Baby friendly restaurants in Philly or burbs?
My husband and I go out to eat all the time and we have our first baby on the way (hopefully any day now!) we want to continue to be able to go out to eat and bring our little one with us. We want to be able to enjoy ourselves, while being least disruptive as possible to other diners! I know many chain restaurants are child friendly, but we really want to avoid chains. Any suggestions for good restaurants where we can stop in for an early dinner or weekend lunch (before it gets full of the weekend crowds) that is an "adult" restaurant but is child friendly enough that we will not be completely disruptive?
We have removed those replies which do not address the OP's request, which is recommendations of baby friendly restaurants. Posts not recommending restaurants, or talking about babies in restaurants in general terms are out of scope for this board.
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Congrats on your new arrival! Based on your SN, I assume we live in the same general vicinity. We have a little one as well, so we're always looking for kid-friendly places. Our DD is 18 months, and is generally VERY good in restaurants. We've been eating out with her since she was a newborn. I find that Chinese restaurants are generally very kid friendly. We like Golden Sea in Blue Bell, and GOlden Dragon in Conshohocken. We've never taken DD to Cho Cho San, but we see kids in there a lot. East Cuisine is also very kid friendly (but kind of tight seatingwise). Diners are an obvious choice. Pumpernick's is extremely baby and kid friendly. We also take DD to El Cactus in Souderton a lot (she loves mexican food). I think almost any place is kid friendly, as long as your kid is restaurant-friendly. I think you just have to be a little more flexible in your dining plans than in the past. There have been one or two times where DD was getting crabby and we packed up our food to go. We don't sit around in a restaurant with a screaming kid for an hour, but we also don't seal ourselves off in our house or pay tons of money for a baby sitter every time we want to eat something.
Loud restaurants are a good bet. We went to Distrito recently with a one-year old and a two-year-old, and didn't feel like we were disturbing anyone--although I suppose if there was someone in the vicinity who would have been "distracted" by our moving the little one around, then maybe so . . .
Earth Bread + Brewery in Mt. Airy comes to mind as a particularly good place for little kids--if you go early it's crawling with kids.
Congratulations on your impending arrival! Our daughter is 5 now and we've been taking her happily to restaurants since she was an infant. Baby era was easy for us, luckily. During toddlerhood we stuck mainly to places in Chinatown and other family restaurants and diners. She's eaten at a fast foodery exactly twice, because that's just not where we choose to spend our dining out dollars. Now that she's older we can really enjoy longer meals in nicer restaurants as long as we start early (as others have mentioned).
Earth is great, and definitely kid-friendly...although sometimes this can work against it with some patrons, as occasionally parents will allow their young kids to run wild through the place. We go there both with our daughter and without, but we do not allow her away from our table so we've never had to endure stinkeye. Sometimes I dish it out, though, because I know the owners have taken flak for this (even though it's not their fault) and I like them. ;-)
Primo Bacio in the Towers at Wyncote is very good and they are lovely with kids.
West Avenue Grill here in Jenkintown is not my favorite place, but they're kid-friendly.
Palace of Asia in Fort Washington (although I haven't been there in a little while due to non-kid-related unpleasantness)
Shundeez in Chestnut Hill
Hokka Hokka in Chestnut Hill
The Little Treehouse Play Cafe in Chestnut Hill will be putting in a kitchen for the fall and will offer dinners (gourmet pizza, salads, soups). They will also allow you to BYOB.
Campbell's Place in Chestnut Hill
Arpeggio in Springhouse (I once breastfed my daughter there while enjoying their fabulous hummus - no one batted an eye.)
Yalda Kebab in Horsham, although you know service is a little slow.
If I think of more, I'll post them!
In Bucks there is Isaac Newtons, Jules Thin Crust pizza, and in Montco there are lots of Chinese restaurants and diners. For whatever reason, we often took our kids to sushi places when they were infants.
You've been to enough restaurants to know if they're suitable for families with young children. The ones who decide if you are "completely disruptive" or even a little disruptive, are the parents. I have two kids, work with kids and love and respect them. But babies act like babies; they laugh and scream with delight, cry, whine and smell awful when they poop in their diapers. It doesn't matter if it's McDonalds, a non-chain "family food, fun and pubery," or a pizza joint; the bottom line is that if you're infant or child starts to make noise that's different from what you've experienced in restaurants before giving birth, please, for god's sake, take the child out and return when they're quiet.
FWIW, when our kids were infants and toddlers, we took them to lots of restaurants. But the moment they started to make a sound louder than normal conversation, cried etc. one of us parents took them out for a walk while the other ate. There were times when we had to pack our food to go, but it would've been completely unfair to the other patrons and the restaurant staff to stay. Regardless of the cost, people who eat out are paying good money not to have their dining experience contaminated by someone else, whether it's a screaming happy baby or someone speaking loudly on their cell phone.
When people dine out they are not entitled to disrupt, even a little, the dining experience of anyone else. Unfortunately, there are lots of folks who think it's okay if their kids wander around, chat with others, speak loudly, scream, or do what they do at home.
Enjoy your baby and allow others to enjoy your baby, also.
First off, Congratualtions!!! My first is 16 months now and it's amazing journey.
I've always liked bringing my son to loud places, as I feel less stressed when I know I'm not disturbing other people. When you're comfortable, the baby's comfortable! Anywhere that's busy, or well lit will be a nice distraction for them, too. Also, you want to know if they have changing facilities in the bathrooms. That'll tell you how they feel about babies. I live in DE, so I don't know too many places in your area, but used to take him to a local Mexican restaurant, Iron Hill, Christophers in Wayne. Family owned places and diners are good, too. They'll fawn all over the baby!
I agree that while the baby is in the infant carrier (the first 4-5 months or so) you can pretty much go anywhere. The baby is like luggage ;) After that, it does get tougher (especially if you want your baby to go to bed at a reasonable time, in their crib)
I have two kids (ages 2 and almost 5) and we were big foodies before kids. Now we prefer to get a sitter and enjoy our meal out ;) When our kids were little we would go to Blue Fin a lot (on the early side) since it was near our house. I agree that Christophers in Wayne is a great spot. Assuming you live in Ambler (I live there too!) I would say that around here the best places to go with kids are the Fireside Grille (never been but my friends love taking their kids there), you can probably get away with Pistachio on the earlier side as well as Zakes. I find places in Ambler to be pretty kid friendly. Cho-cho san in North Wales is very kid friendly. Really most places are if you go BEFORE SIX! on a sat night. (Exception -- when your little one is asleep in the infant carrier)
Anyway, I feel like I am rambling! I'm happy to chat with you more about this since we live in the same area! :) Jen
Congratulations! I was about to post the same thing as Chefpaulo about the temperament of the baby. With a mellow baby, you can go almost anywhere for the first several months. Any restaurant that is relatively casual, or has a moderate noise level is fine. Places I've seen you mention, like Taste of Portugal, Picanha Grill, really just about any of the Northeast Philly places would be fine.
It's when the baby gets a little older that things get more difficult. When s/he is no longer content just lying in a carrier, then you have to be ready to eat in shifts while the other parent takes the baby outside, walks around, etc.
You'll figure it all out.