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Jul 14, 2007 05:59 AM

Non-corporate basic kid-friendly restaurant?

Preferably a place that serves cocktails. They have to at least offer wine and beer.
We need a good place for those nights when I don't want to cook, but we don't want to eat anything fancy.

Husband had a gift card so last night we ended up at Macaroni Grill. It's so corporate it made my teeth hurt, and the food is pretty processed, but I did like the fact that we could have a drink and a reasonably healthy dinner and our child could get something that wasn't chicken nuggets.

We don't need a place with coloring books, but I liked that the menu offered a grilled chicken with broccoli and pasta for her. I had grilled chicken with veggies. Husband had pizza. The bathrooms were sparkling clean. The meal was served promptly but not rushed.

We've eaten at Two Rows, but are looking for a slightly more upscale version of that kind of place that will be happy to see a 5 year old child. Cisco Grill is another good option. Highlands Cafe is OK, but not my favorite place. It doesn't have to have a huge menu, but we do want some variety.

Anyone have any other suggestions for a child-friendly restaurant with a reasonably varied menu that is not run by a big corporation? I don't mind a local chain.

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  1. Dream Cafe is nice although a little spendy for what you get. Iirc they do not have a full bar. Lucky's is good too. I think they do have a full bar. Where are you looking anyway? Dallas area?

    5 Replies
    1. re: antepiedmont

      Everybody takes their kids to The Dream - sometimes it can be overwhelming with sooo many kids. And their menu has almost taken a corporate approach...they no longer have the yummy miso-tahini dressing that came with the global dinner.

      I have two kids (4 and 13). Our last successful meal was at Tecole on McKinney (next to old Hard Rock). We sat on the patio - 4 yr old watched the trolley go by and they have an interesting fountain to look at. But they have no real kid menu - instead we got cheese quesadillas on great tortillas. Their queso (always my kid's fave) is homemade white cheese - can't and won't eat the orange stuff ever again!!

      1. re: antepiedmont

        I like Dream Cafe for brunch and lunch, but we went once not too long ago for dinner and it was awful. There was only one other table in the whole place and yet it took about an hour for us to get any food, they screwed up the order and it took a good half an hour to get it settled and then we had to pretty much stand up to walk out before we could get any notice from the astoundingly bad server so we could pay. That's the last time I try Dream for dinner.

        Tecole sounds good.

        1. re: dalaimama

          Yeah Dream runs hot and clold for sure, and their menu is annoying -- the six-dollar "cheap lunch" of rice and beans, the weak portions so you have to buy extras unless you are a supermodel, that thinass coffee... but when they are good they can be pretty good.

          So where are you located? I don't live in Dallas anymore but I remember a bunch of other restaurants around there.

            1. re: dalaimama

              Oh boy, my specialty. Matt's Ranch Martinez is good if you don't go too often and always get the Cowboy-style CFS with fries and beans and rice. Some people like the chile relleno but eh.

              If you order carefully you can do all right at Kirby's on Greenville. For a steak house the steak is not so great but they can't screw up a salad, and iirc the fish is usually pretty good, and it is expensive enough (in general perception) that it is hardly ever crowded.

              My wife just reminded me that the Dream Cafe up north is better with kids than the one down south -- less crowded, more professional staff, and they have a fenced-in area for the kids, with tables just a few feet away.

              Mis Cazuelas is pretty fun, although I like to get the family out of Old East Dallas before dark. Likewise Viet Nam on Bryan Street at Fitzhugh -- not sure if they have beer/wine though. Mai's food is not as good but they have beer and wine. If you can brave Deep Ellum then Crescent City will get the job done, again if you don't go too often.

              Aw Shucks on Greenville is nice if the weather is good and the crowds thin. They have a new sister retaurant on Mockingbird too. Again, no full bar, it seems like full bar and kid-friendly tend to exclude one another.

              Angelo's in Lakewood is okay for strip-mall Italian.

              I'll try to think of more.

              OOPS I just reread your post. Pretty much none of the above excet Kirby's meets your appeal for an upscale environment and they don't do too well on the varied-menu criterion. Lucky's though, for sure. And, iirc it is one of Phil Romano's first endeavors. How about that?