Family-friendly Dining in Boston

Sometimes you need to get your fix of crave-able dishes like Uni‘s Banana Blossom Salad. But if you’re a Boston-area parent, you know that your child’s passion for adventure might not extend to the Banana Blossom’s bold combination of fermented chile, pig head, and peanuts.

That doesn’t have to mean eating out only at Chuck E. Cheese’s. Many Boston-area restaurants have upped their game to ensure that kid-friendly means parent-friendly, too, and are offering great menu choices for tots alongside sophisticated options for adults. Here are places to check out for their relaxed environments, flexible staff, and even one play area—which all work towards ensuring parents get a stress-free meal away from home, while still giving kids a chance to be, well, kids.

The Kid-friendly Winner: Gourmet and play

Full Moon is a restaurant designed with parents in mind. While parents linger over a glass of wine, kids who have finished their chicken fingers can roam the kid’s play area or color with crayons. Dishes like penne Puttanesca, trout with lemon and capers, and grilled sirloin with blue cheese butter make sure adults will be very well-fed.

The Laid-back Charm

The Barking Crab equation is: laid-back outdoor waterfront seating plus fried seafood equals a happy family. Kids and adults alike will jump on the fried shrimp, fish and chips, or crispy fish tacos. Other delicious options include swordfish kabobs and a bowl of bouillabaisse with a lobster tail. Diners can swing by the adjoining Neptune Lobster and Seafood Market to pick up fresh seafood for tomorrow’s dinner.

La Famiglia Giorgio’s, in Boston’s historic North End, is known for its enormous portions, affordable prices, and friendly service. The long menu features classic Italian dishes like spaghetti marinara, chicken parmigiana, pizza Margherita, and fettucine alfredo—something sure to please everyone.

Burgers at Mr. Bartley’s Gourmet Burgers, a Harvard Square institution since it opened in 1960, are made fresh and to-order, and taste even better with a handmade frappe. The casual dining room channels “dorm room chic,” and if the kids need to burn off some energy after a meal, a run around the green space in Harvard Yard is just a few steps away.

The Casual cafés

The main draw at Picco is the slightly charred, wood-fired pizzas. Toppings range from kid-friendly chicken and pepperoni to more adventuresome combinations like fig with gorgonzola. Rounding out the menu are sections for beer, wine, and ice cream, featuring a decadent dark chocolate brownie sundae.

One bite of chef Joanne Chang’s pastries or desserts make a visit to Flour worthwhile: the insanely delicious pecan sticky buns, the slices of midnight chocolate cake, the sweet-tart lemon meringue pie. But the soups, salads, and sandwiches on the menu, including a kid’s grilled cheese and a raspberry PB&J, make these four café locations perfect for a family lunch or early dinner. The menu includes vegetarian, gluten-free, and nut-free options. Bonus: Flour’s Fort Point location is right by the Boston Children’s Museum.

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