Josh and I on many occasions have SWORN we will never take Wyatt out in public again because we had the WORST time that day or whatever. It's definitely very frustrating having a wiggly, curious toddler hanging out with you in the big ADULT world. But the truth is, how else will your kid learn to hang with the rest of them if he's not exposed to LIFE!? We take Wyatt with us wherever we go. Even though sometimes we're literally sweating from chasing him around Nordstroms, pulling him down off of their shoe displays (TRUE STORY), he's slowly learning how to do the right thing. He now will walk with us in the mall, and sometimes without his hand being held. He's learned to listen, and come when called, and I really think it's because we have never been scared to just "let go".
In restaurants, we follow the same rules that we normally live by. We let him explore what's on the table, we engage with him, we introduce him to all of the food we ordered even though he hates all of it. And you know what, sometimes we don't even put him in a high chair. He's so curious he wants to be free! So we let him hang out in the booth (if there is one).
Relaxing a bit about how he's going to react has really helped us as parents. And drinking wine.