If you’ve got kids, family-friendly restaurants and cafes are always at the top of your mind when planning a day out.
And bonus points if the venue has a playground! It’s the perfect distraction so you can catch up with your loved ones.
So here’s our guide to some of the best places to eat out with youngsters in Ballarat – how many have you already checked out?
Located within the Eureka Centre, Eureka Stockade Memorial Park
102 Stawell St South, Eureka, Ballarat
The menu at Lilly’s was curated by a lollymaker, so brunch is destined to be delicious and quirky. In a fun throwback to the area’s mining heritage, the Goldmine Pancakes come dusted in ‘gold’ flakes and with a side of chocolate ‘dirt’ giving little ones the chance to fossick for some hidden gems.
Lilly’s at Eureka is flanked by an outdoor playground, a pool open in the summer months, and plenty of green space for running and tumbling.
639 Main Road, Ballarat
Its extensive menu includes everything from pizza and pasta to salads and traditional pub classics plus a huge range of gluten-free options.
Every kids’ meal includes a soft drink and ice cream, while Kid’s Planet – the hotel’s huge indoor playground – has to be seen to be believed!
14 Armstrong Street North, Ballarat
Have your dinner with a side of theatre at The Forge Pizzeria.
Watch the pizza makers in action as they toss the dough, whip up gourmet masterpieces and then cook them in the restaurant’s wood fire oven.
Your little ones will love the kids-size bolognese and napoli pastas along with the Hawaiian and margherita pizzas.
Just make sure you all save some room for the Nutella and strawberry pizza, and zeppole (mini doughnuts)!
33 Peel Street North, Ballarat
With two jumping castles, video games and climbing equipment, the Robin Hood Hotel knows how to entertain the kids while the adults eat in peace.
The modern bistro even has a dedicated area for families and big groups, with CCTV screens so diners can keep an eye on what’s happening in the playroom.
Weekly promotions include Monday Mexican Fiesta, T-Bone Tuesdays, Wednesday Burgers & Beers, Sunday American BBQ plus 33 parmas on the menu every Thursday.
3 McKenzie Street, Ballarat
You’ve probably seen pics of Ballarat’s most popular dish for kids, Hydrant Food Hall‘s rainbow pancakes with fresh fruit, mini marshmallows and maple syrup.
And for the child who can never decide what they want, there’s the kids’ breakfast board, complete with ham and cheese mini croissant, yoghurt, fresh fruit and orange juice.
But this laneway cafe isn’t just doing it for the kids!
Grown-ups can take their pick from all-day breakfast offerings including banana bread waffles, chilaquiles, prosciutto toast and The Hydrant 4.0 (smashed avocado, target beetroot, creamy carrot puree, celeriac remoulade, grilled asparagus, beetroot, cucumber, ancient grain mix, edamame, fried carrot strips, pistachio and sourdough).
217-229 Main Road, Ballarat
There’s a very good reason why The Red Lion Hotel was the winner of TripAdvisor’s 2020 Traveller’s Choice Awards for Ballarat Restaurants.
The Main Road hotel is home to a restaurant, cafe, bar and modern kids’ play area which will keep the littlies entertained while you catch up with friends and family.
And as an added bonus, every kids’ meal comes with a free activity pack!
37 Armstrong Street North, Ballarat
Whilst playing with your food might normally be frowned upon, this is not the case at Ballarat teppanyaki restaurant Tokyo Grill House.
See the chefs skilfully prepare your meal on the hot plate in front of you – and try and can catch the flying egg!
Take your pick from set menu Japanese banquets or order traditional dishes including sashima, sushi and bento boxes.
1615 Sturt Street, Ballarat
Large indoor playground? Tick! Separate dining space for families? Tick!
And stay tuned to the hotel’s Facebook page for details about the regular lucky dip school holidays competitions!
401 Pleasant Street South, Ballarat
Monday nights are all about families at The Bunch of Grapes Hotel, because when you buy a main meal, you get a kids’ meal for free (subject to change).
Add to this an indoor kids’ playroom plus an outdoor playground and you’ve got the perfect destination for a night out for all ages!
2 Grenville Street South, Ballarat
The Pancake Kitchen has been a Ballarat institution for more than 40 years.
Located in an historic 1860s bluestone building, this family-favourite serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner options plus everything in between.
Sweet and savoury dishes for the kids include The Cheshire Chicken Tenders (chicken tenders served on a potato pancake with cottage-fried potatoes and a dollop of tomato sauce) and Alice’s Wonderland Surprise (a pancake topped with ice cream, hot chocolate fudge and 100’s & 1000’s).
WE DEFINITELY STILL HAVE ROOM FOR ONE MORE TREAT…
217 Sturt Street, Ballarat
Who could possibly resist a visit to Il Piccolo Gelato, with up to 24 flavours available every day from a range of more than 100 flavours.
This artisan gelato is made daily using fresh milk, no artificial ingredients, colours or flavours. And why not try the sorbetto for a dairy-free and vegan option?
Il Piccolo can be found just metres from the Ballarat Town Hall in the city’s main street.
Sign up to our newsletter and get the latest updates.
Across Victoria’s Midwest, we acknowledge that we travel across the ancient landscapes of many First Peoples communities.
These lands have been nurtured and cared for over tens of thousands of years and we respect the work of Traditional Custodians for their ongoing care and protection.
We recognise the past injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this country. As our knowledge grows, we hope that we can learn from their resilience and creativity that has guided them for over 60,000 years.
As we invite people to visit and explore Victoria’s Midwest, we ask that alongside us, you also grow to respect the stories, living culture and connection to Country of the Ancestors and Elders of our First Peoples.