9 December 2014

Best of Canberra Taste Off - Family Friendly Restaurant/Cafe

| Sophia Carlini
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Last week when I asked for recommendations for family friendly restaurants and cafes, I honestly expected to be inundated however, it seems that Canberra has a serious lack of family friendly eating establishments.

Places like Jamie’s Italian, and a few of the football clubs were recommended, along with Ricardo’s in Jamison and Tommy & Me in Macgregor.

Never having heard of Tommy & Me before I decided to check it out first. Firstly, Macgregor is not actually that close to the city, so it is probably only convenient for those that live on that side of town. Upon entering the cafe I was completely overwhelmed, I had never been to a cafe that was entirely made up of women and children. I could immediately see why it came so highly recommended.

Tommy & Me has so much to offer for families, from a kids corner filled with books, toys and colouring in, to both a kids and adult food menu, lots of drink choices for adults, and milkshakes and pop tops for kids.

I decided to eat from the kids menu to really take in the whole experience. I ended up ordering chicken nuggets and mini pizza slices. I must say, I was slightly disappointed that the menu didn’t have more healthy options. In saying that, I have been told by countless mothers that a meal of chicken nuggets is what the kids want and are likely to eat over anything else.

The meal came out, perfectly presented on a wooden board, with fresh chopped pieces of apple and a fruit pop top. I’m an adult and I was impressed, I can only imagine how exciting that would be to a 4 year old. It’s also worth mentioning that the staff were super nice, they even made an effort to say goodbye as I was leaving.


The next place I decided to check out was Ricardo’s at Jamison shops. I get why parents love this place. There’s no kids menu, no colouring in activities and no toys …. but there is cake! and lots of it. There is also a playground right outside, where you can literally have your cake and it it too (whilst watching your kids play).

What I loved about Ricardo’s is that it’s a regular cafe, with a mix of kids of all ages and adults, as well as people without kids. It was just more comfortable (for me) than a room full of mothers and toddlers, but then I’m not a mum, so maybe my perspective is different as someone without kids?!

What I really want to know is how, as a parent, do you keep your kids away from the dessert cabinet?!


Overall, I think both cafes are family friendly and it really comes down to what you’re looking for as a parent. I feel like Tommy & Me caters for mums with newborns and toddlers, and is a little quieter too. Where as Riccardo’s is all about the hustle and bustle and has a big playground for older kids who don’t need their hands held.

Neither venues were what I was expecting, or what I thought would be an ideal family friendly venue … It left me thinking that maybe Canberra needs more family friendly options.

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Bittersweet in Kingston. Nice big green space for kids to play in, they have picnic blankets, a kid’s menu & better coffee than Ricardo’s

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