Whether you have an adventurous little palate in tow, or kids who like to keep dining on the safe side – who doesn’t love pizza and fish-n-chips? Sydney delivers all manner of culinary options for young gourmands whatever your budget.
If you want to tick off a few landmarks (and a bit of culture) in one go, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia is an ideal base. Browse the eye-opening exhibits, then head to the rooftop cafe for standout views of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You can also dine under the Opera House's sails, while overlooking the Harbour Bridge, at Opera Kitchen, a vibrant food hall where you can order panini and pasta while teaching your kids about the enormous midden (ancient Aboriginal pile of shells) that was once where you now stand.
At Fratelli Fresh Darling Harbour you’re just a short walk from plenty of kids activities. The reason to come here is the enormous kid's playground out front. Once the little ones have burnt off some energy, they’ll likely have an appetite. It’s a good thing that children under 12 eat free here – all day, every day.
A water view doesn't have to be expensive. Weekends are a great time to join the locals for fresh juices and healthy, hearty brunches at beachside cafes in Bronte and Coogee without breaking the bank. Work up an appetite on the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk and then reward your family with a tasty treat at either end. Coogee Pavilion is extremely kid (and pet) friendly. The Newport in the Northern Beaches is just as fun for budding gourmands, with ample space to run around (there are even ping pong tables), plus multiple dining outlets – think pizza, seafood and gelato.
Which kid doesn’t love a trolley piled high with dumplings, bao buns and perhaps chicken feet? Dive into the wonderful world of dim sum in Sydney’s Chinatown, where restaurants hero Cantonese cuisine (including yum cha) and other regional Chinese cuisines. It’s a fun and raucous affair at establishments like Zilver or Golden Century Restaurant.
This same region in Haymarket is also home to a buzzing street-food market on Friday nights, as well as other Asian ‘hubs’ including Korea town and Thai town, where the kids will love picking out exotic fruits from supermarkets and sitting down to an epic meal that sends the palate racing. Wander a few steps toward Chippendale and you’ll discover Spice Alley, a pedestrian-only strip where you and the kids can choose between Asian hawker-style dining establishments.
Want a side of learning with your foodie outing? Join Taste Cultural Food Tours to get an insider look at where locals eat. From exploring Little Korea in Eastwood to tasting classic Vietnamese dishes in Cabramatta, you are guaranteed to find some multicultural hidden gems.
Markets & picnics
Sydneysiders love nothing more than an epic weekend market, whether you’re in the heart of the city or in an atmospheric suburb. Location aside, you’re guaranteed stalls selling picnic produce – think cheese, fresh bread, seasonal fruits and all manner of ready-to-go meals – which means all you have to do is find a patch of grass and spread out the rug. Some of the most popular places for produce include the Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park, Paddington, Kings Cross, Balmain,Glebeand Parramatta.
Take the light rail to the Sydney Fish Market, one of the largest of its kind in the world, for fresh seafood including prawns, crabs, lobsters, oysters, tuna sashimi... Picnic tables are available overlooking Blackwattle Bay, so you can order a haul and enjoy it with water views (parents note: there’s a bottle shop on-site for takeaway wine and beer). For more top-quality seafood, hop on a ferry to Watsons Bay and visit Doyles on the Beach. Kids can play in the nearby park or on the beach in front of the restaurant, while parents contemplate the menu of craft beers and Aussie wines.
Take a ferry to Shark Island in the middle of the harbour for leisurely lunch with jaw-dropping Opera House views or Cockatoo Island where you will get stunning views of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Or head to Bondi and Manly beaches for fish'n'chips by the ocean. Check out more top picnic spots here.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.