Baby friendly Restaurants – What to look out for?

While I was pregnant and after I delivered my lil munchkin, I knew life was going to change much, but in no certain terms had I thought it would turn upside down completely.

While every new mother to be, expects changes like sleepless nights, poopy diapers and a crying baby… Some changes come to the fore only when you are living that life!

Like these –

👉Not being able to step out without a care! Now stepping out of the house for even a simple thing as grocery shopping requires meticulous planning.

👉No more movies! I don’t even remember when or which was the last movie I watched in a theater. And I don’t know when next I am going to watch one on the big screen.

👉No more night outs! Since Miss C, we have hardly gone out in the evenings. Miss C sleeps by 9.30 pm and so do we.

👉Say No to Restaurants – At least for the initial 6 months. Either that or carry a whole lot of baby gear around to manage the baby.

So many changes, even small little things that you don’t consider important until you have had a baby! My first real confrontation with reality happened on our visit to the ISKON temple, about 45 days after giving birth to my babe. My mom was going back home, after having lived with us for nearly 2 months, so we decided to take her to the temple.

After paying our homage to the GODS, we went to the restaurant located in the temple premises for a bite.  This restaurant serves buffet meals which meant one needed to walk up to the counters to fill their plate.

This was the moment when reality struck !!!

First, all of us had to take turns to hold the baby so the other could fill their plate. And not just that! We also had to take  a turns to eat our food too!!! In the middle of all of this we also had to nurse the baby and clean poop. By the end of it, I was exasperated and still hungry ! I would rather be home than be out and about!

But, how long could I have been on house arrest!? Being someone who loves going out to eat once in a while, staying in was a big ordeal! I waited till Miss C was about 5.5 months and could sit unsupported, before venturing out again.. and thus began my hunt for baby friendly restaurants in Mumbai.

For me, a baby friendly restaurant needs to fulfill the following criteria:

👍Is open to have baby guests. Some restaurants have a no child policy for the evenings because of blaring music. So next time around, just call and check in advance.

👍Is not very crowded and has space to move around. This is hard to come by considering the land cost in Mumbai. Restaurants tend to cram up every available space in order to maximize returns. The next best thing could be to choose a table that’s not right in the center or in the middle of a walkway. You might want to get a table away from the cleaning stations… A corner table maybe, with a sofa seating could be ideal.

👍Doesn’t play loud music. Ideally the restaurant should play music at a volume that does not impede conversations.

👍Has comfortable furniture. Like bigger tables and wider chairs. Always request for a bigger table, even if it means some waiting time, it’s worth it!

👍Can provide a high chair on request. If your baby can sit unsupported, a high chair is a great thing. It allows both you and the baby to sit independently​. You could carry your own high chair/booster seat too..a high chair maybe fine, but for a booster seat, the restaurant furniture needs to be compatible. While one can carry their own booster / high chair, if you plan to dine at a mall where you could indulge in some shopping after eating, carrying the chair around might get cumbersome.

👍Allows you to carry home cooked food for your baby – while most places are okay with you carrying some home cooked food for the baby, few of them may actually crinkle their  nose as it’s against policy.

👍Serves fresh food and offers variety – a quick service restaurant like a Mc Donald’s may not be the best option as they do not have baby friendly food items on the menu.

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Lil Miss C Dining in Style!

So far of the many restaurants that we visited to celebrate the special occasions of our lives, these have fulfilled my requirements of a baby friendly restaurant:

Pizza Express, Powai – our visit here was delightful. It fulfilled all the above requirements. On special request, the manager also made available a few freshly baked dough balls that we gave to the baby to play and munch on while Mum and Dad enjoyed their meal. The high chair here was quite comfortable for our bub and pretty clean and well maintained.

Le Pain Quotidien, Powai – a casual all day dining cafe restaurant, we loved the food here. The baby high chair they had wasn’t the best but served its purpose.

Masala Library, BKC – a fine dine place, they serve progressive Indian cuisine. What we liked best here was the service and the staff members. The staff was super friendly and ensured to talk to our baby every now and then to keep her entertained. Again, the high chair was nice, clean and comfortable.

Artisan Bistro, BKC – located inside Sofitel, it is a bistro by day and a lounge by night restaurant. While the high chair here wasn’t the most comfortable one, the staff made up for it. The staff went out of his way to get a plush toy for baby to play with. They also have an outdoor section, which has artificial grass for floor. Maybe a very good spot for going with children and just letting them be. You need to be careful though, since it’s an open area without walls.

Pa Pa Ya, Lower Parel – the worst of our experiences so far even though they fulfill the requirements. The staff here wasn’t really baby friendly. Also the temperature inside the outlet was a bit too low for our comfort.

Vista by Taj, Bandra – We had the brunch buffet here and it was by far our best experience so far. The high chair was the most comfortable and they had quite a few baby friendly food options. Top it with the service of TAJ and you know this is the place to be.

