Bringing the kids out to Baumgart's on a Friday night is all well and good, but sometimes parents want to live it up without having to find a babysitter. For special occasions or just a special night out, here are some places for the whole family to enjoy a slightly fancier meal.
175 Ramapo Valley Road, Oakland (201) 337-8990
Families can choose from an enormous classic Italian menu in the downstairs Cucina Rustica or a fine-dining American menu with international influences in the fancier Sala da Pranzo upstairs. The finer dishes are solid, and the Italian favorites are tasty and served in huge portions.
365 Route 17 South, Paramus (201) 845-8008
Maybe it's not as fancy as other options, but hibachi is a special event in itself. The show's the thing, as Kiku's chefs slice, flip and flame your dinner. And more adventurous children might be willing to try the excellent sushi, particularly a fried – as in not raw, ew! – tempura roll.
Maggiano's Little Italy
The Shops at Riverside, Hackensack (201) 221-2030
Sure it's a chain, but Maggiano's takes fancy family dining to a new level. Featuring hearty Italian dishes in even heartier portions, this chain offers both a children's menu and a family-style menu. If you bring the brood at primetime on weekends, prepare for a wait.
The Paris Inn
1292 Alps Road, Wayne (973) 696-0543
Known for its steady flow of catered events, this swanky banquet hall also offers an a la carte dining room. Families will enjoy the lavish setting and nicely executed continental cuisine, which ranges from old-fashioned standards to modern offerings.
Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern
1 East Franklin Turnpike, Ho-Ho-Kus (201) 445-4115
This historic landmark shines with a lovely new décor and a seasonal American menu. The inn is well loved, and you know it combines fancy and family when the children's menu offers both a grilled cheese sandwich and steelhead salmon.