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ISO Baby Friendly Restaurants, Strategies & Info

  • m

We live in the area called variously Franklin Hills/Beachwood Canyon, or, in a broader sense, Hollywood/East Hollywood. We just adopted an infant. So, keeping in mind baby's schedule/demands (there's a window during which she'll be pleasant, after which she'll get cranky), the friendliness of booths, the availability of changing stations, etc, which places in the area are baby friendly? Which should be avoided? Any particular times to go and/or avoid? How do you prevent getting stuck at a table near a draft or the kitchen door? Is there any etiquette that applies in this circumstance? What's the best sort of local take out that will survive the trip home (as we know from prior posts, frites and some other foods get soggy and limp in transit--unless, of course, they're eaten en route)? All suggestions, anecdotes and words of wisdom welcomed. Thanks.

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  1. That is Beachwood Canyon, Hollywood Hills.....Franklin Hills is where Franklin ends, about 2 miles or so east of you. I have this problem, being an Angeleno, that people just give out improper names for certain areas, it is a pet peeve, sorry

    1 Reply
    1. re: Burger Boy

      I agree with you about the nomenclature, but one of the competing names for the neighborhood council for our area is Franklin Hills Etc. Hell, maybe they've got it wrong, too.

    2. v
      Vanessa On The Town

      Congratulations! I would say, do a lot of what you normally do and cross those bridges when you come to them. Most of the nice restaurants don't have any of those amenities, so you just make do. Otherwise you'll end up at places like Cheescake Factory, if you require all of those conveniences. Obviously, there would need to be some pre-thought and some new strategies, and you'll end up walking outside with crying baby sometimes doing the pace and bounce walk. You'll learn the ever-handy trick of changing diapers on the fly. It'll be fine. It'll be great!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Vanessa On The Town

        Yes, I'm trying to avoid the Cheesecake Factory and that ilk by this inquiry. Thanks.

      2. We live in the "Oaks" off of Canyon Dr. and Chinatown is very convenient (except during rush hour). While perhaps not a primary option, remember that children are always welcome at most Chinese restaurants. One restaurant critic (may have been Jonathan Gold) made the comment that going to a large Chinese seafood palace without a little kid in tow and seeing all of the other kids there almost made him feel like renting one for the occasion.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Chandavkl

          Shucks, I thought those kids were rented. Which Chinese do you favor?

          1. re: mc michael

            Best places would be the biggest, which in Chinatown would include Empress Pavilion, Ocean Seafood, CBS Seafood and ABC Seafood. Actually, on weekends it's not much further timewise to Monterey Park, which is in fact where we go--primarily to Ocean Star. We usually catch the Golden State Fwy. at Los Feliz to bypass downtown.

        2. Congradulations......you are in for the time of your life! When my son (who is now 16 months) was an infant we took him to nice restaurants & left him in his infant carrier/carseat & he was usually pretty happy & sometimes just slept. What's always nice is finding a restaurant where staff is extremely friendly & helpful....a few times our son was held by baby crazy servers while we ate hurriedly! I think other suggestions are right on...live life as you did & accept the inconveniences. Get use to eating in shifts for a while & soon enough your child will become acclimated to things. At this point we are able to take our son everywhere w/us as he eats most anything which is quite nice...
          when your child is old enough purchase a good portable highchair for those restaurants that don't provide one. many highchairs are just so uncomfortable I use mine even if there is one (not to mention it's more sanitary). check out babycenter.com if you haven't already.....i recently purchased a portable, self-inflating, lightweight booster/highchair that was only $20!
          oh, sorry no specific restaurant suggestions...we are on the westside.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Dolly

            Thanks for the encouragement!

          2. r
            Richard Gould-saltman

            Having raised Cameron the chow-pup since he was whelped 11 yrs ago in much the same neighborhood (west silverlake/franklin hills) I know that this baby-in-restaurant thing can be done with sufficient fortitude.

