If you’ve got kids, family-friendly restaurants and cafes are always at the top of your mind when planning a getaway.
So here’s our guide to some of the best places to eat out with youngsters in Ballarat….
18 Armstrong Street North, Ballarat
Bakeries are always a crowd-pleaser but you can step it up a notch at artisan bakery 1816 Bakehouse.
Think housemade pastries, handmade pies, freshly-filled sandwiches and sourdough bread.
14 Armstrong Street North, Ballarat
Right next door to 1816 is The Forge Pizzeria, where you can have your dinner with a side of theatre.
Watch the pizza makers in action as they toss the dough, whip up gourmet masterpieces and then cook them in the restaurant’s wood fire oven.
Your little ones will love the kids-size bolognese and napoli pastas along with the Hawaiian and margherita pizzas.
Just make sure you all save some room for the Nutella and strawberry pizza, and zeppole (mini doughnuts)!
102 Stawell St South, Ballarat
Located within the Eureka Centre, Eureka Stockade Memorial Park
Lilly’s at Eureka is flanked by an outdoor playground, a pool open in the summer months, and plenty of green space for running and tumbling.
The menu at Lilly’s was curated by a lollymaker, so brunch is destined to be delicious and quirky. In a fun throwback to the area’s mining heritage, the Goldmine Pancakes come dusted in ‘gold’ flakes and with a side of chocolate ‘dirt’, giving little ones the chance to fossick for some hidden gems.
3 McKenzie Street, Ballarat
Without a doubt, Ballarat’s most popular dish for kids would have to be Hydrant Food Hall‘s rainbow pancakes with fresh fruit, mini marshmallows and maple syrup.
And for the child who can never decide what they want, there’s the kids’ breakfast board, complete with ham and cheese mini croissant, yoghurt, fresh fruit and orange juice.
But this laneway cafe isn’t just doing it for the kids!
Grown-ups can take their pick from all-day breakfast offerings including banana bread waffles, chilaquiles, prosciutto toast and The Hydrant 4.0 (smashed avocado, target beetroot, creamy carrot puree, celeriac remoulade, grilled asparagus, beetroot, cucumber, ancient grain mix, edamame, fried carrot strips, pistachio and sourdough).
152 Eureka Street, Ballarat
For authentic Italian cuisine that gets Nonna’s tick of approval, make a beeline for Carboni’s.
Ballarat’s little Italy is renowned for its artisan wood-fired pizzas, fresh pasta dishes, antipasti, seafood and delicious desserts.
And pop in to the adjoining Carboni’s Next Door to stock up on pastries, gourmet panini, homemade sauces, cured meats and more.
22 Wendouree Parade, Ballarat
Located on the shores of Lake Wendouree is The Lake View Hotel.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this historic hotel has a bumper kids’ menu with everything from the classic chicken nuggets and chips through to calamari and steak.
And here’s our hot tip – visit weekdays between 3.30pm and 5pm for loads of half price food and drinks during the School’s Out happy hour.
639 Main Road, Ballarat
Its extensive menu includes everything from pizza and pasta to salads and traditional pub classics plus a huge range of gluten-free options.
Every kids’ meal includes a soft drink and ice cream, while Kid’s Planet – the hotel’s huge indoor playground – has to be seen to be believed!
2 Grenville Street South, Ballarat
The Pancake Kitchen has been a Ballarat institution for more than 40 years.
Located in an historic 1860s bluestone building, this family-favourite serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner options plus everything in between.
Sweet and savoury dishes for the kids include The Cheshire Chicken Tenders (chicken tenders served on a potato pancake with cottage-fried potatoes and a dollop of tomato sauce) and Alice’s Wonderland Surprise (a pancake topped with ice cream, hot chocolate fudge and 100’s & 1000’s).
223 Eureka Street, Ballarat
The Little Cupcake describes itself as being little by name and little by nature.
Its super adorable cupcakes are about “3-5 bites big” and are made from scratch using local ingredients.
Choose from 12 varieties of cupcakes in store every day, along with a small range of gluten-friendly and vegan cupcakes available.
217 Sturt Street, Ballarat
Who could possibly resist a visit to Il Piccolo Gelato, with up to 24 flavours available daily from a range of more than 100 flavours.
This artisan gelato is made daily using fresh milk, no artificial ingredients, colours or flavours. And why not try the sorbetto for a dairy-free and vegan option?
Il Piccolo can be found just metres from the Ballarat Town Hall in the city’s main street.