Is there a high-chair or will you have to use the pushchair? Do they provide any entertainment/distraction for the kiddies – or will you spend the meal watching your toddlerist squirting ketchup on the walls?
Do they have bottle-warming facilities or anywhere you can breastfeed without strangers gawping? Is there a children’s menu that’s vaguely nutritious? What about stroller parking? And finally, is there any space for kids to roam around once they get tired of being good little diners?
Phew, it’s enough to make you stay home and order take away. The good news is there are plenty of restaurants that are cool with kids and will provide all of the above, sometimes more, to entice parents out of home (and out of pocket).
But the best advice is to come prepared.
Here’s our guide to five accessories that can make dining out a whine-free experience for all involved:
1. Totseat Travel Highchair (pictured above)
The award-winning ‘washable, squashable’ baby harness safely attaches to most seats and comes in many funky fabrics. Suitable from around 8-30 months.
2. Skip Hop Pronto Portable Changing Pad
These slick pads feature pillowed headrest, enough room for wriggling babies and a pocket for nappies, wipes etc.
3. Rhubarb & Custard Sling
Don’t bother with stroller parking if you can BYOB (bring your own baby) in this handy pouch. It comes without complicated straps or buckles and tucks nicely into your baby bag.
4. Tomy Aquadraw ‘N’ Go
No worries about your little monsters ‘redecorating’ the restaurant with this clever kit that uses a water-filled pen on a fabric pad for mess-free creativity. Suitable from 18 months.
5. Bébé au Lait Nursing Cover
If breast milk is still on the menu for your bébé, this chic nursing cover-up will let you both feed al fresco without prying eyes.