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Good food, good wine, and kids - Fairfield County, CT

foleyd7 Jan 21, 2010 05:33 PM

I've got kids who are 3 and 5 and are getting comfortable with dining out. Their favorite places are a diner for breakfast and Centro for dinner.
But those aren't so fun for me.
We have taken them to Cafe' Madonline (Fairfield) with success when we can sit outside. I think they can probably pull off Fat Cat in Norwalk now (where they can have a pizza and some fresh cheese).
But I'm looking to compile a list of places in Fairfield County that serve the adults well (food AND wine) and also handle tots.
What places should I check out?

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  1. s
    sibeats Jan 21, 2010 08:10 PM

    Paci in Southport is always filled with families, especially on the early side and has great Italian food. They will also make simple pastas for the kids if need be. I think it fits your bill!

    1. a
      A avenue Jan 22, 2010 08:16 AM

      I would add Pizzeria Molto in Fairfield to the list. Lots of families when I went last. I had a really great pasta dish (penne w/ shrimp and a pink cream sauce) and they have some nice wines as well.

      4 Replies
      1. re: A avenue
        foleyd7 Jan 22, 2010 09:08 AM

        Molto is on my list (thought I wouldn't take them there after 6 pm around the weekend).

        Interesting rec on Paci. My wife and I try to get there once or twice a year but we generally go around 7:30 or so so we have never witnessed any young kids. I might hold off on that with my kids for another year or so - - - the 3 year old still has moments of "loudness" that would carry too much within Paci!

        1. re: foleyd7
          s
          sibeats Jan 22, 2010 10:16 AM

          Definitely go to Molto...it is filled with young kids whenever we've been.
          We've been taking our now 16 year old to Paci since she was 2...they are very accommodating, very friendly to the kids. We usually go on friday nights around 7, there are always many children there at that time, halfway through their meals. I'd give it a shot at 6...maybe not on a saturday since that does seem to be more "date night".
          Also, Match down in SoNo is a good spot to try. Very varied menu, lively atmosphere, worth a shot on the early side as well.

          1. re: sibeats
            foleyd7 Feb 4, 2010 05:01 AM

            We hit Molto last night with our kids and arrived around 5:15. I'm going to write up my review of them on the Molto post, but in a nut shell it was perfect for the kds at the 5:15 timeslot. By the time we rolled out of there at 6:30 you could tell the place was starting to shift to a "bar & adult crowd".
            We'll definitely go back again.... but always before 6 pm.

            1. re: foleyd7
              foleyd7 Feb 4, 2010 06:48 AM

              Here is my Molto post:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/657824

      2. i
        Ima Foodie Jan 25, 2010 07:53 AM

        The new Rizzutos in Westport should be perfect - very family friendly, but with great food. I had the pasta bolognese and it was as good as I've ever had. They make pastas and breads in-house. great salads and pizzas. Good wine list as well. Not cheap, though.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Ima Foodie
          foleyd7 Jan 29, 2010 11:27 AM

          Interesting. I went to look up Rizzuto's to see if they had a website and I found they have multiple locations:
          http://www.rizzutos.com/
          We actually stumbled into the West Hartford one a few weeks back while shopping up in that area on a Sunday. We were with our kids and the pizza's looked good so we gave it a try. They also had a kids menu for lunch (so I'm assuming they have one for dinner, too).
          We had an awful experience with super poor and super slow service. The pizzas came out near cold and the crust was getting saturated from the sauce & cheese - - - my guess is they sat out for at least 10 - 15 minutes before someone shuffled them to our table. It probably took us 1 1/2 hours to have 2 pizzas and get out. Even paying the bill took so long that I had to walk up to the bar with my credit card. (And this place was not overly busy; they were nearly full when we arrived around 1 pm, but were 1/2 empty come 2:30 - - - yet I couldn't find a person to flag down to our table).
          I'm not one to avoid places because of a single bad service experience, but this place almost changed my mind.
          The only saving grace is that the pizza's would probably have been good if served hot. The non-pizza portion of the menu looked OK too. And they had a small, but nicely varied by-the-glass wine list.
          I had no idea this place was in Westport. I'd definitely give them another chance despite one of my worst service experiences ever.

          1. re: foleyd7
            s
            sibeats Jan 29, 2010 12:52 PM

            I've heard the same reports about the Westport location...terrible service, long waits.

            1. re: foleyd7
              l
              LenaInNE Jan 30, 2010 07:37 AM

              I agree....Rizzuto's is West Hartford is TERRIBLE!... service is bad - young, hip looking wait staff that is completely unprofessional and condescending...food is bad to mediocre ... I was served a salad that was dressed in Olive Oil... that's it... I had to ask for Balsamic vinegar instead of them removing the salad and redressing it... my pizza sounded good but was quite bland... it's too bad because it's a pleasant room in a good location... the chain Bertucci's is far superior..

          2. h
            hungrykids Jan 30, 2010 04:55 AM

            Went to Marly's of Wilton last night for a "girls' night out" dinner. We arrived at 7 and I was surprised at the number of kids in the restaurant. (It wasn't a problem...I was just surprised.) Might be just what you're looking for. They do have a kids menu, too.

            1. cheereeo Feb 3, 2010 12:26 PM

              I haven't been with my kids, but wonder how this would be? Have you been to Beach Cafe in Fairfield? I know it is quite casual and more comfort food but they offer a lot for kids including kids movie nights where adults eat downstairs and you get to pawn your kids off on them upstairs, they feed them and show them a movie. Perhaps someone can speak better to the quality of the food and wine on CH?
              http://www.beachcafefairfield.com/

              1 Reply
              1. re: cheereeo
                s
                sibeats Feb 3, 2010 12:50 PM

                We go there for lunch once a month or so, fish tacos, cod sandwich, etc. Very very casual, for me would not be a night out place. Kids would certainly be more than welcome and accommodated, kids menu, etc. I don't think the offerings are much above a Brewhouse/SBC type place...fresher ingredients for sure, but just pretty average.

              2. w
                wookiedoodle Feb 4, 2010 03:30 AM

                City Limits Diner in Stamford was my lifesaver when our boys were around that age. No it's not fancy, but it's very good food in an atmosphere where it doesn't matter if the younger child has a bit of a meltdown. Not to cast aspersions on your children; mine were not quite ready for a fine dining experience at 3.

                The wine selection is good. The beer selection is magnificent.

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