Family Bites, Take Two

The second installment of neighborhood highlights in family dining.

Last week with our first edition of , we took a tour of the top five neighborhood places to take the kids — namely, restaurants where there is no chance you'll be the only one with younger ones in tow.

This week, we take family dining to the next level with five slightly more esoteric family-friendly choices.

Prices quoted are an estimated dinner for a family of 4 including drinks, tax and tip.

195 Dekalb Ave.

A longtime neighborhood favorite, and New York's first South African restaurant, Madiba's relaxed attitude makes it a great option for eating with the kids without feeling like you've completely given up your hip factor. The food and drinks are great and the super-friendly staff and owners are some of the most inviting and accommodating in town.

Vibe: Inviting, laid back, usually busy.

Kid Menu: $2 eggs to $7 burgers — a pretty standard list, but at least they give their chicken fingers and fries special Madiba-themed names.

Kid Supplies: Changing table in the bathroom, high chairs, crayons and coloring sheets.

Other Pluses: Outdoor seating with a view of Camel Park, and a coin-operated airplane ride out front!

Cost $110.

, 222 Dekalb Ave.

Though the restaurant is small — you have to fold your stroller just to make it through the door — the owners (who named the place after their own toddler) go out of their way to make parents feel comfortable. And the fabulous food is equally pleasing for parents and kids. The inside can get noisy and definitely crowded, but for an early dinner without compromising your own taste buds, Dino is the place.

Vibe: Intimate inside, but with loud music to cover up kid noises.

Kid Menu: No, but plenty of well-priced pasta options on the regular menu.

Kid Supplies: Highchairs.

Other Pluses: Enclosed backyard.

Cost: $100.

, 171 Lafayette Ave.

Though the feel is more kid-tolerating than kid-friendly, and the restaurant is a bit short on kid amenities - your kid won't be getting his water in a cup with a straw, the high chairs are a little worse for wear – there still seem to be plenty of families, like us, who keep coming back to Olea. Forgo the generic chicken finger/grilled cheese kids menu and your little one can get a great meal off the Tapas menu (like the fried goat cheese, pea puree dip and lamb meatballs). Plus, if you eat early enough they have a great happy hour with cheap drinks and tapas specials – and the kids still get to bed on time!

Vibe: Efficient and busy but warm.

Kid Menu: The usual chicken fingers and pasta options.

Kid Supplies: Highchairs.

Other Pluses: Patio Seating outside, cushioned banquettes inside — especially the ones along the window — help keep little ones settled in.

Cost: $100 (a little less before 6:30 weekdays).

, 228 Dekalb Ave.

For years we've been trying to solve the mystery of why this place isn't always crowded — the food isn't astonishing, but it's never disappointing either, and you definitely won't find a meal as satisfying at this price anywhere else on Dekalb's restaurant row. The BYOB factor might be a deterrent to some. But with wine and beer available within a block or two, a minor inconvenience translates into a big savings.

Vibe: Very casual and rarely busy.

Kid Menu: No, but with the regular menu features the likes of $8 Pitzas and lamb sandwiches.

Kid Supplies: Highchairs.

Other Pluses: Incredibly friendly staff who seem charmed rather than annoyed by little ones. And a little free almond cake at the end of the meal never hurts.

Cost: $55 (BYOB).

, 662 Fulton St.

Though it hasn't quite picked up a steady regular crowd, the owner's loss is your gain because there's always room for a big table for your family. And most of the time it's empty enough that even the shyer among us would have enough privacy to nurse a little one. The staff is a little hit or miss in the friendly department, but the food is more consistent.

Vibe: Efficient service, airy layout.

Kid Menu: No.

Kid Supplies: Highchairs.

Other Pluses: Outdoor seating, and indoor banquettes next to large windows that open up on nice days.

Cost: $100.


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