Thursday, June 11, 2009


According to the Times Union 'Best of the Capital Region' poll the following restaurants have been voted for the best restaurants for kids.

1. Friendly’s, various locations

2. Red Robin, Route 9, Latham, and 1 Halfmoon Crossing, Halfmoon

3. Chuck E Cheese, Latham Farms

And this from their site:

Why? Fried foods and ice cream. What more could a kid want? As for parents: an inexpensive menu. The top three this year are a repeat of last year’s winners, showing, if anything, that there’s some stability in the kids’ restaurant field.

Really??? This is the best we've got? I refuse to believe it. C'mon Albany, where do you like to take your kids that is not a major chain? I bet we can come up with some other ideas.

For example, Shalimar on Central Ave. They have never charged me for my little kids (2&4) at the lunch buffet I Just called to check and 3 and under are free, but anyone older is full price), the kheer (rice pudding) rocks, and they can be loud and messy without a problem. Another plus is that they don't serve blue soda there, like some people.

What do you suggest?

(Not to get totally down on Friendly's though, they are known for their free ice cream give aways and now you can sign up to be their BFF)


  1. The voter's have spoken... realistically though, these places are really good for kids, although I really don't go for monochrome golden brown foods. some other places?

    panera (yeah, it's a chain, i know, but my kids love it)

    bomber's - the kids love it there, although the pacman might have something to do with it.


  2. Ooh, kids get the buffet free at Shalimar? We never end up going because I don't want to pay for ALL of us, but now....

    Since we don't go to restaurants often, my kids think it's really special and behave well at any that we take them to. So they do great wherever.

  3. ooops. you know... i should probably check on that.. my kids always get free buffet because they are little (2 & 4).. i don't know how old they have to be before they start charging.. hmmm... let me get back to you on that. thanks for keeping me on my toes ;-)

  4. My son has loved going to Ralph's for the kids size portion of "creamy cheesy tunnels" which translates to ziti with alfredo sauce.

    We have learned to ask for them without the parsley garnish.

    They also have crayons and coloring books for while you wait. And as opposed to Friendly's the food isn't disgusting.

    Although sometimes disgusting has its place. Kurver Kreme is nearby for dessert too.

  5. my niece's love that Japenese place in Clifton Park. I forget the name! And Buca de Beppo, it's a chain but it's very entertaining for the rug rats.

    By the by, what the hell happened to Friendly's? I know it's not the 4 Seasons but seriously, one of the kids wanted a sundae and there was 2 tablespoons of ice cream and the rest was whipped cram. BOO!

  6. Even though it is a chain, Moe's burritos are a great stand-by for our kids (2 and almost 6). And Sundays kids eat free. They'll add black beans to the standard kid's quesadilla too.

    I'd add the Fountain, but the last few times we've been, the wait for our food has been unbearably long. The Midtown Tap & Tea Room next door is actually quite kid-friendly with lots of room to walk around if needed.

    Also, Cafe 217 on Delaware and Jefferson is fantastic for kids (weekend breakfast in particular) and Suzie, the owner, is great.

  7. LOL! I love your comment "I refuse to believe this" I second you sistah! Love you tons.

  8. Thanks, everyone. Already we have come up with a bunch of alternatives to the triumvirate of greasy food establishments.

    To answer Sarahs' question about Shalimar... unfortunately kids under 3 are free, but other than that, full price.. so it's not really a bargain if you have older kids... (unless they can really pack away the paneer ;-) Still its a great place to expose them to food that has flavor. (God forbid!)

    I didn't know about the Moe's deal for kids on Sundays. Great tip!

  9. A lot of it has to do with how nice they are to the kids. (Even some Friendly's are friendlier than others.) Price-wise, Friendly's is hard to beat (unless you're going to sink even lower on the fast-food chain, if you know what I mean). But I'd rather go to a diner, like the Gateway or Metro 20. They are great with kids--and what kid doesn't want the option of breakfast for dinner?

    We definitely struggle with the question of taking the kids out--better to use the money we would have spent on them and get a sitter. It's cheap, easy, and less stressful to feed them at home (we've even given up Sundays at Moe's--I think it was the amount of trash produced that made me feel like, free kids' meals or not, there was something wasteful going on). But there are times when you want to go out and you need them with you: my birthday for example. For those things we often go to Sushi Tei, on Western Ave. They have a box for kids that's just spectacular. It's not cheap, but it's more than enough to stuff my eight-year-old AND make him feel like a grownup. My three-year-old shares with my six-year-old, and the whole operation (miso soup included) keeps them quiet long enough for you to enjoy what is a very nice Japanese restaurant. Plus, they are sweet and generous with the kids.

  10. Forgot to ask--has anyone been to Wolff's Biergarten yet? The menu and decor look quite kid-friendly.

  11. I went to Wolff's for a weekday lunch with the infant in tow. No problems, the place was empty.

    I don't know if drawing on the picnic tables is encouraged, or if they just turn a blind eye to it, but there may be some interesting (if not entirely age appropriate) grafiti for your early readers.

    Hot dogs, pretzels, peanuts and beer for the parents. Sounds like a playdate to me.

  12. we recently discovered the "lounge area" at the albany pump station. it's perfect! couches to climb on, space to wander, and beer for parents. we have been there twice this month and we have had the place mostly to ourselves. the service is a bit slower perhaps but we had a blast.

    oh and there were local meats on the menu!


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