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Infant friendly in Cambridge area?

My husband and I work in Cambridge and usually eat out somewhere in the area on Friday nights before heading home to S. Shore to wait out inevitable traffic. Now we have a 3 month old daughter in daycare nearby and are looking for casual places where bringing in a car seat or discreetly nursing her will feel comfortable. Obviously we would leave if she started throwing a fit, and dining time would be fairly early (around 6pm). I'm pescatarian - so good veg/fish options essential. Some of our favorites are Helmand, Oleana and Ten Tables - but I'm not sure how any of these places would be with baby in tow.

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  1. how about craigie on main or middlesex?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Prav

      I wouldn't take an infant to Craigie on Main, even at 6pm. Especially not on a Friday night.

      If pizza works for you, Cambridge 1 in Harvard Square or Emma's Pizza near Kendall are both good, thin-crust/fancy topping style places, and both would probably be fine for an infant (although my recollection is that Cambridge 1 has a bit more space inside so might be a bit better for navigating with an infant).

      I have only been to The Friendly Toast (in Kendall) for brunch, but the food was great and they do serve dinner, which I think would be good as well. Definitely a causal atmosphere and a place I think you'd be fine with an infant.

      Depending on where you are in Cambridge, you might be close to either Pho 'n Rice (causal Vietnamese/Thai) or Zoe's (Chinese/Schezuan), both on Beacon street just across the line in Somerville (near Porter Square). Near Porter there is also Christopher's (pretty good veggie burger, but not somewhere I'd go out of my way for) and The Elephant Walk (French/Cambodian, the Cambodian better than the French IMO).

      I've only been there once for drinks and appetizers, but Casablanca in Harvard Square seemed to have a bit of a child-friendly vibe, and I thought the food was fairly good.

      You might also consider Tamarind Bay, which I think is the best of the Indian options in Harvard Square. For Indian there is also the Kebab Factory at the intersection of Kirkland and Beacon.

      1. re: greenzebra

        I'm reasonably certain he was being facetious :)

        1. re: greenzebra

          Great suggestions. My suggestion in general is to go out as much as you can now, since baby will either be sleeping or nursing and won't be disruptive to you or to the people around you. I took my baby pretty much everywhere at that point. When you get to six months, you can't really do this anymore. But for now, really what you need is a place that has enough room for the carseat and a place where you'd feel ok nursing. In a few months, you'll have fewer options b/c baby won't sleep through a meal for you anymore.

          Emma's I would probably forego, because it's really cramped and there's always a crowd waiting and it would be uncomfortable. I think Ten Tables might have a similar problem with space.

          I think Craigie would be fine if you went really early, but Oleanna's got that space problem, too. Places I took my baby without issue were Central Kitchen, Hungry Mother, Gran Gusto, Summer Shack, Full Moon. Other places I'd try are Craigie, Blue Room, Rendezvous, Evoo, Green Street. More casual: Basta Pasta, Friendly Toast, Cantina La Mexicana, Wu Chon House, Caffe La Luna, Zoe's, Pho N Rice.

          The only places in Cambridge that seemed to not be comfortable having us there were Om (and I didn't like it there anyway), and Garden at the Cellar.

          I'd love to hear back how it goes!

        1. re: Gabatta

          I recommend NOT going to Full Moon until you have to (i.e., until you need a place where your then-toddler can run around and play while you try to enjoy your meal). I think Full Moon is a great concept, but I find it a fairly stressful place to try to enjoy a meal.

          1. re: Blumie

            You are correct, I was probably thinking more of the stress level of the fellow diners. Full Moon is a more appropriate place for an infant than Oleana or Ten Tables for sure, Helmand might be OK.

            1. re: Gabatta

              I agree with Blumie here....as a mother of an almost 2 year old, I'd save Full Moon for when your kid is fully mobile, a full-on toddler..that's really the best time to go there. Up until then, i.e certainly with a 3 month old sitting/sleeping in a car seat, I would take advantage of the opportunity to go pretty much anywhere that will have room for the car seat....and that's most places. I personally would probably steer clear from some of the smaller, intimate and romantic spots, just in case the baby needed some attention. But other than that, the sky is your limit. And just FYI, about a year ago (when my little one was under a year) I went to Hungry Mother..was chatting a bit with Rachel (one of the owners) telling her how this was our big night out, leaving the baby at home...she said, "oh, next time bring your baby with you...we LOVE babies..." I thought that was really welcoming of her, esp b/c Hungry Mother wasn't exactly the type of spot I would have thought to bring my little one....and it is true, there's a bit difference between 3 months, and say, 8 months....but either way, she was welcoming. So that's a viable option too.

