Fine dining with kids, yes or no?

(48 Posts)
luckymommy Mon 19-Sep-16 19:07:44

So, we went away for the weekend as a family for a family celebration, and booked a table at a fancy restaurant at a hotel. They class it as fine dining, and it was fancy but not the super duper end of fine dining either.

Booked a couple of months in advance, had numerous telephone and email conversations with them, explained before I booked there would be 2 children aged 12 months, and 3 yrs. They confirmed children were welcome, no problem. They said they would offer a children's menu and provide a high chair.

Also explained it was for my parents 40th anniversary.

We got dressed up, went along, sat down. No problem. Kids were being well behaved, sitting still, excited. (This doesn't always happen but made sure they were all napped up ready!) However, my 12 month old was noisy, not screaming or shouting but he was babbling away, granted at some volume, but not shouting or screaming. As 1 year olds do, or so I thought.

The waiter brought us water and menus. The manager then came over, and said 'I'm sorry but we are unable to tolerate noise in fine dining'.

I could have cried there and then, I apologised and we got up and left. Felt rather humiliated.

We overheard the couple next to us saying they didn't like what had just happened and they left with us.

I understand people don't like noisy kids in certain situations, but I had repeatedly checked the kids would be OK, and they were so helpful to accommodate us over the phone for a special occasion. This isn't something we normally do, but it was a treat.

Anyway, we ended up wondering aimlessly around somewhere we didn't know on a Saturday evening trying to find somewhere to eat that could accommodate 8 of us last minute. We ended up at a hight street Italian chain where the staff where incredibly lovely and welcoming.

AIBU to be upset at basically being asked to leave, despite assurances children (they knew the ages) would be welcome?

expatinscotland Mon 19-Sep-16 19:09:59

I'd complain because they told you it would be alright. Not on.

bumsexatthebingo Mon 19-Sep-16 19:14:52

I wouldn't take a loud babbling baby to a fine dining restaurant. But by fine dining I'm not thinking the kind of place that has childrens menus! Sounds like the manager thinks the place is a little finer than it is. Or maybe a table of 10 had just sat down and started complaining.
If they have a Facebook page I'd post your experience on there and ask them to clarify whether children are welcome or not. And I wouldn't go back.

TaterTots Mon 19-Sep-16 19:18:11

Crying seems a bit on the dramatic side. But yes, they were wrong to say kids were welcome when clearly they weren't.

OlennasWimple Mon 19-Sep-16 19:21:03

I don't understand why they would have a high chair and a kids menu but not actually want a child who would fit in a high chair and need the kids menu to eat there confused

user1471446905 Mon 19-Sep-16 19:21:29

It sounds like children are welcome but they expect parents to take appropriate action if the children are noisy/disruptive. A 12 month old babbling 'at some volume' is going to be unwelcome in most restaurants I would have thought.\, let alone smart restaurants. They were probably waiting to see if you picked him/her up and took them outside or walked them around a bit, when you just left the baby making noise they probably felt that they had to say something. It sound alike it was not the children so much as the lack of parenting that was the issue.

arethereanyleftatall Mon 19-Sep-16 19:22:10

I can see both sides.

How 'fine' was it, as everyone's definition is different? Michelin stars treat meal or Marriott hotel?

Coconutty Mon 19-Sep-16 19:23:45

I wouldn't have wanted to sit next to a noisy baby but would complain to you if they said you'd be welcome when you clearly wasn't.

takemetomars Mon 19-Sep-16 19:23:48

In answer to your question - no to children being taken to fine dining restaurants.
However, you seem to have thoroughly checked that this was OK and so the way you were subsequently treated is apppalling. Complain

blue25 Mon 19-Sep-16 19:25:52

I wouldn't take a baby or small child to a fine dining restaurant. In my experience it tends to be uncomfortable both for the parents trying to keep the kids quiet and everyone else trying to have a relaxed meal.

Only1scoop Mon 19-Sep-16 19:28:06

Generally if they have children's menu and high chair then you would imagine even the finest places would be slightly geared up for pre booked DC.

However it seems really extreme that they let a large pre booked party just walk out.

What did they say when you all got up to leave.

NicknameUsed Mon 19-Sep-16 19:29:59

I can see both sides as well. They shouldn't have told you that it was OK to bring the children then turfed you out.

However, I do think it was a tad optimistic taking a baby to an upmarket restaurant. It won't have made for a relaxing evening for anyone.

JellyBelli Mon 19-Sep-16 19:30:33

I think I'm going to be the dissenting voice. Fine dining is ok for kids that can join in with the adults, but I wouldnt expect them to tolerate a crying baby. I would have used a sitter for the baby.

Heratnumber7 Mon 19-Sep-16 19:30:45

I would complain if a 12 mth old was babbling at volume in any fine dining restaurant I was at, and wouldn't even have contemplated taking my own, nor a 3 year old.
But it doesn't sound like this was "fine dining" as I would understand it.

phillipp Mon 19-Sep-16 19:30:46

Personally I can see both sides.

