Time to Mastermind an Outing with Your Family at One of These Kid Friendly Spots

Mum with three kids inside Riverside Market in Christchurch.

You’ve got the mini-mes in tow and you’re needing a bite to eat - we’ve got you covered…

Words by: Kelly Tapper 

Photography by: Neat Places

The thought of dining out with a gaggle of children can feel exhausting, and that’s before you start to think about the fussy eaters. It can all seem a bit too much. We’re here to help with a list of family friendly spots to try in Christchurch. So cast aside your doubts of dining as a family, and get along to one of these epic local eateries who will welcome you and your whānau with open arms.

Grater Goods

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105 Orbell Street, Sydenham, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

If you’re wanting to introduce plant-based eating to your offspring, Grater Goods in Sydenham is an excellent place to start - and also run by a couple of parents, Flip Grater and her husband Youssef Iskrane. Their Cheese Toasties, Fricken Burger and loaded fries will jump out as an obvious starting point for the wee ones, but don’t be afraid to push the envelope with the more adventurous dishes (you can always tidy up whatever they don’t want). While you’re there, have a browse through their deli as a source of inspiration for livening up the daily lunch boxes.

Burger Burger

Not much satisfies the appetite of a small human… but burgers are a tried and tested hit (disclaimer: there are always a few who buck the trend). Burger Burger on Welles Street does a stellar job of not only smashing out delicious patties for grown ups, but also catering to the littley’s with a dedicated kids menu. Think paired back baby burgers, mini sides (yes, there’s a broccoli option) and homemade sodas readily available to order. If you’re wanting to add a few parenting brownie points to the tally, order one of the ridiculously tasty kids shakes made with Duck Island ice cream and watch your child fall at your feet… hmmm, yeah right. Once the sugar rush subsides, it doesn’t necessarily spell an abrupt end to your visit. A dedicated children’s area for the kiddies to explore (including a play kitchen), means you can sit back for a while and contemplate dessert.

Colourful decor inside Burger Burger in Christchurch.

Sun Dog Diner

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2-10 Papanui Road, Merivale, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Sun Dog Diner is a must with the kiddlywinks. What kid doesn’t love sitting down in a booth seat with a plate of fluffy buttermilk pancakes, lashings of syrup and whipped cream, while simultaneously drinking a thick shake? We defy you to find one. The menu magic doesn’t stop there, in fact it romps through an array of American inspired dishes that will delight young diners - such as Southern Fried Chicken with fries, Gangsta’s Paradise (mac’n’cheese grilled cheese) and nachos. The fit-out is a tribute to retro comic heroes and vintage gaming machines that all (at least most) ages will appreciate.

The Birdwood

Bars icon Cafes icon Restaurants icon

76 Malcolm Avenue, Beckenham, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Take your pick at The Birdwood. Café by day and restaurant by night, a neighbourhood haunt that will appease all family members with its classic offerings. Pizzas would be our order of the day. Choose a selection of their mighty pizzas and watch the chefs as they spin, stretch and then sling the hot discs of dough into the flames of the oven. Like watching your own live cooking show. When the perfectly charred full moons of cheesy, tomatoey goodness arrive, you’ll have to remind the kids that sharing is caring.

Barefoot Eatery

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20 Welles Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Located within The Welder, Barefoot Eatery is your friendly ally when it comes to crowbarring the 5-a-day into the kids. Everything served here is entirely plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and free of any additives - great for those family members with allergies and intolerances. Barefoot uses organic ingredients where possible and creates real food (no nasties). A dizzying selection of indulgent smoothies and cold-pressed juices are almost guaranteed to get those good vibrations flowing. Hawk-eyed parents will spot a bunch of toys that circulate around The Welder too.

Lyttelton Coffee Company

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29 London Street, Lyttelton, Christchurch & Canterbury

If you find yourself in port, Lyttelton Coffee Co. is a worthy place for you and your crew to perch up. A plethora of seating choices - out front if you’ve got the buggy, inside where all the action happens, or out on the back deck. On the latter, you can watch the lively port and seagull antics unfold for entertainment. A top coffee is on hand as well as hearty menu options. The daily savoury and sweet muffins are certainly popular with tamariki.

