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Oct 6, 2010 10:45 AM

Espresso, brunch, seafood and dinner - this weekend with 14 month old!?

Coming to Boston this weekend (Oct 9 - 12) with our 14 month old and looking for suggestions that will be friendly for her too (friendly meaning the premises and fellow diners are happy to accommodate her - if they have high chairs even better). We're staying at the Park Plaza at Arlington and won't have a car so we'll be primarily on foot but of course willing to take a cab/subway/T.

Looking for help with the following please!

1 - Coffee near the hotel - any recommendations for good espresso takeaway coffee we can grab near the hotel before we head out for the day? Starbucks doesn't count.

2 - We want to do one leisurely breakfast/brunch. Something more upscale than a greasyspoon/diner. Not sure which area is good for this.. Bay Bay? Beacon Hill?

3 - One buzzy Boston dinner spot. Again the little one's coming with us so it may have to be an early dinner or if we have a later seating she might go to sleep in the stroller (hey.. we can hope!). No jacket and tie - tidy jeans and a nice shirt type place. Not Asian, not steakhouse. Mid-range price point.. happy to pay for mains in the $20s.

4 - Seafood. Not asian style but chowder, oysters, lobster, etc. We're from Australia but live in Toronto so we're really missing fresh seafood! Can either be lunch or dinner.

Thanks Chowhounders!

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  1. mike and pattys for breakfast. erbaluce for an early dinner and usually very good seafood (don't know how kid-friendly they are, I'd call and ask). I know Legal's is a chain but they are entirely reliable for oysters, lobster and chowder and often have an early-hour oyster special (go on line and check which one near you might have that). Sel de la Terre also has early hour specials.

    1. TeeZeeTwo has great suggestions but, here are a few more
      1. Coffee: You could try L'Aroma on Newbury St (
      2. Stephanie's on Newbury has large portions of upscale comfort food , is kid friendly and within walking distance of your hotel. It gets busy on the weekends so you might want to call to try to get a reservation. They should have high chairs.
      3. Eastern Standard ( has a bistro atmosphere, great cocktails and fits your price range. Its next to the Kenmore Sq. t-stop
      4. The seafood is great here but, after my last visit to Sydney I miss morton bay bugs ! Legal's is always reliable but, you may also want to head to the waterfront and check out the Barking Crab ( or check out Summer Shack which has high chairs and kids activities I believe on Sunday nights

      The Barking Crab
      88 Sleeper Street, Boston, MA 02210

      Eastern Standard
      528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

      Summer Shack
      310 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

      1. 1 - Up until recently I lived around the corner from where you are staying, in the morning I used to grab coffee from Bina Alimentari and find its very consistent.

        2 - Craigie on Main is pretty much praised by everyone on the board as one of if not the best Sunday Brunch in the area. Located in Central Square Cambridge.

        4 - For Seafood Neptune Oyster is the best Boston has to offer IMO.No reservations, so try and secure an early seating if possible. Located in the North End.

        I left 3 for last because there are quite a few options, my favorite mid-range places with a good "buzz": Bistro Du Midi, Market, Hungry Mother, Oleana, Toro, Coppa and Scampo. Check out the menu's to see what catches your eye.

        Enjoy your stay!


        Neptune Oyster
        63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

        1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

        Hungry Mother
        Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

        215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

        134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

        Craigie on Main
        853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

        253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

        1 Reply
        1. re: Matt H

          I would not recommend Neptune Oyster with a 14 month old. We were always tempted to take our daughter there when she was that young, but that place is just not set up for a toddler.

          Neptune Oyster
          63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

        2. We often see small families with babies downstairs at the South End Buttery on Shawmut Ave. in the South End on a Sunday morning. They have high chairs. It's not cheap, but the food is good and it's a neat if somewhat small space. Definitely not a greasy spoon, but still casual and relaxed.

          South End Buttery
          314 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA 02118

          1. A few thoughts:

            Craigie on Main is a great idea for Sunday brunch if you can still get a reservation. At least for brunch, they do seem happy to accommodate children, and they do have high chairs. I've been with my 4.5 month old (admittedly much easier than dining out with a 14 month old) and everybody was very friendly. Also one of the best brunches in the Boston area, and easy to get to by T (walk to Park St, take Red line to Central). But I would definitely recommend making a reservation, and mention that you have a toddler when you do so.

            For seafood: Legal is definitely a kid-friendly and perfectly good option, especially if you stick to relatively straightforward things. Barking Crab gets generally terrible reviews here, so I'd recommend avoiding it. Neptune Oyster is probably the best seafood in Boston, but very difficult with a toddler. If you're feeling adventurous and want to try it, though, I'd recommend going for either a early lunch (at 11:30 right when they open) or a very late lunch (around 2 maybe?). The space is small and cramped and doesn't really have room for strollers, so if it at all crowded I think being there with a toddler would be kind of uncomfortable. Neptune Oyster is very close to Pizzeria Regina on Thatcher St (a Boston institution and very good pizza), which is definitely kid friendly, so that would be a reasonable backup plan if you do try for lunch at Neptune Oyster and it doesn't look like it will work. Another option for seafood is East Coast Grill in Cambridge. Reliably good, kid-friendly (they do have high chairs IIRC), although only open for dinner.

            For buzzy and toddler-friendly places: Hungry Mother (in Cambridge - Kendall Square) is a possibility, with great Southern food. There have been reports on this board that it is kid-friendly, although I can't vouch for the kid-friendliness from personal experience. Erbaluce is one of my favorite Italian places in Boston (and great seafood too -- if they have mussels or razor clams on the menu get them), and the space is large enough that I think you'd be find with a toddler if you went early (also practically next door to your hotel). Toro and Coppa, on the other hand, are both pretty small spaces and might not be great for a toddler.

            1 Reply
            1. re: greenzebra

              Some great recs. I few quick notes: Toro and Coppa might not be great for a toddler if you are dining inside, but if the weather is nice you could dine on either of their patios and you'd be totally fine with a toddler. I know Coppa has at least one high chair, I'm guessing Toro does too. Both places are fantastic.
              Hungry Mother is definitely kid friendly. I agree, I've never actually SEEN babies/toddlers there, but the owner assured me they'd welcome my little one (who was under a year when we had that conversation.)

              I think Pizzeria Regina is a great choice if you feel like grabbing a casual pizza. It's a Boston institution, in a great neighborhood, and totally kid-friendly. Neptune is amazing, but yes, will be a little bit tougher unless you go on an off-time so that 1) you won't have to wait too long to be seated and 2) you won't feel incredibly cramped.

              For breakfast. Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe, in the south end, is another spot you shouldn't overlook. Totally kid-friendly and another Boston institution and I personally think it's great breakfast food. However, you'll need to get there early on a weekend (9, the latest, which i imagine isn't a problem with a 14 mo. old) otherwise you'll wait for a table.

              Have fun!!!! Lots of great places to explore :)

              1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

              Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe
              429 Columbus Ave Ste 1, Boston, MA 02116

              Hungry Mother
              Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

              253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118