Eating out with kids often feels like you’re being relegated to restaurants with bright lighting, mediocre food, and child-friendly gimmicks. But for the true food lovers among us, there’s no reason to throw in the towel. More and more of New York’s best chefs are accommodating and welcoming children. We rounded up the best of the bunch for dining out in Manhattan. At these spots, you won’t have to compromise — enjoy great cuisine and your kids!
This new, seasonal American restaurant from Chef Roxanne Spruance has a surprise off-menu mac and cheese. So while you might be partaking in the signature Wagyu beef, your child can sit in the booth enjoying her own custom meal. And stay on the lookout for upcoming cooking classes Chef Spruance is planning to offer for children, because you might discover that you have a mini Top Chef on your hands.
[190 Avenue B between E. 12th and E. 11th avenues in Alphabet City, (212) 674–4500, kings
A spot for the more adventurous child eaters (or the babies that aren’t going to be partaking), this new downtown restaurant has one of the most spacious setups around. And it is particularly great for brunch, where kids can try an egg sandwich while the parents enjoy something from the incredible mimosa cart.
[218 Bowery between Prince and Spring streets in Nolita, (917) 639–3880, rebel
Both the Tribeca and Upper West Side locations of Chopped chef Marc Murphy’s contemporary bistro have a full kids menu to go along with the adult specials. The space is large enough where there is room to come with strollers in tow, and they even have menu items in accordance with MyPlate, the Department of Agriculture’s new dietary guidelines for kids.
[179 W. Broadway between Leonard and Worth streets in Tribeca, (212) 343–3883, landm
[10 Columbus Circle between W. 50th and W. 60th streets, (212) 823–6123].
You’ll have the kids smiling when you mention you’re eating Hawaiian food, but the adults will stay happy, too, as this is pretty sophisticated fare. Snacks like the corned beef tongue “musubi” (rice balls) or entrees like the teriyaki chicken will be a good middle ground for children and their parents alike. And with two dining areas, there is enough space to carve out a corner for yourself.
[128 First Ave. between St. Marks and E. Seventh streets in the East Village, noree
Il Buco has the designation of having a single table that is separated from the dining room, making it perfect for those parents who always fret about their kids being in the way. The classic fare can appeal to every palate, with offerings from spaghetti to chicken. And the homemade bread and ice cream will make everyone happy. They also have outdoor sidewalk seating, which is perfect for kids to people-watch.
[53 Great Jones St. between Bowery and Lafayette in the Bowery, (212) 837–2622, ilbuc
Daniel Boulud’s famed Daniel may be best for adults, but at his more casual outposts, the excellent food also comes with a family-friendly vibe. DBGB not only has high chairs and a kids menu, it also boasts the rare changing table in the bathroom. And at Epicerie Boulud you can enjoy hot dogs and gelato in the large outdoor seating area when the weather is warm.
DBGB [299 Bowery between E. First and E. Houston streets in the Bowery, (212) 933–5300, dbgb.com].
Epicerie Boulud [1900 Broadway between W. 63rd and W. 64th streets on the Upper West Side, (212) 595-9606, https://epice
This Southeast Asian restaurant is the perfect spot for a family brunch — bright colors adorn the walls of the outdoor patio (that functions year round), and the menu bursts with flavors that will be exciting to kids looking to try something new. For adults it will be a welcome break from the basic egg and waffle brunch standards.
[68 Clinton St. between Rivington and Stanton streets on the Lower East Side, (212) 920–4485, pigan
This Spanish spot has a few big enclosed booths that are perfect for the kind of days when you know you’ll want a bit of privacy. The small bites — or “pintxos” — are a delight for precocious kids who need smaller portions, and the off-menu hot dog will please even the pickiest of little ones. For the adults, you might also want to indulge in the gin and tonics on tap.
[107 First Ave. between E. Sixth and E. Seventh streets in the East Village, (212) 228–4490, huert
Ali Rosen is the host of Potluck with Ali Rosen, a show covering the New York City food scene airing on NYC Life (channel 25). The new season starts March 10 at 9 pm, or you can find her online at potlu