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Where do you eat with your young kids?

We all know about Full Moon, and I've also enjoyed Aura's occasional family-friendly nights. These places accommodate kids who have too much energy to sit still through a long meal, and they have good food that's also kid-friendly even for picky eaters. But they're also expensive and unusual in that they're explicitly kid-oriented. Where else do you eat with your kids who are still young enough for high chairs or crayons, and how old are your kids?

We're in Watertown and have an almost-4-year old and a baby on the way. We frequent the Deluxe Town Diner (especially for dinner on weekdays, when the prices are reasonable and it's not crowded), Shiraz (they have an aquarium to keep him occupied while we're waiting for food), the Spot Cafe for breakfast (only if we get out of the house early, otherwise it's way too crowded and we feel rushed), and sometimes Vicki Lee's in Belmont for a weekday breakfast treat. We've taken him to Shangri-La before, but he's pretty picky so that wasn't as successful. We also like Stone Hearth Pizza in Belmont, often followed by a trip to Rancatore's across the street. Sometimes we take the bus to Harvard Square, where we've had success taking our toddler to Cambridge 1, Le's, and Wagamama. Hanmaru in Allston also worked out well for us -- they have a surprisingly kid-friendly children's menu.

When he was a baby we had a much harder time finding suitable places -- I remember Legal Seafood as being very baby-friendly, partly because the space is so big and they have lots of high chairs, but other than that, wherever we went we just hoped he wouldn't start fussing and were always ready to have one of us grab the baby and head outside while the other packed up and paid.

I'm curious to hear about where others take their young kids, especially people who live in different areas -- I bet you have some great neighborhood places that I wouldn't think of.

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Shangri-La
149 Belmont St, Belmont, MA 02478

Full Moon
344 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Deluxe Town Diner
627 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

Vicki Lee's
105 Trapelo Rd, Belmont, MA

Stone Hearth Pizza
57 Leonard St, Belmont, MA 02478

Wagamama
57 Jfk St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Hanmaru Restaurant
168 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134

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  1. We have a 4 1/2 year old, and we eat out pretty frequently. She LOVES the mini burgers at the Met Bar (Dedham), any kind of pizza (Cambridge 1), and recently we've been eating at Citizen Public House - they made her a grilled cheese and she shares my husband's steak. We also like Sophia's Grotto in Roslindale. Rox Diner for breakfast, Bernard's in the Ch Hill Mall for Chinese... My parents take her to Bertucci's all the time - she loves it.

    I recall that 0-6 mths was a golden age for eating (we had a 3 hour anniversary dinner at Oleana when she was 2 mths old and slept in the car seat under the table), 6-12 months was tolerable, and 15 mths - 2 years was too difficult - and then it became easy again.

    Congratulations on the baby on the way!

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    Oleana
    134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

    Sophia's Grotto
    22 Birch St, Roslindale, MA 02131

    1. Chinatown, Flour, Hi-Rise, or Galleria Umberto.

      www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

      1. Ours are currently 6 and 4, but both started accompanying us to restaurants when they were about a week old. (I'll take this opportunity to apologize to all of the other diners).

        We try to target an earlier seating (between 5 and 6) or do brunch, and try to pick large places or places that are normally a bit on the noisy side. We also try to double-date with another couple and their kids, so that if a melt-down sidelines a parent for a bit the remaining parent still has some adults to enjoy the meal with.

        Our favorite places for bringing the kids:

        Matt Murphy's, Brookline
        Eastern Standard, Kenmore Sq
        Island Creek Oyster Bar, Kenmore Sq

        We also do pretty well at mom and pop Asian restaurants, but the kids don't have the pallet for this yet, so it's infrequent.

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        Matt Murphy's
        14 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02445

        Eastern Standard
        528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

        2 Replies
        1. re: Area Man

          Area Man - I love ICOB - what do your kids eat there?

          1. re: sallyt

            We had brunch there with some friends and their two-year-old son. My wife was handling the ordering at that end of the table, but I saw my kids enjoying a fruit plate and some yogurt with honey. If I recall correctly they had the French toast, as well. If we were to have dinner there we could probably get some fried fish into them, and with enough ketchup perhaps some shrimp depending on their moods.

            The staff there was amazing with our kids, though. There was not even the slightest hint from any of the servers that the kids were an imposition, and in fact most seemed to enjoy their presence.

        2. When my kids were young we ate anywhere we wanted.(Biba, Mills Falls,Isabella, Palm, ) All Asian restaurants have rice, many restaurants have pasta, burgers, fries. It may not be their healthiest meal but they are happy and you get a good meal. Be courteaous and plan dinners early and lunches late as to not annoy the business and/or romantic diner.

          1. When I go out to eat w/children we are a group of 2 kids (currently 2yr) and 6 adults. Because we dine in such a large group, we either call for reservations and mention that we have 2 babies or send one person into the restaurant to see if there is space. The only two restaurants that were unable to accommodate us (mainly due to party size) were Oleana and Tupelo.

            When the boys where still carted around in car seats they successfully slept through dinner @ Banq. The waitress even brought us extra napkins to use at blankets for the boys. Around the same age sat through lunch on the patio at Ristorante Fiore. There the waiter brought pitchers of hot water to heat the baby bottles in. When they were a little older they slept on the bench at Grafton Street while we ate brunch. At about 18 months ate at La Casa De Pedro with them. They put us at the table with the aquarium which kept one of the boys quiet and not the other. And most recently (at about 2 years) ate at Fugakyu where we had a private room. That was great because the boys loved the food and there was plenty of room for them to play.

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            Ristorante Fiore
            250 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113