              Full Moon
              344 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

              Hungry Mother
              Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

        2. Blue Room is fine with a baby. East Coast Grill is a great place to take a baby - v. loud, lots of lights and stuff. Good fish options too. Mary Chungs. I second a lot of the other suggestions too, though I would never take a 3 month old to Full Moon. Save that for the preschool years. The beauty is though, you start taking the kid out now, you make it a regular thing, you'll never need to eat at Full Moon. My 3 yo has been eating out with us it seems like forever (I think her first meal out was at 9 days old) - she is so well-behaved in restaurants because she's used to eating out, and she loves going out to eat (her favorite restaurants are Sichuan Gourmet and Fugakyu). I'm very proud.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MrsCheese

            Granted it is an infant in this case, but if you bring your kid to ECG, *don't* let them run around and pester the people sitting near you (as happened to me once).

            1. re: jgg13

              If the kid is running around pestering people, they have no business in any restaurant.

          2. After reading this interview with Ana Sortun, I think you would be in the clear taking your baby to Oleana.


            Someone mentioned Emma's...wow...I wouldn't TOUCH that on a Friday unless you want to stand in the little entryway waiting for 90 minutes.

            If you make a reservation at Hungry Mother, that might work well. They have a small side dining room (3 or 4 tables) that is a little out of the way. You could ask to be seated there.

            Friendly Toast is also a great idea.

            I'm not a huge fan of the food, but Algiers at Harvard is quiet and low-key.

            Oh, EVOO in Somerville (just over the town line) would be good. It is run by a super-nice couple and the place is a little on the casual side.

            Good luck!

            1. I think Craigie would be fine. We were sitting in the bar area a few months ago and Chef Maw's toddler (much more difficult than an infant) and wife were eating there. Of course, he was the chef's kid, but still he seemed right at home.

              We recently ate at Hungry Mother with a toddler and his parents. They have one table that adjoins a little recess in the wall with a cushion on it. We plopped the kid there and he had like his own little playpen area. It worked great and would also be a good space to stick an infant seat.

              1. While not in the same league with the restaurants mentioned, by any stretch of the imagination, I will recommend the S &S Deli in Inman Sq. It is the first place we took the little cookie when he was 10 days old. I think the Legal in Kendall Sq would be fine, it is a quite spacious dining room, and they can accommodate a stroller, infant seat.

                2 Replies
                1. re: CookieLee

                  Except at S&S you have to tolerate crappy food.

                  1. re: yumyum

                    Maybe because I haven't been there for now what I realize is a v. long time, but I never had a bad meal there. They used to have great Buffalo wings, my kid & I like the S&S wings. And, he loved the blintzes. We used to live nearby and have brunch there with a crowd on a regular basis, but as I said that was a while ago. I'm sorry to hear the place has deteriorated.

                2. We've had good success following a friend's advice: stick to restaurants with a lively bar as well as good food. Adults with a few cocktails in them create enough din to cancel out standard infant protestations. For instance, East Coast Grill is a great choice.

                  1. Koreana is family-friendly - I've been with my very active 3-year old and no eyebrows were raised. The room is pretty noisy to start with so a wail or two from a baby would not stand out :-)

                    154 Prospect Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                    1. Summer Shack.. the kid could pull a Linda-Blair-From-The-Exorcist in there and no one would be put off..

                      Summer Shack
                      310 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                      1. My wife and I went to Helmand last night with a three month old...I have to say the hostess didn't seem to thrilled, but that might have just been her demeanor. Everyone else was more than pleasant. It was a great meal and did not feel inappropriate or awkward at all. We went around 5:30 on a Friday, so there was a sparse but growing crowd.

                        It was my first time there, so I tried some of the basics...Kadoo, Lamb Chops...both very good. The bread and sauces were very interesting, and a carafe of house wine was really inexpensive, All around, a very good experience, and I look forward to going back and being a bit more adventurous.

                        1. The Greek Corner in North Cambridge. 18 years ago I started going with my infant daughter. The owners had a daughter a few months older so we were warmly greeted. We are still going as a family.

                          Greek Corner Restaurant
                          2366 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chuck s

                            Yes, the folks at Greek Corner have always treated our daughter well.

                            I'd also think Atasca would be fine at that time of night.

                            Greek Corner Restaurant
                            2366 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

                          2. I think you'd be OK @ Green St in Cambridge. Put the car seat on one of the banquette benches, and there are also fish options on the menu. The restaurant side of The Independent in Union Sq Somerville could also work. In E Arlington there's Za and Kathmandu Spice, and I second the Greek Corner in N. Cambridge.

                            Greek Corner Restaurant
                            2366 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

                            Kathmandu Spice
                            166 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                            1. Gran Gusto. I had family-in-law visiting with nephew in-law in tow, every single one of them demanding in different ways. It was a HUGE success (thanks chowhounders). Very pleasant service, attentive to the kid, no bother at all. Oh, and great food, with options like those you specified. Can't recommend it highly enough.

                              Gran Gusto
                              90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

                              1. L'Espalier isn't that far away - they'd probably be good, but be sure to get an infant-sized pair of sweat pants and baseball cap, as they do have a dress code.

                                774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199