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Dining out with a new baby

d
DarwinMBA Apr 9, 2011 07:41 AM

My wife and I are thrilled to have our first child and are looking for good non-chain restaurants where we might feel comfortable bringing a baby - maybe suggestions for dinner and lunch? We live in Newton. Thank you.

  1. Boston_Otter Apr 9, 2011 08:09 AM

    I see people with babies all the time at Redbones in Davis Square; the staff take really good care of kids, and the place is lively enough that nobody minds baby noises!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Boston_Otter
      t
      three of us Apr 12, 2011 03:07 PM

      Redbones was our go-to place. Go on the early side of the dinner hour. Lots of families are there and babies are welcome.

      -----
      Redbones
      55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

    2. StriperGuy Apr 9, 2011 08:32 AM

      List is too long to even break out. We hit Bergamot recently. Key is go early, and go during the week when things are a bit mellower.

      I'd also consider Rendezvous. For excellent Chinese Golden Garden in Belmont has some space and killer food. (Stick to house specialties don't order Americanized standards.)

      Also, larger places with a bit of elbow room tend to be more conducive.

      Seriously, just call your fav spots & ask.

      -----
      Golden Garden
      63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

      4 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy
        g
        Gabatta Apr 9, 2011 09:21 AM

        Striped nailed it. Go early and at off peak times and you can go anywhere you want with the baby.

        Places that have been particularly accommodating and happy to see us include Green Street, Highland Kitchen, ICOB, Basho, Tasty Burger, and Rialto. If the baby starts to fuss, daddy rocks her or takes a walk while mommy eats, but that wasn't really a frequent issue with o newborn.

        I honestly can't name one place which has given us any attitude. I wouldn't expect the same treatment if I rolled in at a peak time though. However that would be more stressful for us and the baby as well so it is a non issue.

        Congrats in advance and enjoy your new addition.

        1. re: Gabatta
          g
          Gabatta Apr 9, 2011 09:32 AM

          Also Buffs in Newton since it is local to you. Our hour wait went to next booth once the baby worked her mojo.

        2. re: StriperGuy
          Alcachofa Apr 12, 2011 02:28 PM

          Have you gone to Connelly's avec bébé? I've got a hankering for pub food.

          I could definitely see going for a booth at Buff's, midweek, non-game night.

          1. re: Alcachofa
            StriperGuy Apr 12, 2011 03:22 PM

            No, but I'm sure Connelly's would be fine.

        3. n
          n.cole Apr 10, 2011 06:18 PM

          i agree with the other posts, you can bring a newborn most places especially if you go earlier. i took my newborn to neptune oyster...sometimes you've got to take care of your cravings. :)

          check out the family restaurant 'full moon' in cambridge in a couple of months for some decent food where you won't feel self conscious.

          http://www.fullmoonrestaurant.com/

          congrats!

          1. Pia Apr 10, 2011 06:36 PM

            Congratulations!

            I agree with others -- for the first few months, it's easy. You can go anywhere while the baby naps or is calmly awake, just go on the early side to avoid bothering anyone, and be prepared to have one of you duck out with the baby if s/he gets fussy.

            For future reference, I recently asked a similar question about where people eat with their young kids and got lots of good answers: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/767877

            1. g
              grant.cook Apr 10, 2011 09:44 PM

              My wife and I are in the same boat..

              It all depends on getting lucky with sleep.. babies go through phases - one week they sleep through dinner, the next they are demanding attention.

              Don't go somewhere small - fitting a baby carrier into a small place is tough..

              Don't get a tasting menu - you might have to switch to "box it up for take-out" rather quickly

              Brunch is great for kids - noisy, and mostly kid friendly..

              Get a "breast-feeding" safe table - nothing tougher than popping out a breast in a center section

              Experiment with ethnic places.. don't go to some trendy crowded spot.

              Omakase - no, forget about it..

              Prepare for staged eating - one parent holding the child if he/she freaks out, the other wolfing down their food..

              1 Reply
              1. re: grant.cook
                mangorita Apr 12, 2011 01:22 PM

                I agree with everything that has been said already. My son is 15 months old now and we've taken him out to eat at least once a week since he was practically a newborn.

                Along with what grant said about the small places...learn to travel light. It is a lot easier if you don't bring the world's largest stroller, diaper bag, Boppy, toy bag etc. into every restaurant. I had a small bag with just the essentials (1 or 2 diapers, small pack of wipes, enough feeding supplies to get me thru 2 hours max) in it to get me through a restaurant outing. The backup supplies were left in the car, just in case. Some restaurants will let you bring the stroller to the table and park it there so the baby can stay snuggly inside..others won't let the stoller into the dining room and I've been to a few small places in the burbs that won't even let you bring the stoller inside the restaurant.

