Gransnet forums


Children at 'adult' restaurants

(54 Posts)
MadFerretLady Sun 30-Sep-18 14:23:42

So... It was our sapphire wedding anniversary yesterday (Yay) and we booked a meal for just the two of us at 'Oxford's Top Restaurant'... I'd been there for lunch with a friend, and enjoyed, husband had heard about it ... so we booked for an 8 p.m. table. It's a sort of 6 to 8 small courses of tasty things sort of place.

Anyway - lovely welcome and shown our table. Next to us was a mum or grandmother (a tiny bit old for mum and a tiny bit young for grandma) and two children under 10. The 'parent' was totally engaged on her phone or going out for a ciggarette. Children had phones and paper and were playing doing origami and chatting together a little bit loudly... as the evening progressed they were clearly getting bored. Getting up and down. Asking the waiter how many courses left and telling them they've finished and could they have the next one, making little planes and flying them ... encroaching a bit into our space. The waiter told them off a couple of times. Parent just ignored.

Not at any time did we complain. I was thinking a bit 'meh' I wouldn't bring children here. Husband is a kid magnet and engaged when they came over to us...

Then about half way through our evening the waiter came and said quietly - we have set you up another table, we are so sorry. And the maitre de was livid and said 'I cannot understand why anyone would bring children to a fine dining restaurant on a Saturday evening'.

To be fair the table was quieter and I did enjoy the second half much more - we were able to enjoy each other, and the food in peace. And at the end they took all our drinks off the bill and apologised again (two cocktails and two coffees - we aren't big drinkers!).

So, the AIBU bit is about me feeling a bit sad for the children ... it may not have been mcdonalds or the hungry horse but they were left pretty much on their own to cope ... what do you think?

Food was wonderful btw..


sodapop Sun 30-Sep-18 14:56:13

I agree Madferretlady definitely not the time or place for young children particularly if their parents were not ensuring appropriate behaviour.
I am a believer in taking children out to theatre, restaurants etc but they need to be aware of what is acceptable. This was not the environment children would enjoy in any case, probably too formal.

GrannyGravy13 Sun 30-Sep-18 15:05:13

Took our C to so called "adult" restaurants all over the place, here in UK and abroad.
In fact have just booked a table in a "top" London restaurant for a family meal, including 4 of the GC, one of which will require a highchair. It's the adults at the table who should be responsible for the children, never been in a situation whereby a waiter or Maitre'D, has had to reprimand or ask a child in my care to behave.

Bridgeit Sun 30-Sep-18 15:12:53

I agree, I too feel sorry for many children who just need a bit of attention & direction , it makes me so sad that there is so little positive communication, children respond really well when they are respected & included.
phone use should & could be banned for the duration of meal/night out.

MadFerretLady Sun 30-Sep-18 18:38:44

Yes... not the children’s fault... and we had not complained... and wouldn’t anyway.

FlexibleFriend Sun 30-Sep-18 18:42:59

I always took my children to any restaurant I was going to but they were expected to behave and they did. I think the restaurant behaved very well towards you considering you didn't complain but I think they should have had a word with the adults eating with the children.

trisher Sun 30-Sep-18 18:44:37

Makes you wonder how much the parent/GP spends there and how well she tips.? Must be plenty or they would have asked her to leave (I wonder if they charged her for your drinks?)

Melanieeastanglia Sun 30-Sep-18 18:47:52

I agree with FlexibleFriend in the thread above.

As it happened, I never took my young children to a restaurant of any sort in the evening because the situation never arose but, if I had done so, I would have supervised them properly.

We tended to go out at lunchtime if we ate out. To be honest, we didn't eat at top restaurants.

I think the restaurant treated you very well.

GrannyGravy13 Sun 30-Sep-18 18:48:25

Good point trisher

paddyann Sun 30-Sep-18 19:06:39

took mine everywhere we went when they were babies until they left home.No phones of course back then so they happily sat and chatted and ate what was put in front of them .My GC are just the same,strict no phone rule in any restaurant,we dont do McD's and I've not come across Hungry Horse ,so usually local Italian, Chinese or some good hotel restauants .I would have had no problem with these children I would have had a problem with the parent

MissAdventure Sun 30-Sep-18 19:17:25

I was always complimented on my daughters behaviour when we ate out.
That's because I'd threatened her before we went in.. grin

MiniMoon Sun 30-Sep-18 19:36:36

We were always complimented on the behaviour of our children too MissA. We started training them when they were very young, starting in Little Chef and graduating to better restaurants, and then fine dining. We taught them how to behave when eating out.
The mobile phone ought to be banned in all restaurants in my opinion. I feel sorry for the children. It doesn't sound like the sort of meal they would enjoy.

GillT57 Sun 30-Sep-18 19:56:42

Although we are all agreed that our children know how to behave when eating out, I do think a taster menu after 8pm is not children territory however well behaved they are. For this reason, some restaurants do not take bookings including under 12s after 8pm, a fair compromise I think.

MadFerretLady Sun 30-Sep-18 20:39:30

Yes. I think we were treated very well too! I agreewith GillT I think... no small children after 8 pm. Not really fair on anyone....

