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Feb 3, 2009 05:37 PM

Cork, Drydock, Euphemia Hays, Waterfront-kid friendly?

We are staying in a friend's apt on Longboat Key, and these have been recommended on the board, but I am not sure if they are child-friendly. I don't need kid meals-my 5 y.o. has an adult palate-but a casual relaxed atmosphere works best with him in tow. I am guessing that Beach Bistro is too fancy and romantic to bring him. Also, one poster mentioned El Toro Brava for mexican food, but I am not sure how far that is from LBK. Appreciate any feedback for everyone's dining pleasure!

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  1. Cork itself is not kid-friendly, but their downstairs restaurant called The Bottleshop has an outdoor patio that would be fine for kids. Sorry, I've not been to the other places mentioned.

    1. Euphemia Hay is pretty formal, at least downstairs. I wouldn't recommend it for kids, although the staff is perfectly friendly. Upstairs is the dessert area and it feels more informal, but I still don't think I would takes kids there. (The restaurant's food, however, is great!)

      1. Beach Bistro is not fancy. It just has great food. It is connected to an old-style Florida motel. Children are welcome there. If you are going to be that close I would suggest you try the Bistro.

        El Toro Bravo is by Siesta Key on Stickney Point Rd. I'd say a good 30-40 minute drive in season.

        Another one on LBK you might try is Harry's Continental Kitchen I've never eaten there so I can't recommend it but it has been in business a long time by Florida standards.

        I love Longboat Key's beaches. Enjoy your stay!

        1. Good to know that Beach Bistro would work. How about Deja Vu or Moore's? My husband would love a good casual fish/crab place.

          8 Replies
          1. re: bawc

            We prefer the Old Salty Dog on City Island to Moore's for the food. Moore's has more of a dinner menu where the Salty Dog is a Florida 'basket' type seafood place. . Love the location too, plenty of seating on the deck. Longboat Key south over the little humpy bridge to City Island, turn left (because right would put you in the gulf). Mote Marine is on City Island and your son might like to explore there.
            It's been awhile since I've been to Moore's - food wasn't all that great. I've never been to Deja Vu.

            1. re: bawc

              I dine at Beach Bistro all the time -- including last night. As much as I love it, for me, it would be the LAST place I would take a 5 year old. I see the comment above that it's not fancy. In fact, it's very fancy -- just look at the photo on the opening page of their website. It also has tables tightly packed together, is dark (in a romantic way), has a sophisticated, expensive, adults menu.

              MarVista, at the northern end of Longboat, would be a good place for kids. I personally don't like it but kids are great there. Dry Dock is also fine for kids but there is a long wait in season unless you go early (same for MarVista). A lot of the places on the beachside in Bradenton Beach (just over the bridge from Longboat) are also fine for kids. Moore's would be good. There are also some decent Italian places on Longboat, including Ciao Italia (at the Centre shops) and the Cafe Don Giovanni, that would be perfect.

              I agree that Cork upstairs is no place for kids, but it's terrific for adults.

              As always, your mileage may vary.

              1. re: Longboat

                I suppose fancy and romantic are words dependent on individual interpretation. I respect the fact that everyone has different opinions. It doesn't seem fancy to us. Fancy to us is dimly lit (not dark),carpeted dining rooms with space around each table so you can't hear the next table's conversation or bump someones elbow. Yes, Beach Bistro has white tablecloths and appropriate wine glasses. The glasses can be taken off the table. We go there for the food, definitely not the ambiance. It is dark but not romantic for us when we are back to back, sardine-like in a very tight space and it can get very noisy. No reception area to wait for your table unless you count the motel walkway. We have dined there too and children have been in the dining room and served. bawc, you know your child best as to wether or not he could handle the tight seating arrangement.
                The food is the main attraction.

                1. re: redzinner

                  Could my son handle it? Yes. Would we enjoy it with him? probably not. We will save it for another time....

                  Between Drydock, Waterfront, Salty Dog and Mar Vista, which has the best food? I have child who prefers steamed chinese fish to fried fish fingers, and with the exception of endless quantities of french fries, largely passes on all fried food. Are they are the same sort of restaurant, or am I mistaken? Oh, and a friend mentioned Beach House as well...

                  And for Italian, Don Giovani or Ciao Italia?

                  Lastly, is Euphemia Hays worth it just for the duck?

                  Columbia seems to have mixed reviews...

