Thanks for all your comments and suggestions on kid friendly restaurants. Reading them, it seemed obvious that rather than letting these great ideas languish in the land of comments, we create a readers' guide to kid friendly restaurants around the world.
So here goes with the first installment. I've listed them alphabetically and geographically.
Keep em coming and, in the meantime, I'll devise some better structured way to run this on-going feature on Gastrokid.
Vespaio in Austin is a fine dining destination that is very accomodating to small children. They were very gracious and very wonderful to our four-year-old. They had no problem fixing her a bowl of plain spaghetti, and made sure to serve the adults at the table in a prompt but not rushed manner - acknowledging that we did not want to linger overly long, but never making us feel unwelcome or hurried.
Vespaio also has a small cafe next door that offers a wonderful assortment of interesting Italian "tapas" as well as pizza, etc. We went there the night after dining in the main restaurant and quickly realized that our child was over-tired and we should not have gone out. The waitress was completely understanding and gracious and boxed our meal so that we could take the rest of our dinner back to the hotel. Sure, most restaurants will do that. What we will remember was that, rather than being annoyed at us, the wait staff were truly kind and sympathetic and assured us that they hoped we would bring our child back another night.
Bay Area, CA
In the SF bay area there is a restaurant called Chow's which is very kid friendly. Excellent organic food with a very relaxed atmosphere. Upscale funky. Local artists on the walls. Kids menu and coloring stuff. We are usually at the location in Lafayette in the East Bay but there is also one in SF.
Posted by: susan
I'm not surprised by the dearth of Boston postings; our best bets tend to be mega-menued chain restaurants (that said, The Cheesecake Factory has enough selection to please even the pickiest eaters). For a change of pace, we head up to Somerville for live jazz brunch at Johnny D's Uptown Restaurant. The music club vibe will make you pine for your (probably long-gone) late-night, live-music days, and the food is fantastic. Baby and I can enjoy their creamy dress-your own oatmeal -- his plain, mine with brown sugar and maple. My 3 year-old loves the huge, fluffy pancakes and has been known to eat more of my husband's huge omelettes than their intended recipient! The bloody marys own up to their "famous" status, and there's yummy hot chocolate and fresh juice for the young'uns.
We live in brooklyn and have a 6 yr old and a 3 yr old. brooklyn may be one of the kid-friendliest places on earth that doesn't want to make you want to barf. Most restaurants are very kid friendly - even the fine dining ones (though for those you should go on the early side).
A few that come to mind -
Belleville in Park Slope - solid french bistro food, kids eat free on thursdays
Bar-B-Q in Greenwood Heights - Bar that serves good BBQ and smoked meats, good sides like mac and cheese, baked beans, potato salad, collards - my daughter loves their ribsd and mac and cheese, but they also have a $1.50 peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the menu for picky kids.
The Chip Shop - there are 2 locations one in Park Slope one in Boerum Hill- it's basically a fish and chips place, but well done. though they serve other English pub food as well - good beers, etc. They have kids portions
Song - park slope - a hip thai restaurant, my 6 year old daughter favorite restaurant of all time. It's roomy and they have a dj spinning tunes. They food is really good and there is a little stone bar where the kids can sit and watch the thai chefs cook on the line - both of my kids think this is fascinating
Bubby's in DUMBO - huge space, huge menu - all standard american fare but everything is made in house from the hamburger buns to the mustard to the pies. lots of things kids love and there is a big park right outside to run around in after you eat (or before if you want to tire them out)
that's just a few, there are really so many more here in brooklyn - where all manhattanites come to breed.
Posted by: amy
Brixx Wood-Fired Pizza with several locations.
Owned by local businessmen with kids - a kid-friendly place that adults can appreciate too. Great servers who understand and like kids and remember all the extras: crayons and kids menu with good healthy food, cups with lids, actually glad to see your children. And for the grownups, lots of wine by the glass, ice cold microbrews on tap and very good food from brick oven pizzas to pastas and salads. They always make me feel welcome even with a pile of kids.
Posted by: Jennifer Horsley
Jamesport, Long Island, NY
There is a GREAT small town restaurant called the JAMESPORT COUNTRY KITCHEN where they serve "homemade" fresh, local fare. On our most recent outting B adored the spinich & ricotta ravioli in a pesto & the waitstaff was thrilled! This restaurant is in no way a "kid" restaurant but they make you feel wanted when you have a child & pay special attention to their little guests.
Long Island & Westchester, NY
I love the Jamesport Country Kitchen (amazed to find it on a web site) but must warn parents it is VERY small and tables don't always turn quickly, so be prepared for a wait sometimes. That said, the food is amazing, especially the soups, made with fresh LI ingredients.
