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Eating out(6 Posts)
Our youngest is just getting to the age where we feel like we can take her out for meals, shes 18 mo
What does everyone think the best tactics are for eating out?
Do you prefer independent restaurants or high street?
At that age I liked restaurants where DH could share lots of small plates, tapas style. The DC could try lots of different dishes and was a great way to widen their tastes.
Somewhere you don't have to wait ages for the food to arrive is good.
A lot of independent Italian places nor fancy ones but the standard pizza/pasta places) do big portions and are family friendly so they are good. Yes to tapas.
Chain wise Wagamamas is good-they do quite a good kids menu. Leon is also a good kids menu but that's less restaurant than others but handy if out shopping.
Book the earliest available table because a toddler won’t make it past 8.30pm in a restaurant without howling. The trick is get in, get your food, enjoy it, and get out! And never go with a tired toddler. Also when you book, let them know that you’ll have a toddler and hopefully they’ll put you at a suitable table (even better if they have the high chair already there for you!)
I’d check to see whether the restaurant has high chairs or boosters. If they do, that is a tacit invitation to children. If they don’t, I would probably avoid.
Take snacks just in case! You can’t be too sure that the food won’t be too hot or will arrive in good time.
We let the dc run around a bit outside the restaurant before the food arrived at the table, but part of the deal is that they had to sit down once it came. My DC usually tried to self-feed part of her meal, but when she lost interest, we’d take out crayons and a notebook for her to scribble in, or some books for her to read.
Place your order as quickly as possible. Don’t be shy about asking the waiter to put a rush on it. Keep it short if she’s wrestles by asking for your bill at the same time as dessert or coffee.
Remove any non-essential stuff from the table immediately. This includes any promotional menus, condiment trays, condiments, etc. Commandeer all silverware unless you like the sound of banging and an ever-present panic of lost eyeballs.
When the meal is over, look down at all of the half-chewed breadsticks and splattered vegetables at your feet. It will take two seconds to bend down and pick it up. Even if you don’t leave it spotless, the staff will appreciate the gesture. And tip big!
We took DS to a mixture of places. There were a couple of local independent gourmet pubs we had frequented previously and wanted to continue as we liked the food - but chose our timing carefully when we knew it would be quiet and sitting outside if the weather was nice.
We also spent a good amount of time at places which had soft play attached as there tended to be mainly people with DC so any less than perfect behaviour wouldn't be such an issue- although You do have to be careful that your child doesn't pick up ideas from other families that running round restaurants is acceptable!
As DS grew older we also went to a lot of chain restaurants and pubs where there was a children's menu and activity pack.
When DS was very young we tended to take our own food or share bits of ours.
I prefer eating early, even though my kids were actually fine until relatively late. The early crowd tend to be other families with kids who are more understanding of a bit of noise etc.
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