Insights from a Battery Park Mamma

Happy Monday everybody! 

So things have been a little bit cray these last couple of days, but we are so happy and excited to launch our parents-interview series!  What better way to get insider-tips on dining options, lessons-learned, and key takeaways than straight from the horse’s mouth? 

This week features FiDi mamma Seema, who somehow manages to juggle it all.  Here she sits down with CBD and shares some of her favorite insights for local restaurants and how she gets battle-prepped for a family dining outing!  Btw we LOVED her war story about running out of the restaurant before she could even finish her food... all because her little one was getting restless (been there, done that, check please!).  Thankfully, this only happened to her once, lucky gal.

Read on and enjoy!  Please remember… this is a judgment-free zone :)

1. CBD: Hold old was your child when you first started dining out together? 

Seema: 2 or 2.5 months old. We took her on Saturday night with us to the local Italian restaurants. She looked around and then slept through the whole dinner.

2. CBD: What were the key decision-factors and drivers that you employ when seeking out dining options with your baby/toddler? 

Seema: For the first 6 – 8 months, we went to restaurants that were in close walking distance to our apartment.  We take her to nice restaurants but nothing too fancy.  We want the waiters to be tolerant if she does make a little mess or yell a little (she usually doesn’t yell but you never know).  We have yet to take her to a restaurant that requires reservations.  We also do not go to restaurants that typically have a waitlist.

We only took her to restaurants that we dined at previously so that we could be sure of the atmosphere. New restaurants are difficult because they might be too upscale and unwilling to put up with babies.

3. CBD: What were some of the earlier dining venues you went to? 

Seema: PJ Clarke’s, El Vez (excellent on weekends, too crowded for weekdays), Les Halles Downtown (surprisingly wonderful for kids), Inatteso, Benares, Baluchi's.

4. CBD: What are your “five key essentials” for dining out with baby (i.e., things you couldn’t leave home without?)?

Seema: (1) Pacifier; (2) Bottle of milk or water; and (3) Her baby spoon so she can try my food (I carry her own spoon because her mouth seems so tiny, relative to restaurant spoons).  She’s probably ready for an adult spoon… I just still treat her like a little baby!

That’s really it. She doesn’t need much other than diapers, obviously.

5. CBD: What are your current (top 5) dining posts?


(1)     Les Halles downtown – great food, great atmosphere, kid friendly.

(2)    Bubby's – great food, great atmosphere, kid friendly, excellent pies.

(3)    Inatteso – fresh food, friendly service. Short walk for BPC residents but far for others. 

(4)    Benares – excellent Indian food, excellent service, average décor though.

(5)    The Palm Downtown – I haven’t taken baby there but I’m pretty sure it will be fine and food is terrific.

6. CBD: Do you have a favorite "local gem" that you prefer?

Seema: I love Bubby’s in Tribeca.  Wonderful food and very family friendly.  El Vez is a little hit or miss with the food but usually hit.  It is great for families.

Bubby's in Tribeca

7. What is your strategy/coping mechanism for when things go awry?

Seema: Pacifier works most of the time. 

If not, she usually calms down if you hold her. I have learned to eat dinner with her sleeping in my arms. My husband and I would take turns holding her as the other person ate. Wasn’t as annoying as it sounds. 

One time she flipped out so I had to run out of the restaurant without finishing my food.  But it only happened once. 

8. CBD: Do you choose your venues different if you were going out with friends who had no kids vs. kids? 

Seema: Not really.  We tend to pick the restaurants if our friends don’t have kids.  We don’t want them to pick the restaurants and then we get stuck in a place that is not kid friendly enough.

9. CBD: What are some tips you’d like to give newbie parents getting ready to eat out with the kids?

Seema: Do not put them on a schedule.  Our baby can sleep anywhere including her stroller, car seat and noisy parties. But we trained her like that from day 1. And keep the pacifier handy.

10.  CBD: Have you ever had a really bad experience with a restaurant?

Seema: None really.  She knocked some juice over at one restaurant on the UES but they were good about it.  My only complaint is when the tables are packed too tightly together.  With the high chair and diaper bag, you do need a little extra space to move around.

11. CBD When you pick a place to eat, how would you prioritize the following factors: 1) quality of food; 2) decor; 3) service: 4) high chair availability; 5) changing table; 6) stroller parking

Seema: First and foremost – Quality of food.

Service (must be friendly)

Décor (décor isn’t important but I prefer spacious restaurants)

Changing table is not necessary

High chair has never been an issue.

Stroller parking – never been an issue.