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Oct 22, 2011 05:22 PM

Advice for kid-friendly (but not kiddie) in Boston?

Hi all,

My husband and I lived in Boston years ago, and are bringing the kids (9 and under) for a long weekend in a few weeks. We'll be staying near the Boston Common (Tremont side) and would really appreciate some suggestions for great, casual restaurants that are kid-friendly. Our kids are pretty good about restaurants and eating in general, so they do not need to be "kiddie" - just friendly to the idea of having kids there. I'm sure we'll hit the Aquarium, Faneuil Hall, the Common, Public Garden, and a lot of the typical spots - ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner would be appreciated!

Thanks so much!

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  1. You didn't say how many kids, and what age is the youngest. IME, casual restaurants are always amenable to children. I like Sel de la Terre, near the Aquarium. Regina Pizza in the North End, of course. I'm not a fan of Legal, but they are v. kid-friendly. I've only had dessert (which was v. good) at Maggiano's, but they are super family friendly. Yes, they're a chain, .

    Regina Pizza
    11 1/2 Thacher St, Boston, MA 02113

    Maggiano's Little Italy Restaurant
    4 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02116

    Sel de la Terre - Long Wharf
    255 State Street @ Longwharf, Boston, MA 02109

    1 Reply
    1. re: CookieLee

      Thanks for the help. We used to frequent Regina, so I figured that was a must - Sel de la Terre sounds great, I appreciate the recommendation. Legal is fine in a pinch, as is Maggiano's - very well might end up at either one if it's convenient, though I'd rather avoid them if I can since I can visit them closer to home (NY). FWIW, 3 kids - youngest is 4 - thanks again!

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

    2. I took my two children (ages 1 and 4) to the Paramount for breakfast and had a great time. I advise to get there before the doors open so you don't have to wait in a long line. I think it opens at 7 on weekdays and 8 on weekends.

      Fire and Ice in Back Bay is fun for kids. They can pick out their own ingredients and then watch while the cooks cook it on the central griddle. When I took my kids for breakfast, the cooks were really engaging and interactive. Breakfast is fun because you can make a giant pancake with whatever fillings you want.

      Fire and Ice
      50 Church St Ste 301, Cambridge, MA 02138

      7 Replies
      1. re: Marisa23

        Great ideas, thanks! I had totally forgotten about Fire & Ice - they would get a kick out of that. Quick question on the Paramount - from the website, it looks like you wait in line to order and then take your food to the table yourself? One night I'll be solo with the kids, so I'm thinkng that might be inviting chaos. :-)

        Fire & Ice
        48 Providence Pl, Providence, RI 02903

        1. re: kerryfood

          Yes, you must wait in line at the Paramount to order and wait for your food. The line can get long at breakfast. I have not been for dinner, so I don't know how busy it gets.
          When I took my two kids by myself, the employee in charge of the dining room was great about carrying my food and getting a high chair and extra plate for me.

        2. re: Marisa23

          As an adult, I avoid Fire & Ice like the plague, but it's a great idea for kids.

          For a snack or light meal, I'm sure they'd enjoy a visit to Saus, over by the Union Oyster House -- Belgian fries with a dozen or more dipping sauces to choose from, poutine, and house-made waffles with nutella or salted caramel sauces.

          1. re: Boston_Otter

            Saus sounds completely delicious - I will add it to the list - thanks!

            1. re: kerryfood

              I LOVE adore it. But it is JUST Fries and if the kids aren't into those two menu items you're in for trouble....

              1. re: umami76

                Umami: they've recently added Belgian "Frikandel" sandwiches that sound amazing.

                1. re: Boston_Otter

                  Awesome. I need to go back! I pounced on those folks in their first weeks as I was waiting forever. Everything on their menu then was amazing so the sandwiches should be tasty as well. Thanks!

        3. Chinatown is often fun for kids, particularly dim sum. (Unless they've already been a bunch of times, or if you think the food will be too new for them.) A favorite is Hei La Moon.

          Hei La Moon
          88 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

          4 Replies
          1. re: czarp

            I second Hei La Moon. Dim Sum there appears to be a pretty big family affair. Lots to look at, eat, other kids, etc...

            Hei La Moon
            88 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

            1. re: czarp

              Also in Chinatown Hot Pot/Shabu is a good idea for kids, plus you dont have to compromise on the food like with Fire and Ice. Q Restaurant in Chinatown is probably the best option.

              1. re: Matt H

                LOVE the Chinatown ideas - my kids would love that - thanks for the suggestions!!

                1. re: Matt H

                  hot pot's a great idea! I haven't been to Little Q but we've like Kaze the few times we've been there.

                  41 Essex St, Boston, MA 02111

              2. Picco in the South has really good wood-fired pizzas and house-made ice cream. Lots of families but also real food for grown-ups as well as decently-priced wines and several beers on tap.

                The Parish Cafe on Boylston is also a good choice with kids. Interesting sandwiches with lots of variety. Casual but not too 'kiddie".

                4 Replies
                1. re: bear

                  Just checked out the menus - both sound terrific - more added to the list! Do you know if either take reservations?

                  1. re: kerryfood

                    I'm pretty sure that Picco does, but not sure about Parish. We've never had a problem getting in, but I'm not sure about weekend nights or big tourist weekends. Worth giving a call, though, and having a backup plan.

                    1. re: bear

                      agreed about Parish, it just seems to turn over tables very quickly.....and I've always enjoyed it, it's not knock your socks off great, but solid, and I always dug the premise.

                      1. re: devilham

                        Great description of Parish. Solid, not a formal night-out for hours w/o the kids kind of place, but definitely not a fast food experience. And the sandwiches can be delicious! Fun for a family.

                2. bear's post on Parish and PICCO are spot on; great spots for good food and kid-friendly atmosphere...I would add a couple more to the list as a South End resident and parent of a 3 year old...all of these are reasonably convenient for you

                  Myers and Chang has great contemporary version of dim sum and is a good lunch spot with kids....I've never had a bad meal or experience here...the Asian pickles are always a hit with my son (and us), Tiger Tears are great, grilled octopus is great and the mussels are great; I'm wild about the bahn mi sandwich that they do with the soy glazed bacon and fried egg. Oh, I almost forgot the brussel sprouts, which are absolutely the best I've ever eaten and terrific.

                  Mistral has a very nice brunch and is welcoming of children...I'm not wild about Mistral for dinner, but I think they nail it for brunch and the room is beautiful in the day time...I love the mushroom, spinach and gruyere frittata and the muffins they serve pre-meal are outstanding.

                  Giacomo's in the South End accepts reservations and is only open for dinner (cash only); it is loud, small, bustling and very good Italian for not much money; you will need to cab it here. We usually order the specials here because they are usually terrific.

                  Finally, a plug for the Gallows...super friendly spot and I have been consistently impressed with the food. Great cocktails, beers and a fun atmosphere. The pickles, Scotch egg and blue cheese burger are standouts to me.

                  I'd suggest reservations for all of these places because they accept them and at times there will be a lengthy wait for all of them.

                  Have fun!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: FireKing

                    Thank you so much for all the recommendations - they all sound terrific. I went to Mistral when it was still "new" years ago - I wouldn't have thought of it for brunch. I really appreciate all of the info!