First published on 3 Apr 2012. Updated on 18 May 2012.
We’ve picked the brains of some of Sydney’s most clued-up mums and dads to make these recommendations – and you’re enthusiastically encouraged to make your own suggestions in the comments.
This Lebanese restaurant is right on the beachfront at Brighton-Le-Sands, and contains a play area if you’d rather not just point your youngsters toward the water. Which you could also do, of course.
Phoenix Garden Chinese Cuisine
Right across from Allowah train station (and next door to the Allowah Hotel, if you fancy picking up a BYO bottle), this Chinese restaurant has a friendly, family atmosphere.
It’s Maroubra’s home of quality sashimi, but aside from quality Japanese dining it’s also got an excellent play area for the kids.
Newmarket Hotel Bistro
Mascot's home of family-friendly dining, with a solid kids menu and a welcoming, child-friendly atmsophere.
Heritage Court Restaurant
It’s a big ol’ suburban restaurant, offering unpretentious steaks, seafood and most things in between in a friendly family environment, complete with a kids play area.
Gourmet Pizza Kitchen
A Castle Hill favourite with a decent kids menu (including a $14.90 set menu including a main, a dessert and a drink) and a family-friendly atmosphere.
The enduring classic of Potts Point has a bustling atmosphere and a solid menu, peppered with a few surprises for the adventurous parent.
Right on the water, this café (and cocktail bar, once the sun goes down) is conveniently located next to several parks and the Coogee coastline.
The place can get mighty busy, but their pizza menu and desserts (especially their famous gelato) makes this a hit with Bondi’s young ones.
Sydney Fish Market
The sign may say not to feed the seagulls, but no-one’s told them that – and the outdoor dining area is just made for an impromptu fish’n’chip picnic beside Blackwattle Bay.
La Botte D’Oro
This Leichhardt landmark is a lively restaurant, so noisy kids are just going to blend into the ambient bustle. Prices are very reasonable, and the quality is high.
This Waterloo centre claims to have the largest indoor playground in the country, and we’re not about to doubt them. There’s trampolines, ball pits, jumping castles and more – so maybe get the kids on that before they fill their bellies…
Golden Star Palace Chinese Restaurant
This Cabramatta restaurant is huge and impressive, and caters heavily to families: pram spaces, plenty of high chairs and a menu that understands tiny tastes. There’s also tanks of fish and lobsters, which are always awesome.
Silver Spur Steak Ranch
If you’re heading out to Penrith, this wildly popular family restaurant has an excellent play area – including a soft play section for the very small ones – and plenty of activities like face painting and kids movies.
This Haberfield eatery offers unpretentious Italian with indoor and outdoor terrace seating and a friendly – not to say loud – environment, perfect for kids to act as kids will.
Sydney's home of boistrous German dining knows how to deal with rowdy littlies – and there are colouring in placemats to distract 'em with until your schnitzel arrives.
Our Place on Darling
Balmain’s got no shortage of family-friendly places, but this modern Australian restaurant offers a decent kids menu (complete with word jumble!) as well as meals both light and coma-inducing from breakfast to dinner.