It used to be the case that "family friendly dining" relegated you to chain restaurants with sub-par food and blinking lights. Thankfully, many Boston restaurants have caught on to the fact that foodies are still foodies, even when they become parents. Here are some great picks for truly family friendly dining in the Boston area.
By Christine Koh
I adore the peaceful elegance of Sel de la Terre. Offering three locations (Back Bay, Long Wharf, Natick) to accommodate those in and out of the city, the grownup and kids menus are replete with tasty options. And whatever you do, save room for dessert.
Legal Sea Foods is a larger chain (with locations along the East Coast and about a dozen outlets in the Boston area) but warrants mention because they offer a means for grownups to enjoy seafood (which many kids don't like) while appealing to kids; they offer a reasonably priced kids menu, activity sheets, crayons, and take-home plastic straw cups.
At the edge of Davis Square in Somerville, Posto offers delicious wood fired pizza, pasta, and a wine bar, all set within a chic, urban atmosphere. Kids are welcomed with a special menu, coloring sheet, and crayons. Added bonus: plentiful metered and unmetered parking in close proximity.
Full Moon is a longstanding family-friendly restaurant in Cambridge. They offer a fine menu for grownups, a kids menu, and a play area to let your kids loose.
The Cottage is a bit further afield in Wellesley, but deserves mention for its elegant environment, kid-friendliness, and convenience. Situated in a commercial district with plenty of parking, The Cottage offers a fantastic menu for grownups and kids, and an activity booklet and crayons for little ones.
I have yet to visit Aura in Boston; however, I have heard a lot about their monthly family-style evenings where parents can enjoy a gourmet prix-fixe menu while kids can enjoy a kids menu and "impromptu romper room" replete with toys, books, and movies.
Christine Koh is a music and brain scientist turned freelance writer, editor, and designer. She is the founder and editor of Boston Mamas, the designer behind Posh Peacock, writes a personal blog at Pop Discourse, and pens the column Minimalist Mama. She resides in the Boston area with her husband and 6-year-old daughter and is expecting her second child in March 2011. She tweets about it all at @bostonmamas.
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