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Family date ideas: Farm-to-table restaurants in New York City

Time Out Kids has partnered with MasterCard Priceless NY to put together a series of Family Date Night ideas, events and unique dining experiences.

  • Photograph: Noah Fecks

    ABC Kitchen

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Back Forty West

  • Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown


  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    Rooftop Garden at Bell, Book and Candle

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Bowery Diner

  • Photograph: Kate Mathis

    Candle Cafe

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson


  • Photograph: Marianne Rafter

    David Burke Kitchen

  • Photograph: Krista Schlueter

    Ditch Plains

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Ed's Lobster Bar

  • The Farm on Adderley

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Hill Country

  • Photograph: Thomas Schauer

    Low Country

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Mae Mae Cafe

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    New Leaf Cafe

  • Perilla

  • Photograph: Sharon Cavanagh


  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Red Farm

  • Photograph: Krista Schlueter


  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Rosa Mexicano

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben


  • Queens County Farm

  • Photograph: Victoria Jackson Photography

    Art Farm

  • Photograph: Courtesy Butter Beans

    Butter Beans

Photograph: Noah Fecks

ABC Kitchen

Between supermarket runs, music classes and play dates, you may feel family time is being squeezed out by a whirl of chores and activities. Many couples carve out a sacrosanct weekly night out, but what about a dedicated date with your kids? Instead of laboring over a healthy meal that will get eaten in a hurry before SpongeBob SquarePants summons the brood, reduce distractions and maximize conversations by going out to dinner or brunch. Setting aside space to unwind together allows spontaneous subjects—the latest finger-painting triumph, next week's math test, the food on your plates—to surface. And thanks to New York's growing farm-to-table movement, there is a plethora of sustainable-minded chefs and fashionably laid-back environments where you can feel confident that the kitchen is taking as much care with the food they serve as you do at home. Read through our list of great farm-to-table restaurants for families and then plan a night out with your kids.

Book the MasterCard Priceless Tables

For the ultimate family dining experience, MasterCard Priceless New York is offering a special table at three of our featured restaurants every week through July 31. Book your family date at Ed's Lobster Bar Annex, Lowcountry or Rosa Mexicano at PricelessNY.com to receive personal attention from the chef, kitchen privileges or surprise treats. You may be given a dessert-making lesson or a custom-created dish—details will be revealed on your family date. (The tables are exclusive for MasterCard holders.)

ABC Kitchen
Once you've browsed your way through ABC Carpet & Home, settle into an inviting white seat at chic ABC Kitchen. The food at superstar chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's farm-to-table concept is 85 percent locally sourced. On the ever-changing menu, look out for kid-friendly fare like house-made chicken and pork sausage with warm-potato-and-whole-grain-mustard salad ($15) and spinach-and-goat-cheese-topped whole-wheat pizza ($16). ABC Carpet & Home, 35 E 18th St between Broadway and Park Ave South (212-475-5829, abckitchennyc.com)

Back Forty West
Locals were horrified when Peter Hoffman closed Soho staple Savoy last year. But thanks to his wildly popular East Village restaurant, Back Forty, the shuttered space has found new life as a sibling eatery. Grab a casual perch at the reclaimed-oak bar for the house-made Parker House loaf crafted from local red wheat ($5), creamy chicken and sunchoke soup ($7), and New York--maple-syrup-laced buttermilk fried chicken and waffles ($15). 70 Prince St at Crosby St (212-219-8570, backfortynyc.com)

Bark Hot Dogs
You won't find a processed frank anywhere on this menu, but rather plump links ($4.25–$6.50) from sustainable-meat suppliers such as Hartmann's Old World Sausage in upstate New York. Gracing each table is a list of all the restaurant's farm purveyors, providing a firsthand locavore lesson. Pair the dogs with a peanut butter shake ($7) for the kiddies and a to-go beer growler ($21) for you. 474 Bergen St at Flatbush Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-789-1939, barkhotdogs.com)

Bell Book & Candle
At this classy eatery in an old West Village brownstone, many of the organic ingredients are harvested from the aeroponic rooftop garden (ask if you can sneak a peek). Produce and herbs, from cilantro and dill to fennel and Japanese eggplant, find their way into dishes like asparagus and roasted pistachio soup ($8) and an Amish roasted half chicken with bread salad ($23). 141 W 10th St between Greenwich Ave and Waverly Pl (212-414-2355, bbandcnyc.com)

