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Fancy dining with kids

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Recommendation wanted for a nice restaurant for a special occasion-dinner where its ok to bring our two kids 5 and 1,5 years old.
Preferrably lower/mid Manhattan.

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  1. Is there a special reason you won't consider a babysitter?

    1. We are in NY on holiday so babysitter is not an option...

      5 Replies
      1. re: signell

        Your hotel can find you a great babysitter, and you'll be free to enjoy a meal at a special occasion restaurant.

        Please don't read my message as being anti-children. I have two of my own, and when they were that age, we often got babysitters when we traveled--in many different locations and countries.

        This will also increase the options for where to dine; the intrepid and encyclopedic kathryn didn't even offer a single suggestion (yet?) to you, with this restriction.

        1. re: Elisa515

          Don't worry I understand what you mean! Our 1,5 year can be an angel but he is still 1,5 and you never know :-).
          We would have loved to hava a babysitter however we will not stay in a hotel but in an apartment. Also our 5 year old is a bit shy and would not accept to stay with someone unknown.
          So, we would like to have an as fancy dinner experience as possible under these circumstances... A better mid-range perhaps :-)...

          1. re: signell

            Where is the apartment you're staying located? We can probably help narrow down to things closer to your location.

            1. re: sgordon

              In Chinatown. We don´t mind if it´s not close though. But it would of course be convenient.

              1. re: signell

                Maybe check out the menu at Marc Forgione, ask if they have high chairs. It becomes more of an "adult" scene during later hours but early seatings should be family-friendly. The food is fun and creative but it's not, like, "white tablecloth" - and because the vibe is a little more boisterous, a crying kid wouldn't be as immediately jarring to the other diners as it would at, say, some serene temple of French gastronomy.

                Someone else mentioned Colicchio & Sons - that could be a good option as well. The Tap Room isn't really "special occasion" dining but if you're seated in the Main Dining Room, they might let you order for the kids off the Tap Room menu - call and ask. Same could also be said for Gramercy Tavern, where there are two different menus. Of late I prefer the food at Gramercy a bit more, and they set the standard for service. (Service at C&S I found friendly if a bit perfunctory)

      2. How long can the kids sit still?

        Can you do lunch instead?
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/905945

        1. The 5 year old can sit a long time (provided its ok to use iphone (on mute of course)). The 1,5 year old is more uncertain...

          We will not be able to eat until 5 why lunch is not possible that day, but certainly another day, so thanks!

          1. Last time my brother was in town with my (at the time) 2 year old nephew we had a lovely meal at Aquavit. We booked an early seating (5:30) - they had a high chair, and were more than happy to make some Swedish Meatballs off the bar menu for him to mash all over his face. (He wound up eating mostly Cheerios, regardless)

            They gave us a table close to the door just in case an unexpected crying jag occurred, and all was fine. Most high-end restos are okay with kids if it's an early seating (6:00 or earlier) - I'd say the best options would be places that have bar menus, so there'll be simpler less "adult" things to order for the kids.

            That said, definitely check on babysitters with your hotel. Most bigger hotels have some kind of service, or supervised playroom.

            1. I've only been to the Landmarc in the TW center, not the downtown location, but there were lots of strollers parked outside. I'm guessing downtown is the same.

              2 Replies
              1. re: foodyum

                Landmarc is VERY family-friendly, though I don't really think of it as a "special occasion" dinner. Food is always solid, if not terribly creative or anything. That said, for someone not from NYC or used to dining here, Landmarc may very well be special occasion in comparison to what they have back home

                1. re: foodyum

                  Thanks - it might be an option! I agree with sgordon that it perhaps doesn't seem as "exciting" as we would have wanted. It seems however that we would be comfortable bringing the kids there.

                2. On UES, but I'd suggest Cafe Boulud and sit outside. As part of a hotel, they are a bit more kid tolerant. Sitting outside makes it less formal, yet food is amazing and service always special. And agree with recommendation to go early!

                  Gramercy park area - Maialino is another place we see other families for early dinner.

                  Our kids have eaten at many special places in Manhattan, but at 1.5yo we kept it outdoor for dinner or lunch for our own sanity.

                  1. I was at Colicchio and Sons Tap Room last night. Early dining had a lot of families. I cringed at the first scream from a 1 yr old but after that it was fine. Big enough not to be noticed. And places to whisk her out to.