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Visiting Philly with 6 yr old

Hi, My husband and I are visiting Philly this weekend, from NYC, with our 6 yr old son. We are staying at the Omni Hotel and need help with where to eat.

For one lunch we plan on going to the Reading Terminal Market to try the Roast pork sandwiches at DeNics.

We need help with 2 dinners (Thursday and Friday nights). I have reservations at both Zahav and Distrito (will cancel one of these) for Friday night. We are leaning towards Zahav but I want to make sure it is OK for a well behaved child.

Also, I am interested in going to The Good Dog or Grace Tavern, for Thursday night. Are they appropriate for kids? We would, of course go earlier (6ish) for dinner. Do I need to make a reservation?

Any other restaurants that I should think of going? What food is better in Philly than in NYC? Any good restaurants that are near our hotel? We like more neighborhood type restaurants, if that helps.

Thanks!

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  1. Good Dog could be awkward with a child any night of the week. It is always crowded and I suspect you will get lots of looks. But, the upstairs is dedicated dining and that would probably be ok. The problem is that getting a table on a Thursday will be hard and there is really nowhere to wait besides the downstairs bar which I would say is not kid friendly. If you go early--like 5:00--you might be able to swing it. 6:00 might be too late but maybe worth a shot.

    Grace would probably be OK as their dining area is offset from the bar, but again go early so you can get a table without waiting. Service at Grace is usually more brusque than Good Dog (where service is consistently good) so the kid-friendliness level of your server is probably a crap shoot.

    1. Keep Zahav. It's perfectly fine for a well-behaved child. Distrito is probably less so.

      Good Dog has a dining room area that's good for you if you want to do dinner (early or otherwise). The bar area is probably ok for kids, but I personally would balk at seeing a child there (and that has nothing to do with behavior).

      If you're at the Omni, you're not far from Chinatown, which has Rangoon. Definitely go for that - one of the unique gems in the city.

      Near you is also ... Aqua? It's a Malaysian restaurant and a totally chill spot to take a kid for lunch.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Ali

        Thanks for all the recs. I was looking at the menu of Rangoon. My concern is that I am violently allergic to peanuts and couldn't tell from the menu how peanut heavy Burmese food is. I saw a few items that mention peanuts so had sadly ruled it out.

        Do you think I would be OK at Rangoon?

        I should have mentioned that we do love ethnic foods; korean, japanese etc. I assumed NY may be stronger in these areas.

        Chifa looked interesting though - would that be a good alternative or should we do seafood like a Dinardos?

        1. re: brooklynmasala

          DiNardos is an old philadelphia institution but its really only good if you are going to have the crabs...service is kind of diner-like, decor is kind of tired old seafarin' theme...might be better to try the Oyster House (new incarnation of Sansom Street Oyster House...get some snapper soup there) or Devon seafood on Rittenhouse Square...I think both should be fine to take kids to.

          1. re: brooklynmasala

            Skip Chifa if you're looking for authenticity. Kinda overpriced, but it's an experience.

        2. In general I don't think its a good idea to bring a 6 year old to a bar.

          Other places to consider in the neighborhood of the hotel are Jones (american comfort food) and City Tavern (18th century american, costumed waiters).

          I second the recommendation for Chinatown, children are always welcome there.

          1. Zahav and Distrito are both fine for children, and both have food that isn't easily found (at least at that level) in NYC. I recently took my 6 & 8 year olds' to a meal at Zahav. I usually try to eat early w/the kids, as places aren't as full and they are less likely to seem out of place. My 6 y.o. didn't like the food at Zahav (8 y.o. loved it), but both were quiet, well behaved, and the staff didn't make us feel at all as if we shouldn't be there.

            Distrito would be really fun for a kid b/c the decor is so entertaining. There's a lot to look at, and the food is terrific, with plenty of menu options for a non-picky eater. I haven't taken my kids there b/c the 6 y.o. is so picky, but I wouldn't feel at all uncomfortable doing so.

            Another great option that is different from what you find in NYC is Rangoon, in Chinatown. My kids both love it there and we go often. The kids love the crispy taro root, chicken satay, thousand layer bread, and coconut rice. It is very comfortable, the owner is lovely and likes kids, and you don't need a reservation.

            1. I wouldn't recommend Grace or Good Dog with a 6yr old. 6pm on a Thursday = happy hour, and I don't think it would be proper.

              Instead, go to Jones. Nice vibe, good comfort food and very kid friendly.

              1. budakahn is 2 doors down from you hotel. If you go at six for dinner it should be fine. Your 6 year old will think it is cool. huge buddah, cool lighting,food is good and you can't beat the commute. you can also tell your firends you went to the original budakahn. your hotel is a great place. very nice staff. my parents often stay their when they visit.

                1. Another place near the Omni is the Society Hill Hotel Restaurant. Their food is quite good (been a little while since I've been) and I think it would be fine with a six year old.

                  1. I dont see an issue taking a well behaved 6 year old to any of the places you mentioned. We take our kids to gastropubs all over the city and we have never felt unwelcome. Picking a slower time to eat is the key and avoiding a busy happy hour. Some places seem to always be busy, like Monks. The Standard Tap, excellent for food and wine or beer, is fine at 6pm even on weekends ( if you go there, eat upstairs, less noise, more comfortable). If you are set on Good Dog or Grace Tavern, I would call and ask about a good time to eat early, to avoid crowds.
                    I have a couple of suggestions not too far from your hotel. Kanella on 10 and Spruce serves down home Greek Cypriot cuisine. They are open for lunch as well thurs through Sun.
                    Amada is very close to your hotel and the best of the Garces empire imo.
                    Chloe and Bistro 7 are two very good BYOs in old city. Getting in early is very key at those places.
                    I have not gotten to Fork since Terrence Fuery took over the kitchen, but Craig Laban the Phila Inquirer food critic gave it 3 bells and it is a Philadelphia institution and close to your hotel.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: thehungrything

                      As a parent, I think the issue with bringing a child to a tavern has more to do with whether the tavern atmosphere is appropriate for a child, than whether the child is well behaved or not. You have many other options available that are perfectly appropriate for family dining.

                      1. re: rocknroll52

                        Reading Terminal is a great place for lunch for kids. You will be fine at Zahav too, and Jones is great for kids. When my son was younger we went to Buddakan as well as Alma de Cuba with no problems at all...

                    2. philly beats new york on mexican (though not in other south of the border cuisines). with that in mind, you might want to keep distrito (though missing zahav would be a bummer. but, zahav is a short walk from your hotel, distrito is in west philly). or, you can pick one of our many good taquerias and squeeze in a lunch. old city is not very dining-rich, lots of b and t types, but amada, zahav and zento (sushi) are outstanding. oooorrr.....you can still do distrito on thursday night, you really don't need reservations there during the week, especially if you are going that early.

                      also, race street cafe frequently has children in it. it's a local-y pub with better than decent food and there are lots of young families around there.

                      and definitely go to grace not good dog. the food is better at good dog (grace is good too though) but you'll feel way more comfortable in grace with a child.

                      and reading terminal is no to be missed. get some bassett;s ice cream while you are there too, or something from the amish bakestand.

                      we also have some excellent ethiopian places if you want to explore west philly some more....