Kid-Friendly Fine Dining in London: Fit for Young Foodies + Their Families

In London, dining out with kids doesn’t have to involve fast food or noisy theme restaurants. You can introduce your little ones to international flavours at family-friendly chains like Wahaca and Masala Zone, linger over lunch at a local gastropub, or snack on street food at local food markets. But what if you fancy something a little special? We’ve rounded up five restaurants that offer kid-friendly fine dining in London that the whole family will enjoy.

HIX Soho
At his buzzy Soho restaurant, chef Mark Hix celebrates the very best of British cuisine – from superb steaks and chops to fresh fish and classic British desserts. Hix has campaigned for better quality childrens’ menus in the past, so it’s no surprise that little foodies are well catered for in his restaurant. Young diners can enjoy dishes like prawn cocktail, chicken escalope with wild herb salad, or the classic fish fingers with chips and mushy peas. Budding artists are encouraged to draw a picture of their experience at HIX which is then entered into a prize draw. Make a reservation at HIX Soho.

Kid-Friendly Fine Dining in London

Tredwell’s
Offering ‘modern London cooking’ in the heart of Seven Dials, Marcus Wareing’s Tredwell’s is a real treat for foodies. Last year, the restaurant was named AA Restaurant of the Year in London for 2015/2016. Younger diners have their own Junior Menu, but adventurous eaters might be tempted by dishes from the main menu like crispy buttermilk chicken and tomato soup with a basil pesto toastie for dipping. The dessert menu is in a league of its own, so don’t even think about getting your sugar fix at M&M World on Leicester Square. Kids will love the salted caramel soft serve with honeycomb, while the grown-ups tuck into gin & tonic cheesecake or a selection of cheeses from La Fromagerie. Make a reservation at Tredwell’s.

Kid-Friendly Fine Dining in London

Heddon Street Kitchen
At Gordon Ramsay’s West End restaurant, kids can dine for free every day of the week from a menu created by his daughter Tilly. Choose from dishes like rigatoni bolognese, scampi and chips, and sticky chicken wings but save room for dessert – the Ramsay Whoopie Pie or make-your-own-ice-cream from the Ice Cream Bar. The restaurant is situated close to Piccadilly Circus, only a short walk from kid-friendly attractions like Hamleys Toy Shop and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Don’t miss their Teddy Bear’s Brunch on July 17th! Make a reservation at Heddon Street Kitchen.

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Meltdown Averted: How the Pros Help Prevent Your Kid’s Restaurant Tantrums

kid's restaurant tantrums

Restaurant staffers work overtime to create a warm, welcoming environment. But sometimes minors can cause them major headaches, and threaten to derail the establishment’s carefully crafted dining experience. By thinking quickly and being proactive, staffers can prevent your kid’s restaurant tantrums and make sure everyone goes home happy.

The Picky Eater

Walking through the dining room of Betony in New York City one evening, executive chef Bryce Shuman noticed something awry. A couple was dining with their six-year-old son, who clearly wasn’t enjoying himself. The youngster hadn’t touched the food on his plate, wore a grumpy expression, and was distractedly playing with his iPad. His dissatisfaction was impeding his parents’ ability to have a good time and enjoy their meal. So Shuman decided to try to turn around their experience. He sent a staffer out to the nearest grocery store to buy a bottle of ketchup and frozen curly fries. When they brought out the nicely plated treat soon afterwards, the kid’s face lit up and he dove in. The parents looked equally pleased. “It was a good moment,” says Shuman. “So much of what we do goes beyond simply serving food and wine; it’s about making people feel great. So anything I can do to make that happen, I’ll do it.”

The Young & The Restless

Trummer’s on Main in Clifton, Virginia is used to hosting little diners, who usually don’t require much extra attention. But a few years ago, co-owner Victoria Trummer noticed a brother and sister – aged approximately five- and seven-years-old – were getting antsy during dinner and were itching to bolt. They had already finished their meal, but their parents’ entrees hadn’t arrived yet, so leaving wasn’t an option. The usual iPhone videos hadn’t worked as a diversion, so Trummer decided to come up with a better distraction. She and the kitchen crew assembled DIY sundae platter featuring scoops of vanilla and popcorn ice cream, candy, chocolate pecans, and housemade butterscotch. “The kids and the parents were elated,” she says. “The energy at the table and the dining room changed dramatically.” The experience help inspire the restaurant’s Petit Gourmand program, a high-end tasting menu for children that culminates with a make your own sundae that often makes the adults at the table jealous.

The Bored Ones

There’s an old saying, “When the mind wanders, happiness also strays.” This is certainly true with children in restaurants. Boredom can transform into a hissy fit in five seconds flat. That’s why Grace Abi-Najm Shea, co-owner of the Washington, D.C. area Lebanese Taverna restaurants is proactive in engaging children. If the smaller members of a party appear to need amusement, she uses a variety of techniques. Shea might take them into the kitchen to help make the eatery’s signature puffy pita bread. Another tactic is to bring them around the restaurant and introduce them to other guests, especially those with kids. If the children are a little older, she lets them play host and give guests their menus when they sit down. “The customers love it and the kids feel so important,” says Shea. “And the parents get a break, which is always nice.”Continue Reading

The Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Top Summer Travel Destinations in America 2016

As families hit the road and take to the skies on summer travels, we are pleased to unveil the Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Top Summer Travel Destinations in America.