I also find most Italian-red-sauce-type places to be kid friendly - there's a bunch in Westchester county where I live, including Pastina's in Hartsdale and Bastone's in New Rochelle. I have a child with allergies, and they do a great job of identifying ingredients and helping to make sure we stay safe.
Posted by: Ellen
Los Angeles, CA
We love John O'Groats in Los Angeles for any kind of breakfast experience.
Their pumpkin pancakes, applesauce pancakes, lemon curd pancakes (suspect a trend?) are awesome.
I love their vegetarian hash (sans apples) with a side of bacon. the husband usually gets corn beef hash or steel cut oatmeal.
Their biscuits are divine.
The ambiance is noisy and fun- weekend mornings are kid central- if you get there after nine, it's best to call ahead and get your name on the list (owner Paul is obliging.) free coffee for people waiting on the sidewalk.
Posted by: Lisa
Los Angeles has some great places for families to eat. My favorite is a local restaurant in the Pacific Palisades called Pearl Dragon. We've been taking my daughter there since she was a baby. Now she's 3 and is a regular at the sushi bar. The chefs love to impress her. She loves to watch them make the rolls and she loves eating the sliced ginger, edamame, mandarin oranges and california rolls. The place is full of families with kids of all ages until 7pm when more adults and couples come to enjoy the great food. Another Palisades favorite is Beech Street Cafe-- the thin pizza is to die for and they offer crayons and cool cups with lids for the kids. The kids menu also has chicken breast and vegetables on it, along with pizza and pasta. Just one more mention-- I could go on and on.... Urth Cafe (there are a few in LA). Very healthy fare, great food and coffees and it's easy to make a quick exit with a screaming kid if you need to because you order and pay when you walk in and they bring the food out to you (very quickly).
Posted by: Dawn
Here in Memphis, one of our favorite places is Soul Fish Cafe, in the funky Cooper-Young neighborhood. They're happy to make adjustments to your kids taste, but the fried catfish nuggets, fresh veggies and sea-themed coloring menus might make that unnecessary. Check out the cool fishing lures in the bar in the back.
Posted by: The Diva
Portland has THE best family friendly restaurants in the world, hands down. I write a local Family Friendly blog (http://familyfriendly.blogs.www.oregonlive.com) and run a mamapreneur organization and am admittedly super picky about reportedly "family friendly" restaurants.
Some of my favorites:
PB & Ellie's Cafe - featured in national mags and the Food Network, this restaurant is owned by a local mom and caters to both kids and parents. Fun menu that is full of organic, locally produced food with creative names and adorable presentation to make the food appealing to kids, a train table with tons of trains and puzzles, a chalkboard wall, books, nursing nook, etc. The decor is decidely kid-appealing but the atmosphere is mom-approved :)
Laurelwood Brewpubs - We Portlanders LOVE our microbrews and these brewpubs offer awesome traditional yet slightly upscale pub food plus they have a kids play area. Their kids menu has a lot of offerings and the servers are used to serving beer with kids running a foot. Great place to meet friends with kids and pretend you are still hip and have a life.
Sip & Kranz - ultra modern decor in the main vast space is joined by a separate, large, uber hip & stylishly decorated kid friendly play space. LOTS of room for kids to play on comfy carpeting. Great coffee and pastries. Free Wi-Fi for us parents who have mobile offices. I have almost all of my meetings here and my son hangs out in the play space where I can keep an eye on him easily, or he just sits in one of the large super cool chairs next to me and reads.
Each place has its ups and downs but they all rock in their own family friendly way. Cheers!
Posted by: Marlynn
San Francisco, CA
Our neighborhood restaurant Chenery Park, in San Francisco, has Kids Night every Tuesday. We often run into neighbors, but families from across the city come here on Tuesdays because they are so welcoming. They have a special kids menu, and of course crayons and a placemat to color.
When you call to make a reservation on a Tuesday, they let you know that it's Kids Night, and discourage you from coming that night if you're not comfortable being around kids. It's nice knowing that the other diners knew what they were getting into if your baby is fussing a bit or your toddler is running laps around the tables.
Oh, and the food is really good, too!
Posted by: Jill
My favorite kids menu is at Cutters Bayhouse in the famous Pike Place Market in Seattle WA. My kids love getting their kids' sized portion of wild salmon and seasonal veggies.
Posted by: Audra
I own a restaurant in Geneva switzerland and I think it will fit as child friendly .... I let you check it out for yourself:
Posted by: Audrey
There are some kid friendly/baby friendly restaurants here in Taipei, Taiwan- such as most of the American restaurants like Chili's or Macaroni Grill. I try to note if the restaurant is especially baby/kid friendly or not on my food blog
looking forward to checking out the kid friendly places in LA
Posted by: joanh
in downtown tokyo
Shibuya Tokyo 150-0001
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