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New Yorkers w/ 2.5 year old coming to town!

m
MRS Aug 11, 2010 02:24 PM

Hoping for some thoughts on spots to dine while in Boston. While we are quite familiar w/ Boston and have always enjoyed eating and drinking well while we are there, we have never brought our 2.5 year old daughter along.
Now, we need some guidance...we STILL like to eat and drink well, but need to find some spots ( esp. for lunch and dinner) that will accommodate/tolerate/welcome a generally well-behaved child. (We are not the people who keep our kid out past her hunger or fatigue factor if we can help it, and we do have respect for our fellow diners.)

We are staying at The Colonnade ( great rate!) but will be all over the city w/ her as we hope to take her to some of the terrific spots like the Children's Museum, Frog Pong, Aquarium etc...

Coming this weekend...help, please?

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  1. Pia RE: MRS Aug 11, 2010 02:42 PM

    Search for "toddler" or "kid" and you'll find lots of related posts.

    A few recommendations:

    Near the Aquarium, take her to Sel de la Terre and sit in the bar area (during an off time, of course, and not in the evening -- perfect for lunch). J.P. Licks is right around the corner for ice cream, which you can eat outside.

    Hang out on the Rose Kennedy Greenway and grab something from one of the food carts. Clover Food Lab is my favorite (closer to South Station), and I also like Silk Road BBQ (closer to the Aquarium). There's also Beantown Franks and Spuds if your kid is a hot dog eater. There's a nice playground on the way to the North End, and some spray fountains. They also have lots of free outdoor activities there during the day. This is in the same neighborhood as the Aquarium, so it could all be part of one trip.

    Children's Museum: right around the corner is Flour Bakery, which is very kid-friendly and has good adult food too. Two other good options in the area are (1) go to the ICA (Institute for Contemporary Art) about a 10-minute walk away, get food from the cafeteria and eat inside or outside -- great views of the water, or (2) get some sort of takeout (sandwiches from Flour, sandwiches and readymade salads/grain dishes from Sportello, or pizza from Sal's) and sit outside and eat. There's a nice park (officially called Maritime Park, but you rarely hear it called that) if you walk about 8 blocks south of the Children's Museum, or lots of outside seating around the Courthouse.

    I haven't done this yet, but I'm planning to: from the Seaport area (close to the Children's Museum, ICA and other places I mentioned in the last paragraph) you can catch a water taxi to East Boston. I've heard good things about Scups on the Marina, the dock area sounds interesting for a little kid, and there is a park nearby where you can bring your food and eat. But if you're focused on seeing specific sights in town, East Boston may not be on your list.

    (You said you're familiar with Boston, so I'm throwing out lots of place names here -- you should be able to look at a map or Google and figure out what I'm talking about, or feel free to ask a followup question here.)

    -----
    Flour Bakery + Cafe
    12 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA

    Sel de la Terre
    774 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199

    Silk Road BBQ
    Rowes Wharf Plaza, Boston, MA 02110

    Sportello
    348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02110

    5 Replies
    1. re: Pia
      m
      MRS RE: Pia Aug 11, 2010 03:28 PM

      Thank you so much, Pia. These sound like some great ideas! Any thoughts on dinner nearer to our hotel in case we decide to lay low one night? In the meantime, I will definitely search the boards for key words...

      1. re: MRS
        justbeingpolite RE: MRS Aug 11, 2010 04:04 PM

        Not a ton in the immediate area of the hotel, but nothing's really that far, either. Brasserie Jo is in your hotel (not really a chain, there's one in Chicago) and has some nice Alsatian selections. I think they'd have no problem with your child. Kenmore Sq. is not too far, particularly by taxi, and is a fun setting. Active bar seen, but the restaurant part has nice banquets and would accommodate children easily. If there's a Sox game, wait till after the game has started.
        Lots of other possibilities not too far away. Anyone know how kid friendly Erbaluce is?

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        Brasserie Jo
        120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

        Erbaluce
        69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

        1. re: justbeingpolite
          s
          sallyt RE: justbeingpolite Aug 11, 2010 05:03 PM

          I'm all for taking well-behaved toddlers to nice dinners, but I don't think that Erbaluce is kid-friendly - dark, romantic, and not really that kind of atmosphere...

          Eastern Standard is totally fine for kids - same with Audobon.

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          Eastern Standard
          528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

          Erbaluce
          69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

          1. re: sallyt
            justbeingpolite RE: sallyt Aug 11, 2010 05:13 PM

            That's why I asked. And oops, that's what I meant when I said Kenmore Sq., but forgot to drop the name Eastern Standard in there.
            Audobon's getting a little farther from the hotel, but a nice choice.

