The Restaurant That Allows Children, But Only Well Behaved Ones

by SharonKurheg

Sometimes adults want a nice, quiet dinner at a restaurant. There are many places that hopefully offer that, but as you start getting to your salad course, the two kids a table away start playing tag. Or the toddler starts getting whiny. Or another family comes in and the kids start watching videos without headphones.

So much for a nice, quiet dinner at that restaurant.

Welp, a restaurant in California has ensured that won’t happen at their establishment. And people either love it or hate it.

Old Fisherman’s Grotto is a restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf, a dining and shopping district in Monterey, CA. Open since 1950 and currently run by the original owner’s son, they specialize in fresh seafood from all over the world, a variety of steaks, Italian pasta, freshly made desserts and an extensive appetizer list.

They get generally good reviews on Yelp (average 4 out of 5 stars) but besides writing about their food, customers write a lot about the restaurant’s children’s policy. From Old Fisherman’s Grotto’s website:

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Old Fisherman’s Grotto is a relatively small restaurant and we found that having strollers and/or high chairs at the tables and in the aisles made it difficult to have full access to get to and around tables. For the safety of our staff and guests we adopted a stroller policy in 2009.

We adopted our children’s policy in 2011 to provide an overall enhanced dining experience for guests who frequently dine at the restaurant, by giving them an alternative place to eat on Fisherman’s Wharf that has a quiet atmosphere.

At Old Fisherman’s Grotto, we strive to give all of our guests the best dining experience possible and our policy relating to children was put in place to enhance the experience of all our diners with and without children. We welcome families with children and we serve many every day, we only ask that they abide by our rules.

So kids are allowed, but they have to be well-behaved. And in the interest of space, no high chairs or strollers. I would say that’s reasonable, but apparently some people don’t agree. From Yelp:

  • We understand if it’s a higher class restaurant like Gary Danko, but it’s just a seafood restaurant at Fisherman’s Wharf. What a great way to piss off parents. Will not come back here ever again, even without our baby.
  • NO STROLLERS, NO HIGH CHAIRS, NO BUSTER [sic] SEATS,  NO CRYING KIDS/ BABIES ALLOWED!!!  Seriously this is discrimination!!!! What kind of Customer Service do you have to offer?! Wowww, I have no clue how you guys get away with this. Pretty sad!!! That’s all I have to say. Smh!!!
  • Apparently, this place finds the sight of children disturbing. I wonder if they have a loud adult rule? If not, they shouldn’t have a prejudice against kids.
  • The no kid sign says it all. Our family won’t drop hundreds of dollars at this place; obviously since we aren’t welcome. Being vehemently un-family friendly at a tacky tourist trap wharf seems pretentious and silly but it’s their prerogative. Spend your money elsewhere fellow families.
  • While the food is amazing this place is a disgrace to children and families. i will never go back to this restaurant or maybe i will with a s**t ton of kids and have a birthday dinner there. how the f**k areyou going to tell me my kid is too noisey [sic] and to leave. all because she cried for some soda. f**k this place

Others apparently love the concept. Also from Yelp:

  • We had a great time and loved our dinner. I totally support the owners policy, since I hate going out to dinner and hate sitting around loud and crying children. Those parents that complain should teach their children to dine out and behave accordingly.
  • What I particularly appreciated was their “no noisy children” policy. Love kids. Can’t stand self-centered parents that won’t/can’t discipline their three year-old narcissist that they’ve irresponsibly raised.  it was nice to not have a child running up to the table and making faces, or throwing tantrums. Other restaurants could take a page from this place. In Toronto, baby buggies, carriages/prams, and noisy children are not allowed in *many* locations, as people are spending their hard-earned dollars for an experience, not an experience that involves someone else’ poorly-trained child.
  • I love the fact that this restaurant is for adults only! You want to take your family and obnoxious kids out to eat? Go to Applebee’s or Golden Corral. This restaurant deserves 10 stars for making this decision and I think more restaurants should do it.
  • Who cares if they are breaking the P.C. law! This is a great restaurant and not a place for kids. There are other restaurants here that are kid friendly. Eating this quality food in this atmosphere, I like this rule. P.S. I have and 8 yr old and a 3 yr old so I can legitimately comment. I take my kids to much more fun ‘kid’ places. This is mum and dad territory 🙂 and they probably get more customers because of it.
  • LOVE THE NO SCREAMING KIDS POLICY!  Great food and service too.  Love the sour grapes strewn by the haters.

Old Fisherman’s Grotto isn’t the first restaurant to have a policy regarding children, nor will it be the last. But it, and all the rest, definitely get strong opinions on both sides.

What do you think?

*** Many thanks to Lindsey L. for the heads up about this topic!

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Adam L February 5, 2020 - 12:37 pm

The tone and language choices of the “people” who disagree with the policy show that the parents, not the children, are obviously the problem here.

NB February 5, 2020 - 12:39 pm

Don’t care about the kids policy, but if the restaurant specializes in seafood from around the world, then by definition it can’t be fresh, so I think they need to look at their advertising and start injecting some truth into it.

CS February 6, 2020 - 10:40 am

Seafood caught in Japan can be in SF in 12-20 hours from ocean to restaurant. I think that counts as “fresh.”

Christian February 5, 2020 - 2:47 pm

Sounds perfectly sensible. People with ill-behaved kids will hate the policy, while everyone else wins.

Vicente February 5, 2020 - 2:56 pm

Rich People Problems!

I don’t take my kids to any $$$$ place, in any case they’ll probably not enjoy it.

When I want to blow money on a NICE place, I find a sitter.

Female Tourist Arrested - for Wearing a Bikini; Fleeing Coronavirus in China: a Firsthand Account - Renés Points February 8, 2020 - 7:17 am

[…] The Restaurant That Allows Children, But Only Well Behaved Ones […]

Deborah O April 19, 2021 - 4:23 am

Hey my mom taught all 3 of us children to behave in food places or we could not go. Not all parents do this anymore. I have seen too many screaming kids or their video/video games on super loud and the parent could care less. This place is going on my to do eating places. Thank you for deciding that not all people want to hear someone’s kids screaming across the room.

BB312 August 18, 2021 - 12:52 pm

I might bring my kid here just to teach him a lesson. Should not have to be policy for one parent to remove a misbehaving child while the other gets the food to go.

Pete August 18, 2021 - 9:26 pm

I have a severe allergy to children. I will visit this restaurant.


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