Should fine dining restaurants allow children?


Should fine dining restaurants allow children?

UAE influencers share their thoughts

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Published: Thu 31 Jan 2019, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 8 Feb 2019, 2:29 PM

To start, I'm not a parent, nor do I choose to be. I have plenty of friends with kids and consider myself a relatively cool aunt. I regularly travel with kids. I was also a child raised with manners. My parents took my sister and I out to restaurants, albeit establishments that were age-appropriate. In fact, I didn't go to my first fine dining outlet until I was well into my twenties (and I was paying the bill).

Plain and simple, I don't think every establishment is one where children should be allowed. I believe certain spaces (fine dining restaurants included) should be for adults only. An inclusive place where guests can dine or relax without children... being children. If I'm paying for the expertise of a well-known restaurant, I want to focus on the food and my company. I realise kids are going to be kids, no matter what, but for the sake of other diners, perhaps wait a few years when attention spans might be in line with a longer meal? Also, if you have the budget to visit a fine dining restaurant, my guess is you might also have the budget to pay for a babysitter. Although I'm not a parent, I can't imagine paying top dirham for a meal, only to be distracted by a child throughout the experience.

As a compromise, I know many globally-recognised restaurants that are open for both lunch and dinner, with similar menus at both. For those families who are adamant about including their children in such an experience, I would encourage opting to dine during the day. I do think fine dining should be for anyone who wants to enjoy it; however, to the parents of the world I would ask, maybe just leave the kids home for one night?

And guess what? If you do not like the policies of a particular venue (especially those where kids should remain behind), you can choose (with your money) not to patronise that establishment. Everyone wins.

- Courtney Brandt

Enjoys sharing her culinary and hospitality experiences on her blog You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook &Twitter @atozaatar
No pets, no smoking and no kids.

Have you ever come across a restaurant that has a 'no children' policy?

As an expat in Dubai, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. From fast food joints to fine dining restaurants, there is always something to tickle your fancy.

Now, usually, you wouldn't hear of a restaurant saying no kids allowed; however, certain fine dining establishments have begun to adopt this policy.

Don't get me wrong: I'm the first to say that a night without the kids would be bliss and I'm all for date nights. However, surely, that's my choice - and not an establishment's!

As a mother of three, I believe that family time is vitally important and we have a house rule whereby we all should have at least one meal together at the table; usually this is over dinner time, when the kids are in their PJs, dad's home from work and I'm in my 'mum' clothes. The kids always look forward to the weekend so they can dress up and we can go out for dinner, and I believe that this is important for their upbringing as it teaches them how to act responsibly in a social environment. For us, as parents, it's an escape from day-to-day life, giving me the chance to doll up and wear my heels out.

I remember the time when it was almost impossible to take Raef, my eldest, out for dinner as he was a very demanding child. In the end, I chose not to take him as I felt that he wasn't ready to deal with the etiquette of fine dining.

However, my other two, who are now five and two, are more than capable of sitting and eating without disturbing others and, for me, this is evidence enough that I, as a parent, know when the right time is. It is important to remember to be courteous to other diners but parents should have a choice rather than a policy forced upon them. No doubt, it's the restaurant's perogative to have a policy if they want to, but it might just put me off going there.

- Zainab Malik
Is a mumpreuner and the founder of the blog Be sure to follow her journey on facebook @3atthirty or on Instagram @3_at_thirty

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