Establish a consistent dinnertime routine at home. Make your kid sit at the table, talk in a normal tone, and exhibit good manners—it will pay off.
If you have a particular restaurant in mind, first try something from its takeout menu, to build familiarity and interest in the food and to get your child used to the flavors or preparation. Then, before you go, review the menu online together. This will speed up the ordering and decision-making and also give you a chance to talk about some of the foods from a comfortable and familiar place: your home.
On your way to the restaurant, review what is expected from your child before, during, and after the meal—especially if the place has good desserts.
Try to avoid having a famished child on your hands. A hungry child is an impatient child, and waiting for your meal will be that much harder.
At the table, try to prevent the endless refilling of water glasses, especially if the drinks come with straws—because, as we all know, things are more fun with straws. A bloated child will not want to eat when the food arrives, but he’ll surely be hungry when you get home (probably about two minutes before bedtime).