Portland- Special dinner with kids
Trying to put this the best way possible, We'll be staying in Portland for a few days and we have two daughters (4 & 7) They are well behaved and have been exposed to places above the standard "kid friendly" . We're doing most of places discussed recently
Fishermen's Grill,5 island,Gelato,Standard Baking Co.,Duckfat,Two Fat Cats,etc.
It's a "0" birthday for my wife and I'm looking for something special while we are there that would be reasonable to bring them. 555, Fore, eventide, Hugo, I'm not sure these places would be a great idea.
Please don't suggest a babysitter - I'm pretty sure in a "strange" city my wife would not go for that.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
BTW Our schedule seems to be scary similar to others with kids....
Lighthouse tours, children's museum, lobster boat, theater of the Awesome, farmer's market, etc.
I am of the opinion that any place is "child friendly" provided you take the usual precautions. ie: dinner on the early side, make sure the kids are well rested, have quiet activities to keep them occupied, etc. I would not recommend trying to have a "better" dinner at the end of long day filled with the children's museum, lighthouse tours, etc without some down time for kids. Our 12 year old was exhausted at the end of each day so imagine your 4 year old, LOL
All that said your list looks great. I ate at Duckfat not too long ago (5-6 months) and it was wonderful, amazing fries though there have been a few "down hill" posts recently. Maybe someone who ate there this past month or so might have a better idea if they are truly going down hill?
We had an exceptional meal at Hugos too but we ate at the bar which wouldn't be good for the kiddos.
Grace is another option, really great space and wonderful food. I have not tried their sister place Outliers. Maybe do a search as I am sure I saw a write up recently.
We tried to get into 555 when we were there but timing didn't work out. Menu looked great.
We brought our 10 y.o to Fore St. on New Year's Eve last year (early, 7 p.m.). He was the only kid there, but it was fine, no hairy eyeballs. Also took him to Local 188, which is one of my favorite places due to the casual atmosphere and great food.
I agree with foodieX2 (especially about going early) though I would probably shy away from a few places - Hugo's, Emilitsa, Back Bay Grill, 555, Bar Lola, Walter's. I feel these places might be a bit too subdued to be comfortable with younger children, even if well behaved. In fact, I have to make sure I'M on my best behavior in these places.
OTOH, upscale places where I'd take well behaved kids (early) would include Fore Street, Cinque Terra, Local 188, maybe Street and Company - even Grace especially if they want to go to what will seem like an incredible fancy place.
You know your kids best. Good kids and early should be no problem in most Portland places.
What about Caiola's? Particularly in the summer, you and the family can eat outdoors in their "arbor," and I'm sure you'd find the staff very welcoming of children. While not quite in the 555 / Fore St range, the food is always excellent and interesting. And the kids will adore the polenta fries!
I went to Paciarino with my kids on my birthday last year, and it was great. Local 188 is a fine option too, and if they like Japanese food, either Yosaku or Pai Men Miyake are perfectly family-friendly (Yosaku is a little less of a special-occasion place, but it's the one my kids always pick on their birthdays.)
We ate at Eventide twice on our recent trip to Portland. There were families with kids eating there both times. It's a fun environment with great food. I think it would be a nice choice but you would need to go on the earlier side - we had long waits both times and the kids might get restless (I was!).
Thanks to all, I'm going to look into Eventide(This was a first choice), Street and Co, and Local 188. We'll be sure to go at the early end of dinner. Paciarino really looks good to me, but my wife is Italian (Tuscany), so I tend hesitate with Italian places. But what do I know, being Sicilian.
Agree with Bob. The owners are from Milan and their food is authentic. For example, you will not find ricotta in the lasagna. It's made with a bechamel sauce. My favorite. The owners of Gorgeous Gelato are also from Milan (total coincidence).
BTW, hard to beat Eventide as long as the kids will eat seafood though a non-fish eater friend of mine really enjoyed the chicken bun.
I say without regard for special meal accommodations:
For what its worth, 555 graciously accommodates children. In my opinion Fore Street is also fine as it tends to be loud and boisterous so kids blend in fine. Petit Jacqueline would also be a good choice. Street and Co. is fine and while Local 188 should be fine, I have found the service to be uneven enough to be risky (long waits suck enough without hungry kiddos in tow!) Caiola's would also be good as there is a solid clientele who would appreciate your young diners and would love to see them enjoy such well-prepared food.