            First, become convinced that your kid, unless he or she is naturally high-strung and fussy, is probably a whole lot more resilient, short-term, than you give him or her credit for, at least if you are first-time parents. They don't break, they don't melt, they can eat a certain amount of plain unadulterated DIRT without hurting themselves, and thisd is SO CAL, so you can't freeze 'em.

            Almost all of the Thai places in Holloywood are kid-friendly, more or less. The Ocha chain, and Vim, have track records with us. Both also package take-out that will hold the ten-minute drive home.

            Italian "bistro" places (e.g. Farfalla) and old "red sauce" places (Palermo, Casa Bianca) are more kid friendly than others, if only because the noise level will drown out kid-chatter (though not actual screaming). Two of my favorite
            memories are of his first bowl of pasta with real sauce at Dominick's in Sunland/Tujunga, and his receiving a tiny bowl of tiramisu, with a demitasse spoon, at Farfalla, when he first learned to manage to feed himself.

            Havew fun!


            1 Reply
            1. t
              the new breed

              Stick with the subject of Food Please!!

              2 Replies
              1. re: the new breed

                I don't understand, how is this not sticking with the subject? People ask for romantic places or cheap places or Chinese places, what is the difference between these and baby-friendly places?

                1. re: Patty

                  We're not going to take a pedantic stance on this thread, Patty. The initial question was quite broad and consequently some of the replies don't concern food per se, but your observation is correct. Recommending places to eat where children are welcome is on topic for a regional board. We've mostly wound up a similar discussion on the Manhattan board. So--no problem.

              2. I've raised two chowpups in this area, I can't say they eat in haute cuisine places at this point but somehow we've managed to rarely set foot in chain places. Here's a few: I've been going to Torung Thai on Hollywood BLvd. at Wilton for 20 years, when my first was a baby the waitress used to carry him around while we ate and show him off to the cooks! Kids enjoy the waterfall. They probably have highchairs, but we preferred the little chair that hooks over a table, you can take it anywhere and don't have to block the room with a highchair. I've heard from a lot of friends that Victor's Deli at Bronson and Franklin is very kid-friendly. My kids were eating Zankou chicken before they had teeth, it's soft and so's the mutabal, the garlic is now essential to the functioning of their bodies. I bet Il Capriccio on Vermont would be good because the Italian owner is so friendly. Also for Thai, Sompun at the end of Santa Monica Blvd. where it runs into Sunset has a nice patio with fountains and stuff, very soothing for the babies. In all these cases, my advice would be to go around 6:00 if possible. That way, you're done before the folks who want a quiet romantic dinner show up so you don't risk offending them, and the kid gets to bed at a decent hour. When the baby gets a little older, hopefully he or she will appreciate the revolving sushi conveyor belt in Little Tokyo like my son does!
                Good luck, and let us know what you find.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Patty

                  Yeah, we almost went to Victor's last night. Good idea. Likewise the 6 pm start.

                2. I've heard Home on Hillhurst has a courtyard and a basket of toys and is friendly for both dogs and kids...my daughter is terrified of dogs so I haven't pursued it but it sounds promising.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Patty

                    At a week old, she's a little young for dogs, but thanks for the idea.

                  2. Angeli Caffe on Melrose at Poinsetta would be my number one choice for a dining location where you don't have to sacrifice great food for a kid-friendly environment. We take our son there often and see lots of other kids. We were there last Friday and in addition to our table, which had our 4 year old and our friend's 9 month old, there was at least 1 other table with 2 kids at it. The restaurant has 2 high chairs -- because it is popular with families, I recommend that you tell the person who takes your reservation. Reservations are generally not necessary except on Thursdays when they frequently have special meals.
                    If your child is older, they bring out pizza dough to play with. They also have crayons and paper on the table top for coloring.
                    As for food, our son is partial to the fried calamari appetiser but he likes the pastas and rissottos as well. I recommend an earlier dining hour, say 6 pm in order to have dinner early.
                    For more information, check out their website.
                    Have fun!

                    Link: http://www.angelicaffe.com

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jenn

                      Thanks. It's been too long since we've been there.