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Dining with kids

r
Robin Majumdar Sep 17, 1999 05:31 PM

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
begrudging.

Thanks in advance

Robin

  1. p
    Peter Sep 20, 1999 11:41 AM

    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

    Peter

    3 Replies
    1. re: Peter
      r
      Robin Majumdar Sep 21, 1999 04:00 PM

      I will be visiting some friends on the UWS so some
      ideas would be welcome.

      Thanks

      Robin

      1. re: Robin Majumdar
        p
        Peter Flom Sep 21, 1999 04:19 PM

        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
        diners.

        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
        fine.

        Hope this helps

        Peter

        1. re: Robin Majumdar
          h
          howler Oct 14, 1999 10:03 AM

          you aren't the same robin majumdar from goa - geeta's brother, are you?

      2. j
        jen kalb Sep 20, 1999 12:59 PM

        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
        wonderfully.
        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
        contact.
        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
        location.

        1. f
          Fay Sep 20, 1999 07:55 PM

          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.

          1. a
            algumby Sep 23, 1999 01:16 PM

            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.

            1 Reply
            1. re: algumby
              p
              Peter Flom Sep 23, 1999 03:47 PM

              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.

              Peter

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