon are Part 2 and Part 3 of this series covering cafes/restaurants south of the river and Docklands.

best family friendly restaurants melbourne cbd

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:

  • Ease of access;
  • Room to park a pram;
  • High chairs;
  • Great food from a menu that I’d be happy to eat; and
  • Nice to have: change table, somewhere to play nearby.

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

1. 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 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 (just ask) and a disabled 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 east to have dinner Melbourne city then hop on the train home.

Pilgrim Bar, Vaults 15-19 Federation Wharf, Federation Square +613 9654 9575

7 Days, 12pm til late

Related: Best playgrounds in Melbourne

Pilgrim Bar

2. 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 11am if you need food or coffee before midday.

For lunch they offer have a tasty kids menu with $10 meals.

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

Riverland Bar, Vaults 1-9 Federation Wharf, Federation Square +61 (03) 9662 1771

7 Days, 11am til late

Riverland Melbourne

3. Hero at ACMI

Next to ACMI is the spacious Hero at ACMI, a CBD restaurant with all-day food and 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 disabled toilets and change facilities and the excellent free exhibition ‘The Story of the Moving Image‘.

Hero at ACMI, Federation Square (03) 8663 2277

Mon: Hero Grab and Go options are available at the kiosk inside Hero during museum hours. Dining closed.
Tue–Sun: All day dining from 11.30am until late

Related: Best Melbourne museums for families

Acmi Stairs Photo Credit Shannon Mcgrath

4. Transport Public Bar

By night it's a rowdy sport bar but by day it's quiet, 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 disabled 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 03 9654 8808

7 days 11am until late

Transport Bar Federation Square 1000px

5. 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 stunning Asian-inspired sharing menu.

There’s lots of room, high chairs and disabled toilets in the Mezzanine Level (just 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.

Taxi Kitchen, Level 1 Transport Hotel, Federation Square 03 9654 8808

7 days 12pm until late

Taxi Kitchen Melbourne

6. 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 restaurants city visitors and regulars will enjoy, and there are outdoor tables with great views of the big screen at Fed Square.

Chocolate Buddha, Federation Square, Cnr Swanston St and Flinders St, Melbourne (03) 9654 5688

Related: Best sushi trains in Melbourne CBD

Maddisonarchitects Chocolatebuddha

Find Hotels and Airbnbs near Federation Square, Melbourne

best family restaurants melbourne cbd – North of Bourke St

7. Tim Ho Wan

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

Avoid peak hour (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 it 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

Open daily – Mon, Wed, Thurs 10am – 8pm, Tues 10am – 10pm, Fri- Sat, 10am – 8:30pm, Sun 9am – 8pm

tim ho wan melbourne

8. 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 mad kids will enjoy the sushi train on level 4 at Tetsujin (though I think 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 parents room is right nearby.

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

Sat – Wed 10AM – 7PM

Thu – Fri 10AM – 9PM

Emporium Parents Room

9. New Shanghai

New Shanghai is a stand-alone restaurant inside the Emporium Cafe Court and it's one of the best restaurants 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 parents room. We always to request to sit at the bench facing the kitchen so we can watch the chefs' deft fingers at work making every single dumpling by hand.

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

Sat to Wed 11am – 7pm

Thurs & Fri  11am – 9pm

New Shanghai

10. 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 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 most steamed dumplings and buns.

Again you can access the Emporium parents room. Full review.

Din Tai Fung, Emporium Melbourne, Level 4, 287 Lonsdale St, Melbourne 9654 1876

Mon-Thurs: 11:30am – 2pm and 5:30pm – 8pm

Fri 11:30am – 2pm and 5pm – 8:30pm

Sat 11:30am – 8:30pm

Sunday: 11:30am – 7:30pm

Din Tai Fung Melbourne - 1

11. 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 just 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.

Mr Tulk, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne (enter via Latrobe Street) 03 8660 5700

Mon – Fri 8am–4:30pm

Sat – Sun 9am–4pm

State Library Of Victoria Children's Quarter

12. Operator 25

Operator 25 is a restaurant Melbourne CBD inspired by the origins of it's 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 a disabled toilet (no change table) and the playground at Flagstaff Gardens and Queen Victoria Markets are both in walking distance. Full review. 

Operator 25, 25 Wills Street, Melbourne 9670 3278

Mon-Fri: 7am – 4pm

Sat-Sun: 8am – 4pm

Operator25 Melbourne - 4

13. Denmark House

Denmark House is a beautiful hub for Melbourne’s Danish community and the space and restaurant is open to public; just 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 pram room, a change table in the ladies toilets and they even have stylish Danish Leander high chairs.

Restaurant Dansk Level 3, 428 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne 03 9600 4477

Tuesday to Friday from 12 until 2.30PM

Dinner menu available from 6 PM

14. +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 bit of a tight squeeze so visit at non-peak times but they have a high chair. Closest parents room will be in Melbourne Central. Full review. 

+39 pizzeria, 362 Little Bourke Street Melbourne  9642 0440

Lunch Mon – Fri, Dinner Mon – Sun

15. 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 carpark on Exhibition Street right at the front door.

