Kid-Friendly Fine Dining: 6 Big Ticket Restaurants for Little Ones in NYC + SF

Foodie parents, stop worrying. Just because now have tiny tots in tow when you go out to dinner doesn’t mean you can only eat at places that have cartoon mascots, a video game room, and an all-deep-fried kids menu. In fact, when you’re in New York City or San Francisco, you can dine at some of the finest restaurants around. Not only do they have four stars, but they’re able to accommodate four-year-olds, too. Here are six big-ticket kid-friendly fine dining restaurants for little ones in the Big Apple and the Golden City.

New York City

Le Perigord
One of the finest and fanciest French restaurants in Manhattan is more than happy to host petits convives (little diners). Owner Georges Briguet, who has four children and seven grandchildren, loves having kids around. “I don’t even mind if they cry in the restaurant,” he says. “It’s better than music.” There is no children’s menu, so servers simply ask what dishes might work best. Favorites include the vegetable tart or lobster bisque for appetizers, while a variety of pastas, turbot filet, and the burger are the most often-ordered mains. Sometimes Briguet will serve diminutive diners snails, sweetbreads, or frogs’ legs. “I don’t tell them what they’re eating until they’re done,” he says. “It’s important they are exposed to such flavors so early.” Meals finish with a visit from the “Temptation Wagon,” a cart laden with options such as chocolate mousse, tarte tatin, and raspberry tart. Make a reservation at Le Perigord now.

kid-friendly fine dining

The Back Room at One57
Now you can encourage your kid’s love of reading while you dine. The Feed Your Mind program pairs children’s books from Phaidon Publishing – which are “served” on a vintage library cart – with tyke-friendly fare from chef Chad Brauze. So while they dive into Doodle Cook or Harold’s Hungry Eyes, they can dig into a salmon bento box, a turkey dog dressed up with cheddar cheese, or the kale salad with honey vinaigrette. Not only are many options quite healthy, but the experience also means your child won’t be draining your iPhone battery during dinner while they watch Wild Kratts episodes. Make a reservation at the Back Room at One57 now. 

kid-friendly fine dining

Agern
This past spring, Agern kicked off its Kids Table initiative. The chic, Danish-inspired restaurant and other high-end eateries in New York City hosted shorties-only meals for diners aged 7 to 14 years old, which raised money for the Melting Pot Foundation. “The idea is that kids should be trusted to try adult food and to challenge their palates,” says general manager Katie Bell. For the course of the meal, no adults were allowed in the restaurant, except the staff. The kitchen prepared a very grown-up menu for 55 small guests, including braised lamb. “One of the girls came to me and said, ‘It’s delicious, though it might be a little overcooked.’” Says Bell. “Only in New York.” Make a reservation at Agern now.

kid-friendly fine dining

San Francisco

Farallon
The Instagram-worthy décor recalling 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at this breezy sea-centric eatery in Union Square is enough to make it a hit with pint-sized eaters. Jellyfish- shaped fixtures emitting an otherworldly glow hang from the ceiling, columns mimic towers of kelp, and stools take the shape of octopuses. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a “caviar staircase” covered in 50,000 iridescent indigo marbles leading up to the balcony overlooking the dining room. After your kid finishes ooh’ing and aah’ing, you can give them their first taste of caviar — or dare them to egg a sea urchin. Or you can simply order them a bowl of fettuccine – and forgo telling them it features smoked octopus (until after they finish devouring it). Make a reservation at Farallon now.

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Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Cauliflower

CauliflowerIs cauliflower the new Brussels sprout? If these reviews are any indication, it’s certainly looking that way — and it’s unsurprising. They’re both members of the brassicaceae, or cabbage, family. And they’re both quite diverse ingredients, although cauliflower might be even more so, due to its size and texture. Used in everything from purees and soups to pasta sauces and fritters, cauliflower has gotten a promotion to standalone entree, especially in the form of savory steaks. Cauliflower’s origins in upscale cookery date all the way back to La Varenne’s Le Cuisinier François. While the most common varietal is white, green, orange, and purple cultivars are growing in popularity. They each taste very similar to one another, but the more colorful cauliflowers contain more nutrients and antioxidants. Whichever you enjoy, and however it is prepared, cauliflower is rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Find out what OpenTable diners are saying about this delicious vegetable in recent reviews. 

Bar Tartine, San Francisco, California: “Love the mason jar presentation of pickled vegetables; curried cauliflower was our favorite.”

* Brasserie Max & Julie, Houston, Texas: “I had the special, which was a grilled halibut, and my boyfriend had the salmon — both were great. The cauliflower gratin was yummy, too!”

Cerulean, Indianapolis, Indiana: “Would definitely recommend the cauliflower fritas (they look like fried mozzarella, but it’s pureed cauliflower instead).”

* Davanti Enoteca, Scottsdale, Arizona: “We enjoyed the cauliflower steak and the truffle egg toast; they both were delicious.”

The Eclectic Restaurant-Bar-Lounge, North Hollywood, California: “The fried cauliflower on the late-night menu was amazing!”

Elizabeth on 37th, Savannah, Georgia: “Delectable dinner — amazing touches! The snapper was perfect, accompanied with a heavenly, melt-in-your-mouth cauliflower-goat cheese flan.”

Etch, Nashville, Tennessee: “The roasted cauliflower appetizer was fantastic…smoky taste with a hint of truffle oil and a smoked pea pesto.” Continue Reading

Dining Poll: Are Kids’ Menus Always Used by Children?

My parents like to tell me how difficult I was at restaurants when I was as a child. Did I scream? Run around the restaurant like a bull in a china shop? No and no. I was deemed difficult because, as soon as I was able to read, any time we dined out, I absolutely refused to order off the kids’ menu. It felt undignified to me. I didn’t want a hot dog with fries or a hamburger! I wanted what everyone else was having — and then some. Lobster! King Crab legs! Filet mignon! Does your child have gourmet tastes when you dine out or is s/he happiest with the 12-and-under menu? Weigh in on today’s dining poll!