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Photograph: Supplied | Gateway

Where to eat with kids this Vivid 2024

Head to this one-stop-shop dining precinct for all the family-friendly food options you can imagine

By Olivia Hart for Time Out in association with Vivid

One of the best parts of being a Sydneysider is watching the city come alive when Vivid rolls back into town. Exploring the streets on foot during this twinkly time can guarantee some life-lasting memories for the families, but little ones are likely to work up an appetite.

Take the stress out of dining by heading to the vibrant dining precinct Gateway in Circular Quay, where you’ll find family-friendly restaurants galore. Here are our top picks.  

Where to eat with kids this Vivid

For picky eaters, the mega Gateway Food Court is your best bet, with a line-up of crowd-pleasing eateries and takeaway joints to choose from. You’ll find quick grab-and-go options at Hero Sushi Express, Top Juice and Basax Korean Chicken; a place to settle in for a warming meal at Gozleme King, Mad Mex and Schnitz; and sweet treats from Gelato Messina, Four Frogs Crêperie and Chambers Fine Coffee. Trading hours are being extended over Vivid, so you can drop by any time from Wednesday to Sunday up until 10pm.

If you can handle the kids getting a bit messy, Hurricane’s Grill is the place to make short work of a hefty rack of ribs – they even offer a junior serving size. The menu features plenty of other barbecue-y meals covered in their signature basting sauce – which has been in the family for 29 years – including beef burgers, wings, chicken nuggets, as well as a Spicy Chicken Combo that’s making a special appearance for Vivid. You’ll find this steakhouse on level 2 of Gateway.

This Italian eatery has been leading the cheese charge around Sydney for a while, offering up a range of antipasti, pizzas (bottomless on Mondays) and silky pastas (which you can watch get tossed into a wheel of cheese on Wednesdays). The menu is shareable, with a classic-meets-contemporary feel, but there’s also a kid’s menu featuring some old faithfuls. Plus, for the duration of Vivid, Salt Meats Cheese’s flagship restaurant in Circular Quay is offering up all kids meals with a scoop of gelato and a kids-sized soft drink for $19.

Thai maestros Chat Thai have a legion of fans for a reason. Their authentic and tasty food comes at fair prices, they have swift service and a fast-paced family-friendly feel that won’t have you worrying about noise complaints. This Vivid, the team at Gateway’s Chat Thai have created a new beverage menu for the festival, including a show-stopping mocktail 'Saeng Ratri', which means colourful lights at night in Thai - it's made with organic seasonal fruit from Boon Luck Farm, including guava, lychee, longan, and passionfruit, mixed with butterfly pea and topped with honey foam and Davidson plum. To top it all off, Aussie icons including the Opera House, koalas and kangaroos are “painted” on the foam using plum powder. Fun!

On level one of Gateway you’ll find chicken wings, burgers, sports games from around the world and more than 40 beers on tap at this American-style diner. The menu includes eight varieties of wings, from classic to boneless, which you can smother in your sauce of choice – including Teriyaki, Texas BBQ, Chipotle and more. Grab the Spring Chicken Meal for children, which comes with five classic boneless wings, a side of fries and a soft drink for $12. Or opt for the Vivid Family Pack if you’ve brought your whole crew. You’ll get two burgers, two serves of fries, two soft drinks and two kids chicken meals with kids-sized soft drinks for just $70.

Four Frogs is the perfect Vivid pitstop for a post-dinner sweet treat or a savoury crêpe if you’re on the go. Run by four French friends who missed crêpes so much they opened their own shop dedicated to the art of wafer-thin pancakes, they’ve now got four shops under their belt. There's an extensive sweet and savoury kid’s menu with more than 11 different galettes and crêpes, so be sure to stop into the Gateway shop for a sugar hit.  

There’s no denying that Sydneysiders love a burger, and this classic burger shack has a round-up to rule them all. There’s a vintage vibe to the fit-out and a menu that caters to all crowds: vegos, vegans and those who just want a classic American cheeseburger on a soft milk bun. The kids are sorted with the Nippers menu, which comes with your choice of a small sized burger (chicken or beef), crispy chicken strips and a custard ice cream in chocolate or vanilla.

While most of Vivid is seen on foot, there’s one train you’ll want to stop at. The sushi bar Kokumai in Gateway offers up an ‘on the rail’ menu with rolls, sashimi, nigiri, salads and poke all delivered by the inhouse sushi train. If you’re after more than a quick bite, order from the special menu for dishes including deep fried eggplant miso, whole barbecue eel or the chef’s selection of sashimi.

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