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Dec 24, 2008 08:54 AM

3 days with a 2 yr. old in tow!

Hello All -

Looking for some recs for a 3 night trip to Boston this weekend (Sat - Tues) with my wife, toddler, and in-laws. We are looking for family-friendly dining (no attitude), but not at the expense of missing out on good food! We love B&G and Butcher Shop, Sage, and Neptune to give you an idea of our tastes to a small extent. We are staying at the Eliot on Comm and Mass. Shooting for early dinners at 6 - 6:30. No res thus far. Prob heading to Legal on night one to make things easy after a travel day. Here is a short list of contenders for lunch/dinner -- please share your thoughts. Also, any recs for lunch near the Children;s Museum, Aquarium, and Christian Science Center are welcomed and appreciated. Will also spend an afternoon in Cambridge (maybe a dinner, too) and some time in the S. End, in addition to the usual susects -- many thanks!

*Audobon Circle

*Icarus - still good?
*Gaslight - scoped it out and liked the looks of it, but no clue on the food quality/service
*Sage - only ate in the old N. End location -- does it hold up bigger digs

*Grotto - no clue, but sounds fun

*Eastern Standard - good for brunch with kids?
*Tremont 647 - sounded cute
**what else that is easy and can handle 6 adults and 3 kids??

*Blue Room
*Green St.
*Garden at the Cellar
Franklin Cafe
*Hungry Mother
*Chez Henri

*Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe

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  1. Ya know, this totally depends on your toddler and your parenting style. Some places frown at you when you walk in with a toddler, others wait to see what kind of havoc (if any) ensues. In our experience (dd is now 6), the North End restaurants are very kind to families. We went to Artu with two other families (including some cranky kids) for dinner and we were treated well.

    I like Grotto a lot (their short ribs and gnocci dish is on my death-row last meal list) but, just so you know, it is not in the North End. It is in the neighborhood known as Beacon Hill, which is not far from the NE. I'm not sure I"ve ever seen a young child there, but if you're going early you're probably safe.

    Flour near the Children's Museum is delicious and very kid friendly, if you can find a place to sit. If not, it's worth sending someone over to pick up sandwiches and have them in the Children's Museum lunchroom. The location close to the CM is on Farnsworth Street. They regularly update their menu on the site.

    I'm sure someone will direct you to Full Moon in Cambridge, the Huron Village neighborhood. The food is good and it is THE most kid and parent-friendly restaurant in town, without succumbing to Chuckie Cheese techniques of entertainment.

    I've heard that Sel de la Terre (near Aquarium) is actually very nice to families, though we've not tried taking our child there yet.

    Enjoy your visit and your eats and let us know how you do.

    Full Moon
    344 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

    Flour Bakery + Cafe
    12 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA

    1 Reply
    1. re: powella

      Thanks so much for the recs. In answer to your question, our son is extraordinarily good in restaurants and is used to going out -- we got lucky with him as he is just so easy and calm. We are Brooklynites and he has been out and about since Day One so we don't seek out the TGIF scene in deference to his needs, rather we try and go to great places where there will be something he can eat and where we won't get a ton of frost upon entry. Hope that adds up!

    2. This is a bit of a challenge. In no particular order:

      I also like Sel de la Terre and I have seen youg children there. There are two branches of this place: one next to the Aquarium and another on Boylston at Fairfield.

      I also like Grotto but I'm not sure how infant friendly the menu is. Check their web site which has a full menu.

      The Legal Seafood closest to your hotel (Prudential) tends to get very busy and sometimes has long waits. I have not been there early on a Surtday evening so can't comment but I would have a fallback. My usual choice would be Atlantic Seafod but it is currenbtly closed due to a fire.

      There is not a lot of good places around the Christian Science Center. For more descriptive threads, search the board for "symphony" which is next door. Similarly, the restaurants in the Prudential Center are mostly mediocre and overpriced. One good spot in the area is Brasserie Jo in the Colonade Hote.

      On your list of dinner places, I think Audobon Circle is more of a lunch destination. It really is a pub (with very good food). I would put Eastern Standard on your dinner list. and for lunch or dinner, I would add Petit Robert Bistro on Comm. Ave. close to your hotel.

      For brunch, I like Union on Washington St in the South End. They can accomodate a crowd but plan ahead.

      For an informal lunch, the Otherside Cafe on Newbury west of Mass. Ave. might work. Around the corner from your hotel. Inventive sandwiches, wraps, etc.

      Let us know where you went and how it was!

      1. Of your top dinner choices, I've been to the Marliave downstairs, and think they'd be ok for kids. Not sure re the upstairs. I can't imagine bringing a toddler to Persephone - seems the most grown-up of the bunch. Audobon Circle was loud when I was there, so not sure if the volume is lower in the early evening.

        ESK handles kids well, and I've heard good things abt its brunch. You'll see way more kids there than at Tremont 647, I'm guessing.

        As for Cambridge, Green St has nice servers, and they do have a hotdog on the menu and sides that could feed your toddler. Chez Henri would probably be ok earlier in the evening.

        I second & third the reccs for Sel de la Terre.

        Have fun!

        1. For lunch near the Children's Museum, definitely Flour. Go a little early or late for best seating options. It's delicious and they have plenty geared toward toddlers. It's just around the corner.

          Quick thoughts on the rest of the list: Garden at the Cellar is one of my favorites, but they're not a great place to take your kids. They are mystified by them IME and not esp interested in them. And few bigger tables. Basically the same for Hungry Mother--physically not set up for it, though dining really early might be ok.

          Blue Room has booths and Green St. will be able to accomodate you without trouble, Chez Henri IME doesn't have as much that would appeal to kids on the menu.

          Tremont 647's pajama brunch is fun, and kids would love it. There's a special back room you can reserve that might be the right size for you. (I think they still have it.)
          Other great brunch is Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown.

          Have fun!

          4 Replies
          1. re: dulce de leche

            Sage has been a great addition to the South End...and I would think an early dinner would be fine with a young one...the owner is very warm and gracious, talks of his family often.

            1. re: winecafe95

              Thanks, everyone.

              Things are shaping up well.

              Sat. dinner - Legal at Park Pl.

              Sun. lunch - Sel de la Terre

              Sun.dinner - Eastern Standard

              Mon. lunch - Neptune

              Mon.dinner - Blue Room

              Tues. lunch - Butcher Shop

              One question -- has Legal really slipped or is it still reliable as long as we play it safe? We want to have a fun seafood meal of the chowder and fried clams variety, but want to stick to the Back Bay area more or less since we will have just arrived earlier that afternoon. I'd consider going elsewhere, but not sure what the options are other than Summer Shack which I did not enjoy a few years ago.

              1. re: Zank

                Legal should be OK given your desire for traditional seafood. They are reliable for that sort of food, just not inspired or exciting.

            2. re: dulce de leche

              i know this info is too late for the OP but I just wanted to mention that when we went to Hungry Mother, Rachel (one of the owners) came over to my table. We started chatting, I told her we had a baby, and she told me they "love babies" and I'd be welcome to bring her whenever I wanted. I didn't particularly see it as a spot I'd bring my baby to but clearly they're ok with it --I think the key is to go early enough.

              On another note, does anyone know about the baby-friendly quotient at Highland Kitchen? Seems casual enough, wondering if they've got high chairs and/or if anyone's had any baby/toddler experiences there...thanks.