Header image courtesy of @origami_hk (via Instagram)
Originally published by Sophie Pettit. Last updated by Beverly Ngai.
While many of us enjoy a boozy brunch from time to time, it is undeniable that a little family time is good for the soul. With this in mind, we have scoured the city to find the best family-friendly restaurants which offer the best play areas, kids’ menus, magic tricks, and more to entertain you and your little ones while you chow down.
A spacious two-storey spaceship-themed wonderland filled with kid-friendly attractions, Donut Café in Tsuen Wan’s Discovery Park is nothing short of a child’s utopia! From climbing ropes and slides to ride-on toy cars and play kitchens, there is endless fun for toddlers and bigger kids alike to get excited over.
After your kids have let off some steam in the play zones, bring them over to the sleek wooden tables for a hearty meal of burgers, pizzas, and pasta. Of course, you can’t leave Donut Café without trying their signature doughnut shake ($68). Comprising a creamy milkshake topped with a glazed doughnut, the beverage is as indulgent as it sounds, and arguably the perfect way to round off the magical visit!
Donut Café, Donut Village, 1/F, Discovery Park, 398 Castle Peak Road, Tsuen Wan | (+852) 2617 6773
Your kids may not have been around to experience the joy and thrills of the Lai Yuen amusement park closed down in 1997, but you can still see them relive your best childhood memories at the Lai Yuen 1949, a charming, retro-style restaurant in Lai Chi Kok themed after the nostalgic amusement park! Various features of the park have been incorporated into interior design, such as booths resembling ride seats from the iconic spinning teacup and dragon roller coaster, claw machines, even an original horse from the Lai Yuen merry-go-round.
Keeping with its distinctively local vibe, the menu is classically Cantonese, covering everything from dim sum to small plates and cha chaan teng staples like stir-fried rice noodles with beef ($78) and shrimp toast ($118). A must-order is the photo-worthy Lai Yuen Ferris Wheel ($108), which presents tiger custard buns, hedgehog deep-fried glutinous rice balls, and various other animal-shaped dim sum on a Ferris wheel-like tray platter!
Lai Yuen 1949, Shops 211–216, 2/F D2 Place Two, 15 Cheung Shun Street, Lai Chi Kok | (+852) 3619 1128
Specially designed with children in mind, this bright and cheery café will have your little ones grinning from ear to ear the moment they walk in! The 10,000-square-foot venue is brimming with kid-friendly facilities such as rope nets, ball pits, inflatable slides, and toys galore, making it a wonderful spot for parents to unwind over a good meal their children let loose and burn off some energy. As for the menu—expect buffet spreads complete with kid-pleasing favourites like mini sandwiches, chicken nuggets, spaghetti, and pizza; as well as Japanese-style cartoon bento boxes ($108) that will make mealtime fun even for the pickiest eaters!
Whizbo Café, Shop 405, 4/F, We Go Mall, 16 Po Tai Street, Ma On Shan | (+852) 2623 0396
If your kids are getting restless after a long day of furniture shopping, bring them over to Ikea Café for a much-needed recharge! Most Ikea stores in Hong Kong have their own restaurant, but the branch tucked away in Kowloon Bay’s Megabox is the top pick for young families. Besides kids’ meals and a delicious array of Swedish delights for wallet-friendly prices, you’ll also find here a forest-themed play area, storybooks, interactive games, and amenities like hot water and bottle warmers! Note that the place can get quite crowded on the weekends, so best get there early to nab a table or visit during off-peak hours.
Ikea Café, 4/F, Megabox, 38 Wang Chiu Road, Kowloon Bay | (+852) 3125 0888
Belgian beerhouse Frites offers a dedicated Frites café kids area every Saturday and Sunday in its Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, and Quarry Bay branches. Parents can sit back and relax with a beer and delicious food while little ones can stretch their imaginations as they role-play as customers, cashiers, dishwashers, and baristas in the mini pop-up cafés. Kids can also delve into a menu of pub grub with favourites like spaghetti Bolognese ($85) and bangers and mash ($85), as well as smoothies ($55) and milkshakes ($65). The venue also hosts children’s parties at the weekend, so this is a good one to bear in mind if a special little someone has a birthday coming up.
