Places to eat that welcome kids in UWS
Will be staying at the UWS for 2 weeks 81st. We will have our 2 1/2 year old with us. We will probably have dinner out most nights (early) however we don't like chain restaurants eg Macdonalds, subway, Mars 2002, Planet Hollywood.
I would like some suggestions for nice, inexpensive places that where bringing a child will not be a problem.
we plan on going to the boat basin cafe a couple of times if food is ok as it is in a park.
Also what are the liquor laws in NYC like (I am from Aust) can kids go into bars???
The UWS is full of kids, and there are plenty of places where you'll feel comfortable with a 2 1/2 year old. On Amsterdam Ave, there's an EJ's Luncheonette (50's style diner, OK, not great, comfort food) and on Broadway there's Arties (Jewish-style deli) --both are kid-friendly. There's also a new "retro-style" diner on Columbus called Funky Diner somewhere around 83rd that's appropriate for children -- and the food (sandwiches, burgers, salads) was good. In addition, the UWS has a few outlets of Belgian chain Le Pain Quotidien that are always overrun with children, and Hampton Chutney Company on Amsterdam is another decent casual option. Avoid "Homer's" on Amsterdam -- it looks fun and harmless, but the food has been awful whenever we've given it a shot.
If you're looking for something beyond burgers and sandwiches, you might do okay at good neighborhood Italian spots like Celeste or Bettola IF (and ONLY if) you go early, around 5:00 pm or for lunch. We live near Celeste and often see strollers parked outside on the sidewalk at that hour, when the restaurant is relatively empty and calm. Later in the evening (after about 6:30-7:00) it's VERY crowded and cramped, and I wouldn't try it with a small child.
The boat basin is pleasant, though the food is very ordinary. You should be able to find plenty of places where you'll feel comfortable -- Manhattan is experiencing a baby boom these days.
Agree with the above -- most restaurants in the area are very kid-friendly and you'll have a hard time stepping out of doors without seeing strollers and toddlers everywhere on the UWS. Other reasonably-priced options in the immediate area include Good Enough to Eat, Popover cafe, excellent bagels and smoked fish at Barney Greengrass, Patsy's Pizzeria on 74th.