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Sunday lunch with kids?

I'm racking my brain for a place to have a good lunch on Sunday with some (reasonably well mannered) kids in tow. I thought about dim sum or some other option in Chinatown but one in the party is deathly allergic to shrimp and it's too much of a land-mine to enable everyone to chill.

Sel de la Terre does a low-key lunch and I've seen kids there on the late side. Does anyone take kids to Eastern Standard Kitchen? That's the kind of vibe and atmosphere I'm looking for. Gaslight? Other ideas?

Downtown Boston, Somerville, Cambridge are geographically desirable but we can go south to JP and environs easily as well.

I need some help here guys. Does anything spring to mind?

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  1. ESK is a hotel restaurant; I'm sure it would be totally fine, especially for a Sunday lunch/brunch. I say go for it!

    1. If you don't mind paying the Four Seasons premium, I like taking kids to the Bristol Lounge and sitting in a sofa and side chairs, rather than a dining room table, as kids seem to do better that way. Also, the place has a way of calming everyone, including the kids, down so you can have a more relaxed meal.

      1. Although Atwood's is a bar, is pretty welcoming to families and Sunday is particularly mellow (jazz band). Downside is its a brunch menu, so the specific lunch choices are fewer from a fairly small menu to start with. More homey than SDLT or ESK. Better for kids than East Coast and B-Side, less crowded/rushed than Blue Room Sunday.

        Dante's brunch menu seems to have more for everybody (including a $12 burger), some adventurous cocktails.

        Some Somerville places (eg lil vinny's) don't open until evening. I have always liked Portugalia for lunch (over dinner, Sunday probably dinner menu) and they are one of the few Portuguese restaurants that has several 1/2 bottles of wine. Downside is their meat entrees don't compare compare with the salt cod plates. Lunch can sometimes be pretty empty.

        1. Might Clink be a fun spot for kids? At the very least, the kids would be distracted by the "cool" lobby while the adults could enjoy a cocktail or two. Can't vouch for the food, though.

          4 Replies
          1. re: digga

            Just read the Globe's review of Highland Kitchen, a place we have been to several times now. The Sunday brunch complete with live country music sounds better than Clink (what a dumb rec) and I know that kids fit right in at HK since I've seen scads of families eating there.

            1. re: digga

              I was thinking about HK too ... but am heading there earlier in the same weekend so unless it's really exceptional I might not want to be back so soon.

              What I really want is to be taken to a country pub for lunch, in Sussex. I want the kids to be able to run around in the garden and for the adults to drink pints and eat sausage and mash. However, I just awakened from my reverie and realized that is not a possibility this time so I'm looking for alternatives. I think ESK is still my best bet, even tho it's quite definitively NOT a pub.

              Thanks for thinking about it, tho digga!

              1. re: yumyum

                Wow, the Sussex pub is so appropriate it is indeed hard to get beyond it. I wish I were going there Sunday too.

                Sel de la Terre is very kid friendly with adult food and drinks. Full Moon has great concept, and sounds good for younger, active children.

                If you are leaning toward ESK I would go for it. The menu should please everyone, and it is large enough that the kids can move about without worry.

                The danger is that they will re-discover how good dining out can be, and they will quickly move up from the kid's menu and on to the expensive stuff!

                1. re: yumyum

                  Seriously, dude. I just got back from a xmas holiday in Orrell near Wigan (40 min outside Manchester). In the lovely old pubs, I'd see like 5 generations of families hanging out, drinking cask beer, snacking, and (horrors!) talking to each other all day.

                  Short of that, Itaunas had a good suggestion with Atwood's. Food is definitely above average pub food, but it doesn't have the Old World ambience for which I think you are shooting.

                  I'm interested in the ensuing posts...and I don't ever have kids in tow! Where are the real pubs in town, where everyone is welcome?! Big old fireplace, footie on the tellie, and everyone saying hello to each other.

            2. Perhaps Geoffrey's in JP would be a fun option. There food is pretty good, and the staff is wonderful - I've seen folks in there with kids and they all seemed to enjoy it.

