As parent of a small child this has become the singular most important pre-requisite for any restaurant I visit. How child friendly is it? Do they have a play area? Do they at least supply colouring pages and crayons? The days of relaxing leisurely lunches at sophisticated coffee spots are long gone, at least for now. For the moment, my toddler wears the pants in our house. At least it’s no more a case of one of us eating while the other chases after him. Both of us can happily sit down to eat once all the bribery and corruption has taken place – Ipad in the little guys hands and ice-cream to sweeten the deal. Don’t judge, you know you’ve done it too…..
But seriously, as every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or babysitter who was ever roped in to babysit will attest, the play area has become a life saver. So I’ve put together a list of places available in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg that have catered to the kids both in terms of entertainment as well as halaal food.
Wembley, Belgravia, Cape Town
A little oasis has been added to the iconic takeout on Belgravia road. Perfect for relaxing with the kids under the open air. Wooden benches and a play area mean you can eat in peace while the kids play. And the area is competely enclosed so it’s secure. There is a small prayer area so you don’t have to miss a salaah and wudhu and toilet facilities are fresh, neat and clean. I am really impressed by this thoughtful addition to the Wembley offering.
Snoekies, Hout Bay, Cape Town
This popular fish and chips franchise has a large branch in the Hout Bay harbour. They also have a very big play area with child minders upstairs. So take a scenic drive out with the family and park off at the upstairs tables. Enjoy your seafood platter and beautiful views of the harbour and mountains while the kids enjoy a safe play area right alongside you.
Image credit: Snoekies.co.za
Spur Steakhouses, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg
The ever popular Spur has been the leader in providing family friendly food and spaces. Their play areas are well kitted out and usually have a child minder present. Find the complete list of halal Spurs in South Africa here.
Panarottis, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg
Most of the branches have a play area, some just a room with video games, and others more extensive. The new revamped Kenilworth branch has a large play area on multi levels. Panarottis also have a cool “dough it yourself” tray where the kids can make and decorate their own pizzas. Fancy a pizza party? You can also plan your kids birthday party where your kids and their friends get to make their own pizza’s. You can even download ready made invitations from their website. Love this touch. Find a list of halaal Panarottis here.
Primi Xpress, Kenilworth, Cape Town
A casual Italian style eatery well known for great pizza and pasta. While this is the Xpress Primi and the venue is not very big, they do supply colouring pages, crayons and blocks for the kids to play with at your table.
Bugz Playpark, Cape Town
This is a popular outdoor play park near Cape Gate just off the N1. You can take the kids here for a whole day of non stop rides and fun. Pricing is reasonable and many of the rides are free. I bought a VIP ticket which was a complete waste as my little guy was only interested in the free rides. They have an indoor play area as well with face painting and other activities. Their indoor snack shop is not halaal but they have a kiosk outside which serves only halaal food.
Please note: this kiosk is not certified halaal but stocks only halaal products. Their management tells me they have a separate kitchen area where they stock and prepare the halaal food but they are not halaal certified. They also do parties for kids and are able to cater for the parties from this kitchen.
The Vineyard Oval Night Market, Cape Town
This market runs every Wednesday evening next to Kenilworth Racecourse. They have a large variety of food vendors and some clothing and crafts stalls. There is usually quite a few halaal food options and they have a play area with jumping castles for the kids.
Please note: Alcohol is available and people do come here to have some beers and drinks and enjoy the music.
Ocean Basket, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg
The popular Ocean Basket franchise is well known for great seafood dishes and a family friendly ambience. They don’t have a play area but they do have a kids section on the menu and they do offer colouring pages and crayons. For a list of halaal branches go here.
If you know of kid friendly restaurants, play parks or markets where halaal food is available to add to this list, please drop me a comment below.
Added: 1 December 2016