          2. re: justbeingpolite
            Pia RE: justbeingpolite Aug 12, 2010 08:06 AM

            Brasserie Jo is good, and large enough that your kid won't stick out. Get the profiteroles... mmm.

            -----
            Brasserie Jo
            120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

      2. t
        trueblu RE: MRS Aug 11, 2010 05:35 PM

        We went to (early) dinner with our 13 month old at Toro a few nights ago. There are no reservations, so you need to go early (17:30), but I think it's restaurant week soon -- the only time they take reservations so they may be fully booked for then.

        We were very pleasantly surprised: although perhaps not 'child friendly', they were very child tolerant, and our daughter had a great time: munching on the delicious corn, as well as eating the paella straight from the pan! It can be rather noisy, but our daughter doesn't mind that. It's one of my favourite restaurants in the Boston area, and a rather diff. take to tapas, so would highly recommend.

        If you want pizza, Regina in the North End is child friendly and a crowd pleaser. Near your hotel, Brasserie Jo is fine, and I've heard that Sel de la Terre is child friendly (on Boylston). Nearer the hotel is a cheesecake factory: I personally can't stand the place, but it IS very child friendly, if you can bear the wait for a table.

        tb

        -----
        Toro
        1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

        Sel de la Terre
        774 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199

        Brasserie Jo
        120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

        6 Replies
        1. re: trueblu
          hotoynoodle RE: trueblu Aug 12, 2010 07:13 AM

          i was in coppa recently and there was a baby screaming for the entire first hour we were there. the manager said nothing to the oblivious mom, so i'm guessing they're child tolerant too? i have also seen plenty of kids in the downstairs at bistro du midi, which faces the boston common, so just a hop, skip and a jump from the frog pond. (sorry, couldn't resist, lol.)

          restaurant week begins sunday night and most places participate, so pick a spot and make a reservation, just to assure yourselves seats.

          1. re: hotoynoodle
            t
            twentyoystahs RE: hotoynoodle Aug 12, 2010 07:44 AM

            Coppa is definitely kid-friendly as I have seen Ken Oringer (one of the owners/partners) there many times with his little one.....That being said, we just a few houses down from there and haven't been there yet with our 2.8 yr old ..... mostly 'cause it's a small space and the sort of place I enjoy going with grown-ups....sharing small plates, enjoying leisurely glasses of wine, etc. Not necessarily overly conducive to life with a toddler ;)
            However, if you go early enough, i.e. 5:30-6ish, many places are fine with kids. Also, if the weather is nice enough, many spots have outdoor seating, (like Coppa) and I find that works even better with little ones. If they make a little bit of noise, it is drowned out and folks don't seem to care as much anyway.

            Regardless, agreat choice in the south end any time of the day or eve is Picco --excellent pizza, ice cream, just generally good food in a fun neighborhood and EXTREMELY kid-friendly. It's my little girl's favorite spot ;)

            I think many of Pia's recs are good ones..don't forget there is a carousel right by the Aquarium too (i think it's there again this year, if not there is definitely one on Boston Common, right by the Frog Pond.).there's a playground right there too. That's easily a good morning/afternoon activity. Back to the pizza rec, we often go to the Frog Pond/Carousel/playground and then get a slice across the common at Upper Crust (on Charles St, Beacon Hill). Very close and good pizza, I think.

            Have fun!!!

            -----
            Coppa
            253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

            1. re: twentyoystahs
              m
              MRS RE: twentyoystahs Aug 12, 2010 10:11 AM

              Thank you, everyone! We are so excited to bring Little Miss to Beantown!! We do plan on eating early-within her hunger and patience window. I detest when people won't acknowledge that their child has "had it" and everyone else has to suffer for it. These sound like great options for us!

              1. re: MRS
                c
                cambridgedoctpr RE: MRS Aug 12, 2010 10:26 AM

                coppa probably is fine during the day, on a weekend night it is a zoo. they make good pizza, by the way,

                i am not a fan of upper crust, commercial pizza with fresh ingredient; i like Brasserie Jo.

                -----
                Brasserie Jo
                120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                  t
                  twentyoystahs RE: cambridgedoctpr Aug 13, 2010 06:26 AM

                  I certainly don't list Upper Crust among the best slices in the city, but I think it's just good enough for both a 2 year old and 42 year old ;) palate!

                2. re: MRS
                  ecwashere7 RE: MRS Aug 13, 2010 05:31 PM

                  I second a lot of the recommendations listed already (esp. Toro) but I would warn you about the pizza (as a former New Yorker). The standards for good pizza in Boston are far different. Not to say that its bad, but it certainly is not the same. I settle for eating some of the fancy pizzas you can get at Via Matta and Coppa. I definitely pass on Regina's. I can see why people love it, but its not going to be the same as NY or New Haven pizza.

