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Visiting, love food but have toddler -- your ideas?

b
bclare Apr 25, 2012 06:23 PM

We are excited to visit your fair city for 4 days next weekend and want to plan much of our time around eating. We have a pretty active toddler with us so it will be different from Philadelphia trips past. Can you help suggest some places to go? Breakfast, lunch and dinner spots, casual to nice places we can get away with a little one for a 5:30pm dinner. Anything with a park nearby or picnic ideas is also excellent -- bakeries, coffeeshops, food trucks, we want to experience the fantastic food as much as possible.

We are staying in University City area for a couple of nights and then moving out to Mount Laurel, NJ for a couple of nights.

We are very thankful for your help and suggestions!

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  1. b
    bclare Apr 25, 2012 06:27 PM

    I should also add....budget isn't a huge issue but of course a mix is best. We have adventurous palates but don't eat beef or pork. We will have a car. Are fake beef cheesesteaks gross?

    1 Reply
    1. re: bclare
      bluehensfan Apr 26, 2012 08:49 AM

      You may want to consider Jones for dinner. Pretty kid-friendly. Also they would probably be ok at Parc (a bistro located across the street from Rittenhouse Park) or at a number of places in Chinatown. Breakfast and lunch would be good at Reading Terminal Market.

    2. h
      Hungryin theBurbs Apr 26, 2012 09:04 AM

      Reading Terminal market is great for breakfast, lunch or snacks. A must-stop for anyone who loves food. Chinatown restaurants are all pretty kid-friendly. Rangoon is a great Burmese restaurant. We've been taking our kids since they were toddlers and they have always been very welcoming. Sang Kee is great for Peking duck, chow fun, and other classic Chinese dishes.

      If the weather is nice and you are in the area, Love Park has a pretty good food truck scene on weekdays.

      There are several bakeries and coffee shops around Rittenhouse Square, which is lovely for sitting on a bench and eating or a little running around.

      1. h
        Hungryin theBurbs Apr 26, 2012 09:07 AM

        Oh, in Universty City, you might check out Distrito. I think it would be fine for an early dinner with a little one. The decor gives a lot to look at (colorful, lots of masks and bright patterns), and the noise level is high enough that a toddler won't be distracting.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Hungryin theBurbs
          b
          bclare Apr 26, 2012 09:51 AM

          Thank you both! I have heard a lot about the Reading Market but it has been pretty polar -- some people say it is too busy for a toddler to get around. Either way, we are going to try it for sure. Thanks so much!

          1. re: bclare
            v
            Velvet Elvis Apr 26, 2012 10:06 AM

            We took our 3 year old to Reading Terminal Market last weekend, and, to be honest, it was tough for him. He is very independent and likes to be free to run around while staying close to us. That works fine where we live in the burbs, but it doesn't work well in a crowded place like RTM on a Saturday. As a result, we had to keep him in the stroller most of the time. He was miserable. As a result, we were miserable. That said, RTM is worth seeing and can be done with a toddler. You just shouldn't take them there on Saturday. Weekdays for a late breakfast/early lunch or late lunch/early dinner would probably be great.

            1. re: Velvet Elvis
              b
              bclare Apr 26, 2012 10:26 AM

              That's what I was picturing. Sounds better with him for a quick walk around in the backpack and perhaps get something to take to a park or something if there is one nearby. Like your little one he likes to get down and wander around but stay close and markets are often just too busy.

        2. k
          Kshell Apr 26, 2012 09:50 AM

          This may seem like a strange suggestion, but you could look at the Swann Lounge at the Four Seasons. When my kids were little, we often took them there for brunch, lunch or tea and, a time or two, for dinner. They were always very accommodating. The Asian restaurants in Chinatown are very welcoming as are most of the old school red gravy places in South Philly (Villa de Roma, Dante and Luigi's, Ralph's). While not very exciting, cuisine-wise, they are basic and good and you can get a feel for the neighborhood. I've also found that the Art Museum on the Parkway can entertain little ones and it has a decent restaurant (Granite Hill). And if you have time, you should go to the Please Touch museum, designed especially for the small among us.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kshell
            b
            bclare Apr 26, 2012 09:58 AM

            Great ideas, and I have also found upscale hotels to sometimes be wonderful places for kids, thanks for the suggestion. Is it crazy to take a toddler to Zahav for an early dinner?

          2. k
            Kshell Apr 26, 2012 10:04 AM

            It's not crazy. I'd do it but just let them know ahead of time and get an early seating. Zahav has great food, but it's not at all pretentious.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Kshell
              b
              bclare Apr 26, 2012 10:17 AM

              Okay, thank you! I requested a high chair in our opentable reservation so hopefully they will get the idea. Fingers crossed for a good night out :-) !

              1. re: bclare
                bluehensfan Apr 26, 2012 10:45 AM

                If you love lamb and want one of teh best dishes in Philly, pre-order the mesibah at Zahav so you can get the lamb along with the other prix fixe items. It's outstanding. But you have to order it ahead of time.

                Also, if you do try Reading Terminal, it's best to visit the first thing in the morning (8 AM) when it opens. Even on most Staurdays it does not really get crowded until after 9 AM and you can enjoy a big pancake breakfast to start your day!

            2. t
              truman Apr 27, 2012 09:50 AM

              When you head out to Mount Laurel, visit the Pop Shop in Collingswood (thepopshopusa.com). Very tasty and kid-friendly - kids in pajamas get free breakfast on Saturdays, for example. El Azteca in Mount Laurel is also kid-friendly - they are super-nice to our toddler, and it's our go-to place for good solid Mexican food. The Sage Diner right across the street has great pancakes and other breakfast foods, but I would skip other meals there. (Both of these restaurants are at the intersection of Rt 73 and Church Rd.) A little further south on Rt 73 in Marlton is Redstone American Grill - again, very kid-friendly. They have outside seating if the weather is decent, and will make kid-sized portions of most of their menu items so you're not stuck choosing between the awful trinity of mac n cheese, chicken fingers, or grilled cheese. Sunday brunch is great! http://www.redstonegrill.com/location...

              For a non-food suggestion: the Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill is a kids' museum that will allow your toddler to burn off some steam. (Don't plan to eat there, though... the food isn't worth the convenience.) We haven't been to the Please Touch Museum yet so I can't compare the two.

              1 Reply
              1. re: truman
                b
                bclare Apr 27, 2012 10:22 AM

                Thanks, Truman, these suggestions are super helpful since we probably will stay out there or eat out there now and again. Thanks!

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