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New ChowHound in need of help!

Hello all!

New here and need some insight/help. I will be in NYC 8/28-8/30 and need some advice on dinner and lunch that is family friendly.

On 8/29 we are catching the Mary Poppins matinee with my 6 year old daughter and could use and after show recommendation for dinner in the Time Square area.

On 8/30 I really wanted to hit Little Italy for lunch (I know TOURIST!!!) before we head to JFK. What are your thoughts there or is there a better alternative?

Again, my wife and I will be with our 6 year old daughter celebrating her birthday so please keep that in mind.

Thanks in advance for any help!!!

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  1. In the times square area you might enjoy going to John's Pizza for some pretty good New York pizza. Although not in the theater district, your daughter would probably love Serendipity or especially American Girl, and they are not too far away.

    1 Reply
    1. re: maxine

      Second John's Pizzeria after Marry Poppins.

    2. Not quite sure what a 6 year old requires to make her birthday special. Is she going to enjoy a nice restaurant? In which case I might suggest District

      http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

      But most 6 year olds I know need a bit of diversion. Something bigger with more space and activity in case they get fidgety. Ruby Foo is another option. In some ways a big theme restaurant but "better than you might expect" sums up the food nicely.

      There is also a somewhat dated list here:

      http://nymag.com/urban/guides/family/...

      If you wish to dine in the Little Italy area why not have your pizza that day? Lombardi's is still considered by many to be the classic New York pizza. But it often requires some queuing.

      5 Replies
      1. re: bombaybeauty

        Thank you all!

        Maxine - we are actually doing American Girl the day we arrive (28th) for tea. I have Serendipity require reservations quite a bit in advance and the people are rude. Any truth to either?

        Bombay - Thanks for the detail. I am not looking for a place to celebrate her birthday persay as the whole trip is the celebration. I just want some places that have decent food (with a kids menu) and where we won't upset people dining as we will be with a 6 year old.

        1. re: bombaybeauty

          I went to Ruby Foo's once with some friends from the burbs. Overpriced and touristy. You can do better in the city. What's the 6 year old like? Sophisticated or the PB & J type? There's a treehouse restaurant in the Village that might be fun. Can't remember the name of it. There's also a touristy restaurant in midtown where it's like a spaceship (good for kids/touristy, our friends from the burbs took their daughter and she loved it). Lombardi's is still pretty good (I get take out from there because the pizza places in my neighborhood are mass produced, overpriced like Il Brigante or have poor service like Adrienne's).

          1. re: financialdistrictresident

            Mars 2112. Food is okay, more of a show. Very family centered. Depending on your daughter, she might consider some of it to be scary, IE: Martians coming up to your table.

            http://mars2112.com/

            1. re: pacz

              thanks, pacz. It scares me.

              1. re: pacz

                I've worked in Mars 2112 on a commercial... and believe me, you don't want to go there. The floors are so dirty you stick to them! Yuck. A major tourist trap!

          2. If you are going to be in Times Square, do check the other posts, but I always just head west a few blocks. By the time you get to ninth ave, you can get away from tourist hell holes and get to tons of real restaurants with better food and more reasonable prices. I always love going to the westway diner (9th ave and 44th) after or before a show. It is by no means fancy, but reliable and pretty reasonable. Burgers, shakes and of course the requisite diner Greek food, among a million other choices in the eight page or so menu, and lots of regular new yorkers, some having gone to a show, some doing the "I-refuse-to-ever-cook-and-eat-literally-every-meal-at-a-
            diner-while- reading-a book" thing
            The only thing worth having at Serendipity is the famous frozen hot chocolate- the restaurant is a tourist and suburban pre-teen feeding-machine, overpriced, over stimulating, long lines, not very big place, the food is nothing special.
            Little Italy is a factory, too, but it can be fun. The food can be good, lots of old school middle aged italian dudes in bow ties serving red sauce over meatballs, etc. I used to go there with an ex-girlfriend, we always went to Da Nico because of the garden out back, but I can't give you a comprehensive guide to the restaurants. Have fun, walk around as much as you can.

            1. For your post-matinee dinner, I would recommend La Bonne Soupe, on 55th St., b/t 5th & 6th Avs. It's a very nice, family-friendly French bistro with lots more on the menu than just good soups.

              http://www.labonnesoupe.com

              Happy Birthday to your daughter and Bon Appetit!

              1 Reply
              1. re: RGR

                I am surprised that no one mentioned Mars at 51st & Broadway in the theater distrct for the little one. A space and science fiction heaven for kids.
                She will flip out.
                You will tolerate.

              2. someone did mention Mars 2112 - the food is not very good. Carmines is family style italian and might be fun for your daughter. The food is little italy is ok - taormina is one of the better restaurants. Lombardi's is great but it is not in Little Italy - it is more like Nolita. If you like rice pudding there is rice to riches across from Lombardi's that is like an ice cream store with rice pudding instead (lots of flavors). Enjoy

                1. How about Alice's Tea Cup for Lunch? It's on 73rd Street.

                  1. For midtown I agree with PP that you should head west a few blocks, food is much better and better priced. Il Cortile has always been our fave in Little Italy.

                    http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: SweetPea914

                      I like this place as well..

                    2. Regarding Little Italy, not much is really good. However Lombardi's Pizza is excellent...in my recent experience the best pizza I know. It is very family friendly as well. It is located at 32 Spring Street. I agree that John's Pizza is also good, but recently much prefer Lombardi's. True is it not really in Little Italy, but only about 2 blocks north and better than most of what Little Italy has to offer.

                      1. ...another family friendly place that is also sort of 'grown-up' is Blue Smoke. It is not really in the neighborhoods you're discussing, but maybe worth the trip. My nephew and niece love it and their parents also have fun there. Landmarc in Tribeca, although formerly better than it is now, is an excellent choice with children. I haven't been there, but there is another Landmarc in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.