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Ahh, school holidays! Margaret River is a great place to bring the family for a proper holiday checking out the forest, beach and wineries. We've listed some of our favourite family-friendly cafes in Margaret River including two awesome new places in the heart of town.
Despite being a chef, I love cooking while on holidays, and on rainy days (like today) we love cooking up a storm, and fresh pasta with meatballs is one of our favourites. I make this dish with my girls in the holidays…. and leave mum to clean the kitchen! It’s loads of fun, super simple, and delicious too. Fresh pasta beats shop stuff hands down, and these meatballs will be the best you’ve tasted.
So don your aprons and have some fun in the kitchen with your girls.
Chef, GM – Quality Inn Margaret River
PS – keep reading for 5 awesome kid-friendly cafes in Margaret River
Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl with a dough hook and leave it to mix for about 5 minutes to mix thoroughly. Alternatively, get squishing with your hands and mix really well.
Portion and roll the meatballs about 50g, pan fry and then add the Napolitano sauce to the pan.
Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce slightly and thicken then serve.
I like to add the Napolitano sauce to the meatballs so the sauce absorbs the pans flavours.
Place both ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you have a bread crumb consistency. If you think you need to add more flour to make sure it’s a bread crumb / crumble consistency.
Tip out the ingredients onto a counter and begin kneading to work the gluten. Keep going till your dough is 1 nice ball of pasta dough. Flour the ball to make it easier to manage
Roll out the pasta with a pasta roller if you have or by hand with a rolling pin and then cut thin strips and boil it in some salted water.
Drain the pasta, pour over some olive oil, then bring your meatballs and sauce back to the boil and place it on the pasta.
It’s a delicate balancing act – teaching our kids restaurant manners and enjoying a lovely weekend brunch with family. We are so keen to pass on our love of food and dining, yet we want to pick the kind of cafes and restaurants where kids can be themselves and find something on the menu they’ll enjoy.
Here’s some of favourite family friendly cafes old and new – places you’ll find understanding staff should your youngsters pull off a show-stopping tantrum, and chefs who do pasta, pizza and other kid-friendly food so well!
There’s plenty more great options in the region, so ask us at reception if you’re after other suggestions – from the best coffee shops to upmarket wineries, we have you covered.
This authentic Italian gem has been touted as “the best pizza in the south west” and we believe them. It just opened early in 2018 and sits next to another awesome Italian joint, La Scarpetta.
The pizzas are cooked in a wood fired oven and have a lovely crust. Try the chargrilled meats too, and beautiful vegetables and side salads. Kids will find something they love, and the vibrant, bustling atmosphere is perfect for a family.
Pizzica. 73 Bussell Highway, Margaret River. T: 9758 7361. Bookings essential.
Another awesome addition to the Margies casual dining scene! Burger Baby is a family friendly burger joint on the main strip of town with a terrific wine and craft beer list, as well as awesome burgers.
We love the Pork Belly Burger. Our girls devour their kids burger knowing that some wicked desserts await – ‘chocolate business’ or a lamington burger to share.
Burger Baby. Open 7 days 2pm-9pm. Shop 1/115 Bussell Highway, Margaret River. T: 9757 9991.
Probably our favourite Saturday morning breakfast, the farmers market opens at 8am during autumn/winter and there’s a whole host of tasty brekkie options.
Ma La dumplings are silken mouthfuls of deliciousness. Jill James tarts are made with home made pastry and luscious filings like duck, asparagus or caramelised onion. Amazing! There’s often a bacon and egg burger stall fundraising for the local school, perfect hangover cure.
But what do our kids love best? Sweet treats, of course. Margaret River Bakery has various Danishes and croissants, plus a huge granola, yoghurt and raspberry cup. One of each, thanks Dad. Their other favourite is Claudio Biscotti’s stall, where they can get a mixed bag of biscuits for $10. Sugar-tastic and authentically Italian.
Finally, we always stop at the Uralba Olives stall where our oldest tastes all the olives. Thankfully she’s developing a taste for some savoury flavours!
Margaret River Farmers Market. Open Saturday 8am-12pm. Lot 272 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River
I must admit we don’t make it to Boranup Café as often as I’d like, but it’s awesome to get there and breathe in the fresh air and watch the kids play giant chess and climb the trees. We usually stop in for lunch after a trip to Lake Cave or a walk through Boranup Karri Forest.
It’s one of the most welcoming family friendly cafes; there’s a simple outdoor play space, and breastfeeding is welcome.
Food is generous and delicious. They’ve got yummy cakes and scones, and terrific home made lunches.
Burgers or fish and chips for the girls, and something lighter for us such as the smashed avocado with pumpkin on sourdough.
You’ll find Cafe Boranup tucked in the forest next to a great little art gallery, which is worth exploring too.
Café Boranup. Open daily 8am-4pm. 7981 Caves Road, Forest Grove, Margaret River. T: 9757 7279.
Photo: Goanna Cafe (above)
One of our favourites, but note it’s close to Dunsborough, so allow 30 minutes’ drive from Margaret River. Goanna Café is owned by two talented chefs who met while cooking at a Michelin-starred restaurant in London. They wanted a sea change and ended up with this down to earth café set in Australian bushland near the beautiful beaches and wineries.
Food is excellent – as you’d expect from chefs of this calibre. They are open for breakfast and lunch; our kids love their Indo Rice which is a little spicy but totally addictive. I’m fond of their lunches just because they’re a big more creative.
There’s an outdoor play area perfect for little kids, and I believe they’ve just got a new cubby. You can take a short walk through the bush after your meal – it’s rather spectacular.
Goanna Café. Open Wednesday to Monday 8.30am-4pm. T: 9759 1477. Bookings recommended.
Yep, our own in-house restaurant Willow Grill is one of the most child-friendly dining options out there! Fussy eaters are welcome - we do an excellent plain pasta or soy rice. Tantrums - we won't bat an eyelid.
We're open for breakfast and dinner 7 days a week, and we even have a Kids Eat Free deal at the moment.
Mum and Dad - you'll love our menu and drinks list, and your hotel room is just a short walk 'home' from the restaurant.
We’d love to have you stay during the school holidays!
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