Trattoria Corso on Shattuck in Berkeley does not scream family friendly, but we actually had a wonderful family meal there recently and thought this is a perfect example for a Luxe…With Kids restaurant recommendation. This is a very nice, Berkeley-foodie-approved restaurant, so you do want to tread carefully with the kiddos in tow. Here are some tips:
1) Make very early reservations, like 5:15, when the restaurant is likely just beginning to fill up. The host had our table set for us with a highchair for Graham and a booster for Bennett when we arrived – it was so helpful to be seated immediately. When we go back, I’ll request a table either near the windows or one that is perpendicular to the wall so we have less close contact with our dining neighbors. I don’t mind sitting close to the other patrons; I’m just more concerned about Graham being able to reach out and touch someone, literally.
2) Check out the rotating menu online before you go so that you can order quickly. The menu is brief but everything looks delicious, so narrowing it down to a few to ask your server about will keep your stay on track.
3) Bring quiet entertainment for the kiddos, such as workbooks or coloring books. This is not the place for iPhone entertainment as I’m quite sure the couple next to you does not want to hear “There’s a Party in My Tummy” on repeat. The host brought the boys a box of (brand-new and pointy!) crayons and small pieces of blank paper that kept them occupied until the meal arrived, but next time I’ll take more reinforcements.
4) Most important, enjoy your meal! I had a wonderful salad and a chickpea soup that tasted exactly like a soup I ate (and loved) in Florence. Isn’t it funny how certain flavors can transport you so quickly to a different time and place? Brian had the pork and we ordered a tagliatelle and lamb sauce for the boys to share. It was all so good.
It’s hard to do repeat visits to the same restaurant with all of the amazing Bay Area dining options, but we’ll definitely return to Corso in the near future.