                  Via Matta (across the street from the Park Plaza) may be a good option if you eat outside on the patio.

                  -----
                  Toro
                  1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                  Via Matta
                  79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

                  Coppa
                  253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

          2. m
            MRS RE: MRS Aug 16, 2010 12:44 PM

            We are back from our whirlwind tour of Boston and i am happy to report that we found everywhere we went to eat to be very child friendly. We ate breakfast at the hotel each morning and could not have been happier with the food and the service. My daughter's wish was their command. The royal treatment. Friday night, we had a fabulous, early dinner at Lucca Back Bay. It was a "real" dinner out for us, and close enough to the hotel in case we had to beat it back fast. Again, super child friendly and top-notch service. Our waiter, Brennan, was amazing! We definitely over ordered b/c we wanted an array of things for her to try. We had the salt cod fritters, gnocchi, rigatoni bolognese, polpette, and each of us had a fish. I had the salmon and my husband had the striped bass special. Everything was terrific. The gnocchi was a definite hit w/ the little one as was the polpette. Saturday was lunch at Kingfish Hall- she ate sushi, clam chowder and just about everything else on the table. I was sketchy on eating down at Quincy market area but we were walking back from the Aquarium and it got to be that time. They were very great about being fast and friendly. Saturday night was really fun! We were between Eastern Standard and Post390. It got to be a bit later than we originally planned, so we opted to stay closer to the hotel at Post390. What a pleasant surprise! I was worried when we got there b/c it was late, but my daughter was so enchanted, it didn't matter at all. We sat directly opposite the kitchen so she could see the action. The kid menu is great. She had chicken, mashed potatoes and broccoli. We had oysters, calamari and potstickers to start. I had the chicken under the brick and my husband had the seared tuna special. The food and wine was superb but the best part was watching my daughter devour her ice cream and cupcakes for dessert. No ipad or distractions needed at all. She was 100% good as gold and happy, happy! She finally hit the wall on Sunday at Cafeteria- too short on sleep and too warm. We had to leave before we ordered and ended up grabbing sushi across from the hotel at Haru. She ate tobiko rolls and california rolls even though we banked on her eating tempura. You never know. Dinner at Picco in the South End. She picked it b/c of the red umbrellas. They were sooo nice to us. And there was room outside for her to roam a bit before the food came. Was going to try Hammersley's until one of the waiters? managers? made a comment like, " we don't serve chicken fingers here." I told him " well, that's good b/c she doesn't eat them" and we walked away. Didn't like his tone. We were looking to sit outside. The place was almost completely empty. No need for his snarkiness.
            All in all- what a great weekend and what nice, wonderful people we encountered along the way. We can't wait to bring our daughter back to Boston for more fun!

            -----
            Eastern Standard
            528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

            Kingfish Hall
            188 South Market Building, Boston, MA 02109

            Lucca Back Bay
            116 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02116

            4 Replies
            1. re: MRS
              l
              LeRique RE: MRS Aug 16, 2010 12:55 PM

              Nice post,glad you had such a nice time!

              1. re: MRS
                Pia RE: MRS Aug 16, 2010 02:25 PM

                Thanks for the report! Sounds like you had a great weekend. (Even though you didn't take my suggestions. ;) ) I'm surprised you encountered that tone at Hamersley's -- even if kids aren't welcome, they could just say, "I'm sorry, I'm afraid this isn't an appropriate place for young children," instead of making a rude comment.

                I should try taking the kid to Picco. I'm always intimidated about taking him to the South End.

                1. re: Pia
                  m
                  MRS RE: Pia Aug 16, 2010 06:30 PM

                  Picco was really enjoyable. They could not have been nicer! The food options were very broad and the wine list was good, too. We sat outside, which I think was key.
                  We did try Sel de Terre after the Aquarium, but they were packed and I thought we might need a little bit more liberty to roam. I thought the menu and the vibe were great- just didn't think anyone would appreciate us shoving in with a little one.
                  I was surprised by Hamersley's also. Maybe he thought he was being funny? I would have loved, loved to have gone to Butcher Shop but the very high tables and stools made me realize it is not for small children. And that's ok. Some places just aren't. But I do love it there.

                  1. re: MRS
                    t
                    trueblu RE: MRS Aug 16, 2010 07:18 PM

                    Perhaps I'm more sensitive since becoming a parent, but that was astonishingly rude from the chap at Hammersley's. I would be minded to let the GM know -- even more appropriate since you're not local, so clearly not angling for anything.

                    It's possible they meant to say: "you should be aware that we have no special children's menu", but clearly, they have no communication skills, and therefore have no place being front of house.

                    tb

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