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Best family restaurants to dine out with kids

From kids’ classics to new favorites, these are the 50 best family restaurants you need to know about right now

Photograph: Filip Wolak

Looking for the best family restaurants in NYC? Look no further than our amazing lineup of classic restaurants, new restaurants, kid-friendly restaurants with play areas, biergarten-style restaurants and a handful of other fun restaurants that are simply perfect for families. These kid-friendly restaurants offer everything from mouthwatering Italian fare and finger foods to slurpable ramen bowls and farm-to-table eats. Don't forget to check out our list of the best kid-friendly bars, too. What are you waiting for? Get in on some delicious eats!

50 kid-friendly restaurants

1

Habana Outpost

This Mexican-Cuban restaurant is great for families. Not only does the eco-friendly eatery offer kid favorites like quesadillas, rice and beans and Mexican-style corn, but it regularly hosts educational events, parties and family-friendly craft projects for the little ones. Their annual Back to School Bash gets kids excited to return to school with awesome giveaways like notebooks, pencils and other school supplies.

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Fort Greene
2

Gotham West Market

With eight different food purveyors to choose from, there's something to please an entire family of varying tastes and appetites at Gotham West. The bustling Hell's Kitchen market spans 15,000 square feet, and the food-court-style seating means you can all eat together once your kids have chosen a slice from Corner Slice, grabbed some noodles from Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop or tried tapas from El Colmada, among others. Finish your dining adventure with a scoop from Ample Hills Creamery.

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Hell's Kitchen
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3

Sweet Chick

John Seymour's soul food staple, which now has locations in Williamsburg and the Lower East Side, is like KFC takeout for hip city kids. Bench-style and low-table seating makes it easy for families to join in on the deep-fried fun. Feast on crawfish hush puppies, mac and cheese with grueyere and aged white cheddar or bigger plates like fan-favorite fried chicken and waffles or shrimp and grits.

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Williamsburg
4

Pig Beach

2 out of 5 stars

Pig Beach is perfect for dates, dinners with friends and even meals with your kids: it offers a mouthwatering menu and both indoor and outdoor picnic-style dining areas, depending on the season. Feast on ultra-delicious smoked meats including beer can chicken, baby back ribs and beef tri tip flanked by sides of purple cole slaw with jalepeno, house-made pickles and mac 'n cheese sprinkled with Goldfish crackers. We'll see ya there! P.S. Your dogs are also welcome in the outdoor seating area. Yessss. All ages.

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Gowanus
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5

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que - Harlem

Venue says: “Harlem Dinosaur has a Happy Hour! Every Mon-Fri from 3pm-7pm at the bar. Check out our website for $2-$6 happy hour specials”

Hungry kids will go home satisfied after chowing down on BBQ sliders, plates of macaroni and cheese and BBQ chicken. Homemade sides like Syracuse style salt potatoes and BBQ beans with pork are just some of the extra items included in the kids’ menu. Items on the Dino Kids menu are $6.59 and include two sides so families can fill big appetites on a budget.

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Morningside Heights
6

Paulie Gee’s

Recommended

Pizza hobbyist turned pro Paul Giannone produces truly original pies at this rustic Greenpoint eatery. The best pizzas here are mixed-media masterworks with gorgeously blackened crusts covered in crispy nooks and pillowy bubbles, and you can see them being made just a few feet away in an imported pizza oven! The Hellboy, our personal favorite, boasts fresh mozzarella, soppresata drizzled with Mike's Hot Honey, but the kids with simpler tastes might be more into the Brian DeParma (tomatoes and parmesan) or the Brisket Five-O, which offers a tangy combo of brisket, mozzarella and house-pickled pineapple. All ages.

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Greenpoint
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7

Alice's Tea Cup

Fall down the rabbit hole into this enchanting cafe. Little ones can enjoy a real life tea party with scones, tea sandwiches, fruits and, of course, teas of all kinds. Breakfast options include pumpkin pancakes, wonderland waffles and create-you-own-crepe ingredients. Or go all in with The Mad Morning breakfast, a three-tiered stand of the best breakfast foods on the menu along with coffee or a pot of tea, a scone with preserves and cream, eggs and granola with Greek yogurt. Good luck rushing to get anywhere on time after that!

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Lenox Hill
8

Eataly

Recommended

The Italian food marketplace has a restaurant for everyone: a pizzeria, a risotto pop-up, seafood spot and sweets galore—gelato included! If the kids are too antsy to sit still, grab fresh ingredients from the pantry to whip up your own Italian dishes at home, or sign them up for a Passport to Eataly culinary tours where they’ll walk to various food stations to learn about the culture, language and food preparation while sampling fresh mozzarella, Margherita pizza and gelato.