Blue Hill
Bringing a wailing baby to hushed Blue Hill would be a faux pas. But for well-behaved tweens, executive chef and co-owner Dan Barber's West Village haunt is a great introduction to the good epicurean life. Here, the evening may begin with a seasonal spin on a pig-liver terrine or vegetable soup, and move on to a sweet, slow-roasted parsnip "steak" with creamed spinach and beet ketchup ($32). If the kids don't have a taste for, say, Block Island tilefish ($34), a mound of sides made with goods from local farms, including the nonprofit Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture in Westchester, should do the trick. 75 Washington Pl between Sixth Ave and Washington Sq West (212-539-1776, bluehillfarm.com)

The Bowery Diner
Caramelized apple pancakes ($14) are reason alone kids will relish the Bowery Diner. But this isn't your average torn-booth dive. Slurp up Bluepoint oysters ($3) from the raw bar and dig into Long Island duck confit ($21) between bites of curly fries. After the tots have devoured a veggie burger ($15), a patty of crispy beet and swiss chard topped with pepperjack, barbecue sauce and horseradish mayo, let them nurse a chocolate-pistachio shake ($7.50) while you sip the tequila and hibiscus agave libation, Sunshine on my Shoulders ($13). 241 Bowery between Rivington and Stanton Sts (212-388-0052, bowerydiner.com)

Candle Caf
At this refined Upper East Side vegan restaurant, the food is all organic and dairy-free. Feast on Tuscan lasagna ($17), layered with tofu-basil ricotta and tapioca cheese, or a simple grilled seitan burger ($13). Children with gluten-free sensitivities can also find refuge in a meze plate or ginger-miso stir-fry. End the night with a soy-ice-cream mocha latte ($8). 1307 Third Ave at 75th St (212-472-0970, candlecafe.com)

The origins of menu ingredients are reassuringly scrawled on a blackboard at this pioneering West Chelsea restaurant. Cookshop particularly shines at brunch: Relax in a bamboo chair and tuck into fruit and house-made yogurt ($11), baked sunny-side-up eggs with applewood bacon ($13), or much to the little ones' delight, gluttonous walnut-raisin French toast slathered with vanilla-mascarpone cream ($14). 156 Tenth Ave at 20th St (212-924-4440, cookshopny.com)

David Burke Kitchen
At this Soho eatery within the chic James hotel, the walls are lined with photographs of the farmers that supply the ingredients for Burke's whimsical menu creations. Begin the meal with playful treats such as a mlange of tomato, eggplant and ricotta spooned out of a jar ($7), before moving on to seasonal dishes along the lines of truffle-laced short-rib cavatelli ($35). Or better yet, come on Saturdays when kids can snag $5 buttermilk pancakes during the poured-and-griddled-to-order weekly Pancake Social. The James New York, 23 Grand St at Sixth Ave (212-201-9119, davidburkekitchen.com)

Ditch Plains
Chef Marc Murphy's two seafood spots are ideal family hangouts. Nosh on deviled eggs ($8), mussels ($21) and now, just for tots, convenient, well-balanced meals that embrace the new dietary guidelines set forth by Michelle Obama and the USDA. The easy-to-navigate MyPlate menu ($12) features playful combos like Green Eggs and Ham—with spinach, basil pesto and cheesy whole-wheat toast—or sliced skirt steak with broccoli and cheesy brown rice. • 29 Bedford St at Downing St (212-633-0202, ditch-plains.com). • 100 W 82nd St at Columbus Ave (212-362-4815)

Ed's Lobster Bar Annex
The revered crustaceans at Ed McFarland's Nolita eatery can also be enjoyed on the Lower East Side at his latest low-key venture. Here, the menu favors kid-size treats like pickle-laced mini lobster rolls ($5), lobster burger sliders ($5) and shrimp tacos doused in Old Bay remoulade ($12). On a warm day, you can enjoy your New England–inspired grub in the backyard. 25 Clinton St between E Houston and Stanton Sts (212-777-7370, lobsterbarnyc.com)