                  1. re: bawc

                    1. Agreed, Beach Bistro is best for your son's parents.
                    2. I've eaten at all 4 restaurants that you've named: Dry Dock, Waterfront, Salty Dog and Mar Vista. Dry Dock is by far the better of this group. Waterfront is all the way at the far end of Anna Maria and just OK. The Salty Dog is actually a place your son will like -- it's kind of a nachos place -- along with draft beer, which I suppose you'll not let him drink. ;-) Mar Vista is a fried fish sort of restaurant, a place that gives you ketchup in little pouches that you have to open with your teeth (you know the kind) and napkins and throw away forks and knives that come in clear plastic containers. All these places are on the water, with the exception of the Waterfront which is across the street from the Bay.
                    3. Ciao! Italia is the kind of restaurant that you would think of as a pizza parlor, although they have pretty decent pasta, veal parm, etc. that comes in large portions. The wine list is, let's say… inexpensive. The owner is a real Italian by way of Staten Island. I like this place for what it is. Don Giovanni has more ambitions, no pizza, a nicer ambience. Note that it can be slow. A few weeks ago we left after sitting at a table and not being served for 10 minutes. They were understaffed and I could see the handwriting on the wall. The owner is a real Italian, by way of Bermuda.
                    4. Euphemia Haye is good but I wish I liked it more than I do, although I do eat there reasonably frequently. The duck is excellent as is the Caesar salad and the pepper steak. These are their "signature dishes." They also have good fried green tomatoes and when I have guests who've never eaten them we get a plate to share for the table. What they do in season is when you're ready for dessert they try to free up your table by moving you upstairs to a diner type atmosphere. (Upstairs they have a dessert area in one part of the space and an area for live music in another part). I hate this and I always refuse and then they back down. Note that certain coffees and desserts are only available upstairs, though.
                    5. Most reviewers say that the food at Columbia is no good and that the only thing worth having is their 1905 salad (a type of chef's salad). I agree with this but would add that their sangria is definitely worthwhile. Maybe it's because of the sangria but I always have fun there and I do love their salad (which you can have as an appetizer or main course). There are also a lot of children in Columbia all the time.

                    1. re: Longboat

                      Thanks Longboat, your feedback is most helpful! Of course, my litttle gourmet doesn't eat Pizza either, so that doesn't guide my Italian food choices. We went to a Middle Eastern friend's house, and he ate ground lamb with garam masala as if I hadn't fed him in a week! Any other dining options that we should consider?

                      1. re: bawc

                        If he eats middle eastern there is -- and I've not been there but intend to go -- a good Greek restaurant (I understand) called El Greco, halfway up Main Street (#1592). They'll no doubt do some good lamb dishes. I would also try Tommy Bahama on St. Armand's Circle; it's a fun place, very active and the food is surprisingly good. The tortilla soup is heavenly. It can be a bit noisy in there but at age 5 your son's hearing is probably way better than yours. ;-)
                        I wouldn't dismiss those two Italian restaurants just on the pizza angle. One doesn't do pizza and the other has a full menu of typical pasta dishes in addition to pizza. I've never had the pizza there, myself.

                        1. re: Longboat

                          Dry dock will be fine...he can get whatever fish of the day cooked to his liking, not always deepfried. There are always kids there and you might get lucky and see the dolphins.

                          We have taken our kids (7 and 9) to both the Cork and the Bottle shop. They have good palates and enjoyed Cork, but the room is quite small and it is a little stuffy (if he gets bored easily, he will get bored here). The kids enjoyed Bottle shop more, we sat outside(entertaining for them) and they will allow you order from either menu.

                          We also took them to Derek's downtown and they were more than welcoming. It's not waterfront, but worth a look, even if it's just for lunch. If your kid is real adventurous, he will enjoy this place.

                          On St Armand's we ate at Crab and Fin which is pricey but good seafood. Just don't let them stick you in that horrible back room(which I think they tend to do when they see you coming with kids).

                          Our kids also really enjoyed Da Ru Ma out by Target on Fruitville Rd. It's Japanese steakhouse stuff a la Benihana, but they have a sushi bar and their tempura and gyoza were pretty good.

                          Blue Dolphin in St Armands is also worth a mention for breakfast...nice pancakes and waffles and it's always really busy.

                          Enjoy...the beach is beautiful down there.I can't wait to get back.