Restaurant News

Ask the Editor: Kid-Friendly Lunch Options in the Boston Seaport?

This chaperone needs fuel to take a couple children to the ICA.


Welcome to Ask the Editor, Boston magazine’s dining advice column. Need a restaurant recommendation? Ask a pro.

Bartaco, Boston Seaport

/ Photo provided by Bartaco

Question:

I’m planning to take my kids (ages 7 and 10) to the Institute for Contemporary Art. What are some sit-down restaurants nearby where we can have lunch?

—P.B.

Its waterfront location in the Seaport District is one of the many reasons why the ICA is one of Boston’s most cherished cultural institutions—and that also means there is plenty to eat nearby. The developing Seaport is one of Boston’s hottest dining neighborhoods, home to a ton of new restaurants over the past few years. It’s also home to the venerable Boston Children’s Museum, so you’re undoubtedly not the only museum-goer looking for kid-friendly lunch offerings in the Seaport.

Check out Bartaco, which just opened this past November. The first Massachusetts location for a chain of beachy taquerias, Bartaco has a spacious restaurant across the Fort Point Channel with more than 150 seats inside, and outdoor seating to come once it’s warm again. The menu offers globe-trekking tacos filled with everything from Baja-style fried fish and chipotle slaw to tamari-citrus steak—even falafel; as well as rice bowls, quesadillas, and churros for dessert. There is a kids’ menu with simpler fare, like chicken-and-cheese tacos and (“not spicy”) guacamole, plus kid-friendly mocktails like Sunset, with orange juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine. Bartaco is open daily at 11 a.m.—and in case it’s a selling point for the chaperone, it has a full bar, too. (25 Thompson Place, Fort Point, Boston, 617-819-8226, bartaco.com)

Like chef Andy Husbands’ flagship smokehouse in Cambridge and his newest outpost in Somerville, the Seaport location of The Smoke Shop BBQ serves up tons of delectable brisket, pulled pork, (not spicy) agave-glazed chicken wings, and more. Make-your-own tray with a choice of sides such as sweet cornbread, crinkle-cut French fries, and pimento mac and cheese. Sound like something your kid would eat? Thought so. (343 Congress St., Fort Point, Boston, 617-261-RIBS, thesmokeshopbbq.com)

Not every kid, on the other hand, loves seafood—but for those who do, Yankee Lobster is a must-visit during a Seaport museum trip. (It has seats, but you’ll order at a counter.) The decades-old wholesale fishery operates a low-frills seafood shack on Northern Ave. with a ton of fresh catch to choose from, including cold and hot lobster rolls, fried fish, and steamers. It also offers hot dogs, hamburgers, and grilled chicken, plus lobster mac and cheese, blackened salmon, and other entrées. Yankee Lobster is open year-round, every day, at 11 a.m. (300 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-345-9799)

And finally, I’ll mention that the Kings Dining and Entertainment flagship location in the Seaport has a kids’ menu. If your crew needs to let off some steam after their museum excursion, the giant venue has 16 ten-pin bowling lanes, air hockey, shuffleboard, foosball, billiards, hoops, and a full-on retro arcade. Hey, Mario Kart is culture, too. Kings opens daily at noon. (60 Seaport Blvd., Suite 225, Boston, kings-de.com)