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what is worth going to in brooklyn & is also child friendly?

live in queens, but rarely venture into Brooklyn..was interested in going to a nice spot for my birthday...but we've got an almost 2 year old toddler..so it's got to be a place that's friendly to tot's...and doesn't mind if they might get a little fussy during the meal....have read good things about Applewood (what is the atmosphere there like?)..and what is the price per person with one app, 2 entree's and dessert? Would like something sort of eclectic and prepared gourmet style......but not puny portions....am open to most cuisines---have no idea about areas, etc...Park Slope? Downtown Brooklyn? ....what would be nice to walk around afterwards?..thanks Brooklynites for some help!

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  1. I think that Al Di La in Park Slope would be a good place to go. Very good Italian food in a nice atmosphere. Sort of a Tuscan farmhouse feel; tiles, wood beams on the ceiling. Not cheap, but not hugely expensive either -- $35pp (that could be a bit off). I was there not very long ago and noted some kids. It's a laid back place and I don't think that people would freak out if a toddler fussed a bit. Check out the NY Times review. Afterwards, you could walk up 5th Avenue (it's at 248 5th Ave. at Carroll), or walk up to 7th Avenue and tool around there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: christej5

      Al di La might be OK, but keep in mind that they don't take reservations and the wait can be very long. I would think that w/a 2 year old, getting in and out quickly (or at least on a predictable timetable) would be v. important. If you do go there, arrive right when it opens. Not sure about Applewood. The owners have a baby whom they trot out occasionally, but even so, I don't think you'd feel comfortable w/the glares I'm pretty sure you'd get when the fussing ensued. The place is small and expensive. You don't see a lot of little kid patrons.

      1. re: christej5

        Al Di La is a wonderful place for dinner....for adults. It doesn't seem to be a good place for toddlers. The wait for a table is very long, with no place to sit down, and they take no reservations. The tables are close together.

      2. I would NOT reccommend taking a child to Applewood. Period. I say this as a parent whose kids have now grown.

        My mantra says...go to Chestnut on a Tues or a Weds for the 3 course $25 pre fixe, one of the best in Brooklyn. They'd be cool with a kid. Plus you can walk around Smith and Court streets after.

        1. Well Ill be interested in what people say but my reply would always be thats what babysitters are for, to enable the parents to have a nice relaxed dinner. A two year old is not going to give you that opportunity to sit an enjoy an upscale meal. And if you are sensivitve to other diners reactions it may be hard too. Ive graduated from that phase of life but its hard to forget.

          Amorina and Franny's are both nice, child-friendly upscale pizzerias with other food also - Frannys has a garden that families can go out in in summer

          Hopefully some of the other hounds with kids will have suggestions from their own experiences more recently than mine.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jen kalb

            I agree 100%. The kid will be unhappy, and you will be unable to properly enjoy your food.

          2. We've gotten pretty good at being to eat quicker, and enjoy our food, and teach our son how to behave properly in a restaurant. He is generally quite well behaved, and enjoys being in restauarants...I'm certainly not looking for a 4star dining experience with courses, etc...just a very good restaurant that has a delicate hand in the kitchen...we just returned from Miami and had several meals like this, and he behaved like a little gentleman....I understand your point though, for kids that are rowdy, and ruin other diners experience..we are very sensitive to this being older parents...and would take him outside if he was bothering fellow diners...

            1. If you think your child will behave then I'd say:

              Applewood on a Tuesday or Wednesday night. They're very understanding with kids and like them a lot. You did mention wanting larger portions though and Applewood's tend to be smaller. As far as cost, take a look at their website to get a sense of things. http://www.applewoodny.com

              Chestnut's $25 prix fixe on Tuesday and Wednesday is a great value.

              Convivium Osteria is also very understanding about toddlers -- they have a few of their own.

              1. Even though the owners of Applewood have two small kids that doesn't mean that Applewood is either kid-friendly or kid-appropriate for evening hours. In fact I can't ever remember seeing a kid in the many, many times I have eaten there on Tues, Wed, Thurs and Friday nights in the 7-9:30 PM time frame. They are very kid friendly/appropriate for Sunday brunches.

                If you can get in to Al Di La at opening time - 5:30 PM - and get in and out in a short time then that might work (that's where and at what time the owners of Saul go with their kid).

                Sette on 7th tolerates kids these days.

                3 Replies
                1. re: livetotravel

                  but is Sette worth the trip from Queens?

