I will be in Austin most of next week, with wife and 4yo. Any suggestions for especially kid-friendly restaurants? If you know Dallas, I am thinking especially of Dream Cafe but also of, say, Mai's or Campisi's. Neighborhoody, family places, ballons helpful but not required. Crayons a plus. No music. (kidding about the music) We are staying in northwest Austin, but willing to drive around.
I don't live in Austin any longer, but make it back from time to time. And, I have found that most places in Austin are kid friendly.
Some places that are northwestish/central are Curra's (on Burnet Rd, more central than NW), Chuy's, Manuels (by the Arboretum), Brick Oven (if its still open and is off of 183). As with many medium priced restuarants, the food can sometimes be inconsistent but a good dinner can be had.
Never been to the Catfish Parlor (but always wanted to try it). Second the East Side Cafe recommendation, but that is central East. Shady Grove is nice as are most spots along Barton Springs Rd(and you should consider going swimming at the Springs). Las Manitas is great, but my kid (3 yr old) gets squirmy there as it is hot and crowded. (Tesoro's trading company is next door and my kid loves to look at the items there.)
Other spots might include the County Line for BBQ. And, I've heard good things about Ranch 616.
I've taken my kid to some pretty nice places and nice dinners out in Austin and have never had anyone annoyed with me, or at least had anyone express that annoyance.
In NW Austin try Catfish Parlour on US 183 around Oak Knoll. It's from the good ol' Austin days (pre 80's boom). Decent catfish, (I prefer the grilled/blackened), hush puppies and caesar salad and very family oriented. If you're around Town Lake/Zilker Park/Barton Springs, Shady Grove is a great "old Austin" type place. Your kids will love feeding their extra fries to the squirrels.
Just about every restaurant along Barton Springs Road is kid friendly. Chuy's is great for kids. Romeo's is fun, and there's always Shady Grove.
If you want to take a drive, you might check out Nutty Brown Cafe.
It's probably a 20 minute drive from downtown (non-rush-hour), but it's a great spot to take kids. If you're serious about not wanting music, you can eat inside. If you would like music, they have live bands that play outside. There's also a parrot named Cheeto who lives on premises.
Again, it might be a hike if you're downtown, but if you find yourself on the south side it's a good bet.
Other downtown spots that are kid friendly and serve decent food are Ranch 616 and Spaghetti Warehouse.
And finally, you might be surprised to know that Manuel's downtown is kid-friendly. You might not expect that from a semi-upscale type place, but the waitstaff is very fond of children.
And of course there's Central Market......great food and a playscape! Definitely more casual, but fun.
Spagetti Warehouse and decent food in the same sentence? Wow. I'm going to have to LOUDLY disagree with that one. Try Eastside Cafe for good food and kid-friendliness near downtown. Further north, give Mirabelle a try (they do have crayons) for excellent food and don't forget breakfast or lunch at Las Manitas downtown.
re: Greg Spence
re: Greg Spence
I completely forgot about East Side Cafe! I've never been there, but everyone I know raves about. Good suggestion.
I haven't been to Spaghetti Warehouse in a while, but the food was pretty good when I went. My standards were lower back then so if other people say it's not good, then it's probably not good.
have i got the perfect place for you, especially since you'll be in the area.
Waterloo Icehouse on the corner of 2222 and Loop 360 is absolutely perfect for you. Food's decent, serve beer and wine AND it's wall-to-wall kiddies. They have a playground out back and it's turned into the perfect place for adults with children to go (and trust me they do). Balloons makes me think you have one that's too young for this, but they also have a windowed in arcade room.