Featuring restaurants beloved by locals and visitors alike, the complete list highlights restaurants in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., including Little Goat in Chicago, M Street Kitchen in Santa Monica, and Le Diplomate in Washington, D.C. A to-dine list for families who love to explore the cities they visit through restaurants, this collection of eateries represents those that provide a welcoming atmosphere for children and their families in addition to food that pleases all palates. A multitude of cuisines are represented on the lists, including barbecue, Brazilian, dim sum, French, Japanese, seafood, and, naturally, perennial family favorite, Italian.

 

The Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Top Summer Travel Destinations in America 2016 list is generated from more than 1.4 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners between June 1, 2015, and May 31, 2016. All restaurants with a minimum “overall” score and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then sorted according to a score calculated from each restaurant’s average rating in the “kid friendly” category. Based on this methodology, the following restaurants, listed in alphabetical order, comprise the Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Top Summer Travel Destinations in America 2016, according to OpenTable diners. The complete list may also be viewed at http://www.opentable.com/m/best-kid-friendly-restaurants/.

CHICAGO
Chicago q
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
Little Goat
Maggiano’s
Mon Ami Gabi
Quartino
RJ Grunt’s
Stella Barra Pizzeria
Weber Grill
Wildfire

LOS ANGELES
BenihanaEncino, Ontario, Puente Hills, Santa Anita, Torrance
Black Angus Steakhouse-Torrance
Buca di Beppo-Claremont
Duke’s Malibu
Enterprise Fish Co.-Santa Monica
Farmshop LA
Gus’s BBQ
M Street Kitchen
Maggiano’sFarmers Market + Woodland Hills
North Italia-El Segundo
Paradise Cove Beach Café
Queen Mary Champagne Sunday Brunch

NEW YORK
Blue Smoke
Carmine’s44th Street + 91st Street
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que-Harlem
Landmarc at the Time Warner Center
Max Brenner-Union Square
NINJA NEW YORK
The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel
Rock Center Café
Sarabeth’s TriBeCa
Sugar Factory-Meatpacking District
Tony Di NapoliMidtown + UES
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The Menu at Oriole Chicago: Behind the Windy City’s Hottest Tasting Experience

The 13th of 15 courses to arrive at the table of fine-dining West Loop newcomer Oriole is “Gianduja.” Named for a milk chocolate composed of 30% hazelnuts, it is technically a cheese course that’s meant to be picked up and eaten in one or two bites. It vaguely resembles a cheese board — a thin pretzel lavash dolloped with hazelnut chocolate cremeux, Raclette cheese, and black currant sorbet with fragrant nasturtium and dots of lavender gastrique. And in a previous version, it was. But, like everything on the menu at this imaginative restaurant from executive chef/owner Noah Sandoval (of the now-shuttered Senza) and pastry chef-partner Genie Kwon (Boka, Eleven Madison Park), it evolved.

“(The Gianduja) is a pretty big evolution from how we first presented the cheese course, literally, on a wood board,” says Kwon. “But we kind of took that philosophy of taking things with really delicious flavors on their own, making them taste as much like themselves as possible, then combining, re-hashing, and improving them. The guest gets all these flavors in one bite that holds together miraculously.”

oriole chicago

It was a group effort — involving discussions weighing whether to combine the cheese and chocolate courses and how to make the Raclette taste more Raclette-y (salt!), plus plenty of tinkering from sous chef-baker John Gorr (Publican Quality Meats) to create an edible ledge out of flatbread.

But collaboration and constant fine-tuning are the pillars of this intimate, 28-seat restaurant and its $175 tasting menu. For the four friends behind Oriole — Sandoval, Kwon, general manager Cara Sandoval (Sandoval’s wife), and sous chef Tim Flores — it represents the realization of Sandoval’s longtime dream for a restaurant with “as many courses as it takes” to fulfill and stretch the team creatively, while also simply “making guests happy.”

“It’s food we’re excited about, that we would want to eat,” he says.

Like other tasting menus, there are crescendos — like the salty, acidic steelhead trout capped with smoked roe and served with artichoke-marjoram broth. Seasons play a part in what appears on the plate, too, though Sandoval notes, “You’d never see me change the entire menu for spring or fall — that scares me.”

Oriole Chicago

There are also plenty of seeming miscalculations that make total sense in actuality. For instance, the house sourdough arrives smack dab in the middle of the meal — “to bring your palate back down a bit” between a brightly acidic Alaskan king crab course and that smoky, salty trout. Creamy, umami-rich uni is followed by even more decadent foie gras. But for Sandoval, who cut his teeth dazzling diners at Michelin-starred (and undetectable for many) gluten-free Senza, it’s as much about how things flow together as what constitutes them individually.Continue Reading