Children are welcome but if other people complain about the noise. The staff will do as they will with adult customers. Ask them to keep the noise down.

I would take my Dd to fine dining. She was always really well behaved in restaurants. Ds liked to shout out from an early age and so we didn't. He is 5 now an easily bored so wouldn't take him to fine dining now.

It's just not worth it. I would be stressing his moans/ talking too loud etc would be ruining other people's evening.

The restaurant welcomes children but expect the parents to take action if they are bothering other customers.

From the restaurants point of view, it better for you to leave than have a few other tables complain.

I think the other couple leaving and you crying was all a bit dramatic.

luckymommy Mon 19-Sep-16 19:32:06

We wouldn't normally take the kids to fancy places but it was a special occasion and we were told it was OK! Still really embarrassed by it all blush

Lazyafternoon Mon 19-Sep-16 19:34:20

OMG complain!!! Do you have copies of emails etc to show they and told you you'd be welcome? That is appalling.

My guess is the person who chucked you out hates children, it was a different person who took your booking and was normal person who was welcoming and understanding. Did you get the name of person who was so rude you? Even not a description and time and date would be enough.

Definitely write a complaint to the management. Copy to Twitter, Facebook and Daily Mail. Name and shame! ;-)

I have known of restaurants that don't accept or at least will discourage children and not provide and any facilities or allowances (kids meals etc) for them. Fair enough you know what to expect. But somewhere that has actually said it's no problem to bring them and will provide high chairs and kids menu should should be more tolerant of child babble and perhaps even a bit of mess. Asking you to leave is shocking.

Tiredandtested Mon 19-Sep-16 19:36:11

I'd have been mortified too.

The restaurant shouldn't have told you that children would be welcome, of course very upmarket places aren't really appropriate for littlies.

They should've offered you a Private Dining room for your Parent's celebrations.

PNGirl Mon 19-Sep-16 19:36:33

Hmm. I think the children's menu is probably aimed at children that are old enough to be told to be quiet and do it - normally up to about 8 or 10 year olds can eat from it. Also, 1 year old babbling normally involves low-level screeching and this is not pleasant if you're at the next table - this happened to us in Prezzo the other night and we ended up eating without chatting because the toddler next to us was blocking out our conversation.

That said they shouldn't have said that the children were welcome, and they offered a high chair which is obviously used for babies, so I would complain.

gunsandbanjos Mon 19-Sep-16 19:37:10

My idea of fine dining is michelin star, if I was paying those prices I wouldn't be impressed at a noisy child nearby.

However the restaurant sounds partly at fault for taking your booking.

Crying is a bit ridiculous though.

Tatlerer Mon 19-Sep-16 19:37:32

OP it was definitely unreasonable of them to say it was fine and then go back on that. Of course young children can make noise!
In my experience it's perfectly fine to take kids with you at lunch time or at an early evening sitting (if restaurants allow it at all). If you're ever in London and fancy a treat, take your kids to the Ivy with you. Admittedly it's more of a bistro atmosphere but the food is amazing, the service is wonderful and they love kids. No kids menu- you just ask for something and they will do it. My 18 mth old was served pasta in tomato sauce at the table from her own copper-bottomed pan smile

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 19-Sep-16 19:39:09

If another couple near by thought the waiter was unreasonable and left in support it's fairly safe to say your kid was fine.

And yes of course I would take children to an establishment that allowed me to book them in!

Stop being embarrased the shame is not yours to hold

TheAntiBoop Mon 19-Sep-16 19:39:19

I sympathise but I guess there is a difference in behaviour expected.

nandos - children welcome and no one bats an eyelid at a loud babbling baby or a toddler running riot

This restaurant - kids welcome but behaviour expected to be within confines just as it is for adults. I suppose it would have been good if the had mentioned that at booking but they may have thought they didn't need to

Would it not have been possible to quieten the baby rather than storm out?

My ds has always been a dream in this type of restaurant but dd makes it impossible. The last time we had a big family meal out we were a big enough party that they put us in their private room which meant behaviour wasn't a problem.

luckymommy Mon 19-Sep-16 19:42:21

Just to be clear, I didn't actually cry! I agree that would be dramatic! Just felt embarrassed, I apologised and left quietly. The hotel manager came over to apologise as we left.
It wasn't fine dining in humble opinion, but that's how they classed it. We're not talking Michelin here, just a nice hotel restaurant. The baby wasn't crying/ screaming/ shouting.
I would never have wanted to ruin the evening for any one else there, and I would have taken him out of the situation without being asked had he have been.
Will stick to family friendly places going forward, it was more relaxed where we ended up grin

Sparklesilverglitter Mon 19-Sep-16 19:48:56

I can see both sides

On one hand a fine dining place isn't going to appreciate a child making a lot of loud noise as other customers don't expect that in a fine dining place they will complain. I'd probably complain myself in a fine dining expensive place but I wouldn't care in a standard restaurant

But if I was you I would be annoyed that I told them I was bringing children and the ages and they said it was fine. So I think really you did all you could to warn the restaurant so they are at fault here!

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