You don't (necessarily) need to eat fast food for every meal when traveling with kids.
It happens. You’re travelling with little kids and you’ve officially had one too many fast-food hamburgers.
You’re in, say, Vancouver, and you’re dying to try the sushi restaurant in Yaletown your kid-free friends have been raving about. Do you dare? Well, the debate on kids eating at nice restaurants can get crazy. There’s much to consider, including the temperament of your kids and how big a tip you’re willing to leave.
But let’s say you decide to go for it (no judgment here). Here are some tips for making it go more smoothly for you and your fellow diners.
Pick the right place
Even if it’s elevated food, it should still be food your children will like. Sushi, fancy pizza, pasta, American and seafood restaurants are good bets.
Also consider the speed at which food comes out. Sushi is usually faster than a steak house, for example.
Finally, opt for a restaurant praised for its customer service. Check Yelp reviews for mentions. An attentive server may bring out a little pre-meal treat or provide cups with lids — or just be patient if things get whiney.
Arrive early. Like early-bird-special early. If you’re there by 6 p.m. you’ll beat the anniversary-dinner set. Getting there at 5:30 p.m. is even better, as the restaurant will probably be mostly empty. And if there’s outdoor seating, you can score an al fresco table.
Streamline the meal
Let your server know you have a window of good behavior, so you’re going to eat “efficiently.” And hopefully they’ll serve you efficiently as well. Help the process by skipping appetizers and checking out the menu online so you can get your order in on the first pass.
Take a walk
If the kids get squirmy and crayons or iPhones aren’t placating them, let them get some air. Go for a walk around the block and let them move. Plus, leaving the table is a guaranteed way to get your food to arrive.
Alter the order of delivery
You can speed things along by ordering several items from the appetizer list.
Another process is to ask for the kids’ entrées early, then have their desserts served with your entrée. Don’t panic, you’re still getting your dessert — you’re just going to take it to go. It will be just as delicious eating it on your bed watching cartoons as it would have been in the dining room. And, hopefully, there will be fewer tears.