                Places we've eaten with the baby and had no issues include:
                -anyplace we've gone for breakfast/brunch
                -flour bakery
                -blue ginger
                -summer shack
                -Helmand
                -Gaslight
                -Henrietta's Table
                -various Italian places in the North End (many NE Italian joints are too small to drag the stroller into, so if you bring it, be prepared to ditch it in the vestibule or fold it up next to your table)
                -various ethnic places- japanese/sushi, Indian, Thai, Malaysian, Chinese

              2. d
                DarwinMBA Apr 12, 2011 03:12 PM

                I just want to thank everyone for their suggestions. We've been holed up a bit since the baby. We miss Saturday date night - but think we've gotten some great suggestions off of the board. Gaslight and Henrietta's are two favorites - off hours are a great idea. Maybe this is why the FL crowd eats dinner at 4:00 - its nostalgic to their time as new parents? Showing up with the BOB - probably bad. The Snap and Go - probably ok. We're going to add Golden Garden to our "try this" list. And going to Neptune would bring a smile to both our faces.

                -----
                Golden Garden
                63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                15 Replies
                1. re: DarwinMBA
                  StriperGuy Apr 12, 2011 03:26 PM

                  At Golden Garden things to order:

                  Dry fry spicy chicken
                  hot and sour soup
                  Wonton hot and sour soup (my wife's fav).
                  Tofu with cabbage (spicy)
                  Lamb terriyaki
                  Cumin lamb
                  chive turnover
                  dumplings
                  cucumber salad (must try!)
                  etc. etc.

                  -----
                  Golden Garden
                  63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                  1. re: StriperGuy
                    c
                    CookieLee Apr 13, 2011 06:04 AM

                    That's all pretty spicy food for a nursing mom!

                    1. re: CookieLee
                      i
                      InmanSQ Girl Apr 13, 2011 06:49 AM

                      Yes it is spicy and that's a good thing :) There is a reason that children from other cultures can can eat all sorts of strange and spicy foods and American kids must be force fed chicken finger and Lunchables till their in highschool....and it is this very "shelter the baby from strange flavors" mind set. The best thing you can do through out your pregnancy and nursing is eat well flavored foods (not necessarily searing hot, as that can upset your stomach, but spiced with flavors and some mild heat). When your pregnant the spices and herbs make your amniotic fluid smell, so your kids gets used to and likes the smell of things like garlic and curry from day one, and once the kid is on the outside, it flavors your breast milk the same way. In India, babies are fed curry as early as 7 months old.

                      I say order any any all of those suggestions from Stripper Guy, just ask them to make it "medium" and make sure you intermix some spicy and non-spicy foods you should be all set! Enjoy and help awaken the palate of your future chowhound :)

                      1. re: InmanSQ Girl
                        Bob Dobalina Apr 13, 2011 09:07 AM

                        That is a fascinating theory for the origin of taste - I want to like it - Any evidence to back it up? I would guess that it is just as likely that if Mom and Dad eat curry, you will eat curry, regardless of when you start eating it.

                        1. re: InmanSQ Girl
                          Beachowolfe Apr 29, 2013 08:01 PM

                          "Stripper guy"

                          awesome

                          1. re: Beachowolfe
                            MC Slim JB Apr 30, 2013 04:11 AM

                            Always pays for his dinners with ones, for some reason.

                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                            1. re: MC Slim JB
                              hotoynoodle Apr 30, 2013 01:54 PM

                              hopefully they are dry before he brings them back out.

                        2. re: CookieLee
                          StriperGuy Apr 13, 2011 07:19 AM

                          My wife ate spicey stuff essentially the day after giving birth. Junior didn't seem to mind.

                          1. re: StriperGuy
                            c
                            CookieLee Apr 30, 2013 01:32 PM

                            I'm only now catching up to this. Well ymmv, but I couldn't eat broccoli or raw spinach, it gave my nursing baby terrible gas/cramps.

                            1. re: StriperGuy
                              hotoynoodle Apr 30, 2013 01:56 PM

                              my mom lived on szechuan chicken and chinese eggrolls with spicy mustard while preggers with me. i have always liked spicy food and even when a tyke never shy about strong flavors.

                        3. re: DarwinMBA
                          p
                          Parsnipity Apr 13, 2011 06:55 AM

                          Oh, the Bob swivels so nicely though... we've brought it and the baby to Jojo taipei for dim sum brunch recently- big success- the server actually would not put down our daughter and wanted to walk her around the restaurant even though she wasn't fussing ,just to show her off. Also Redbones upstairs, although it was tight. Underbones is better and you can always stand at the high bar tables with a baby in a carrier or sling. If there's one thing babies like, it's to keep their parents standing.

