Interesting conversation as I may be pissing some people off in a couple of days by bringing my kid to a nicer place. Our babysitter cancelled on us and it is in a different city (so I don't have a back up). What I did was I called the restaurant and asked if kids were 'acceptable' or not. I was ready to cancel but the guy actually convinced me that it could work. He also put a note in the reservation so that we could get a table that is more child friendly.
Here are some additional considerations though as I don't think this issue is black and white.
* Very young infants are often the best to take as they sleep the whole time. Past 6 months kids become much more difficult to take to restaurants.
* Book reservations really early or right when the open. Few people are there and you get your food quickly.
* Be prepared. Order right away and if the child starts crying accept that one of you may have to leave the restaurant, tag team it, or get your food to go.
* If all goes wrong and you really disturb the people next to you, then buy them a drink or ask the waiter quietly to pay for their bottle of wine and take it off their bill.
But with that said, I hate it when parents bring a child that they know will cry. It ruins it for all the parents who know their children well and have well-behaved kids.