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Flatiron
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9

American Girl Cafe

When the new American Girl Place opens its doors at Rockefeller Center, a reservation at its cafe for your kid and their dolls will be a memorable treat. Go in for a traditional afternoon tea with cinnamon buns, scones, or cucumber sandwiches alongside hot tea, cocoa or pink lemonade ($21). If you’re looking for something heartier, the brunch, lunch and dinner menus offer sweet and savory entrées. The Truly Me kids’ menu includes Best-Ever Chicken Tenders, American Girl Cheeseburger, Perfect Pizza and Fancy Bow-Tie Pasta ($20).

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Midtown West
10

Ferrara Bakery & Cafe

When your sweet tooth starts clamoring to be fed, the sweet desserts at this Italian bakery will definitely hit the spot. Whether you go for a creamy cannoli, gelato or a Zuppa Inglese with rum-soaked sponge cake, fresh custard, fresh strawberries and whipped cream, you’ll go home with a smile on your face.

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Little Italy
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11

Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

Recommended

When it’s time for treat, this old timey soda fountain shop offers 16 different floats made with soda made in-house and Adirondack Creamery ice cream. Kids will want to grab a stool at the counter and watch their sundae handcrafted on the spot (half sizes are available on most flavors). The Sir Twix-a-little features Farmacy’s shortcake crumbles topped with caramel and vanilla ice cream in a milk chocolate hard shell and sprinkled with fleur de sel. To keep from overdosing on sugar, the shop also serves more savory meals, including sandwiches, freshly baked biscuits and granola.

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Carroll Gardens
12

Buttermilk Channel

Recommended

This charming Carroll Gardens eatery offers plenty of Southern-inspired fare both adults and the smaller set, including dishes like fried pork chops and cheddar waffles, house-made lasagne and grilled flat iron steak. Since portions can get pretty large at Buttermilk Channel, the restaurant lets its littler patrons enjoy their own menu: Choose milk or juice, an entree (hot dogs, grilled cheese, buttermilk fried chicken, to name a few) plus a side and dessert. 

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Carroll Gardens
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13

The Meatball Shop

Recommended

Meatballs are the main attraction at this restaurant and kids will love mixing and matching their choices and marking them down on the wipe-off menu in marker. Make your own meatballs by choosing the meat (classic, chicken or veggie), sauce (classic tomato, mushroom gravy or parmesan cream) and what they’re served on. Kids can opt for traditional fare like spaghetti or go for rigatoni, a slider, broccoli or mashed potatoes. Just leave room for dessert—chocolate or snickerdoodle cookies and ice cream are delicious options to end the meal.

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Lower East Side
14

Sarabeth's

This Upper East Side eatery is perfectly located for families looking for a rest stop in between their Central Park adventures or after strolling through the galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The breakfast menu features homestyle items like fluffy French toast ($18.50), home fries ($8.25) and pork and apple sausages ($8.75). In the evening, dinner entrées include free range chicken pot pie ($24) and fish & chips ($28). Just be sure to leave room for dessert—blueberry peach crostata ($9.50) and s’more in a jar ($9.50) are just a couple from the long list of deliciousness to be had here.

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Upper East Side
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15

Ellen's Stardust Diner

Before taking the kids to a Broadway play, treat them to a meal before the show at this Times Square spot. The waitstaff are mostly Broadway actors and hopefuls the will break into song as they serve your meal! Kids can make a special song request to go alongside their mac n’ cheese sliders, mozzarella triangles and fries, chicken nuggets and hot dogs ($16 each). Consider the high menu prices as paying for dinner and a show.

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Midtown West
16

Nathan’s Famous

Recommended

After an afternoon of hopping on thrill rides at Luna Park or checking out the view from the top of the Wonder Wheel, refuel at this Coney Island boardwalk favorite. The eatery hosts the annual hot dog eating contest every Fourth of July, but grownups and kiddos will probably be satisfied with just a couple franks. Grab them with a side of crinkle-cut fries or opt for a corn dog on a stick or hot dog nuggets for smaller hands.

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Brooklyn
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17

Naruto Ramen

This delicious Brooklyn eatery makes it easy to slurp noodles with tykes and tweens in tow. Take a seat at the counter and order a bowl of Naruto or Miso Ramen for the kids or kick things up a notch with Curry Ramen for yourself. Naruto also has some delicious, classic appetizers to try, including Gyoza (pork dumpling) and Chicken Teryaki. We'd recommend this spot for families with kids ages 6 and up, since stool-seating and tight quarters make things tough for stroller traffic and toddlers. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

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Park Slope
18

S'Mac

Kids will think they’ve died and gone to food heaven at S’Mac, which elevates a childhood staple to the gourmet level. There are a dozen varieties of mac to choose from, like the Cheeseburger with cheddar and American cheeses and seasoned ground beef; all served in personal-sized skillets. The “nosh” size ($5.75–$7.75) is perfect for kiddie appetites; but families will want to order the “mongo” ($15.50–$19.75) and enjoy leftovers tomorrow (and the next day…).

