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Children and Fine Dining Restaurants

"Twee-sine" Gourmet Menus For Kids: Kid-Friendly or Are You Kidding?

Move over chicken fingers and grilled cheese! In an era where parents take their tots everywhere with them, it appears that five-star, Michelin-rated restaurants aren't off limits. According to the New York Post, some of New York City's most posh dining establishments are experiencing an influx of younger diners and they aren't altering their menus for them. As these young gourmands' parents tote their offspring out to dinner, they hope to introduce them to a world beyond the children's menu – including $25 black cod with miso and $33 crispy beef.

Though some restaurateurs have called for the removal of kids menus altogether, 63 percent of LilSugar readers said they specifically seek out eateries with kid-friendly options. One New York chef thinks these petite gourmands are all talk though, saying, "The only food I ever see children enjoy at any of my restaurants are the pizzas at Pulino’s. That’s all children ever want to eat. Anyone who says anything else is lying."

What do you think?

talonsage talonsage 6 years
We've had a rule in our house that when at a restaurant you must order food that is in line with the restaurant's main fare. For example, if we're eating Thai, you can't order chicken fingers, if we're at a Mexican place you can't order a hamburger. One of Chibi's first solid foods was hummus at our local family owned Mediterranean restaurant. She very strictly adheres to the family rule of her own accord (that's partially her Aspiness coming through). If a kid with sensory issues can manage, any kid (barring allergies) can. That's not to say it wasn't a long road to get where we are, and that we still adhere to the "one bite" rule. (If it's served, whether you like it or not you have to try one bite of it. This rule has gotten spinach off the "I don't like it" list.) I actually can't remember the last time Chibi had chicken fingers that wasn't part of an appetizer platter we were sharing.
EvieJ EvieJ 6 years
I don't want this to turn into the "Kids in First Class" discussion that was on here earlier (!) but - as a parent who flies 1st with her child, I won't take my child to a "fine-dining" restaurant right now. She's 2 1/2, and I don't think it's appropriate. If there's something we're celebrating en masse, there are other establishments we could go to, and guarantee we won't disturb other diners, some of whom might go to them all the time, others of whom might have had to save up to go. I just don't think it's right. Like BellaH68says, if you do go, be prepared to step outside. However, having said that, I do wish restaurants would offer more than chicken fingers ( or dino nuggets. Really!), hamburgers, pizza and spaghetti. My daughter has a super varied diet, and eats everything (except lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers). Most times when we go out, I order something and the two of us split it as she will eat it, whether it's salmon or other fish (not fingers - who knew fish had fingers :) ), steak, chicken or whatever.
BellaH68 BellaH68 6 years
I didnt vote because I think there needs to be an "Other" option. As far as having other options for kids, I think its a good idea, if only pared down versions of adult entree's so that the restaurant doesnt have to order special food for kids (that may go to waste.). As far as kids IN fine dining restaurants, I'd say that you have to use discretion. If your child is low-key/knows how to behave, then sure. You should absolutely be prepared to leave (or at least step outside til your little one can calm down) if your child acts up though. Its not fair to the other patrons who are paying high prices for meals with a certain ambiance.
kmckay kmckay 6 years
I'm all for having "real" food on kid's menus. Give kids some credit. Over processed chicken fingers and mac & cheese? Some parents feed their kids food that doesn't come from a box or a freezer and may appreciate getting to et fancier food at a restaurant! Even chain restaurants could do grilled foods, stir fry and salads. Kids like those! As far as a fine establishment, if the kid is well behaved, sure. However, I'd be pretty annoyed if I was paying $$$ to dine and had to deal with screaming or throwing food!
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