Best Italian restaurants for NYC kids
From pasta to panini, Italian food's sure to please your bambini.
Fri Jun 22 2012
All restaurant information is correct as of press time. However, since hours, prices and other details are subject to change, it's wise to call ahead.
391 Henry St at Warren St, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-243-2522). Subway: F, G to Bergen St. Average main course: $7. Average kids' meal: $6. High chairs, booster seats, kids' menus. Head to Bocca Lupo when the children are well rested—the rustic neighborhood joint invites lingering long after you've polished off your tarragon chicken salad tramezzini (crustless, triangular sandwiches) and goat-cheese bruschette. Wee ones will relish the kids' menu; order mac and cheese or meatball-studded pasta, and they'll get a juice box and chocolate pudding to boot.
234 Court St at Baltic St, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (347-987-4961, brucienyc.com). Subway: F, G to Bergen St. Average main course: $17. Half epicurean market, half antique-strewn neighborhood restaurant, Brucie boasts a menu inspired by owner Zahra Tangorra's memories of her grandfather's cooking. This means panelle (fried chickpea flour) sandwiches with ricotta and honey, tagliatelle with house-made burrata (cream-filled mozzarella), and textbook spaghetti and meatballs. Tangorra has a soft spot for artisanal edibles, so finish things off with Blue Bottle coffee for you and Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches for the kiddies.
164 Mulberry St between Broome and Grand Sts (212-343-1212, danicoristorante.com). Subway: B, D to Grand St. Average main course: $20. Average kids' meal: $10. High chairs. The peaceful back garden here may offer respite from Mulberry Street's chaos, but the convivial atmosphere is authentic Little Italy. The well-made grub is straightforward—coal oven pizza Bianca, fettuccine Alfredo, chicken parmigiana—plentiful and kid-approved. Dessert lovers already know that iconic Ferrara's and its renowned cannoli are right around the corner.
200 Fifth Ave between 23rd and 24th Sts (212-229-2560, eatalyny.com). Subway: N, R to 23rd St. Changing tables, booster seats, high chairs. Entering this mega-emporium induces sensory overload in kids and adults alike. Spheres of fresh mozzarella glisten behind glass display windows, and shelves groan under the weight of Sardinian olive oils and pricey hazelnut spreads. The crowds have yet to wane, so if you can't snag a table for spaghetti al pomodoro at La Pasta, grab some focacce to go.
Fornino Park Slope
256 Fifth Ave between Carroll St and Garfield Pl, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-399-8600, forninoparkslope.com). Subway: N, R to Union St. Average main course: $17. Average kids' meal: $7. High chairs, booster seats, changing table. Unwind with a glass of pinot grigio as you ponder the extensive menu, which includes starters like sheep's milk ricotta with honey, and imported white anchovies. Then, dig into a generously portioned plate of Atlantic salmon with broccoli rabe and white beans. After your little one polishes off her three-cheese ravioli, say good-night with vanilla panna cotta.
323 Greenwich St at Duane St (212-431-1112, gigino-trattoria.com). Subway: 1 to Franklin St. Average main course: $23. Average kids' meal: $9. High chairs, booster seats. This quiet Tribeca lair caters to youngsters with a thoughtful menu of their own: a just-the-right-size pizza with tomato sauce, rigatoni in a pink cheese sauce, or cheese ravioli with broccoli, butter and Parmesan. Adults, too, have plenty of enticing options: mussels sauted with garlic and blue cheese, mushroom risotto, and lemon-sauted chicken. Note to parents of the meltdown-prone: Gigino's also does a brisk takeout business.
La Villa Pizzeria
261 Fifth Ave between Garfield Pl and 1st St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-499-9888, lavillaparkslope.com). Subway: N, R to Union St. Average main course: $18. High chairs. Brightly lit, spacious La Villa looks like it was plucked from the suburbs—and for boisterous families, that's not a bad thing at all. Go for thick-crusted Sicilian pies delivered piping hot from the wood-fired oven, or red sauce staples—baked ziti, lasagna Bolognese—that earn raves from the many young patrons who pile into booths here.
Randazzo's Clam Bar
2017 Emmons Ave between Ocean Ave and E 21st St, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn (718-615-0010, randazzosclambar.com). Subway: B, Q to Sheepshead Bay. Average main course: $17. Average kids' meal: $7. High chairs, booster seats. The Sheepshead Bay icon traces its roots back to 1916, and is best known for founder Helen Randazzo's tangy tomato sauce; try it on tender calamari and plump mussels. If your tots shun seafood, placate them with mozzarella sticks while you reach for another round of local Blue Point clams.
261 Moore St between Bogart and White Sts, Bushwick, Brooklyn (718-417-1118, robertaspizza.com). Subway: L to Morgan Ave. Average pizza: $15. High chairs, booster seats. Where better to entice your kid to eat his veggies than at a restaurant that grows its own? Slide into mismatched chairs and order light hearts of palm with red raisins and arugala, or the Axl Rosenberg, a nicely charred pizza loaded with mozzarella, sorprassata, mushroom, garlic, and jalapeno. Expect your tyke to be transfixed by the hardworking pizza oven.
21-02 30th Ave at 21st St, Astoria, Queens (718-545-5550, vestavino.com). Subway: N, Q to 30th Ave. Average main course: $16. Booster seats. Though dinnertime brings its own charms—wine on tap, rib-sticking three-meat lasagna—brunch may be Vesta's finest hour. Light streams through the windows as tipplers and teetotalers alike tuck into Hangover Pizza, topped with potato, pancetta, sausage, fried eggs and spicy tomato sauce—even those well below drinking age can appreciate its mad decadence. Sweets seekers, meanwhile, will gravitate toward buttermilk pancakes with fresh fruit and whipped cream.
1024 Amsterdam Ave between 110th and 111th Sts (212-663-1708, vtpizzeriarestaurant.com). Subway: 1 to 110th St--Cathedral Pkwy. Average main course: $18. Average kids' meal: $7. High chairs, kids' menus. With a basic kids' menu of pasta with butter sauce, cheese pizza, and cheeseburgers and french fries, V&T dispenses with all but the basics. The same goes for the grown-up menu: savory baked pastas, crispy garlic bread, and gooey pizza slices with or without any of the wide selection of traditional toppings. All of this makes V&T the perfect locale for teaching your novice the proper NYC pizza fold.