                  Chinatown or similar informal ethnic place (Brighton Beach Jackson Diner, etc) was always our destination when our kids were small. the food is served quickly, the servers were friendly to the kids and, most importantly, other family groups were there - family dining was part of the culture. That will not be the case in most places, in the evening, in downtown Brooklyn.

                  I agree that AlDiLa early might be a good solution - they have quick service. you can then get our and walk around - the 3rd street playground would be a stop nearby

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    Good point! Probably not since Amanda Freitag went to Gusto ;-)

                  2. re: livetotravel

                    You are absolutely right. We've been going to Applewood for several years--since Laura was still carrying her child in a sling--and were surprised to be treated rather harshly by the waiter when we brought our 7 year old back about a month ago (He's been before, which is why we thought to include him). It's their call, of course--though I still prefer the Italian approach to restauranting with bambini.

                  3. Sette is not worth any trip. The food is horrible. The hygiene (seeing this myself) questionable). 2nd Street cafe is very kid friendly but is very hit & miss with the food. I'm a Mr Falafel fan myself. I have seen children there, the service is good and amicable, the food very good and plentiful. The atmosphere is a bit cheesy but like I say the food and service is pretty good. It's on 7th Ave. between 3rd and 4th Street.

                    1. Another challenge you might face at Al Di La is finding something for your toddler to eat. The menu is great but I doubt it will accomodate your tot. On Applewood, I'd avoid with a child as well. The place has a real adult vibe in the evening. Maybe if you go very early?

                      I think you'd be a lot happier if you pick something a bit more casual. We were in Mary's Fish Camp early in the evening and many families were there. The fish is great and the vibe is relaxed. You wont have to worry if your kid spills something. Maybe also Cafe Carfocio on Court Street, which has pretty good Italian fare and is very roomy. We have done it several times with our son and it was great. (I may have the name spelled wrong.)

                      I think the best choice would be Blue Ribbon on Fifth Avenue. They've got excellent fresh fish on a very diverse menu that ranges from rack of lamb to burgers. It's very comfortable and family friendly.

                      1. Actually, bklyndiner brings up a point. I'm not a fan of Blue ribbon, however, Taro sushi seems to be a hit with kids. And Sano (the owner) definitely caters to them with what he has. You should go when he's there (Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday. Friday and Saturday) and make reservations for dinner. The place has become extremely popular.

                        1. Mary's Fish Camp is a smart idea (assuming you like fish.) Can't remember if they take reservations, but if not get there early. The downside of Mary's is that it's overpriced, but it does feel festive and you can definitely bring a kid, so maybe that's worth it.

                          I would not bother traveling to Brooklyn for Mr. Falafel or Taro (well maybe Taro if you're a sushi aficionado, but otherwide not)—they just aren't special-occasion-ish, if you ask me.

                          1. Why wouldn't Mr Falafel or Taro be for a special occasion? They both have excellent food and service. Mr Falafel is probably one of the best Egyptian places in Brooklyn if not the City and Taro Sushi has great kitchen food as well as some of the best sushi east of Japan. I'll take those two over Mary's anytime.

                            1. I would reccomend Diner in Williamsburg. I have taken my toddler there on many occasions. It's laid back and noisy enough that kids are fine. It's in an original dining car; hip atmosphere. It has a modern take on comfort/diner food. They always have fresh, seasonal specials. Their hangar steak with garlic mashed potatos is so good my husband has eaten two on them in one sitting!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jeangrand

                                Diner isn't exactly kid friendly, but it is very good.

                                I would recommend either Belleville or Tempo on 5th Ave. Both have the size and are kid friendly. If price is point - Belleville is probably best, but Tempo is not that much more expensive. Plus it's worth the trip from Queens and it seems to be a great place for a special occasion. Had my birthday there two years ago and have been going back ever since.

                                Also - if looking in Williamsburg, you could try Dumont, though I'm not sure about the kids.

                              2. How about family Italian red sauce? I'd suggest Frost, or even better, Cono and Sons O'Pescatore.

                                1. Could you let me know the neighborhood or street so I can search for contact info on these places..thanks..I am in Queens, and not familiar with Brooklyn...

                                  1. Sorry - getting back to you a little late, but Tempo is on 5th Ave. between Garfield and Carroll and Belleville is also on 5th Ave. on the corner of 5th St.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: evoo

                                      Also sorry about the delay. Frost and Cono & Son's are in Williamsburg. Frost, 193 Frost St. @ Humboldt; Cono 301 Graham off Grand St.