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19

The Grey Dog

The menu at any of Grey Dog’s four locations offers something for everyone: hearty breakfast, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, soups and more. Your typical grilled cheese gets a twist with guacamole, bacon, Swiss and Wisconsin cheese curds ($13.50); chicken tenders are served with Southern BBQ sauce and fries ($12.50) and Village pancakes can be served with bananas, blueberries, strawberries or chocolate chips ($13).

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Chelsea
20

Brother Jimmy's Union Square

Any restaurant that lets kids eat free is tops in our book. This BBQ joint’s sweet deal offers a free meal to kids under 12 for every $10 spent by an adult. The dishes on the children’s menu will have them drooling over pulled pork, BBQ chicken wings and mini burgers. Add on a combo of sides like mashed potatoes with white gravy, corn on the cob and macaroni and cheese and all tummies will go home happily stuffed.

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Gramercy
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21

Cowgirl

If the family is in the mood for Southwestern cooking, this West Village spot has a sizable menu just for kids. Lunch offers up wooden nickel pancakes ($6.50) and the Texas scramble with potatoes and a biscuit ($6.50), but the “served all day” list includes hamburgers, chicken strops, corndogs, quesadilla, grilled cheese and a pulled pork sammy ($6–$7). Order them the Frito pie—a bag of Fritos topped with beef brisket chili or veggie chili and cheddar cheese—and you’ll go home a hero ($6–$7). Even better: add an ice cream baked potato—don’t worry, it only looks like one—for a superb treat.

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West Village
22

Junior’s Restaurant

This New York institution's claim to fame is the rich, fluffy cheesecake, which comes in several varieties like red velvet and devil’s food—but we like to work our way up to the sweet slab of loveliness. Beginning with the perfectly salty-sour pickles and other crunchy bites that are served before every meal, little ones can peruse the appropriately-titled Junior Menu and choose from a selection of kiddie diner favorites, like grilled cheese and chicken fingers.

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Park Slope
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23

Harlem Tavern

This inviting biergarten-style eatery near Morningside Park offers both indoor seating and an outdoor patio to enjoy in warmer months. Its extensive menu boasts everything from juicy burgers and buttermilk fried chicken to quesadillas, tacos and sliders—even a build-your-own mac and cheese with add-ons like grilled steak and BBQ pulled pork. Harlem Tavern also offers a kids' menu with 7 picks under $8 each. All ages.

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Harlem
24

Vanessa’s Dumpling House

Recommended

Good luck nabbing a place to sit here—the modest Chinatown eatery is typically packed to the gills due to its super-cheap-yet-super-tasty chive-and-pork dumplings. At four delicious fried dumplings for just $1.50, diners can get their fill with just a few bucks and still have money left over for sesame pancakes sandwiches and steamed buns. On a nice day, grab the food to go and settle with the crew under a tree at Sara D. Roosevelt Park a block west. If you’d like to try your hand at cooking a batch at home, a bag of 50 pork dumplings is only $12.

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Lower East Side
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25

The Coop

Indoor and outdoor play spaces make this Bay Ridge, Brooklyn cafe super family-friendly all year round. A chalkboard wall is perfect for tiny artists in the making while colorful graffiti art serves as inspiration. The carpeted outdoor corner is also filled with carts, blocks, mini rocking horses and cars they can scoot around in. Inside, tots can easily pass the time making their own meals at a play kitchenette and have their pick from buckets of toys. Parents will find kids’ craft sessions, face painting and other activities on the calendar.

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Bay Ridge
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Comments

1 comments
Queens R

There are 50 recommendations and not one is in Queens, where you can find the most ethnically diverse, authentic, and family friendly restaurants. The person who writes this article is either not a New Yorker (and by New Yorker I don’t mean someone who was born and raised here; I mean someone who made New York their home and who identifies with this city, like myself) or is unwilling to go out of their usual and customary comfort zone and has very limited views and knowledge about what the city has to offer. Very disappointing. I’m tired of reading article after article about the wonderful things in Manhattan and Brooklyn. It’s disheartening. Our city is so rich. Please expand your horizons and do your homework. For now, I’m unsubscribing.