You’re never too old to play with your food, and that’s exactly what’s in store at this “Instagram-worthy” restaurant. In fact, at Yum Cha, you’re encouraged to squidge, poke, and smash your way through the impressive selection of animal-shaped treats and googly-eyed faces that feature on the menu. Fans of char siu bao will squeal with delight when the BBQ piggy buns ($49) arrive at the table, while big kids with a wicked sense of humour will jump at the chance to squeeze the gooey orange innards from the mouths of the hot custard buns ($49). With a large variety of noodles, rice, soup, and meat dishes on offer, there’s never a dull (or tasteless) moment at this quirky spot, and most dim sum orders will only set you back $49 for three pieces. It’s a total hit with the kids—and the big kids!
With locations in both Central and the picturesque beachfront at The Pulse, Amalfitana is often filled to the brim with families during the weekend. This charming restaurant really has it all—authentic artisan pizzas and Italian dishes, the freshest negronis and limoncello for the adults, and an entire beach and playground to play in for the little ones—in between munching of course. Kids can choose from a range of bambino pizzas including baby Margherita ($70), pepperoni ($85), and oliva ($75) and, if they ask the team nicely, can enjoy some colouring with crayons.
Whether you want to organise a playdate, host a party, or simply enjoy some quality family time, Origami Kids Café is the perfect place to do it. Designed to be a safe, fun, and interactive play and dine environment for kids aged up to seven years old, this innovative space incorporates educational play, creative workshops, tasty bites, and beyond.
Mums and dads can kick back with a coffee or range of Chinese fusion dishes in the cosy dining area while their kids enjoy the mini kitchen, reading area, and sandpit in the indoor play zone. There is also a range of workshops on offer where little ones are given the space, tools, materials, and methods to let their imaginations run wild.
And, if the weather is good, they can venture up to the 23,000-square-metre rooftop park of Kai Tak Cruise Terminal and connect with nature in the great outdoors. The entry fee for two-hour sessions costs $138 on weekdays and $198 during weekends and public holidays, while babies under 12 months and adults are free of charge. There is also a $100 minimum food and beverage charge for accompanying adults.
Origami Kids Café, North End, Zone B, Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, 33 Shing Fung Road, Kowloon Bay | (+852) 6063 7470
Go-to Neapolitan pizzeria Motorino is already a popular spot for families, but there’s another reason for little diners to head there, as the Wan Chai branch now offers children’s pizza parties ($198 per person) where mini chefs can create their own masterpiece using the restaurant’s wide variety of traditional Italian toppings.
While the pies bake to charred perfection in the oven, mini guests are kept entertained with Motorino’s colouring book which teaches them about the culinary world, while sipping on free-flow soft drinks. There is also a sweet ending to the feast as housemade tiramisu cake is dished up to all party-goers afterwards.
And the best part? Motorino also offers adult pizza-making parties twice a month for $398 per person, which includes antipasti, free-flow wine and Prosecco, pizza, and a chef’s hat and apron. Sold!
Motorino, 15 Ship Street, Wan Chai, (+852) 2520 0690
Another popular Italian restaurant welcoming adults and kids is Fini’s, offering an amazing weekday kids happy hour deal whereby all kids under 12 years old eat for free from the children’s menu when an accompanying adult purchases an item from the à la carte menu. It features favourites such as mozzarella sticks, spaghetti and meatballs and mac and cheese, as well as playful dishes like tomato soup with mini grilled cheese sandwiches. Budding artists can request crayons and paper to keep themselves happily doodling away throughout the evening.
The ever-growing Stanley Plaza is the ideal place to take kids to blow off steam and enjoy a good feed. Scattered with numerous al fresco restaurants and cafes, there’s plenty to choose from in this spacious, pedestrian-only square. Among our favourite eateries are Classified and Beef & Liberty, which are dotted around the huge outdoor playground that features a fun pirate ship. Further along the waterfront are family favourites Pizza Express and The Pickled Pelican which serves hearty pub grub with a stunning view of the ocean and plenty of open space for kids and teens to skate, play, and walk their dogs. Perfect for a sunny day in Hong Kong.
Stanley Plaza, 23 Carmel Road, Stanley