Charleygirl5 Sun 30-Sep-18 20:46:14

I was out a couple of weeks ago with a nephew and his girlfriend and we dined at a local Harvester. We were there until 9pm as was a young fellow around 3 years of age at the next table- good at times, running around screaming at others. He ruined my evening- mother did not bother too much about him.

I do not like screaming children if I am dining out at lunchtime but I can tolerate that whereas I cannot in the evening, irrespective of the type of restaurant.

GrannyGravy13 Sun 30-Sep-18 20:47:27

I agree that a 8pm table is probably not a good idea for under 8's, a "taster menu" is a mine field, I struggle with some.

In UK we always book as early as possible, usually 5pm/6pm abroad the opposite, as on holiday a "siesta" is compulsory in our family.

PECS Sun 30-Sep-18 21:47:46

My DDs when young and my DGC all able to behave age appropriately in public places. There are occasional upsets! We eat out a lot and it does not matter if it is Pizza Express or a more exclusive not do anything that encroaches on other people's enjoyment! I would not choose to take young children to a fine dining restaurant in the evening. I might do so at a lunchtime having prepped them all about being extra well behaved! The carer of the children in OP sounds totally sef absorbed. Poor boys!

M0nica Sun 30-Sep-18 22:16:39

I wonder why the restaurant took the booking. We have twice experienced good restaurants being very iffy and butty about taking bookings because there were children in the party. We assured them the children would behave themselves (and they did) and we succeeded in the booking, once because it was lunch, not dinner and the other because we wanted a very early evening booking - 6.30.

In each case it was made clear a later evening booking would be refused. I live close to Oxford so I am not sure where you were booked (Gee's or the Randolph?), but I would have expected both of them to refuse to take a booking for a party that included 2 small children. If the mother had just booked for four, when they arrived with children, I would expect the maitre to express surprise and query whether the children would be happy and if possible move them to a table where no-one would be disturbed by bad behaviour.

It is the task of a maitre de to deal with problem clients whether they be 8 or 80.

MadFerretLady Mon 01-Oct-18 09:37:49

M0nica - Oxford Kitchen in Summertown ... lovely, lovely food ... though not sure about the gin cured trout (I like my gin in glasses and can recommend The Duchess rose gin cocktail).

The waiter did say they had not anticipated small people and don't ask when taking bookings.

I felt sorry for the children too - they were trying to amuse themselves but it isn't a child-orientated place really.

I can recommend it though - for welcome, attention to guests' needs, food and pricing. On our Ruby wedding we went to Le Manoir .... and although that was wonderful, the food here was better and a quarter of the price...

BRedhead59 Mon 01-Oct-18 09:46:30

Wouldn't happen in many European countries, France in particular. It's the same thing as no children at weddings - they are part of our community.

sazz1 Mon 01-Oct-18 09:47:32

I took my 3 kids to various different restaurants from a very young age. We went to everywhere from transport cafes to the Hilton for Sunday lunch, when they had a kids free offer on. But they had to behave well and we left one cafe , just paid and left all the food when they didn't. They went home to cheese sandwiches that night and it taught them how to behave. I could take them anywhere afterwards with no problems.

Harris27 Mon 01-Oct-18 09:54:24

I think as someone Ho works in childcare this is unreasonable behaviour and the mother should of been spoken to quietly by the waiter and probably urging them to be mindful of other diners. Not good for the restaurant reputation noisy children.

harrigran Mon 01-Oct-18 09:57:01

The mother clearly had more money than sense, she must have booked a table without mentioning children.
The restaurants we eat in are ' no children under 12 on an evening' and definitely have no menu for children.
I hope the waiter tacked your drinks bill on to her bill, let's face it she probably would not notice if she can not see two small people leaving the table.

vickya Mon 01-Oct-18 09:57:30

I took 12 yr old grandson and 3 yr old granddaughter out to small Italian a few weeks ago. They'd overnighted at grandpa's and she'd kept them up till 1.a.m so was tired and grumpy, although I made her rest in the afternoon. We went around 5.30 and I felt sorry for the nice old man eating near us. I was alone with the kids, but grandson is grown up and helps with his sister. She was a total pain, whatever we did. Nobody had time for mobile phones. She had just reverted to the terrible twos. The staff were lovely, the man eating nearby didn't say or look cross. We, grandson and I, did our best, but she was loud, threw water at one point and I wanted very badly to smack her but we don't do that. We finished our food, I rushed mine, and got a doggy bag for hers. It was only pizza (vegan). I went off granddaughter and eating out with her, but a week or two later went out with her as mum wanted us to be out and the place has a child play area, and she'd started nursery that morning, but was a little angel smile. As Chuck Berry said, goes to show you never can tell.

Nannan2 Mon 01-Oct-18 10:06:27

Yes my kids went to eat out when younger as do my grandkids now- and all behaved impecably(took 2grandkids to the Belfry in summer as part of a cadburys world trip)age just 5&9yrs.behaved really well- ate what they could manage and we all had a great time.if they are looked after all kids can behave well anywhere.i wonder if that lady with them was a nanny or an au pair of some sort maybe?