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Nicest possible dining with infant

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The 26th the 1st birthday my husband will celebrate with our daughter. I usually take him out for a Radius/Aujourd'hui/CSB Chef's Whim type of thing BUT alas I can't see any of these places happening with a 4 month old in tow. So...I was wondering if people had suggestions for the nicest place one can reasonably show up with a car seat. I called Harvest and they seemed warm to the idea. Having dined many places on Dec 26 I can attest it is typically a slow night even at popular restaurants - any better ideas?

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  1. We used to dine out with our infant and I personally think you can dine out practically anywhere as long as you go early enough, and respect the fact that even though you have the baby with you-you are still in a fine dining establishment. If I remember correctly, a four month old might spend a good portion of the dinner snoozing..so enjoy yourselves!

    1 Reply
    1. re: JCPope

      I think you have it backwards; respect the fact that even though you are in a fine dining establishment, you still have an infant with you.
      I can't imagine anything more out of place at a high end restaurant than a crying baby. Just be prepared to take the offender outside with a short leash.

    2. In my experience, louder restaurants are better with kids. We have had success with Estern Standard and Sel de la Terre. Maybe Via Matta would work too?

      7 Replies
      1. re: mcb70

        I was going to recommend Sel de la Terre too - any place with a kids menu has to be welcoming to kids. Blue Room is an option.

        I also agree with the comment re: dining early. Dec. 26 might be a little busier than typical this year since it falls on a Friday night (I know I'm going out since grandparents will be here to babysit!) - but as long as you're there a little earlier than the typical dinner crowd you'll be fine at lots of places.

        1. re: MrsCheese

          Sel de le Terra and Blue Room have always been lovely to my toddlers and would be good with a younger baby.

          Given that you know your baby's temperament and don't expect her to cry through the meal, you can probably count on her being quiet/asleep through the meal.

          What about something like the small private room at Mamma Maria? I haven't been there but have heard good things and you wouldn't have to feel like you're getting the stinky eye from other patrons that don't know you'll be a good parent and decamp if the baby disturbs other diners.

          I agree with pemma, though, don't go for a big long meal, skip the apps, do dessert if it works out but be ready to pack it to go if you must.

          I haven't been to the small room at Mamma Maria

          1. re: Chris VR

            I wouldn't recommend Mamma Maria with a child. It's a very romantic place, and there's nothing like baby noises to kill the mood. Even if they snagged the small, private room, there is no door and the sound would carry. I agree with the Eastern Standard and SDLT recs.

            I'm actually surprised at how many posts there are about fine dining with babies/toddlers. What ever happened to the good old days of babysitters for a special night out?!

            1. re: pollystyrene

              I was one of those babysitters in the good old days of the 90's-- I made about $4 per hour from my parent's friends and neighborhood folks. Now, people pay $10-15 per hour which is well more than 10 years of inflation. I think what happened to those good old days is that babysitters simply became unaffordable and parents are less willing to leave babies with a high school kid than they used to be. Anyways, I think an infant is totally acceptable -- much less intrusive than a toddler for fellow diners. Many good recommendations already- just wanted to add my 2 cents (which buys you about 45 seconds of babysitter time these days...)

              1. re: Parsnipity

                Word. More like $15-20. I was shocked--when I quit babysitting, it was still $2 an hour; 20 years later I have a kid and don't know when the sea change happened, but I wish I had such employment options when I was in high school!

                1. re: dulce de leche

                  I was always so annoyed because my brother made like $8 per hour mowing lawns and I maintained and still do that babysitting is harder work. I mean, how bad can you screw up a lawn in one mow? It grows back. Anyways, now babysitting is probably the better option. I'm trying to think of it as a step in the right direction for equal pay.

          2. re: MrsCheese

            I recommend Blue Room - we ate there for my husband's birthday when my daughter was 4 mths old - the trick was to have a very early reservation (5 pm) -- she slept through the whole meal in her car seat, and we didn't worry about bothering anyone since we were the only ones in the restaurant!

            In a similar vein - we ate at Oleana when our daughter was 2 mths old, and she slept through everything - I agree with a previous poster, the key is to know your baby's temperament and be prepared to make a quick exit if anything goes wrong.

            Enjoy eating out now when your baby is an infant - ours is now 2 1/2 and it's MUCh harder!

        2. We took our children as infants just about anywhere. It can actually be a great age to take them as they tend to sleep so much. But if the baby starts to cry, immediately take them out. The only reason I would hesitate to take the infant to a very high-end place is that because the length of the meal tends to be so long, there is more of a chance that they will wake up and be cranky.

          1. Hi truro ns,
            Never been, no ankle biters, but this one often got mentioned when the subject came up.
            Their website has a blurb from Zagat , billing it "The Cadillac of family-dining restaurants."
            I'm assuming they're still in business but, as I said, never been.

            Harp

            -----
            Full Moon
            344 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

            1 Reply
            1. re: Harp00n

              I like Full Moon and it's great for toddlers/young children. And you'd be just fine bringing a baby in there. The food is good- better than it has to be, for the most part. The appeal is the play area, kid-friendly menu options and laid-back atmosphere. Even when you see people without kids dining, you don't worry that much about trying to keep your kids toned down- after all if they didn't want to dine with a ton of kids, then they wouldn't have chosen a place with a play room! However, it's not where I like to go when I want a top notch dining experience. The food, service and atmosphere don't come near to a fine dining experience. Again, it's very good for what it is, but it wouldn't come anywhere near to previous meals at Radius/Clio/Aujourd'hui/CSB.

            2. I'd recommend going to the Bristol at the 4 Seasons. Well spaced tables and large room so a "few baby crys" would not be an issue. You can have a relaxed dinner in an elegant space. Happy Birthday!

              1 Reply
              1. re: stradacouple

                Stradacouple that is a good suggestion because Hotels are used to catering to couples with small children in tow. The Four seasons is a lovely hotel and the food is quite good.

              2. I would say a noisier place. I personally think it is risky to take an infant to a nicer restaurant, if the baby wakes up and cries you can then spend most of the meal outside settling the baby ( and in this weather, I am not sure where you could go while the baby is crying since it would be too cold outside). Maybe save the high end restaurant for a night you have a sitter and head to a pub while baby is with you.

                1. We took our son everywhere as an infant. the 4-9 month range was easy and I was never treated badly for bringing him. And there is no need to leave if they get fussy. Its easy to discreetly feed a babe in arms and continue to enjoy your meal!