What are the five best kid-friendly restaurants in Boston?

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Boston may be filled with great fine dining restaurants, but that doesn't mean you need to have to leave your kids at home. Many of the city's charming, independent restaurants have a dressed-up atmosphere but are still welcoming to children. Here are the five best kid-friendly restaurants in Boston:

1. Harvest. Its rustic ambiance, pewter tableware, dried flowers, dark wood, is at odds with the building's modern exterior. The restaurant is housed in an office building tucked just off Harvard Square, but boasts one of the area's best outdoor patios for warm weather dining. Inside, classic American dishes (don?t miss the nightly risotto) are served from an open kitchen in the family-friendly dining room.

2. Jasper White's Summer Shack. An outpost of his larger restaurant in Cambridge, this kid-friendly spot is an amusing, and delicious, place to get shore-worthy seafood in the middle of town. The front room is filled with a spacious, circular bar flanked by flat-screen TVs and affable bartenders. The sound of cracking shells dominates the bustling dining room as hungry patrons dig into clam bakes and crab legs, brown-paper tablecloths make for a handy backup napkin when you and your kids are in a pinch.

3. Durgin Park. This family-style stop sits inside the market building at Faneuil Hall and has done so since 1827, so act impressed. It draws visitors from every part of the world who settle into its checkered-cloth-covered picnic tables for down-and-dirty lobster bakes. The menu carries everything from chicken fingers to New England corned beef and cabbage.

4. Union Oyster House. As Boston's oldest restaurant, Union Oyster House (which opened in 1826) can also be dubbed one of America's longest-running, it has the weathered wood floors to prove it. The restaurant sees more tourists than anything else (so it has a small kids' menu in case yours aren't seafood fans), but for a creamy bowl of New England clam chowder or oysters on the half shell, it's a fine bet. The Lazy Man's Lobster is a popular dish for anyone who doesn't feel like donning a plastic bib, and the old-school raw bar is never short on oysters (or clams).

5. Chau Chow City. The top floor of this three-level Chinatown institution is Boston's most adventurous dim sum venue. Even on weekday mornings, the rolling carts proffer a range of dishes worthy of a Hong Kong dim sum emporium. You'll see plenty of locals with their children here, due to the no-frills, family-friendly atmosphere and kid pleasers such as fried rice. For a full meal on the other levels, stick to the kitchen's seafood specialties, including such delicacies as clams in black bean sauce or crab with ginger and scallion.

Dining with kids in Boston is not only easily accessible, it’s also entertaining and satisfying for the entire family. The restaurants to follow offer family friendly atmosphere and menus.

1. The Bristol Lounge. The Bristol Lounge at Four Seasons Hotel Boston offers a sophisticated variety for kids. Some of our favorites are the Leaning Tower of Grilled Cheese and the Bristol Teen Burger.

2. Legal Sea Foods. The restaurant offers a top-notch kid’s menu including lobster, a fisherman’s platter, popcorn shrimp and fish sticks. Their seafood is as fresh as it can be.

3. Stephanie’s on Newbury. Stephanie’s on Newbury offers food and atmosphere sure to satisfy all families. During the summer months the outdoor patio is extensive.

4. Pizzeria Regina. Pizza is always a kid-friendly choice, and Pizzeria Regina offers finger-licking pizza and an upbeat atmosphere.

5. Summer Shack. The restaurant offers great kid-sized dishes. A family favorite is most definitely their renowned fish and chips.

Jonathan Nicholson

The five best kid-friendly restaurants in Boston are Teatro, Post 390, Summer Shack and The Paramount.

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