Montclair & NearbyMy favorite nice restaurant in Montclair is Italian Colors, near the Wells Fargo bank. They have crayons for the kids w/ paper on the tables. Food is excellent Susan (10/01)
From: Cynthia (7/98)
I'd like to add a recommendation to the kid-friendly restaurant list. It is called Flippers and is in Montclair Village between Noah's and Peet's. The menu is primarily burgers (garden, tofu, meat) and salads. I like the booths and the fish tank (which has kept my kids busy while waiting for the food). Nothing fancy, reasonably priced, and there are always many other kids.
From: a mom (11/98)
Our favorite places for eating out with 2 screaming children under the age of 5 is Pyramid Brewery in Berkeley and The Cantina on Park Blvd in Oakland. The noise is so loud in both these places that you can't hear the kids (it also helps to order a nice cold pale ale or a top shelf margarita). Both restaurants provide crayons and a good children's menu.
DowntownWe've found the dim sum restaurants are also great places to take even small children. There seems to be enough activity that kids don't seem to get bored as quickly as they might otherwise. The food may be a bit exotic for some, but we've always managed to find some tidbits for our 3-year-old daughter to eat. There are a number of dim sum restaurants in Oakland Chinatown, but our favorite is Jade Villa, on Broadway near 9th. Greg
RockridgeSome places my kids like that I like too (mine are 10 and 13):
Rockridge Cafe - hamburgers (College Ave. in Rockridge)
Hickory Pit - ribs (near PayLess on 51st St)
Another good place to take kids for dinner is a new restaurant on College Ave. almost across from Olivetto's (near the Rockrdige Bart station). It's called the The Red Tractor Cafe. They give you placemats and crayons for the kids to color (many placemats are displayed on the walls), and the ambiance is very low key. It's kind of like eating on a screened in porch. The fare is simple, old-fashioned American cuisine--e.g., meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, chicken, etc. The food is good, the employees are pleasant, and kids are most welcome.
Don't forget the new Red Tractor Cafe, on College Ave. opposite Oliveto's near ROckridge BART, (difficult to park) where my son likes the macaroni and cheese ($3.95). They have other interesting dishes that cost a little more, and come with two side orders of stuff like garlic mashed potatoes, fresh stringbeans, etc.
Place to eat with kids (we have two boys 3.5 and 5.5) Emerybay Market is great as noted. But our best place is Chevy's! The Alameda one is the nicest (and the first) on the water and the kids can watch the boats on the estuary. They have a very good kids meals and the regular food is great (fajitas anyway). There is also one in El Cerrito.
Suggestions for places to eat with young kids (now that it's summer, and hot, and cooking is painful) -- Emeryville Public Market (with small Ball Room and mechanical horsie rides; 20 or so food stalls, meeting most tastes)