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Having a nice, relaxed lunch or afternoon tea isn’t that easy with kids, especially if you are abroad and can’t rely on your tried and tested locations. So, here is my list of restaurants and cafés in Sydney where I went with my little girl:

Centennial Parklands Café  – first up the best possibility to enjoy a nice lunch or relaxed coffee: a café in a park! In this case not just any park, but one of Sydney’s largest. In Centennial Park you’ll find a restaurant/café and a kiosk if you prefer a pick nick. The playground nearby is visible from almost everywhere in the restaurant and a popular spot for mum-and-bubs-groups. If you have older kids and they aren’t happy with the “baby-playground” they still have the option to run around, play ball games or read a book in the shade on the green area surrounding the restaurant.

Bathers Pavillion – close second, a café at a beach – especially if you are in Sydney! The restaurant and café, owned by chef Serge Dansereau, is on the waterfront of Balmoral beach. The café is open everyday from 7am till late, offering a Mediterranean inspired menu, perfect for a day at the beach.

Farmers Markets – ok, they don’t classify as a restaurant and you will not get a three-course-dinner with accompanied wine here, but Farmers Markets offer a great possibility to try new food, nibble some Australian specialties, get a great coffee while the kids can run around and look for the stand with the home-made cookies. In the case of the twice a week EQ Market, there is even a playground nearby and several restaurants and coffee shops to sit down after the market. The Sydney Morning Herald Growers’ Market, held on the first Saturday of every month at Pyrmont Bay Park, is for the early riser as it closes at 11 am, but with kids on is usually up at the crack of dawn anyway. And it rewards you with delicious food from some of Sydney’s best bakeries, delis and greengrocers.

Café Sopra – which country is famous for loving bambinis? Italy! So here is an Italian restaurant which is perfect with kids. Ok, not the sensitive, needing silence little bub and his parents, but the ones comfortable with a bit of noise and Italian atmosphere. Great food, relaxed atmosphere and nice service – what more do you want? And don’t forget to have a look at all the grocery Fratelli Fresh has on offer – also perfect souvenirs!

Bitton Café – situated in Alexandria, offers  French-Australian inspired dishes, including vegetarian options and has a play area to keep the kids happy and entertained. Besides enjoying your coffee and your mouth-watering meal, you can also have a look at the Bitton product range and selected local gourmet produce available in the Café.

Sparkle – nothing for the “strictly banning all sugar in our diet“ Sparkle offers cupcakes, and only cupcakes (well, you also get coffee, tea and hot or cold chocolate). With usually 12 yummy varieties (including one gluten free), I’m sure everybody finds their special treat.

Max Brenner – talking about a special treat! If you or your kids don’t care for chocolate, then just ignore this, but if not – head for Max Brenner! White, brown and dark Chocolate in liquid form, as bars, with strawberries or waffles, everything is delicious. They have several locations in Sydney, but if it’s a really hot summer day (or a rainy autumn afternoon), try the one at Westfield Bondi Junction. It’s on the 6th level and in front is a little seating area, again very popular with mums-and-bubs-groups.

Café at Dymocks – Dymocks bookstore at 424 George Street, CBD, has two noteworthy features: a kids selection in the basement wide a variety of Australian and international children books and a café! Ok, the food is rather basic, but you can browse your selection of books, and the one from your kids, while having a bite to eat and quench your and your little ones thirst.

Boilerhouse – this one is more for the bigger kids as the restaurant is located in Sydney’s old quarantine station! Besides enjoying a fantastic view of the harbor, you can combine your dinner with a family tour to make it an unforgettable experience.

What is your best tip to combine a nice meal, good conversation and little kids -either at home or on holiday?

photo credit: Christopher Chan via photopin cc