Eating out with kids can be a nerve wracking experience. Will someone spill their drink? Will they throw a temper tantrum? Will they refuse to eat the meal we ordered them and complain bitterly five minutes later that they’re hungry?
Sometimes we get to enjoy a nice dinner out where the adults pick the restaurant and the kids actually behave and eat something other than pasta, like our evening at Peppers Eatery. There was fantastic wine, shared plates, good children and great ambiance. You’d think we were actually civilized.
And then sometimes, there’s Nutella night.
On this particular night, the kids insisted on taking Dad to their favorite restaurant in Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik. It was known as “that place with Pinky Pie we could color.” I took the girls there after a hot beach outing and was glad that they were quiet for just a few moments as they colored the place-mats and then shared chicken nuggets. Apparently it made quite an impression on them because they kept asking to go back.
“But what is it?” Dad asked. Squirrel repeated herself, clearly getting exasperated with him: “We can get chicken nuggets and Pinky Pie we can color, Dad!” I explained to my husband that it was Tuttobene, a semi-Italian restaurant where they colored My Little Ponies. He doesn’t speak 5 year old girl very well.
“Great, let’s go to LaCostra Nostra, I mean MiaCulpa, I mean MamaMia,” he said. “Do you mean Tuttobene?” “Right, that’s what I meant.”
The girls were super excited to go to this restaurant for the third time with me and their first with dad. They had it all planned out: some nice, relaxing coloring to start the meal off; a crisp, clear juice of fairly recent vintage; and then the main course of ketchup with a side of nuggets and fries.
As dinners go, it was simple and perfect for summer. We were in an open air structure, and the recommended local white wine, a 2014 Dubrovački Podrumi Ragusa was amazing and fruity. The salads were also incredibly flavorful but still light, a welcome change from all the meat we’ve been eating. Since we were all enjoying ourselves, and the kids were occupied with their coloring I figured I’d ask about the dessert so we could really savor the evening.
At Tuttobene they have only two types of desserts: pancakes with Nutella or pancakes with marmalade.
The girls stopped coloring. They started chanting for Nutella. First quietly, and then loudly. They swore they could smell the pancakes cooking. Why weren’t they at the table yet?
The girls were acting like tiny addicts and about to lose their minds. Dad and I drank more wine to calm ourselves down and prepare for the onslaught. And then dessert arrived.
It did not disappoint. The girls finished every little bit like the sugar professionals they are. And they were as well behaved as they could be. But then, on the walk home, the sugar rush hit them and they took off running, yelling “cock-a-doodle!!!” at the top of the lungs. (We still don’t know why.) It was going to be a long night.
Eat in Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik, Croatia
The Parents Recommend: Peppers Eatery
The food was amazing and the atmosphere relaxing, with or without kids. And the wine was fantastic.
The Monsters Recommend: Tuttobene
Tuttobene has enough to please any kid: pizza, burgers, nuggets and wings. You can also get the food for take-away to the beach.