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Where are the Best Places to Take Kids Out to Eat?

Kid-friendly restaurants minus the "cheese" and the fear.

Everyone is hungry and you are not in the mood to cook. There are tons of great restaurants in the area but not all are appropriate or welcoming to a family that may or may not be making noise or tossing bread across the room.  

For as much as we try, our children have minds of their own and you cannot always control them. It can be intimidating to bring kids into any restaurant due to fears of dirty looks and tsk-tsks from other patrons. Some parents will not even think about taking their children to a restaurant because they fear how their kids might act.

Why not give children the opportunity to learn how to behave in a public place without the "Romper Room" feel? Maybe mom and dad could have a glass of wine and enjoy dinner too. 

For those who have braved the less-safe, "Chuck E. Cheese" free eateries: which area restaurants are realistically the most kid-friendly? Where can hesitant parents dip their toes into family-friendly waters?

We all want to break out of the old routine and try something new sometimes. To the doubtful parents: What is the worst that could happen? If one of your kids tries their magic tablecloth trick, just leave an extra generous tip and don't forget to laugh. 

Okay Moms, we need your expert advice! Where are the best places to take kids out to eat? Feel free to share your insight and maybe a funny story or two. We know you have them!

lisa sapio April 14, 2011 at 12:38 PM
Has anyone been to DAVIDS RUMBA!. I must say that is the best place for kids in Madison, they have a kids menu along with a great menu for the adults . The Firehouse pizza no longer has outdoor seating and food is just ok if you are only ordering pizza. David's has his family working together... parents and college age son. Food is good and they do have specials. I even think there is music on friday or saturday night. It is on Elmer street which is behind main street. Good parking across the street and I must say I eat there with my older kids and also meet friends there and bring a nice bottle of wine. Have never been disappointed.
Melissa April 14, 2011 at 02:32 PM
Why not try Romanellis...great family atmosphere, quick and easy and close to the Movie Theater! Friday night is Kids Night...Simon is there from 6-8 making balloons and doing magic for everyone!!
Pamela Chirls April 14, 2011 at 02:53 PM
I will preface this by saying that we own very few electronic devices. My children will tell you that I regularly "hide" them if I find that they become a distraction from conversation, homework, or just good, old-fashioned play. When we go to restaurants, I allow my children to bring books to pass any waiting time. At casual restaurants, we often use the paper mats to play word games or to do art. It is well documented that family meals are critical to children's long-term health. If I can prevent my child from using later by talking now, then I am willing to commit to family meals!
Colleen Bohensky April 14, 2011 at 09:13 PM
We LOVE David's Rumba Cafe for eating in and taking out. I hadn't realized that had a kids' menu.
Kristin Murray April 18, 2011 at 03:49 PM
We were at Begum Palace last night with our three kids 7, and 4-year-old twins. We love Indian food and have gone there or gotten takeout enough times that the kids are now as excited to eat there as we are. Our kids love the Mango Lassi to drink and simple Chicken Tikka ordered "mild" as well as Sag Paneer (spinach with soft Indian cheese cubes) I second the David's Rumba recommendation, too. We love that place. In my opinion, if you teach your kids to stay in their seats in restaurants, you can go just about anywhere that isn't "fine dining."

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