As the new blogger on the topic of parenting in and around Clinton Hill, I’m launching a series of reviews of local kid-friendly establishments. Fortunately for the many families in the neighborhood, most restaurants here are laid-back and welcoming to families with kids. I should also mention that I’m entirely aware that not everyone wants to dine next to a baby or child, but I think it is possible to do it in a considerate, low-impact way. So, readers, please be thoughtful when you take your kids out with you—I know you will be! The first restaurant I’d like to cover is a neighborhood favorite of mine, Anima Italian Bistro. Anima is our go-to place for weekend brunch (love the French toast!), but their dinner and lunch options are also good. The food can be described as Italian soul food: simple, hearty and well-priced. In fact, “anima” means “soul” in Italian. Options include a variety of panini sandwiches, salads, pastas and burgers. Heartier entrees like branzino with a lemon risotto cake, stuffed pork chop with fontina cheese and a braised lamb shank with polenta are available too. And there’s a kids’ brunch menu, including chicken cutlet, risotto, and “pasta bambini.”
The atmosphere is casual—think Italian pop music and farm tables—and the staff are friendly and warm to all their patrons, including kids. Like typical Mediterraneans, they dote on Jasper the minute we walk through the door, and any stress about being “those people with the kid” quickly melts away. It also helps that the restaurant is spacious, so it has always been possible for us to sit far enough from other diners that Jasper and his overflowing gear won’t disrupt them. The food and service are prompt. The décor is attractive, with brick walls, a tin ceiling and rustic aged wooden bar and wine racks. All in all, Anima’s a great option for a fun and relaxing meal with the little ones. Buon appetito!
Space for strollers—Yes
Baby Changing Area—No, but restrooms are large and clean.
Outdoor space—Maybe (the previous restaurant in this space had a great back garden, but it has not been re-opened yet during Anima’s time there—maybe Summer ’09?)
Potential pitfalls—The wine-bottle curtain—you’ll know it when you see it—is an irresistible temptation to the small and curious. We found that out the hard way!
Anima Italian Bistro 458 Myrtle Avenue between Waverly and Washington Brooklyn New York 11205 718-422-1122