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Boston with a toddler

I'm leaving for a long weekend in Boston next week, along with my wife and 2 1/2-year-old son. I've done some looking around for child-friendly restaurants in the city but haven't really had a whole lot of luck. Chowhound has been terrific for this on other trips, so I'm trying again!

The important details: We're driving in on Thursday, driving back home on Monday. The toddler is a very picky eater despite our best efforts, so we need a place that not only has high chairs and a "welcome, we love your screechy child" attitude but also an actual children's menu, you know, with chicken fingers and such. (I found couple of Chowhound threads about kid-friendly Boston restaurants, but when I went to the restaurants' websites, I saw nothing about children's menus.)

Cuisine isn't important, but like I said, there should be a children's menu. In my experience, that usually rules out a lot of ethnic places. Extra points for places that are fun and hip and young and new while still tolerating kids -- and we don't like to sacrifice quality just because we need a high chair. We love a good diner, but not now -- we're on vacation. I'm looking for both dinner and breakfast/brunch suggestions.

We always like to use food as an excuse to see neighborhoods. For dinner, I've targeted:

Jamaica Plain
South Boston
Back Bay
South End

Breakfast or brunch is a little more open-ended. Allston? Charlestown? Cambridge? I'm open to suggestions.

Oh, also: We're going to start one of our days by checking out the south suburbs, to which we're considering relocating one of these years. The Dedham/Canton area, specifically. So if you have any ideas for a nice breakfast there (and because it's the suburbs, we're more open to dinerish options), let me know.

Thanks in advance! I'm really excited about this trip.

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  1. We also have a 2 1/2 yr old. Russell House Tavern in Harvard Sq is very kid friendly and can get one of their great pizzas to your table in a few minutes. All of their food is pretty awesome.

    Not in Boston, but several suburban location, Half Way Cafe has a great kids menu and pretty decent pub food in general.

    Legal Seafood is very kid friendly. We recently ate at Island Creek Oyster Bar. Althought the kid ended up sleeping the entire time we were there, they were prepared to accommodate us.

    If you go to the Children's museum, I recommend Flour or Yankee Lobster.

    1. Full Moon in Cambridge for brunch. It is a kid-centric restaurant, with good food for both parents and kids. They have play space.

      2 Replies
        1. re: Science Chick

          Yeah, Full Moon seems to be the place to go for a lot of parents.

      1. Flour Bakery has a small kids menu (at least at the Fort Point location) and would be great for breakfast/brunch/lunch. (Plus near the Children's Museum!)

        1. Definitely Full Moon. It is specifically meant for small children and parents to dine out in a kid friendly atmosphere with good food. In the South End, Gaslight is good for brunch. Call and ask about high chairs. It is big and loud inside, so no issue with "screechy" child. On Sundays, there is a fun outdoor market in the parking lot next door.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Kat

            full moon also has beer and wine, sangria, mimosas. the food is not great but it is much better than just ok.

            1. re: Madrid

              I'm late to this discussion, and I may be in the minority, but I always found Full Moon to be the most unrelaxing of possible venues. If your toddler can sit through a meal at a table, I highly recommend against upsetting such good behavior with a place where the expectation is that the kids will NOT sit at the table but rather run around and play while the adults eat. (And of course many of the adults don't get to eat because they're busy chasing after their kid(s))!

              1. re: Blumie

                I' ve been many times over 10plus years (including before I had a child) and my experience is that many kids don't go to play area at all. In fact, I've usually gone with a friend's children before my child and all the children were happy to sit at the table and talk with the adults and look at books and the plastic toys in the buckets. But I've never gone at really peak periods. Years ago when people still used checkbooks, I remember watching a mom drink a glass of wine and balance her checkbook at a table while her son played peacefully in the play area with one other child. It was mid afternoon. It was quite a sight. To each his own.

          2. I would consider Brookline, West Roxbury or Arlington- all swarming with picky toddlers and great restaurants who are happy to accommodate families. The areas you have picked for dinner are much more adult oriented - might work better for brunch/lunch than dinner. For an early dinner I would recommend Porter Cafe in West Rox or Washington Square Tavern in Brookline. Both are very family friendly at 5:30.