Cheap, family-friendly spots downtown?
My wife and child (18 months old)and I will be staying in downtown Manhattan between 5/29/07 and 6/4/07, and I'd love to hear of inexpensive, casual, family-friendly places we can go for lunch and for dinner?
We'll be staying on West 11th Street near Seventh Avenue.Any place in walking distancewould be great. We like all types of food.
What about that PB place in the village? Do 18 month olds eat peanut butter? It's not cheap (by PB standards). But for lunch it is definitely fun & kid friendly (unlike most places in the city). By the way I have never seen kids at Cornelia Street Cafe. Maybe it's different for lunch and brunch or they go when I'm not there.
As a father with a now three year old who lives in the neighborhood I can tell you the following:
S'Nice is an extremely family friendly vegetarian place with great coffee and sandwiches and a small play are for the kids. I am a carnivore and enjoy stopping in there once and a while.
My favorite greek diner is on 12th and 6th, call Joe Juniors. Great for breakfast and they love kids. Also a very good cheesburger deluxe for half the price of the new "swanky" burger joints popping up across town.
Otto (of Batali fame) is terrific for kids if you go for LUNCH or BRUNCH. Don't even try to muscle your way in during dinner. They give the kids crayons and stuff and the food is kid friendly (basic pasta, basic pizza) while you can eat well cheaply and sneak a glass of wine.
On 13th between 5th and 6th is Maurizio Tratoria, a good mid-priced local Italian. Maurizio has a daughter a little older than ours and they are very friendly with the kids.
The Coffee Shop on University between 12th and 13th is good for a break and a cup of coffee and they have good snack food, cookies, affordable sandwiches, etc.
If you go to the Bleeker Street playground with your child (walk west on 11th until you get to Bleeker) you can play with the kid. There are several food spots right around the park including the (in)famous magnolia bakery but if you double back to Greenwich avenue there is a great bfst/lunch spot called "Good". Also, Tea and Sympathy is a fantastic little English food shop on the same block but you will have to leave the stroller outside as it is really small. Cafe de Bruxelles (mentioned previously) is up the block from these two. We have eaten there and it is decent but not notable.
Hope this helps
Pepe Verde is a tiny Italian spot on Hudson between Perry and W. 11th - it's mostly take-out, but there are some seats, and it's very affordable.
If you like falafel, you should check out Taim, on Waverly between Perry and W. 11th - another tiny take-out place, but I think they do have a few chairs.
How about Whole Foods on Union Square? It's technically a grocery store, but they have great prepared foods, bakery etc. They have a pleasant place to sit with a great view of the square, or you could do a picnic. You could also try Republic, also on Union Square. It's pretty cheap and loud enough that a kid would be fine there. They have all kinds of Asian noodles.
Thanks, Lucia and Cimui. I define "cheap" as less than $10 per person for lunch and less than $15 (or maybe 20) per person for dinner. I understand that my request is vague ("all types of food" and "family-friendly")so I'll try to sharpen it a bit. How about best burger in or near the West Village? Best dim sum? Best burrito? Thanks to all who reply!
Hi Evan, would you give a price range? People define cheap in very different ways! (And cheap for NYC is very different from cheap in many other places in the world.)
I like Lucia's suggestions for the food, but I would actually call them moderately priced rather than cheap.
Less expensive options by my standards include Flor's Kitchen, Moustache, 'Ino, Risotteria, John's Pizza, and Galanga. None are super family friendly, but I don't think a well-behaved child will raise any eyebrows. Cafe Asean could also work, although the space is pretty cramped and dark and sometimes noisy; your 18 month year old may not enjoy that.
There are lots and lots of other places to look into (especially on MacDougal near 3rd St.) if you don't need a sit-down kind of place or don't mind the kind of place where you pick your food up at the counter yourself and then eat at a few makeshift tables. My favorite in this category is the dosai stand on Washington Square Park South. If it's a nice day, you can eat it on a bench in the park and enjoy free entertainment of some sort on many days of the week (or at least entertaining people-watching). Mamoun's Falafel is a long-time Village institution with something of a cult following.
All of the places I've mentioned so far have very good to excellent food. If you don't mind lowering the bar a bit, I could throw out lots more suggestions (i.e. Thali, Spice, Lemongrass Grill).