Above, Brian with our kids in Victoria BC's Chinatown. I love how Brian looks like he has had enough. There are definitely some days when I would rather do anything else but take our kids to a restaurant. When living on the road as a nomadic opera family we have not had other options at times (only so many meals you can eat in a hotel room).
1-We love appetisers, or if we are going to a place we are not familiar with, we bring some food to keep kids happy. At times this can ruin kids appetite but we enjoy quiet, happy children while eating out.
2-It feels like lame parenting, but we have used our portable DVD player and my husband's smart phone to keep kids quiet and happily plugged in when needed. We try to use this as the exception but at times it is necessary (and nice). We were in Italy not long ago and thanks to the bread sticks and the cartoon Pinocchio on my husband's phone, we were able to wait for our food in relative peace in a restaurant we were dying to try. (It was worth it too for this restaurant! We had these amazing stuffed squash flowers that were unlike anything we have ever eaten! We had amazing food in Rome and really bad food too. Beware of restaurants that speak to you in English and serve dinner early!)
4-Sometimes all your best efforts will not be enough. The above photo is our son on the floor of the famous Opera Bar in Mexico City. He was done and had started exploring and saying hello to other people trying to have their meals. Lucky for us he is cute and Mexicans loved him.
We also found you can’t believe everything you read in a guidebook. One of our books for Warsaw, Poland claimed that “Rooster” was a great family eating establishment. There was one a short walk from our apartment, so we ventured in one evening for dinner. As it turns out, “Rooster” is modeled on the American “Hooters” experience, where the waitresses do not have much to wear. After being seated, our waitress came to take our orders and our three-year-old son wanted to know why she wasn’t wearing any trousers. However they did have a baby chair, crayons for kids and popcorn on the table. Our kids had a good time and the food was pretty good (we were hungry). We did not need to go back however.
Brian and Colin at the Cafe of All Nations.
What are your best, or worst experiences eating out with kids?