Bringing babies and kids to nice restaurants, yes or no?

The writer Devorah Lev-Tov talks about her experience and tips how to manage children in a fancy restaurant. In the commentaries, most readers hate this idea.

How about you? What do you think about this? Do you bring kids to up-scale restaurants or to any restaurants?

Mmm No!
Full disclosure I don’t have children … but if I did, still No!
I remember what an awful time I had as a child but regardless … still no!

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Not until he was six, and had practiced his manners and how to behave at a formal dinner.

Edit to add: This seems like one of those articles written simply to get lots of comments. In real life, people don’t take toddlers to fancy restaurants. It’s simply a way for the website to to drive ad revenue.

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Good for you.

As for the website article and its studied neglect of appropriate babysitting alternatives or foregoing the “experience”, we’re almost out of breath awaiting the follow-up piece on taking babies and kids to X-rated performances and movies.

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I don’t think she can declare it a success until we hear from everyone else who was there.

Otherwise, I’m sure those are useful tips.

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We don’t eat out a lot but when we do, if we go to a nicer restaurant, we bring a tablet and headphones to entertain and the moment things are not going ok, one of us is escorting the master out while the other clears up the cheque. I don’t believe in infringing on the enjoyment of other diners.

I would never try it at something too upscale.

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Exactly! I have no problem saying when my kid is a brat and apologizing/acknowledging his behaviour. However, some people are oblivious!

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Depends on the kid.

(Same thing for adults, by the way.)

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Yeah, I agree, but at the same time, I have no kids, so no need to worry about this.

But I think until over 8 or even later, the kids will start appreciating fine dining.

I don’t have children so not a personal issue but I think my answer, generally, is that it depends.

Depends on the children, depends on the parents, depends on the restaurant.

There are child brats and there are parent brats. I’d prefer them not to show up at my local bistro, let alone an upscale place. But most kids and most parents are well behaved in restaurants - even when kids are just being kids. It’s hard to expect a young child to sit happily and quietly in a restaurant for an hour or so - their instinct is to run around and be noisy. And there are loads of places, many of them"nice", where that’s fine and the sort of people who would complain are not my sort of people.

As regards high end dining, it may not be the best call to take your toddler to the restaurant. But, unless the restaurant sets an age limit (and I know a few which do), then it it is your call. By way of example, we celebrated my 65th birthday at the Michelin 2* Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. It was lovely, by the way. But, also in the dining room, was a couple with their child, aged perhaps 7. They seemed to be also having a lovely time - you could see the three chatting together, enjoying the food and getting on with life. They had chosen to eat fairly early, possibly so the child wouldnt be kept up late (their meal was coming towards the end when we arrived at 8pm. They were there at breakfast and still seemed to be having a lovely time - as were the staff who seemed very attentive towards the child.

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I haven’t brought kids to the temples in the U.S. For the most part, its distracting for the parents to have to feed the kids and try to appreciate the meal at the same time. That’s not even considering the impact on other diners.

With that said, high dining in the mold of temples are more common in Europe/ U.S./ Japan. In many other cultures, eating out with the family and kids is common. I’ve brought young kids to Michelin ** lunches, twice, in Hong Kong. Nobody screamed, threw food, and caused trouble from our table. And nobody from other tables really cared. The caveat is, its dimsum lunch, despite a somewhat hushed, hotel fine-dining setting.

With that said, I’ve never done that in the US. Its just a lot easier and relaxing to bring them to places where we all can relax and eat.

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She takes a kid to a fancy restaurant and justifies his shitty toddler behavior simply because he didn’t break anything? Selfish.

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Nope! In very rare instances I have seen very well-behaved children in upscale restaurants, but that is hardly the norm. And even when parents bring things to keep the kids busy, I’m not interested in eating a pricy dinner next to children who are playing or watching movies on their iPads. And often when young children are just talking they tend to talk loud. It’s not fair to diners who are paying these prices.

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If you can make it past the numerous pop-up ads that make it almost unreadable on a phone, you will get to the next article, which contains tips for taking babies to bars.

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I reread the article … Devorah Lev-Tov is IMO clueless and or entitled
Actually I think she had nothing to do one day and decided to write
about her fussy but well behaved son … the article was simply about their isolated experience
At the end of the first paragraph after stating all of the negatives she writes, success !
Really???

She added nothing that anyone with children or those who are childless but
who know individuals with children don’t already know … someone commented
that she is trying to normalize unacceptable behavior and I have to agree with them.
This topic has been addressed many times before and has been presented with better reason/argument to allow or encourage this … this article is a waste of time IMO!

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Like anything in life, there are always alternatives. There is no need for a couple to bring a child to a fancy restaurant, none, outside of selfishness. There are countless national/chain or mom and pop “family” restaurants if you want to have a night out. If you can afford a dinner at a fancy restaurant you can afford a baby sitter, there is NO reason to bring children to a fancy or “upscale” dining establishment. None.

Nobody enjoys dining out and fine dining more than me, but when my kids were born I spent 5 years eating at every chinese buffet, or chinese sit down or TGIF’s / Ruby Tuesday there was. (Actually Old Country Buffet was a big one back then too). I would never subject someone to the potential of my kids acting up that weren’t in an environment where it was known or expected to happen.

FYI no matter where we ate I also cleaned up after my kids as well. If they threw/spilled food on the ground I cleaned it up, it’s not someone else’s responsibility to clean up an excessive mess made by my child. No reason to make other people’s jobs or lives more difficult than they need to be. (please note I am an industry person so I am very sensitive to the plight of both customers and employees. servers or bus people are not there to be your slave for a couple hours. treat people and places with respect)

We should all have more courtesy towards each other in social spaces.

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I see that a lot at 121, which is a favorite restaurant of ours. Kids leave behind a mess under and around the table and the servers are stuck cleaning the mess. The parents seem to have a sense of entitlement … my kid is perfect and can do what he/she wants and it’s your job to clean up the mess. Not all parents!! But enough in my area!

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Why does the author insist on torturing her poor child by putting him in a situation that can only be miserable at that age? Poor kid, he would be much happier at home with a babysitter, because his mom is mean and selfish.

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Success??? For whom? Not the other diners for sure!

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Years back, we visited family members in upstate New York. We had dinner out with them on several nights but the Old Time Buffet was the one I remembered and the one I enjoyed most. Now, I don’t know if that speaks for the dining opportunities in small town New York or if it speaks for the dining tastes of the family members. But it didnt speak well.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold