Smorgasbord: Yum Cha is a great for children as they can see the food before they order from the trolley. Photo: Edwina Pickles
Eating out with children doesn't have to be all chicken nuggets and colouring books. Nor does it always have to be a culinary compromise for the grown-ups – there are many different cultures who welcome kids in restaurant and whose food, from bento boxes to build-your-own-burgers hold universal appeal. We've come up with 20 places to take the kids these school holidays that grown-ups and kids alike will enjoy.
China City Hotel Diana, 12 Annerley Road, Woolloongabba (07) 3391 8899
Food on wheels ... The classic pork bun from Bun Mobile. Photo: Harrison Saragossi
Yum Cha is a great option for kids – a moving smorgasbord that they can actually see before they order. There's usually something for everyone at this friendly place; from soft, pillowy pork buns to braised meats, and deep-fried goodies. And with everyone tucking in with equal gusto, the odd spillage goes unnoticed.
Also: Landmark, Corner Mains Rd & McCullough Street, Sunnybank (07) 3344 3288
Little Greek Taverna, 5/1 Browning Street, West End (07) 3255 2215
The two best things about Greek restaurants? The ever-friendly Greeks treasure children and the food is family-friendly. Most of the seating at this family run corner taverna is street-side and being in the West End there's plenty to watch. The menu features the usual kebabs and other grilled meats, as well as salads and sweet treats, all home-made with love.
Also: Lefkas Taverna, 170 Hardgrave Road, West End (07) 3844 1163
The Bun Mobile www.thebunmobile.com.au
The kids will think you're the coolest parents ever if you track down the Bun Mobile food truck for an alfresco meal of soft steamed "burger" buns with a delicious variety of fillings. Check out their website for a schedule of where they'll be when.
Also: the Wandering Elephant wanderingelephant.com.au
Granada Cafe Tapas Bar, 154 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane (07) 3844 4757
Like Yum Cha, tapas are a much underrated way to eat with kids, offering as it does a good range of smaller dishes for everyone to try. Usually tapas come in 3-5 pieces, so there's plenty of scope for sharing of croquettes, albondigas (meat balls) chicken skewers and more. Granada also ventures into South America with possibly the city's best tacos.
Also: Ole Shop B12, Little Stanley Street, South Brisbane (07) 3846 1201
Miel Container, 96 Mary St, Brisbane, 0423 466 503
Who wouldn't love eating in a fire-engine-red shipping container? Everyone will find something on the menu of this well-priced joint with blow your socks off burgers that'll have the kids eschewing the golden arches forever. Premium ingredients are offered in build-your-own combos all of which come with chips and sauce.
Also: Carolina Kitchen, 38 Macaulay St, Coorparoo (07) 3847 8227
Rouj Modern Lebanese Shop 3, 21 Nash Street, Paddington, (07) 3367 2210
Sweet accommodating staff, a bustling energetic vibe and a menu that is broad and perfect for sharing mean Rouj is a favourite with families. Food is beautifully presented and there are lots of dips and flat breads, grilled meats and salads as well as home-made sweets.
Also: Saj & Grill, Corner of Grey and Tribune Streets, South Brisbane (07) 3846 3402
Kabuki Stamford Plaza Hotel Edward St (07) 3221 1999
The closest thing to a parent-sanctioned food fight is what's on offer at this interactive dining experience. Sit up at the Teppanyaki grill and prepare to be part of the show as the highly skilled chefs, cut, cook and toss food around with brio. The kids will love it.
Also try Mizu, 63 Hardgrave Road, West End (07) 3844 9918
Il Locale, 21 Nash Street, Paddington, (07) 3368 2122
Italian food and kids are a no brainer really. One of the newest, Il Locale, by the owners of Tognini's has plenty of appeal for both bigger kids (wood-fired pizza to share) to smaller ones who have their own menu. Adults will find plenty to appeal on the menu too.
Also try: Colle Rosso 191 Musgrave Rd, Red Hill (07) 3369 7417
Madtongsan, 85 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane (07) 3003 1881
Interactive dining at its best with grill- your-own at a portable tabletop barbecue. Meats, veggies and noodles come in plainer or spicier versions. There's also a dip-in and share hotpot menu the kids will love.
Also: Goong Charcoal BBQ Korean Restaurant, 7/70 Pinelands Road Sunnybank Hills, (07) 3345 8083
La Fonda Colombiana 525 Mt Cotton Road, Sheldon, (07) 32060376
Kids will feel right at home in the large yard of La Fonda Colombiana, a "pop-up" Columbian restaurant in the garden of a Sheldon home on Sunday afternoons. Food is home-made and hearty and there's even a pool if kids want to bring their togs on a hot day.
Also: Villa Maria, 82 Bennetts Road, Camp Hill (07) 3398 1177
Natascha Mirosch is the editor of the Queensland Good Food Guide.
**Where will you be taking the kids to eat this school holidays? Jump on the comments and share your favourite family-friendly spots.