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Looking for kid-friendly Boston dining

We are coming to town next weekend with our 7 year old daughter and would like to try some of Boston's best Italian and casual seafood eateries. Any suggestions on places we could go that are family-friendly, but not your run of the mill and no chain eateries? We are staying at the Hyatt in Cambridge and would like to find things in easy walking distance or public transportation. Thanks for your suggestions!

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  1. As far as walking and public transport go, the Hyatt in Cambridge is a tough location. A search on Hyatt will turn up a few threads like this one http://www.chowhound.com/topics/331724 but you're probably looking at a cab ride to most places, or a good hard look at the bus schedule ( http://mbta.com/rider_tools/servicene... ).

    As for kid friendly, outside of bars and clubs, and the fanciest of jacket and tie places, most restaurants are quite friendly for a well-behaved 7 year old. You know your daughter best, obviously, but I'd suggest going to dinner a little earlier than you might otherwise to avoid the rush and keep her from getting cranky. Other than that, go wherever.

    For classic Boston Italian, search the board for "North End" and you'll find a wealth of recommendations; it's one of the most discussed topics here. In Cambridge, I'd suggest Dolphin seafood between Central and Harvard Squares for seafood, and Cambridge One in Harvard Square for an interesting (and very kid friendly) take on pizza.

    One of the great strengths of Boston is the multitude of ethnic options. In particular, I'd suggest searching the board for "lusophone" to turn up Portuguese and Brazilian options, particularly around Inman Square in Cambridge. Also down toward the Hyatt, but still a long walk, cafe Baraka is fun and exotic North African with a super-friendly owner/hostess, if your daughter would be up for it.

    If you have any more specific questions, for example: is restaurant X OK with kids, we'd be happy to help. Browse around the boards a bit and throw out some ideas...

    Have fun in Boston!

    2 Replies
    1. re: DavisSquare

      I agree that your hotel location isn't the closest to easiest public transit. If you can get to the T, however, I think your daughter would probably enjoy the Barking Crab, which is in the Fort Point area of Boston. Think casual clam shack, only in the city.

      1. re: DavisSquare

        Thanks for the great ideas! We look forward to exploring some new fun places on our trip.

      2. I used to work next door to the Hyatt and there is nowhere within easy walking distance. Your best bet is to walk over the BU Bridge, which is across the street from the hotel, to Commonwealth Ave, and take the B line train into town- it runs down the middle of the street. A short distance is Kenmore Square- the first under ground stop. The Red Sox aren't in town so this will be a breeze. There are lots of good child friendly restaurants and lunch places around the ball park The Hotel Commonwealth is right at the T exit and they are family friendly. Look on this board for a zillion recs for Eastern Standard Kitchen and Great Bay, a seafood restaurant, both in the hotel
        Fenway Park has tours if your 7 year old is a baseball fan and there is a new Taco place across from Fenway called La Verdad that is big on this board. And your 7 year old might like Jillian's next door to La Verdad- it's full of video games.
        If you don't get off at Kenmore Square you will continue on to Copley Square (Back Bay and Newbury St,) Boylston (Chinatown) and Govermant Center (Faneuil Hall and the North End). I'm sure you'll be getting loads of posts about these areas. Have a great weekend.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ginnyhw

          Thanks for the transportation tips - have been trying to figure out the easiest way to get around and now we know!

          1. re: ginnyhw

            Just to clarify: Easteran Standard does have a zillion recs on this board, but Great Bay has quite a bit fewer. ;-)

            Also, the Hyatt's a decent hotel chain. I would not be surprised if they offer a shuttle service to, at least, the Red line subway line, which would connect you to downtown and Harvard Square. In fact, they probably have a shuttle into town itself.

            Walking over the BU bridge to catch the B line with a 7 year old... that might be fun once -- "ooo look, a bridge" -- but that's not the most pleasant walk, really, as there is a lot of traffic. Look into shuttle service!

            All of the Chinatown places are family friendly, especially dim sum.

          2. A short cab ride to Brighton Avenue will take you to Carlo's Cucina, a favorite on this board and with a great ratio of quality to price. Our 7 year old is a big fan. Just go early on Saturday to avoid the wait.

            2 Replies
            1. re: GaryK

              What kind of food does Carlo's Cucina have - can't tell if it's Italian or Mexican (and we love both). How early is early for Boston?

              1. re: atlantachowhound

                It's Italian. You can see the menu here http://boston.menupages.com/restauran.... Early is probably 6-6:30.

            2. I would recommend Antico Forno in the North End, but you'd probably have to take a cab. We go there with our 1-year-old daughter frequently, it's very family friendly, and the food is good.

              1. I am the father of a 7-year-old and cannot think of a single restaurant in Boston that I like to go to but that I wouldn't bring her to. Our favorites include East Coast Grill (seafood and barbecue), B&G Oysters (seafood; I haven't taken her to Neptune Oyster Bar, but that would be another good choice), Solea (tapas), and Mr. Bartley's (burgers). She also has been to, and enjoyed, some of Boston's finer restaurants like Mistral and No. 9 Park. So peruse the board, pick out the places that sound best to you, and go.

                1. A 7 year old will do fine at any of the North End eateries and all of the casual seafood places. You happen to be staying at one of the few hotels in the area that is not convenient to public transportation (any chance you can change the hotel?) so unless you're willing to do a bit of a walk to get to the T you're going to have to take a cab. At any rate, try Neptune in the North end for seafood and search the board for other N. End Italian options. Everyone has their favorites and none of the restaurants in that neighborhood are chains. Also, if you are so inclined, the Paul Revere House (great tours) and Old North Church and Graveyard are in the N. End too. Give her a little leg up in Social Studies for the fall (sorry, I'm a teacher, can't help it). No matter where you go, stop at a N. End pastry shop for some cannoli or gelato after. There are plenty of places, Mike's being the most famous and Modern being a board favorite. You really can't go too wrong with any of them. Have fun and welcome to Beantown!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tomaneng

                    One of the reasons why we are bringing her (husband has conference, so we are stuck with hotel) is so she has a basis to plug in info that she learns about American history. Seems that it becomes much easier to learn when you know it is an actual place with real people, instead of just pages in a book. Thanks for the info!

                  2. You've gotten some great rec's but I'll suggest Pizzeria Regina in the North end as a great place to take your kid.
                    Old school pizza place you probably don't see in ATL.
                    Best pizza in Boston and I'll assume your 7 yo likes pizza. I think it's a requirement at that age.
                    Also, the Hyatt has a shuttle bus so I'm sure they'll get you to the T or even further.
                    BTW, the Hyatt may be a little inconvenient for restaurants but it's a beautiful spot on the river. I wouldn't consider changing hotels.
                    Easy walking, not so much, but scenic and pleasant is almost guaranteed, barring a heat wave.
                    BTW, the walk over the BU bridge to the Green Line is probably 15 mins tops and you can't beat the view.
                    For casual and kid friendly seafood I'd recommend one of the clam joints at Wollaston Beach. (Wollaston stop in Quincy on the Red Line)
                    Great fried clams and a view of the city and the harbor.
                    For burgers and fries, etc I'll add Sullivan's at Castle Island in South Boston.
                    Beach burger fare with another great view that includes planes coming in low for appaoch to the airport.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: joestrummer

                      Those are great recs joestrummer! Thanks!