Your love for your children is untenable, but do you really want to go out to eat with them?
Admit it. Dining at a restaurant with your progeny (we’re talking 12 and under) can be a stressful undertaking. So many questions you must ask yourself before taking the plunge.
Does the place have a kids’ menu, sippy cups, crayons, paper? Is it too quiet so that any kind of acting-out will elicit stares? Is it so fancy (read: expensive) that patrons will resent having their nice meal interrupted by whining, spills and squirming?
But you certainly can’t sit home every night, and certainly deserve a break from cooking and cleaning (and often unreliable babysitters).
We scoped out a few spots that tick off key boxes, and should please both parental units as well as your adorable brood. Bonus: Not one is a chain.
Corsair Kitchen & Bar
We can’t vouch for this spot at the Aventura resort during the week, but their weekend 52 by Corsair brunch brings its A-game. Anyone in your party who is 5 and under is comped (and these folks don’t card). A highlight from the sumptuous spread? The Captain Crunch Encrusted French Toast, for them, and $8 Bloody Marys for you. Cha ching! Help the youngins channel their inner Julia Child at the made to order omelet station. When they get antsy, stroll onto the outdoor patio and watch the golfers do their thing.
Details: CORSAIR, JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa, 19999 West Country Club Drive, www.jwturnberry.com. 305-932-6200. Brunch includes complimentary valet.
Green Street Cafe
This cozy, homey yet bustling Coconut Grove mainstay is a magnet for celebs like JRod and their blended crew as well as regular folks looking for a quick but good meal without too much fuss. A big plus for families is the plush seating and outdoor pet-friendly tables. When the kids get bored, take them for a quick walk to the window shop at the plentiful cute surrounding stores until the food arrives. After your meal, you can head over to the Barnacle State Park and the kids can get more of their wiggles out.
Details: Green Street Cafe, 3468 Main Hwy, Coconut Grove, greenstreetcafe.net; 305-444-0244
This Miami Shores Italian food vet recently underwent a makeover, which means no more torn upholstery, rickety tables and outdated decor in the main dining room. This down home affordable fave also has a more casual back room with TVs and pool tables that leads onto a large outdoor patio for the more, um, restless patrons.
Details: Mama Jennie’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria, 11720 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores, mamajennies.com; 305-757-3627
Cantina La Veinte
If you eat out with little people, you already know they need to stay occupied. At. All. Times. This snazzy, two level Mexican eatery has lots for them to do while they wait for their tacos and quesadillas: There’s a small supermarket (with candy), a patio with adjacent park and, if you’re lucky, a mariachi band bringing the party.
Details: Cantina La Veinte, 495 Brickell Ave, Miami, www.cantinala20.com; 786-623-6135
Glass and Vine
Pro tip: Wait until the weather gets a tad cooler and less stormy, then make a B line here. Once you discover the wonders of a restaurant literally located inside a park on the bay with a playground, you’ll wonder why you need to ever go anywhere else again beside your kitchen. The cuisine? Who cares about the cuisine? Did you just read that Glass and Vine has a PLAYGROUND? Seriously though, the menu is headed up by celeb chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, so yeah, it’s no joke.
Details: Glass and Vine, 2820 McFarlane Rd., Coconut Grove, 305-200-5268; glassandvine.com
This narrow, quaint hideaway in the middle of a bustling area of Biscayne Boulevard will make you feel like you’ve been invited into Grandma’s tearoom. The bakery/cafe’s well-worn furniture, mismatched plates and kitschy decor add to the undeniable charm. Kids will appreciate the comfort food (can’t go wrong with gooey grilled cheese) as well as homemade desserts that are — warning! — set out in a distracting display case. The Cream folks get bonus points for keeping up the outdoor area out back and supplying board games galore.
Details: Cream Parlour, 8224 Biscayne Boulevard; 786-534-4180; creamparlor.com
This fresh market-fresh grill and lively vacation bar oh so conveniently located in the Tidal Cove water park is all about those good vibrations. The open air, beachy spot serves “approachable classics with a coastal influence” for everyone in your party. For just $10, kids can dig into quesadillas, burgers, chicken tenders, grilled cheese, hot dogs and mac and cheese. Then they can go slip and slide while you imbibe. Caveat: Surf House can only be accessed with a day pass (and wristband). The Resort Day Membership includes access to access to Tidal Cove, as well as Corsair Kitchen and Bar (see above), Freestyle, Starbucks and Bourbon Steak, as well as complimentary shuttle service to the Aventura Mall and the beach. The price is $75 Monday-Thursday and $105 Friday-Sunday. Purchase the pass online.
Details: JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa, 19999 West Country Club Drive, Aventura. www.jwturnberry.com/tidalcove/surfhouse