Rollickin' Gelato

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35 New Regent Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Rollickin' Gelato is a no-brainer for the whole family. Row upon row of gelato tubs piled high in fridges spells heaven for young and old. Rollickin’ are not only expert gelato makers but also innovative creators, introducing new flavours and combinations regularly. Their store on Cashel Street has solid seating options inside and out. So grab some scoops and bond over your familia love of gelato.

Evil Genius Bar & Eatery

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unit 2/1091 Ferry Road, Ferrymead, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

A suburban haven, Evil Genius has a friendly welcome for parents and their brood. Whether you’re after lunch, a mid-arvo pitstop or an early sitting for supper, they’ll have plenty of space for you and your whānau. Situated on Ferrymead's Estuary, the outdoor seating area is pretty as a picture, and did we mention they serve some of the best fried chicken in the city AND have loads of colouring-in books? What’s not to love? 

Fiddlesticks

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Corner of Worcester Boulevard &, Montreal Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Peckish after a family visit to the Canterbury Museum or Christchurch Art Gallery? Fiddlesticks would be our pick. Just a stone’s throw away from both of these attractions, they offer an excellent kids’ menu that hits all the right notes. Instant crowd pleasers like pancakes, scrambled eggs with bacon and fish and chips are on the list. And everyone in your party will breathe a collective sigh of relief to see a banana split for dessert. 

Riverside Market

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96 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

It seems Hobson’s choice is a thing of the past. Kids these days love nothing more than choosing what they're going to eat. Luckily for Cantabrians families, there are places like Riverside Market that specifically cater to a vast range of tastes. You can experience cuisine from around the globe in one handy location. Ample seating across a number of floors means plenty of space for you to spread out and soak up the bustling vibe.

Christchurch Farmers Market

16 Kahu Rd, Christchurch & Canterbury

Set in the picturesque Riccarton House and Pūtaringamotu Bush, Christchurch Farmers Market is a wonderful place to explore with children. Make time to delight in the three B’s; buskers, birdlife and Bratwurst. Most kids will happily demolish one of those german hotdogs in a heartbeat,but there are plenty of other tasty bites to uncover too. Grizzly Baked Goods and Bellbird are regular stall holders with glorious piles of sweet buttery pastries. Hot tip: a stroll around the native bush is a good way to burn off any excess energy.

Little High Eatery

255 Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch Central City

Much-loved international food court Little High, is a rad destination for the family. Eight different locally run eateries can be found inside the popular marketplace, with plenty of shared seating to go around. Sushi, pizza and burgers form part of the line up, but best of all, it’s the kind of place where no-one is too precious, so perfect for a laidback bite (or witching hour tantrum).

Interior view of Little High with lots of different people sitting down.

C1 Espresso

Old Post & Telegraph, Office building 185 High Street, Christchurch Central City

The cool interior at C1 is bound to captivate the kids. Meanwhile, for the folks, the coffee (their own roast) is excellent. Located in the Old Post & Telegraph building, the café is a bit of a Christchurch institution for good reason. The food is delivered by pneumatic tubes (!) and other oddities - like the fake bookcase sliding door and flies printed on teacups - are sure to provide mystery and wonder. The activity books are a brilliant addition too.

Exterior of C1 Espresso.

Lyttelton Farmers' Market

London Street, Lyttelton

Lyttelton Farmers Market runs down the suburb’s main drag, London Street, and is a hive of activity every Saturday morning. The stallholders are a rich mix of fruit and veggie sellers and fresh bread, cheese and meat producers, which means you can do a fairly good job of the weekly shop while you’re here. Two birds, one stone comes to mind as the kids will be kept busy with chunky chalk to decorate the pavements. A bevy of local musicians provide music for dancing, and with seating options and snacks up for grabs, it makes the drive through the tunnel more than worthwhile.

View of the market at Lyttelton Farmers' Market.

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