                1. re: Taralli

                  Yes I was going to suggest Full Moon as well. It's better for younger kids (7 and under). I've generally had decent food and even when the food isn't executed as well as I want it to be, I always give them points for effort, because they at least try to have an interesting menu. Plus you can bribe the kids with a trip to Henry Bear's Park afterwards (after you get YOUR trip to Formaggio Kitchen, that is!)

                  1. re: Chris VR

                    Full Moon is sort of the default for kids' dining and it's OK, but not so great. (Disclaimer, I've only been for breakfast/brunch.) Being a chowhound, I want great food. Being a booze hound, I also want a drink. Do they do beer and wine?

                    I do like the bribery aspect as well as proximity to Formaggio, but sadly they aren't open on Sundays. Merde.

                    1. re: yumyum

                      I'm pretty sure that both Formaggio (10-4) and Full Moon are both open around Sunday lunch time.

                      1. re: beetlebug

                        Wierd. When I used to go to the cheese classes there I'm sure Formaggio was closed on Sundays. (Full Moon is indeed open, my poor syntax made that unclear). When did they change that anyway?

                        1. re: yumyum

                          Formaggio has always been open on Sundays. They close earlier on Sundays then other days. Their Sunday hours used to be 9-3 but which gave them plenty of time to set up for those cheese classes. Sunday hours are now from 10-4 since they had more customers at the end of the day on Sunday than they did first thing in the am. I know, TMI.

                          1. re: beetlebug

                            I knew if anyone knew, it would be you. thanks

                      2. re: yumyum

                        They do have a wine menu, not sure about cocktails.

                        1. re: Chris VR

                          Wine and beer, and brunchy wine cocktails (mimosas, etc.) I really like full moon, and so does my 7 year old. But it's not the kind of place to go if you want to mostly be around grown-ups. It gets noisy. But for relaxing with decent food while the little one plays, it can't be beat.

                          1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                            I find Full Moon decidedly UNrelaxing. I appreciate the concept, but the place is not for me!

                  2. How about the Blue Room? Good food and a nice brunch scene. Not sure how old the kids are. Henrietta's kitchen might work and there is the skating rink there.

                    1. Is it completely insane to suggest BSide?

                      Otherwise, I think ESK is a great idea.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: gini

                        It's not insane but it's a little dark and hung-over feeling at the B-side (or is that just me?)

                        Blue Room is a nice idea -- the kids really are quite good, just looking for a place where we don't get the hairy eyeball when we show up with a 6 year old and two 3s.

                      2. The Elephant Walk at Audubon Circle comes to mine. They have brunch and lunch menus on Sunday and I often see children of the well behaved sort there.

                        1. Pegmeister had nice things to say about Donovan's in Savin Hill in another recent post. It is a place my UK-based sister remembered fondly from a past visit. It might be a good option for food, reasonably priced drinks, and a convivial atmosphere.

                          1. Johnny D's in Davis is very kid-friendly for brunch/lunch, though it can sometimes get a bit crowded. They've got a solid brunch menu and good food. And music. Lots to watch.

                            In our experience, East Coast and B-Side have also been nice enough to kids, and their menus are fun. Later in the day on Sunday, Watch City brewery on Moody St., Waltham has kind of a kids' happy hour that's worthwhile if you want a beer and basic pub grub w/a kids' menu.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: franksnbeans

                              ECG is not open for lunch, except for their Sunday Latin brunch (which is not a kid-friendly menu for non-adventurous eaters).

                              1. re: franksnbeans

                                Although it's better than any other meal there, I've been totally underwhelmed by Johnny D's brunch. I mean it's fine, but no better than that. In addition, there have been long lines on many recent weekends (no accounting for taste), and if I'm going to wait in line for brunch, kids or no, I'm waiting at Soundbites which is MUCH better and incredibly kid friendly. Last time, they brought us tons of extra stuff since my daughter had the same name as our waitress. No drinks, though.

                              2. Maybe the Independent in Union Square? I was there for brunch years ago and it was fine, plus we had a kid with us, and no one minded. The website menu looks pretty good, and though there is no kids menu listed, there are a bunch of sides. I also like the Atwood Tavern idea too, though the Indo is more fancy.