Bon Appétit wrote in the September 2015 issue about dining out with children and how to manage it all. It is a must read for anyone with kids, especially if you feel like you have to give up on going out to your favorite restaurants because the babysitter isn't available. Go ahead and look at the article here on how to dine out with the family—and maybe even enjoy it. Or you can view the article below (I have copied it over from Bon Appétit for your convenience).
1. Book a Table an Hour Earlier Than You Used to. (Then Call Back and Make It an Hour Earlier)
“I’m sorry, all we have is 5:30” should be an opportunity, not a heart-sinker. Now it’s so much easier to snag a table at that popular place—and there will be fewer people to offend when your daughter decorates your white pants with her ragù.
2. Make the Kids Order for Themselves
For years our girls would just look at us when the waiter asked what they wanted. We decided that a restaurant was a good place to master the art of looking people in the eyes and, you know, using their mouths to speak.
3. Take the Booth
It’s more private, more comfortable, and more fun for the kids. Also much easier to hide when they challenge all notions of civilized society.
4. Discourage Devices
We feel bad getting judgy about this one because a) smartphones barely existed when our kids were in terrorist toddler mode, and b) we’re hopelessly addicted to our devices. Plus, it’s so easy, so effective to hand a kid an iPad and get on with your meal. But it’s just as easy (though maybe not as effective) to hand them a deck of cards or any other analog distraction without that dissociative quality. (There is a sub-rule, lest we model the behavior we’re trying to curb: Parents must do their best to refrain as well.) That said, desperate times…
5. Speaking of Modeling Behavior, Drink Up While You Can
There will come a day when the kids take middle school health class and start saying things like, “Dad, did you know that one ounce of gin equals 12 ounces of beer equals four ounces of wine?”—and then ask exactly how many ounces of wine you ordered, which threatens to turn you into a person who drinks, alone, in the garage.
6. Get French Fries
These have never not worked.
7. Do Dessert at Home
Every minute that passes in a restaurant with kids under the age of five brings you one minute closer to meltdown. For dessert, best to pull the rip cord and do Oreo milkshakes at home. (With extra Oreos if this is a hard sell.)
8. Order One New Thing
Ask the kids to have one bite of something new. More than one long-term love affair, like with the light-as-air gnocchi from NYC’s Otto, has begun this way for our kids. Note: Make sure you like whatever you’re debuting, so when the kid rejects this mandate, you won’t have the urge to send us the bill.
9. Do Not Take Them Anywhere with a Michelin Star
That is, unless you enjoy setting money on fire.
(original article here)