The Farm on Adderley
The kids' menu ($8) at this always-packed Ditmas Park spot includes such tasty, wholesome grub as crispy tofu with sugar snap peas, and buttered egg noodles with a dose of good-for-you broccoli. Parents can sip an inventive cocktail like the Jack Carraway ($9), featuring caraway-infused applejack and fermented cider, before tucking into the pan-roasted fluke ($22) surrounded by baby carrots, spinach and cumin butter. 1108 Cortelyou Rd between Stratford and Westminster Rds, Ditmas Park, Brooklyn (718-287-3101, thefarmonadderley.com)

Flatbush Farm
As the restaurant's name implies, Flatbush Farm's menu leans heavily on local purveyors. Rancho Gordo heirloom beans, roasted peppers and chipotle-infused tomatoes dress up creamy polenta ($18), while Long Island duck steak ($26) comes with bacon-braised collard greens and duck-and-mushroom confit. Kids might be happiest with the bar menu—they can lap up warm artichoke dip ($8) with lavash crackers, and dip grilled cheese ($10) into tomato fennel soup. In the summer there's no better perch than the intimate backyard. 76--78 St. Marks Ave between Flatbush and Sixth Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-622-3276, flatbushfarm.com)

The best time to enjoy this airy eatery is at brunch. Sip a basil gin cocktail ($12) or a freshly made nonalcoholic Rose's Garden ($8.95), chock-a-block with kale, swiss chard, spinach, broccoli and celery. If little ones aren't quite ready for green juice, a strawberry-orange juice smoothie can pave the way for a New York State burrata baguette ($14) or free-range chicken taco salad ($16). 519 Sixth Ave between 13th and 14th Sts (212-242-5800, gustorganics.com)

Hill Country
The vibe is no-frills and fun at this rollicking Texas-style barbecue saloon. Order the tender beef— priced by the pound and served piled high on butcher paper—at the counter. Sip iced tea out of a mason jar and tuck into hot sides such as Durkee-onion-topped green bean casserole or white corn pudding ($4.75–$17 depending on portion size). Big appetites are rewarded with a peanut-butter-and-jelly cupcake ($4). 30 W 26th St between Broadway and Sixth Ave (212-255-4544, hillcountryny.com)

At this West Village bourbon hangout, accompany your Ginger Julep ($12) with spicy scallion cornbread ($7) and fried chicken ($19) sitting pretty on an onion-jam-laced cheddar biscuit. Kids will relish the Anson Mills cheddar grits paired with andouille sausage and Carolina shrimp ($20), but it's really just a vehicle for getting to the pretzel-topped chocolate-caramel cake ($10). 142 W 10th St between Greenwich Ave and Waverly Pl (212-255-2330, lowcountrynewyork.com)

Mae Mae Caf
This cozy caf is only open weekdays (Wednesdays until 9pm), but the menu includes such freshly made fare as a flaky-crusted chicken potpie ($13) and a veggie burger ($9) topped with Tumbleweed cheddar and tomato jam from Katchkie Farm in upstate New York. There's also a full bar for moms and dads who want to forgo the pot of loose-leaf Darjeeling for something stronger. 68 Vandam St between Hudson and Varick Sts (212-924-5109, greatperformances.com/cafes/mae-mae-cafe)

New Leaf Restaurant & Bar
After exploring the Cloisters, get a bite at this upscale seasonal American restaurant in lush Fort Tryon Park. Enjoy brunch ($20 including coffee and juice) on the patio or dinner in the 1930s former concessions building and feast on dishes like challah French toast with caramelized bananas and pork sausage or house-made pappardelle with jumbo shrimp ($26). All profits go to the New York Restoration Project, dedicated to the greening of the city. Fort Tryon Park, 1 Margaret Corbin Dr (212-568-5323, newleafrestaurant.com)

Well-behaved, gastro-curious older kids will feel the most comfortable on a night out at Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle's intimate West Village restaurant. Let them try the house-made ricotta cheese with squash tempura, grilled bread and truffle honey ($13), while you linger over spicy duck meatballs with mint cavatelli and a quail egg ($15). The brood won't let you leave until they've dug spoons into the "Take Five" sundae ($10) loaded with dulce de leche, chocolate fudge, pretzels, praline and peanut butter ice cream. 9 Jones St between Bleecker and W 4th Sts (212-929-6868, perillanyc.com)

European-inspired cuisine gets the refined, seasonal treatment at this tiny agri-chic eatery on the Upper West Side. Parents gravitate toward roasted locally grown beets with toasted pecans and goat cheese ($10) and oven-baked salmon with baby spinach and Granny Smith apples ($24), while kids are happy with a simple grass-fed-beef cheeseburger ($13). 452 Amsterdam Ave between 81st and 82nd Sts (212-501-7755, recipenyc.com)

