Dining with kids
- Robin Majumdar
I'd be grateful for any suggestions for restaurants
where I can have dinner with a small baby without too
many raised eyebrows. I like all cuisines (as long as
the cooking is good) and money isn't a consideration.
Location - Midtown down to SoHo.
I have already visited and enjoyed places like
Gramercy Tavern, Tabla, Gotham Bar and Grill but could
I take a small child there?
Also, what is the general reaction to children in
restaurants in Manhattan ? Here in London apart from
Italian and Chinese the reception is generally
Thanks in advance
Dining with kids in Manhattan varies greatly depending
on the restaurant.
The top (like the places you named in your
post) restaurants are, I think, not too welcoming to
babies and kids. But there are MANY places which are.
I don't know the midtown/downtown kid friendly places
too well, since I live on the upper west side. In
general, though, I think the reaction to kids is
inverse to the cost of the meal.
If you'd like some recommendations on the upper west
side, let me know
re: Robin Majumdar
OK, on the upper west side we have
Boulevard, 88th and Bway: The food isn't great, but
it's not bad. It's INCREDIBLY kid friendly. Sometimes
there are no tables without kids.
Farfalle: 93rd and Columbus. A nice Italian
neighborhood place. We've been going there about once
a week since our kid (who's now 3) was a tiny baby.
Really friendly people. Stick with the more basic
pastas and you'll do great. Tell them Gabriel's
parents recommended it.
Diner 66: 9th ave., around 53rd. Only been there once.
A glorified diner, but much better food than most
Time Cafe: Bway and 85th. A bit pricier than the
other spots (entrees around $15- $20, mostly). If you
go early (which you'll probably want to do with a baby,
anyway) it's quite baby-friendly. Later on, it's a
yuppie type place, and can get loud.
Fred's. Amsterdam and 83rd, I think. Another nice
neighborhood place. Very friendly staff. Food is
Hope this helps
My advice is to stick to the simple places as in
London if you must bring your baby along to meals.
Babies are no better accepted in formal restaurants
here than in London. I personally don't think that a
deprivation; there are so many wonderful, informal
places, from chinatown on, that you will eat
In a more formal restaurant (including those you
mentioned) you will not be able to enjoy your meals
(the serving timetable is just not geared to the needs
of an infant) and the other patrons will be disturbed.
I suggest that if you want to explore the more deluxe
category of restaurants, that you find a babysitter.
Possibly your hotel staff or local friends can refer
you; if not, there are services, including the Barnard
College babysitting service that you may wish to
If you must go to a formal restaurant, go someplace
relatively empty and quiet, not loud and stimulating;
go at off hours and ask for seats in a remote
I think you'd do best at the less formal places in
neighborhoods where there are lots of families,
relatively speaking - like Tribeca and Soho. We had a
great meal at the Screening Room in Tribeca a few
months ago with three very rowdy children in tow, and
everyone was extremely gracious. We did, however, go
early, when the restaurant was nearly empty --
which is probably the best time to go with kids, unless
you can wait until your baby is asleep in the stroller
and then hope s/he doesn't wake up! I've been told that
Patria is very child-friendly, and I'd imagine that a
place like Zoe or Aquagrill would be, too. As for
Gotham, I recall it being so big and noisy that I can't
imagine anyone being bothered by a small child.
By the way, I have cousins who have been taking their
daughter to all of the top restaurants, including
ultra-fancy places like La Cote Basque, Daniel,
Aureole, La Grenouille etc., since she was an infant,
and they've never reported any problems. In fact, this
kid's favorite restaurant is Daniel! (Mine prefer
McDonalds). They always go very early, though.
I have a 2 1/2 yr old daughter who we have taken with
us to nice places since 5 months and have never had a
problem. Although female staff seem to find children
less burdensome that males, usually nobody will take
offense unless the child becomes a nuisance. I have
seen children under 5 at Daniel and Cafe Boulud among
other top places (actually a woman was holding an
infant during her meal at the Cafe)and the staff was
very cordial to these people. My last visit to Daniel I
sat next to a large party with 4 little girls, probably
ranging from 3-8. They were given Shirley Temples from
the bar, got forkfuls of food to try from the adults,
and all had their own desserts. From what I could
gather, these kids were having a good time and I was
not the least bit uncomfortable sitting at an adjacent
table. Of course, outside of some giggling, they were
all very well behaved. I think if you get your kids
used to it, they will behave appropriately. If your
small child has never dined out before, however, it's
probably not a good idea to break him/her in during
dinner service at Le Bernardin. If junior is used to
sitting in normal chairs as opposed to boosters or high
chairs and doesn't have a penchant for Ringo
impersonations with the silverware, I see no reason not
to bring them out with you unless the goal of dinner is
to get some private time with the spouse. One thing of
note is that most of the smaller children I have ever
seen at a nice place were there during lunch. Less
chance for them to get cranky and act up, I guess.
Well, since this thread seems to be taking off, I
thought I'd add to the brew by recommending what to
BRING to restaurants with your kid
Our son's favorite is MagnaDoodle. This is a great
toy. It's quiet. It's portable. It provides endless
fascination. It's hard to drop, and won't roll.
And NO, I don't work for the company.
Also good....Bring lots of paper and crayons.
If you go to the restaurant alone, or know someone who
will, ask them to check the bathrooms for changing
facilities, if kid is in diaper.