Play With Your Food

The best kid-friendly Austin restaurants that parents will love too

The best kid-friendly Austin restaurants that parents will love too

Twisted Root Burger Co in Austin with putt putt course
Twisted Root Burger Co even has mini golf onsite. Twisted Root Burger Co Austin/Facebook

School's out for the summer, which leads many parents to start thinking about new spots to eat out with the kids. We've gathered a list of some of the best restaurants around town for families, where adults and children can have an equally good time.

These places make it easy for parents to chill, while keeping an eye on the kids (who will be kept busy by the cool stuff meant just for them). Whether you discover a new favorite or remember a restaurant you haven't been to in a while, these places make family time easy — and fun.

Austin's Pizza
The Westlake location of this local chain has a really great playground — and a big plus is that it's BYOB. Folks with young kids regularly meet here for happy hour or dinner. The pizza is pretty good too.

Central Market
This is a stand-by for families. There is a cafe; plenty of outdoor seating on the deck, upstairs, and yard areas; and a large playground. You can also buy beverages inside the store for grocery (not restaurant) prices, do some shopping while you're there, and enjoy live music several nights a week. Central Market also puts on a lot of community events, many aimed for children.

El Mercado
The south location of this longtime Tex-Mex favorite has a "hidden" playground out back that many people don't know about, complete with a fort and slides. The outdoor space is nice (and dog-friendly), and they also have live music pretty much every evening. 

Mandola's Italian Market
This casual restaurant at the Triangle is a go-to family spot, with a playscape and lots of outdoor seating. Kids also get a free gelato, and Mandola's offers prepared Italian comfort food, plus a small grocery market with a nice selection.

Midway Food Park
This large food trailer park has a lot of offerings, from Dock & Roll seafood and Taconmaye Mexican food to Revolution vegan barbecue. There is a huge playground onsite, plenty of tables with umbrellas, a fire pit, and frequent live music. Oh, and did we mention the Cheesecake Experience truck? Yum.

Napa Flats
The West Austin location of this pizza joint has a playscape and a fun additional benefit for kids: they are given dough and can make their own personal pizzas. If you have a picky eater, allowing them to help cook works magic. 

North by Northwest Restaurant & Brewery
The newer south location of this brewpub, next to the Alamo Drafthouse on Slaughter Lane, recently added a full playscape for kids. With their own German-style beer and food that's above-average for a brewery/restaurant, this is a good option for combining dinner and a movie (if you don't want to eat at the Drafthouse) or just a night out. Frequent live bands and other events are on the calendar as well.

Phil’s Ice House
Could there be a better combination for kids than burgers and ice cream? All three Phil's locations are next door to Amy's Ice Creams and feature full playgrounds. One caveat worth mentioning is that Phil's does not offer an actual kid's burger or meal, but everything can be made to order. They make up for it, however, with "Parent's Recess," a daily happy hour on beer and wine from 3 to 5:30 pm.

Rebel Pizza Bar
This fun spot in North Central Austin is located above Suzi's Chinese Kitchen and has a second-story covered patio with a play area and bocce ball. The wood-fired pizza is great (available by the pie or the slice), and there is pasta on the menu too. A full bar and local brews will keep the adults refreshed, and there are early (4 to 6 pm) and late (9 pm to close) happy hours daily. 

Twisted Root Burger Co.
The family draw at this Burnet Road burger spot is the mini-golf course onsite. But the burgers are also seriously gourmet and delicious, with a specialty in exotic meats including venison, elk, ostrich, boar, and even camel at times. Vegetarians won't go hungry either, with a house-made chickpea patty. 

Many other restaurants around town have a playground or playscape area:

  • Fresa's on South First Street
  • Flores Mexican Restaurant on William Cannon Drive
  • Silver Grill Cafe on Parmer Lane
  • Nutty Brown Cafe
  • Ski Shores Cafe 
  • Torchy's Tacos Anderson Mill
  • Doc's Backyard
  • Hat Creek Burgers
  • Casa de Luz (playground open after 6 pm)