Where to Eat
The Boston/Cambridge area is chock-full of great places for families to eat. Several websites, including GoCityKids | Boston , Foodline.com, and Citysearch/Boston provide in-depth restaurant reviews and online dining reservations for the Boston area. MassMenus.com will allow you to preview the menus of various restaurants and select those that best fit your interests and budget. GoCityKids is particularly good for families, as it provides details on number of high chairs, availability of kids' menus, and other types of information that parents crave.
Here are a few of our favorite family-oriented dining options:
Quincy Market is full of restaurants, and you're sure to find something that will please even the pickiest eater. This is a great spot to grab a quick and inexpensive bite to eat. Some of our favorites include: Boston Beanery for delicious Boston Beans; the Monkey Bar for non-alcoholic coladas; Bay State Chowda Co. for the best New England Chowder; and Boston Brownie for dessert. There's also a replica of the Bull & Finch pub for those who might not have time to visit the Beacon Street original, and the family-friendly Cheesecake Factory is located here as well.
Ye Olde Union Oyster House 41 Union Street, Boston (617) 227-2750, www.unionoysterhouse.com Union Oyster House
The Union Oyster House is the oldest restaurant in Boston, as they started serving oysters to Bostonians in 1826. Their traditional New England menu is complemented by new low-calorie selections. You can ask to be seated at President Kennedy's favorite booth.
Full Moon, 344 Huron Avenue, Cambridge (617) 354-6699
This is a restaurant that definitely caters to families with kids. It's obvious, since there's a play area in the back of the restaurant that comes fully equipped with toys. Kids easily keep themselves entertained playing with the dollhouse, the Lego table, kitchen set (with all of that ever-popular fake food!), and a train table. The restaurant provides sippy cups, and there's also a complete children's menu available. Adults will enjoy this restaurant too, as the food is excellent. Choose from grilled fish, pizzas, salads, chicken, steak and other items. Come early to avoid a wait.
No-Name Restaurant 15 1/2 Fish Pier, Boston (617) 423-2705
You're likely to find crowds here - as the restaurant has a legendary reputation for some of the best inexpensive seafood in the Boston area. The restaurant has a unique set-up: seating is provided at communal tables so you will be eating at the same table with people you don't know.
Marche Movenpick, 800 Boylston Street, Boston (617) 578-9700 Marché Boston
This 37,000 square foot cafeteria-style restaurant in particularly unique and perfectly suited for families with differing tastes. "Passports" are handed to each member of your family. Then, each member of your dining party can proceed to different stations to order what you want. Station chefs generally prepare your meal right in front of you and stamp your passport with your order.
Here's another popular "station" type restaurant, where each family member can customize his or her meal down to the individual ingredients. Meals are "all you can eat", and are served with rice and warm tortillas. Meals for children 3-10 years of age are $5.95, and kids under 3 eat free of charge.
Durgin Park, 340 Fanueil Hall Marketplace, Boston (617) 227-2038 Durgin Park
Durgin Park is something of a Boston landmark, known New England menu specialties, large portions, and waitresses with attitude. The restaurant has been serving Bostonians and visitors since 1827. Families are seated at large picnic tables with other guests, and the atmosphere is boisterous. Chowder, prime ribs and lobster are the most popular items on the menu. You won't find children's menus at this restaurant, but inexpensive chicken fingers are available as are half-portions, and kids can easily split any of the courses. Durgin Park is a Boston experience for those who like good food in a historic setting.
Hard Rock Cafe 131 Clarendon Street, Boston (617) 424-7625, Hard Rock Cafe
The famous Cadillac stands outside the door with the words "Massachusetts Institute of Rock" written below. This popular burger joint with rock n' roll memorabilia also serves New England Clam Chowder and Boston cream pie. The restaurant tends to be very popular during prime summer tourist months, so plan accordingly.
This inexpensive restaurant specializes in fresh, homemade kosher and vegetarian fare. The soups and Middle Eastern platters are delicious. They are only open for breakfast and lunch.
S&S Deli, 1334 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, (617) 354-0620 S&S Restaurant
The S&S Deli is a family favorite due to its good food, large portions, and reasonable prices. In addition to the usual deli-style sandwiches, there are also great hot entrees for dinner and an excellent breakfast menu. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays.
Henrietta's Table Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett Street, Cambridge (617) 661-5005
Henrietta's Table offers a wonderful menu full of comfort foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A "Best of Boston" winner several years in a row, the restaurant offers huge portions and a wide variety of choices. If you dine in the evening, make sure to order a side of mashed potatoes. One order easily feeds three or four, and our kids loved them!
The Cheesecake Factory, 300 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, (617) 964-3001, and 100 Cambridgeside Place, Cambridge (617) 252-3810 The Cheesecake Factory
This very popular restaurant has one of the most extensive menus we've seen, and the portions are huge. In addition, the wide variety of cheesecakes and desserts makes "saving room" mandatory. Although there is no children's menu, kids can easily order from the appetizer menu (which provides larger-than-kid-sized portions, or split an order. Believe us, no one will go away hungry! Brunch is served daily until 2 p.m., and a kids' brunch is offered on Sunday. Be aware, however, that since this popular chain of restaurants does not accept reservations, families should go early or be prepared for a long wait to be seated.