Custom Itinerary: Foodie Favorite New York Restaurants with Kids - My Family Travels

Q.  What happens when real foodies come to New York to chow down but have fussy eaters in tow?  Two things usually. 
# 1. Parents get childcare through their hotel and go out in the evening for a long, leisurely and expensive, to-die-for meal. And / Or
# 2. They go ethnic and bring the kids along.

A.  If you're traveling with teens the list of superb dining expands enormously, as most New York City kids have been raised to enjoy and behave in fine restaurants. There are plenty of restaurant review sites like Zagat, Yelp and Chowhound who keep up with the latest and greatest eateries and their star chefs, but for us, you can't go wrong with a family celebration at  le Bernardin, Blue Hill, Per Se, Nobu or The Moderne

For more moderately priced but terrific gourmet fare, try Benoit, the bargain yet very elegant bistro of Alain Ducasse; kids will love the roast chicken and frites.

Another favorite is Café Frida, an inexpensive and casual outpost of gourmet chef Ricard Sandoval’s Mexican food empire (parents alone can try Pamplona). There are 2 locations on the Upper West Side (1 just a block from the Museum of Natural History) and they have lots of favorites, like guacamole and chips, fajitas, etc. but also many more unusual entrees that you’ll enjoy. Great margarita menu, too. Service is good but not fussy and kids are very welcome. 

If you love the cooking of Danny Meyer (of The Moderne and many others), try any outlet of Shake Shack for cheap burgers and shakes, or all the concessions at Citifield, the baseball stadium of The Mets in Queens.

My whole family loves to eat well, and we love ethnic cuisine, so we'll hop the subway to Queens to the Jackson Diner for Indian food, or go up to Dominick's in the Bronx, or out to Brooklyn to eat at Vinegar Hill — kids are welcome at all.  New York has so many great ethnic restaurants that we avoid the touristy midtown diners and ‘cute’ pizza places (though we love Two Boots).

But when all is said and done, the place we take every family who comes to visit us is East Market, in the backstreets of Chinatown across from a playground under the Manhattan Bridge. Upstairs at East Market in a mirrored ballroom, a few hundred Chinese families revel in dim sum daily from 10am-3pm. Smiling waitresses push big carts of steaming dumplings, soups and custard desserts with paper umbrellas in them down the aisles. Kids can go up to the grill and pick out taro cakes or grilled meat and watch it being cooked, or you can order from the limited menu that includes lots of kid-friendly rice noodle dishes. East Market at 75-85 East Broadway, between Market & Henry Street; 212-732-8886 – F train stops at East Broadway one block away.

Here are more ideas for places to eat in Chinatown for foodies who want to branch out to Fukianese, Japanese, Vietnamese or Shanghainese cuisines.


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2 Replies to “Custom Itinerary: Foodie Favorite New York Restaurants with Kids”

  • todobigo

    You're absolutely right, but for most families, these special occasion restaurants are a once in a lifetime occasion.

    And foodie NY families also take advantage of the city's 2 annual Restaurant Weeks. They're usually for a month (I know it's called Week!) in Feb-Mar and in summer of 2011, it's from July 11-24. All lunches charge $24.07 and all dinners cost $35, and in the past, these 2 amazing restaurants and many others of their calibre have participated in Restaurant Week.

    So, that's certainly a good time to get the kids dressed up and show them an amazing foodie night on the town.  Check out : for details.  And bon appetit!

  • Anonymous

    Per se and La Bernadin are two of the best restaurants in NYC, possibly the world. But dinner for 2 will cost several hundred dollars at each one. They're not within reach of most families.