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Help! Need recommendations for dining with a toddler in Cambridge

My wife and I are celebrating our anniversary soon and need a recommendation for a good non-chain restaurant in Cambridge that can accommodate a pretty well behaved 20 month old.

While we would love to knock some of the Eater 38-type places off of our list, it seems like many of them are the intimate, small table variety. I was considering Helmand or Puritan & Co., but having never been to either, didn't know if they would be appropriate.

Can any of you fellow Chowhounders comment or make any other suggestions? Of course we would be aiming to dine at off peak times.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I think both Oleana and EVOO were not too formal and if you go early, should be fine with a younger child. EVOO was much better than expected, particularly the vegetarian items

    1. There are actually very few places in Cambridge I would not take my toddler (who is also very well behaved at restaurants) Bondir and Craigie are probably the only two that come to mind where I would have some pause and call the babysitter.

      One place that I think has wonderful food, is on the eater list last I checked and has always been very accommodating to us and our daughter is West Bridge. Otherwise as mentioned below EVOO, Oleana and Helmand would all be great as well.

      1. Here are some pastorates which may be helpful. Unless you can get a seat in the courtyard I would avoid Oleana as referenced.


        1. so many restos are well behaved kid friendly these days. why not try west bridge? food is excellent and the staff is very accommodating. many interesting things for your kid to eat as well. we also love Helmand. same story.

          1. I would agree with others - most places in Cambridge are very child-friendly. We brought our (yes, well-behaved) baby to Puritan & Co and felt totally welcomed. Other suggestions here are great as well. If you're looking for something with outdoor seating, we've had good experiences at Area Four and Gran Gusto with both dog and baby in tow...

            4 Replies
            1. re: kr147

              Another place we just were welcomed with dog, baby and toddler was the patio at Atwood's. I've actually been meaning to post about that meal separately. We really love that place.

              1. re: Gabatta

                gab, plse do post about Atwood's patio; we've been wanting to try it ever since Smallplates raved their fish tacos. As far as their inside area, what is the seating like?(I couldn't find readable web photos .) Do they have banquettes, or regular tables (not all high tops) ? If we went early, do you think the noise level would be conversable?thx again!

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  They do have some regular tables on the back. Unless a band is playing its not that noisy compared to other bars.

            2. When my sister wanted to dine with her little ones in tow, she used to swear by Full Moon. They have a decent menu, healthy toddler food and a dedicated play area with toys so kids can be active while parents dine! While certainly more casual than fine dining, I'm told the food is very good:

              5 Replies
              1. re: Science Chick

                Full Moon is fine when the occasion requires it. However I definitely would not consider celebrating my anniversary there. It's is more about the children then the adults IMO. It is fun to have a place for the kids can go play during dinner, and the food is better than expected for a place of its type (but wouldn't get too many mentions here otherwise). I don't mean any offense by this, but it's a great place to go if your kids are not in a stage where they can handle a normal restaurant setting. We like going to restaurants on the early side with the kids, so they're relatively empty, Full Moon however is mobbed immediately upon opening. I actually find it more stressful and unmanageable than a normal restaurant situation.

                1. re: Gabatta

                  No offense taken, and I certainly agree...note my caveat of "more casual than fine dining".

                  Honestly, I think expecting that an anniversary dinner with a toddler is going be anything *but* all about the kids is just not realistic. You have to keep them busy and devote alot of time/attention to them to maintain good decorum. Our little one was a real restaurant veteran at an early age, but you never know what a child that age will do while out/about. If you really want a romantic fine dining experience with a kid that age, you need to get a babysitter. All the restaurants suggested are great and they may welcome kids just fine. However, when whining begins and one of the parents has to step out with the child, leaving the other parent dining alone, I don't consider that a very special anniversary memory! Also I definitely consider that "if your kids are not in a stage where they can handle a normal restaurant setting" is quite applicable to a 20 month old!! ;)

                  1. re: Science Chick

                    Would you have left your child in the play area of Full Moon at 20 months so you could eat without one of you stepping away from the table?

                2. re: Science Chick

                  I think Full Moon is a great choice because your toddler can taks some time and play while you talk.

                3. Much thanks for the recommendations. We wound up going with an early seating at EVOO, which worked out well. While we weren't expecting the full on romantic dinner for our anniversary, EVOO was perfect for the semi-casual, but good food. And totally forgot about Restaurant Week, so that was a bonus as well.

                  I'll definitely be referencing this thread for more ideas in the future! Did not know about Full Moon, but good to know - agree that it didn't quite fit the bill for a memorable anniversary dinner (well, I suppose it depends on what you mean by "memorable"), but definitely an option for another time.

                  You guys are all fantastic! Thanks!