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Italian suggestions - baby in tow

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We're planning on taking our babysitter out to dinner for her birthday. Her favorite food is Italian. Since the sitter's going, that means our 17 month old is going. Can I get some recommendations for quality Italian that won't have issues with a kid in tow? We really like Vespaio but I don't know if kids are welcome there or not.

thanks!

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  1. How about that Italian buffet place; think it's called Bucco de Beppi...and yes, it would be good manners not bringing your 17 month old to Vespaio

    4 Replies
    1. re: amysuehere

      Buca di Beppo is great for kids, and IMHO, does a serviceable job with the food - better than some of the ambitious new places around here. Unless something has changed, it isn't a buffet - they just serve big family style portions of what you order. Kitschy and fun.

      1. re: saticoy

        I think the place is called Canoli Joe's...the italian buffet spot.

        1. re: chowinginaustin

          That's what I was thinking of. Canoli J's, but Bucca isn't a bad option either.

          1. re: amysuehere

            I think Mandola's would be okay too. Its pretty informal and I don't think they would have problems with kids there (I see enough of them when I'm there).

    2. I often see people with kids (even infants in detached carseats) at Enoteca. (Next door to Vespaio, co-owned.) Especially in the earlier time slots -- 5 to 7 pm. And for my money, Enoteca beats the tar out of most of the recommendations you're getting below.

      2 Replies
      1. re: tom in austin

        I would say Enoteca's fair game for well-behaved parents and their offspring.

        1. re: amysuehere

          I think we'll try this. We've been meaning to go there and our daughter is very well behaved so that's not a concern. thanks!

      2. I like Reale's. It's not fancy and I think their food is good (for Austin). I would bring our baby there (if it's early enough).

        1 Reply
        1. re: Hsien_Ko

          I've never sat down there, but I can attest to the fact that I've seen quite a few families w/ small children walking in & out of Reale's while waiting on my takeout order.

        2. We've taken our 4 year old and have seen kids at Enoteca and Sagra, the new Italian place where Mars used to be located. Primizie Osteria and Mandola's even have kids menus so they are obviously kid friendly.

          1. That's so sweet of you to treat your babysitter to her fave food! It's been my experience that the Italian restaurants that do a lot of pizza business are very family friendly. Someone beat me to suggesting Reale's. We go there all the time (because it's closest), and there are always kids there. If it's not too far out of your way, I'd also suggest Gino's (on Mays St in RR). I've had the pastas at Reale's and Gino's, and Gino's pastas were better. Both are casual, family-friendly, neighborhood mom and pop type restaurants that don't look down their noses at the little ones.

            1. I know people are recommending bucca di beppo but personally I did not like this place much. I tried the pizza and thought it was pretty bad. I don't remember what "type" it was, it was large and the pieces were in squares. It was "family style." That's all I remember.

              However, that said, I recently discovered that they serve a fettucine alfredo here, and considering the fact that alfredo is my favorite dish I'm pretty much being forced (by my own appetite) to try this place at least once more and try the alfredo out. I'm not going to lie - the alfredo looked fairly delicious just based on the pictures, but one can never be too sure.

              1. Reales is very good.

                1. I've taken my child to Vespaio several times, when we are in Austin. The first time, she was about 2 1/2 and we asked the manager if it was OK to bring her or should we go next door to Enoteca. They were delighted to have us at Vespaio and were very kind and delightful to my daughter (who is quiet and has no problem sitting still for an hour or so). We did go very early and we did ask the waiter to bring our daughter's spaghetti with our salad and then she had ice cream while we had our dinners (hey, whatever works ;>).

                  I've seen people with children at Vespaio. I think the only problem would be if you went after 7.