Dining out in New York City—a place where even a little elbow room at a table can be hard to come by—can sometimes be a trying endeavor. Add kids to that equation and, well, "challenging" might be the most polite way to put it. So where can you go in this city that will not only allow kids but welcome them, perhaps even with an ice cream sundae or cute animal-shaped Chinese custard buns? We rounded up all of the best parents (and aunts and uncles) we know and asked them for their favorite family-friendly spots. Here's what they had to say.
Ivan Orkin, who spent several years living and working in Japan, brought his insight into ramen culture to New York City to set up a string of outstanding ramen-yas. With kids, stick to the outlet in Gotham West Market, where there's plenty of space for little ones to run around while you're waiting for soup. A bonus: There's an Ample Hills ice cream stand just down the aisle, so consider dessert covered.
With dishes like scallops with celery and black truffle, rabbit saltimbocca—and chicken fingers, on the menu, Marc Murphy's Landmarc in the Time Warner Center is both a restaurant for grown-ups and one where kids will feel right at home. In addition to a kids' menu that includes cheddar mac and cheese and a burger, the exceptionally fast service ensures there's little time for kids to get bored.
There's no shortage of high chairs at this Carroll Gardens neighborhood favorite, and the team is more than happy to welcome those small enough to sit in them. For the tots, there's a mini cheeseburger, cheddar grilled cheese and pasta, and—saving the best for last—an adorable clown sundae from the dessert portion of the menu cheekily dubbed "And Then You Can Have Dessert."
New York's larger dim sum restaurants are often busy and bustling places, loud enough that if a child breaks into tears, few nearby diners will notice. Though we're guessing there won't be any tears as soon as the cute piglet buns arrive.
One of the most kid-friendly foods around is this spot's speciality. Kids get to choose a combo of classic, chicken or veggie balls; a sauce, like tomato; and a pasta, like spaghetti or rigatoni. Meatball sliders are also on offer, but make sure to set up some sort of bib situation, or you might end up with an extra-saucey kid. Complimentary markers and a space to "draw a meatball hero" on the kids' menu help little ones pass the time until the food arrives.
With colorful mural-covered walls, this Prospect Heights sushi restaurant is happy to welcome family from the neighborhood and beyond. Don't let the kiddy vibes throw you off though—the sushi is always on point, and there's fried ice cream for everyone to enjoy at the end.
The first New York outpost of Philly's hit hummus spot is conveniently stationed inside the buzzy Chelsea Market. The hummus and salads are great for sharing, but keep in mind that Dizengoff's section provides limited seating and no high chairs, so this one is better for the big kids. And don't forget that there are several options in the market for a sweet post-meal treat.
Almost every ice cream parlor is kid friendly, of course, but Brooklyn Farmacy stands out with its elaborate, old-fashioned sundaes and many tables, which really help cut down on the potential for fallen scoops if your small fries haven't quite mastered cone eating 101 yet.
Try to ignore this Brooklyn Heights staple's strange name and focus instead on its excellent pasta, like tagliatelle Bolognese and lasagna that kids are sure to dive right into (there's also gnocchi for tiny potato lovers). Christmas lights, often up long before or after the holidays, give the space a festive feel.
Have one we missed? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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