Here are our criteria for "fine dining" with kids...
•Buffet or salad bar (usually kid buffet is really cheap- they are not making money off my kid...)
Our current Twin City favs are:
1)Ruby Tuesdays, at Rosedale or MOA. Salad bar has grapes, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, chick peas and string beans (plus a puddle of ranch) to keep M busy while we wait for the food. She loves the noodles with a side of marinara that she likes to dip. I used to enjoy the Ruby Mini turkey burgers with fries (which I shared with M) until I found out the combo (plus the ranch dressing I like when I go to salad bar) is probably well over 1,000 calories. Maybe if I order without the fried onion rings and mayo sauce it will be a little healthier, and I won't miss it in terms of flavor and satisfaction. If you drink water, and they don't charge your kiddo for sharing your salad bar, its a great deal. (Coke is $2.75!)
2)Cleveland Wok on Cleveland in Highland. Buffet, and booths (sometimes.) Has great green beans and a yummy broccoli dish, add shrimp and noodles and a fortune cookie and M is in heaven. I love the options too. Even my husband, who generally hates Chinese buffets for their usual greasy fare of orange or General Tso's chicken, likes this place.
3)Taste of Thailand on Selby in St. Paul. Buffet (not on weekends!!!) and booths! Usually a noodle, rice, broccoli option. Careful though, sometimes the noodles are REALLY spicy and M won't eat them.
4)DQ recently M had her first positive hot dog experience. A fairly quick, easy stop, with a kiddie DQ cone makes an occasional treat out.
5)Genghis Grill off Yankee Doodle and I-35. Booth, noodle, shrimp, broccoli (notice a trend?) Fast and yummy, and a kid size.
6)New China Buffet Yankee Doodle and I-35 mini-mall. Ditto above...
7)Korean place in strip mall across from Gleasons Gym in Edina (Silver Bell Road) they have karaoke too!
8)Noodles and Co, Just hearing a 3 year old say "pesto cavatappi" is worth it, and its fast even though there is no buffet.
9)Dukem Ethiopian on West 7th. The lamb Tibs are AMAZING!!! (OK, we haven't taken M there yet, but we went there on our anniversary and it was SO delicious, and cheap. Apparently they are having a Valentine's Day special.
10)Tiger? Asian place at the Minnesota Zoo cafeteria. M likes the noodles and broccoli dish, yet again...
11)St Clair Broiler on St. Clair and Snelling. Kid friendly, actually has a mac n cheese she will eat. Downside is slow service sometimes. Awesome Cobb salad, and M loves to eat the guacamole off my salad.
12)Whole Foods. M likes their pizza slices, and they usually have enough fruit and guacamole samples that she eats a little of those on our way to the deli counter.
Any of your favorites you'd care to share???