Kid Friendly Dining?

It’s Friday night and your friends from out of town are visiting. They’ve asked you to suggest a restaurant downtown for a dinner and suggest they prefer it not be a national chain. Normally that’s a simple enough task. Yet these friends have a 3 year old child. You hesitate as you’ve rarely noticed small children at downtown restaurants and Friday night is a “date night” where the restaurants are sure to be crowded. Where would take these friends on a Friday night in the PQ?

This probably isn’t as hard as I’m making as Penn Quarter is a tourism district afterall. But I can’t even recall the last time I saw a high chair at a Penn Quarter restaurant. Seemed commonplace in the ‘burbs.

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  1. 1

    Ellona says

    We’ve been very interested in the high chair situation — Busboys has them at the MV location (but not at U Street for some reason). Big props to Ping Pong, which has not only high chairs but big coloring books and crayons. Austin Grill is also very kid friendly. I’ve heard Brasserie Beck has high chairs and is very kid-friendly. Matchbox has high chairs, but it’s also such a narrow and winding space that an active toddler-busy waiter collision is almost inevitable. Similar situation at Oyamel. Momiji is another possibility — they only have one high chair, but the food comes quick, and it’s super awesome sushi (Momiji is an awesome choice with or without kids!). The trick is to find a place that has high chairs and where the space and staff are accomodating to kids. A quick turnover between ordering and receiving food, and little extras like coloring books are also big bonuses.

  2. 2

    FourthandEye says

    Thanks for all the suggestions Ellona. Busboys is not in play this time because I took them there before for a brunch. I agree with your assessment of Matchbox. My friend would love the restaurant but the tight cramped space and the inevitable 45 min wait for a table are not good fits for the circumstance. The other suggestions are worth considering. I was also possibly thinking about Vapiano or Nandos.

  3. 4

    tom veil says

    Seriously — any Chinese or Thai restaurant. Any of ’em. Most of the food is meant to be shared, the atmosphere’s casual, and you won’t be the first one that night to make a mess. (And I know from experience that they all have forks.) Don’t like Asian food? I don’t exactly see Clyde’s turning away small children.

    If your children are just too loud, picky, or messy to be in public at all, there’s always the food courts on the periphery of PQ: Union Station, Post Office Pavilion, and National Place.

  4. 5

    KimFromTheK says

    I was going to suggest Ella’s but Ryu beat me to it! Vapiano and Clyde’s are viable options, as is Tom’s suggestion of Chinese or Thai. We went to Kanlaya with family who had a 1 year old at the time, and they were very accommodating (we left extra tip since the baby had thrown rice all over the place!). Of course there are the chains in the immediate area such as Ruby Tuesday, Legal Seafood, or Greene Turtle. And for even more casual, there’s Fuddruckers, Capital Q, Camille’s, or Nando’s Peri Peri.

  5. 6

    washingtonydc says

    I was going to say Ella’s too.

    How about Chinatown Express? The kid may get a kick out of watching the noodle-maker or the lobster tank.

  6. 7

    Ella says

    A few of the suggestions have the ambiance of a cafeteria. Who takes their out of town guests to a food court on a Friday night?

  7. 8

    tom veil says

    Ella: the answer to your question is, “the kind of person to takes a three-year-old out on a Friday night.” If you want to take out a three-year-old, you’re not going to Indique.

  8. 9

    FourthandEye says

    I don’t think this topic warrants any animated disagreements.

    That said, I had thought I framed the discussion as an opportunity to highlight PQ restaurants that are not national chains, which your visitors could go to back home, yet not too fancy or impractical for children. With that in mind a foodcourt wasn’t a viable suggestion as it’s an option even less interesting than a national chain.