Not Really Indian, BKC – a casual dining restaurant with a twist. Their menu comprises of dishes from around the world. We loved their food and presentation and it got full marks for being a baby friendly place.

Hongkong Restaurant, Viviana Mall Thane – from the house of Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, this very modern eatery serves a delightful mélange of Asian cuisine. The food was lip smacking but the service was slow. We loved that they had both a baby chair and a high chair for toddlers. The high chair was very well maintained and clean. The fact that this restaurant had high chairs available despite being inside a mall gets a huge thumbs up from us.

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Miss C at Hongkong Restaurant, Thane

A fellow mommy blogger the diaper drama gives us some fantastic tips and shares first hand insight on this topic. Here’s what she says – 

“We too had been very apprehensive at first but soon started taking our daughter, who is all of 3 year old now, everywhere. Indigo Deli, Trattoria, Yauatcha, Celini and Royal China are some of my daughter’s favorite. I think the most important thing is having a high chair which you can check at all restaurants and some even carry those portable strap on ones. Secondly, to have some kind of entertainment / activity table for the child so they are occupied.

People stare and will do so anyways, so just ignore them – they aren’t worth your time if they can’t realize that they too were once like that and so were their kids!!

To engage our daughter, we carry sticker books, coloring books, reading material and velcro puzzles which are easy to do outside and relatively mess free. Occasionally, YouTube Kids does come in handy but more often than not, I try to do puzzles, digital coloring and matching activities, flash cards and educative/engaging stuff on the iPad so it’s less noisy and disturbing, before we eventually cave in to Peppa 🙂

A lot of restaurants like Trattoria provide colors, coloring sheets and even a small stuffed toy! The kids feel happy and stay excited with their new stuff for most of it so you can shamelessly ask for it – it’s their right ❤️

Sticker sheets or some magnetic sheets etc. which the child can just grab and aimlessly put around, work great for even younger children . You can even take play dough or atta with you and let your little one just fidget on the high chair, will be entertaining. You also get toys that strap up on high chairs which they won’t be able to throw down haha! Check out melissaanddougtoys first bead maze (check the link here). It has suction base which stick onto surfaces and can be a great toy to carry around”

Have you visited any baby friendly restaurants in your vicinity? Please share the names with us and we would love to visit them add them to our list 🙂

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22 comments

  1. Wow a detailed informative article…I used to like rajdhani in chennai as i had a baby friendly chair and there was another one named darios where they took my little one and entertained her when i and my husband finished dinner

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    • Oh wow! Didn’t know Rajdhani had baby chairs 🙂 and just like you had in Dario’s, we shared the same experience in Jugheads, Mumbai. We ordered sizzlers. When the staff got our food to our table and saw the exchange between us husband and wife about who was going to hold the baby and who was going to eat, he offered to take the baby and play with her while we enjoyed our food. Even though they didn’t have a baby chair, they totally made up for it by offered to play with the child. Our girl was always in front of our eyes and all staff members too turns to play with her

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  2. Thanks for this post. Never thought of these things to filter a restaurant but it just came naturally I guess. My son who’s 11 months and runs around now, hates sitting down in the high chair. Any tips??

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    • A fellow mommy had shared some useful tips to keep the babies entertained in the high chair – some of them were taking a quiet book, play doughs, sticker book or a velcro puzzle.. but all said an done, at 11 months I had a thought time making her sir in the high chair even at home because all she wanted was to walk!!

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  3. Quite an exhaustive post on eating out with babies and all relevant stuff mentioned. For us we are most considerate of choosing a spacious place to eat out where our toddlers can run around without being hurt.

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  4. Most of the restaurants we visit/ed have these facilities.. but our issue is that my daughter refuses to sit at a place. Even on a high chair. She is more of an explorer and likes to visit the other tables and forge new friendships. When she was little I used to wish for a child minder in the restaurants 😀

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  5. That’s a great post and I am sure will be helpful for new parents. We are a family of foodies and movie freaks so it was impossible for us to wait till 6 months to step out of the house. What helped us a lot during our restaurant visits was a lightweight rocker which we would carry with us and keep on the table and rock the baby while we indulged in our sumptuous meals. Later on, we invested in a foldable booster seat which we would always carry to our restaurant visits and that could be fixed to any chair so we literally carried our high chair with us always. No compromise on our fav food joints.

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  6. Yes we only did lunch out during the first year as it was easier with her bedtime. I also love when restaurants make efforts to make it easy to dine as a family.

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  7. We frequent pizza express in powai too. But our favourite is Chilis next door. We love the food and the bright colours. Most mall restaurants we went to offered high chairs albeit badly maintained ones.

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  8. A very fresh post. Music is one thing that I still hate, even though my son is now 3. I don’t know why they play so loud music. High chair is must for a child-friendly restaurant as it allows the mother to sit properly and even feed the baby properly. It feels good when we find our tiny babies getting a warm welcome eve at a public place like a restaurant.

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