- Food and Cooking
Best Family Friendly Restaurants in Boston
I call this “Family Friendly” because I really mean restaurants where the whole family will enjoy their meal, not just the kids. Too often “kid-friendly” restaurants serve up basic, uninspired fare.
What I love about all these restaurants is that even though I don’t have to worry too much about my kids, I can also enjoy a great meal. If you want a kid-friendly restaurant that serves up good quality food, here are my top picks in the greater Boston area.
344 Huron Avenue, Cambridge, MA
Located in North Cambridge, this small family restaurant serves up a delicious seasonal menu that includes fresh salads and soups, Mediterranean and Latin inspired main dishes (I most recently had their Grilled Latin-Spiced Steak Tacos - delicious!), as well as more traditional fare, always including interesting and inventive chicken, steak, fish, and pasta dishes. The kids’ menu includes the regular (chickens finger, mac n’ cheese, pizza, hot dogs), and each includes a side of fruits and veggies. But, the best part is the play area complete with train table, kids’ kitchen, toys, and a chalkboard to keep the kids entertained so parents can enjoy their delicious meals. Buckets of toys can also be brought to the table, if the crayons and paper tablecloths aren’t enough to entertain them. Best for children 5 and under.
149 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA
With multiple locations in the Boston area, Jasper White’s Summer Shack brings the freshness of coastal New England’s many clam shacks to the city. With a varied, seasonal menu, Summer Shack serves up delicious and inventive seafood every time, including a raw bar, lobsters, fish specials, soups and salads, and seafood sandwiches. Daily specials written on the chalkboard walls around the restaurants include the best of what’s in season. The Cambridge location is big and loud (in a fun way) and hosts a Make Your Own Sundae night on... you guessed it...Sunday, complete with a balloon man who will make balloon animals, hats, swords and you-name-it for everyone at the table. There is also a big lobster tank, where kids can watch mesmerized as the lobsters claw about. Good for all ages.
One Seaport Lane, Boston, MA
Part of the Boston Seaport Hotel, Aura Restaurant offers a family night once a month. What I like most about this place is that it is truly contemporary "fine dining" - but with a play area. Parents can drink wine and enjoy a $30 prix fixe meal (menu changes each month) while kids are entertained by toys, arts and crafts, and a movie. Some nights have special events, like a visit from Santa Claus. On family night, it's all families, so you really don't have to worry about bothering anyone - we're all in it together! Check the website for the next Family Dining night. Best for ages 5 and under.
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA
This relatively new, trendy night spot features Latin inspired fare and opens up its doors every Saturday from 11:00-12:15 for a family brunch, complete with a favorite local kids’ band. In addition to offering their regular brunch menu (with Breakfast Burritos to die for!), they offer a special kids’ brunch including French Toast with Strawberries, Scrambled Eggs, and Grilled Cheese. Kids can boogie to the kids’ band while parents enjoy brunch, and perhaps a cocktail or two! Good for all ages.
541 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
Another funky, popular downtown night spot opens its doors to families for a jazz brunch every Sunday from 10:30-3:00. Described on its website as “sumptuous, moderately priced fare with rustic influences from the Middle East, Eastern Europe and America,” the brunch menu does not disappoint. Thick-Cut French Toast with Chantilly Cream (yum!); Grilled Shrimp, Spinach; Roasted Pepper, and Pesto Quiche; and Short-Rib, Farmhouse Cheddar, and Fontina Grilled Cheese are just some of the delights that await you at this delicious brunch spot. “Little Bees” can enjoy Scrambled Eggs with Toast, Free Range Chicken with Frites, or Kiddie French Toast as the whole family enjoys some live music. Good for all ages.
88 Beach Street, Boston, MA
While there is nothing advertised as kid-friendly in this very popular Dim Sum restaurant, heading to Chinatown for Dim Sum is one of our favorite family weekend outings. For those of you not familiar with Dim Sum, you can think of it as a buffet on wheels. Different carts are pushed around by staff with all sorts of delicious foods to try - our favorites are shrimp shumai, chive dumplings, and sesame balls. You simply point and nod if you want something and it is delivered to your table. One of the great things about dim sum is that you (and your kids) can try lots of different things. The atmosphere is loud and boisterous, so kids fit right in. Good for all ages.
Ready to Go? Here are some tips for eating out with the kids!
- Eating Out with Kids: Benefits and Tips
Eating out in restaurants with kids has many benefits. This article describes how eating out can help your kids try new foods, train them in proper restaurant behavior, and provides a much needed break from the kitchen. It also gives tips for making