With wooden tables and red gingham seats, Ed Schoenfeld's perpetually packed West Village eatery has a modern farmhouse look to match the menu. Contemporary Chinese cuisine—from small plates like shrimp-and-snow-pea-leaf dumplings ($10) to fried rice studded with slow-cured artisanal Benton's bacon from Tennessee ($15)—flaunts a Greenmarket spin. 529 Hudson St between Charles and W 10th Sts (212-792-9700, redfarmnyc.com)

Trying to entice your kids to eat their veggies? Take them to this hipster lair in industrial Bushwick where the team grows their own. Once you've snagged a seat, order one of the elaborate artisanal pizzas like the Banana Hammock ($16), a savory concoction laden with bchamel, mozzarella, pork sausage, peperoncini and garlic. If that's too adventurous for tame palates, a simple fresh-basil-strewn Margherita ($12) is hardly ordinary. 261 Moore St between Bogart and White Sts, Bushwick, Brooklyn (718-417-1118, robertaspizza.com)

Rosa Mexicano
For grown-ups, the promise of a robust margarita is usually incentive enough to make it Mexican night. At any of the lively Rosa Mexicano locations you're sure to get one, along with braised pork belly and seared diver scallop tacos ($14.50). Kids are just as primed for a good time thanks to a Young Amigos menu ($9–$9.50) highlighting market-fresh ingredients such as house-made whole-wheat tortillas layered with chicken, mixed veggies, tomato sauce and queso fresco, and the opportunity to mash their own guacamole tableside. • 9 E 18th St between Fifth Ave and Broadway (212-533-3350, rosamexicano.com). • 1063 First Ave at 58th St (212-753-7407). • 61 Columbus Ave at 62nd St (212-977-7700)

Chef/owner Robert Newton hails from Arkansas and brings street cred to contemporary Southern-style dishes that revere local ingredients at this Carroll Gardens eatery. Begin the meal with a box of biscuits ($7–$10) slicked with salted molasses butter. The menu changes daily, but you might find fried chicken with market vegetables and a bourbon-and-vidalia-onion gravy ($24), and a skillet pecan pie ($12 for two). 329 Smith St between Carroll and President Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (718-422-0444, seersuckerbrooklyn.com)

While a high chair may be out of place in Bill Telepan's Upper West Side dining room, budding foodies will enjoy the grown-up vibe. Long a champion of the Greenmarket, the chef might treat them to house-made mozzarella ($16) paired with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms and toasted garlic, or beet green and ricotta pierogi ($23). The star of the prix-fixe brunch ($32) is the grass-fed-beef burger with white cheddar, bacon and an onion ring "volcano" overflowing with fries. 72 W 69th St at Columbus Ave (212-580-4300, telepan-ny.com)

MasterCard Priceless Family Event
Join us at Flatbush Farm on June 2 for the first MasterCard Priceless Family Date Night Event—info and tickets at PricelessNY.com.

Farm-fresh outings

Show your kids where their food comes from at Queens County Farm Museum (7350 Little Neck Pkwy, Floral Park, Queens; 718-347-3276), a working farm that usually offers free admission. Highlights include feeding the goats and sheep (feed costs $3) and a 15-minute hayride through the woods ($2, weekends only). The spring festival (May 6 11am–4pm; $5) offers sheep-shearing demos, music and more.

The Art Farm in the City (419 E 91st St between York and First Aves; 212-410-3117, theartfarms.org) evokes a barnyard on the Upper East Side. On Saturday and Sunday mornings (8–10am; $15, adults $5), kids can bond with bunnies, turtles, hamsters and other small animals in the rural mural-splashed space.

Gain kitchen skills together in a special class at Butter Beans (Ger-Nis Culinary Herb and Garden Center, 540 President St between Third and Fourth Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-499-0010, butterbeanskitchen.com), an organization started by two Brooklyn moms to create healthy school meals. During the Saturday-morning session (May 19 9–10:15am ages 4–7 or 10:30–11:45am ages 8–12; $45 per parent-child duo), you'll craft dishes using seasonal ingredients. E-mail elana@butterbeanskitchen.com to sign up.

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