Secret Kitchen Melbourne City, 222 Exhibition St, Melbourne 03 9988 7778

Yum cha Mon – Fri 11am – 3pm, Sat – Sun 10:30am – 3pm (with three sittings)

Dinner 5:30pm – 10pm daily

secret kitchen melbourne

16. 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!

Musashi Ramen Bar, Level 1/181 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000 (03) 9972 9973

Mon – Thurs | 11:30am – 1am
Fri – Sat | 11:30am – 3am

17. 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.

ELLA, Cnr Elizabeth & La Trobe Sts, Melbourne

Precinct open 7 Days 10am – 10pm, but individual outlet times may vary

Sushi Club ELLA Melbourne Central

18. Stalactites

Stalactites is a Melbourne institution, known for their 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.

Stalactites, 177-183 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, 03 9663 3316

Sun – Thurs 11am – 12am, Fri – Sat 10am – 2am

child friendly restaurants melbourne cbd – South of Bourke St

19. Brunetti 

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

There’s 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.

Brunetti, 250 Flinders Lane Melbourne VIC 9663 8085

Mon – Thu 7am – 9pm, Fri 7am – 11pm, Sat 8am – 11pm, Sun 8am – 9pm

Brunetti Melbourne

20. 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 have two kid friendly restaurants Melbourne CBD.

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

Betty's Bugers, 97 Elizabeth St, Melbourne

Mon – Thurs 11AM – 9:30PM
Fri – Sun 11AM – 10PM

Betty's Burgers, 222 Exhibition St Melbourne

Mon – Thurs 11AM – 9:30PM
Fri – Sun 11AM – 10PM

Bettys Burgers

21. Dodee Padang

Dodee Padang‘s tagline is ‘Come Hungry, Bring Friends' at this bustling family restaurants 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 disabled toilet has a change 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 I 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 chilli for kids) is $7.50. Warning: I am quite au fait with chilli and the Tom Yum soup is rated 1-7 for heat. I tried 1 and it was already HOT!

Dodee Padang 353 Little Collins St, Melbourne

Sun – Thurs 11am – 9:30pm, Fri – Sat 11am – 11:30pm

Dodee Padang 245 Swanston St, Melbourne

Sun – Thurs 11am – 10pm, Fri – Sat 11am – 12am

Dodee Padang

22. 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 restaurants, The Grain Store have a high chair and a disabled public toilet is nearby and it’s a good pit stop for Melbourne Aquarium as there’s no much that’s great and kid-friendly around that area. (Book tickets to the aquarium here.)

The Grain Store, 517 Flinders Ln, Melbourne 9972 6993

Mon-Fri 7AM-3PM

Sat-Sun 8AM-3PM

The Grain Store Melbourne

23. 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, disabled toilet and a few 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. (Book tickets to the aquarium here.)

Henry and the Fox, 525 Collins Street Melbourne  (03) 9614 3277

Mon Closed, Tues – Wed 9am – 5pm, Thurs 9am – 7pm, Fri 8am – 9pm

Henry and the Fox Melbourne

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This post contains affiliate links. If you book using the links there is no extra cost to you and I earn a small commission that helps me to provide free, valuable and useful information for you! Thanks Joyce

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Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. We walked to Henry and Fox on little Collins street after the aquarium with a 2yr old. Not child friendly. No kids menu and no milkshakes.

    1. Hi Nat

      Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy your experience. As I stated they do not have a specific kids menu but I found plenty on the menu that my kids would eat. As for milkshakes, I tend to swap out for a smoothie :) The fact that they have pram access, high chairs, change facilities, a disabled toilet and a couple of toys means it still gets a ‘child-friendly’ tick according to my criteria. These facilities can be hard to find in the CBD!

  2. Hi, just wanted to say a big thanks for your post. Used it as a guide for our family weekend around Melbourne CBD and we were not disappointed, thank you!

  3. Great post! We are planning a trip to Melbourne and are grateful for the extensive list of places to try for dinner with children.

  4. We went to New Shanghai for a lunch with our 1 year old. The staff was friendly and the little one got a bowl and spoon to have her meal.

    Over all it was nice and good to be in a secluded area even just by the food court.


  5. I agree with most of what you say about ACMI Cafe BUT the Staff are rude and making a booking is a real issue. They take bookings but don’t put them “in the book” so when you arrive there is no record. If you ring you get an answering machine saying they will ring back and that is not strictly truthful, well a bit of a lie actually because they don’t ring back.

    1. Hi Tim

      Sorry to hear you had a poor experience. I wasn’t aware that they bookings, hence that may be the reason that there is no record or mechanism for making a booking? Hope you have a better experience next time! Joyce

  6. Heading into the big smoke from Wangaratta to visit my folks who are staying temporarily in East Melbourne near Fitzroy gardens. Energetic grandson are joining us and my folks are elderly and have ambulatory issues. Can you recommend somewhere for us to go for lunch

    1. Hi Jo, try GG in East Melbourne, it is vast, on the ground level and the food is good. Fitzroy Gardens has a playground which I recommend and there is a serviceable cafe within the gardens too. Have fun! Joyce

  7. I can confirm Mezzo Italian definitely do not have high chairs. I just called to make a booking and they asked me if I was planning to BYO high chair???

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