                          Also, Flatbread Pizza/Sacco's Bowl haven in Davis- tons of room for strollers, mostly empty at lunch and the background bowling noise is like this magic sleep-inducing drug.

                          As for the nursing, well, babies deserve to eat too. I feel it's more appropriate for a baby to nurse in a restaurant at a table, than, say, a bathroom which is dirty and I never understand why people want to consign breastfeeding or pumping activities which are eating/food activities to a place that's more appropriate for diaper changes and elimination.

                          -----
                          Redbones
                          55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

                          1. re: Parsnipity
                            g
                            grant.cook Apr 13, 2011 07:43 AM

                            +1 for Flatbread in Davis - that place is uber kid friendly and casual, but still a good couples place..

                            And we've never had a problem with public breastfeeding. My wife uses this drape thing that allows her to keep and eye on the tyke while he feeds, and she also has some shirts with holes and a front drop that allow you to do it discretely. And if someone had a problem with a briefly exposed nipple as you get the kid latched, they need to relax. Now that being said, if a Mom is whipping it out at the family style eating bar at Sportello, a bit more modesty might be called for..

                          2. re: DarwinMBA
                            g
                            grant.cook Apr 13, 2011 07:42 AM

                            Sometimes the restaurant high-chair can flip over and the cross-beams will accommodate a snap-and-go ish baby carrier.

                            If you do get a bottle of wine, remember that if you have to leave, MA restaurants will recork it so you can take it home to finish.

                            Babies don't grab yet (its harder later, when they grab and walk, to go to restaurants).. but keep an eye on the waitstaff, how they serve the table. You don't want a sizzling steak or bowl of hot soup getting passed too near a baby, in case there's a drop or tumble. You don't have to be paranoid, just keep the baby away from traffic.

                            Always helps to scope out if they have a changing table in the restroom as well - either in the M or W, sometimes its in the handicapped stall if the place is big enough.

                            1. re: grant.cook
                              g
                              Gabatta Apr 13, 2011 09:13 AM

                              I forgot about Flat Bread. We have had good experiences with our baby there as well. We were at Flat Bread right before the baby was born and they helped with the name picking, so we felt compelled to bring her in soon afterward.

                              Whatever you do, DO NOT use an upside down restaurant high chair as a holder for your infant's car seat. The high chairs were not designed for this purpose and it is extremely unsafe. Once the highchair becomes top heavy without being supported by its intended base, there are countless scenarios in which the chair could be toppled. I have seen some newer restaurant high chairs designed with higher backs specifically so this can't be done. Even if it seems stable to you, it only takes a split second for this to change, resulting in a very scary and dangerous situation.

                              1. re: grant.cook
                                hotoynoodle Apr 30, 2013 01:58 PM

                                booths are great because you can keep the carrier in the middle, between the parents, with zero risk of the server or busser reaching across the baby.

                            2. g
                              gramercyfoodie Apr 12, 2011 06:25 PM

                              Agree with most of these rec's - my experience has been that restaurants are really happy to have family business and really want to be accommodating. I would add Mistral for brunch and Zaftigs anytime. Of course, Baker's Best in your neighborhood is very kid friendly too.

                              1. greenzebra Apr 14, 2011 07:31 AM

                                Lots of good advice already, and congrats on your new arrival. My main advice is to go early and not on Friday or Saturday nights, and you can really pretty much go anywhere. Brunch is also good - we took our 3 month old to brunch at Craigie, no problem. Space is the main issue: it is better go to somewhere where you aren't bumping elbows with people at the next table, and there is room for a stroller. And of course once they get old enough to sit up places that don't have high chairs can be a difficult (because they are too big to sit on your lap or stay in the baby carrier or stroller).

                                We've been to lots of places with our son (now 11 months old), but a few that stand out as particularly friendly/convenient: Posto (Davis), Redbones (Davis), Highland Kitchen (Somerville), Winsor Dim Sum Cafe (Chinatown), Istanbu'ulu (Teele Square), Qingdao Garden (North Cambridge), Greek Corner (North Cambridge), East Coast Grill (Inman), EVOO (for lunch, Kendall), Craigie (for brunch, Central). Russell House Tavern (for lunch, although dinner would be fine too I'm sure, Harvard), Gourmet Dumpling House (definitely go early here, it is small and gets crowded, Chinatown), Legal Seafood (everywhere - not our favorite place in the world but an easy spot to meet a big group when several people have kids), and I'm sure many others I'm forgetting at the moment.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: greenzebra
                                  l
                                  l0b0SKI Apr 29, 2013 05:24 AM

                                  Posto is too loud.

                                  1. re: greenzebra
                                    hotoynoodle Apr 30, 2013 01:59 PM

                                    whenever we get to highland early we are often the couple without kids!

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