Restaurant News

Ask the Editor: Kid-Friendly Dining Near the New England Aquarium

This family of four is looking for breakfast and dinner during a visit to downtown Boston.


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

Child eating soup at Clover

Photo provided by Clover

Question:

Where’s the best place to take a family to breakfast and dinner, from our Theater District hotel to the Aquarium? My husband, two kids, and I will be in town on Sunday and Monday.

—E.P.

Your family certainly won’t go hungry while you’re visiting next week. I’ll suggest a few places, from super-casual to comfortable, for the four of you to check out.

The Financial District location of local chain Clover comes to mind for breakfast, though the counter-service spot serves fun and healthy fare from dawn ’til dusk (basically). Everything is vegetarian-friendly, from the classic breakfast sandwich on house-made pita with soft-cooked eggs and Grafton Cheddar cheese; to hot oatmeal with macerated apples and almond butter. Parents will find quality coffee, while the kids might prefer fresh juice or the seasonal herbal teas. It serves breakfast from 6:30-10:59 a.m. before the (also meat-free) lunch and dinner menu is up until 4 p.m. Sunday, and 9 p.m. Monday. (160 Federal St., Boston, cloverfoodlab.com)

Wheelhouse is a beefy breakfast favorite, though depending on the ages of your children, the counter-height stools inside might not offer the friendliest seating situation for you. If you’re comfortable in this weekday-only diner, though, you’ll be rewarded with breakfast sandwiches like a coffee-spiced burger with a fried egg and bacon; and lighter options like bagels with cream cheese, seasonal fruit, yogurt, and more. Oh, and cereal milk for your coffee. It’s open just until 3 p.m. on weekdays. (63 Broad St., Boston, 617-422- 0082, wheelhouseboston.com)

Speaking of bagels with cream cheese, Boston Public Market is another casual possibility for your family. The all-local food hall is home to Levend Bagelry, which makes spreads, sandwiches, and even pizza bagels with its freshly made rounds. Got a doughnut lover in tow? They’ll be overjoyed with a treat from Union Square Donuts, which also has a BPM outpost. Hi-Rise Bread Co., Mother Juice, Inna’s Kitchen, and more market vendors can also break your fast and there are dinner options, too, plus colorful communal seating throughout the lively food hall. (100 Hanover St
Boston, bostonpublicmarket.org)

Seeking more of a sit-down Sunday brunch spot? Try Bostonia Public House. You parents might enjoy the build-your-own bloody Mary bar, while the food menu offers everything from chocolate chip pancakes to avocado toast to Wagyu corned beef hash. Low-key live music in the house every Sunday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. adds to the atmosphere. (131 State St., Boston, 617.948.9800, bostoniapublichouse.com)

Now, dinner. Shed’s BBQ brings a little taste of Texas to Downtown Crossing. Order from the counter, then settle in at a table to dig into brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork and chicken, smoked turkey, and more. Kids might like a sandwich, or a barbecue “bowl” that builds on top of queso mac and cheese. (32 Bromfield St., 617-542-7433, shedsbbq.com)

State Street Provisions would be a classy Aquarium-adjacent spot for your crew. Kids can order from their own menu (chicken fingers, cheese pizza, etc.), or they might be into the house flatbread pizzas, burgers, or seafood entrees. Parents might be into the charcuterie and cheese boards and the craft beer list. It’s a crowd-pleaser all around—and also serves brunch. (255 State St., Boston; 617-863-8363, statestreetprovisions.com)

One final suggestion: Boston Sail Loft. Is it even a family vacation to Boston without a cup of clam chowder? (80 Atlantic Ave., Boston, 617-227-7280, thebostonsailloft.com)

There you have it! Just a few dining options for your quick visit to downtown Boston. Stay warm, and have fun! And please tell Ron the sea lion his friends at Boston magazine say hi.