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locals' fave places to eat with kids?

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I'm going to be in NYC for 3 days next week with my husband and 3 kids (4, 3 and 1). Other than Ellen's Stardust Diner and Katz's deli, I'm hoping to eat at little-ish places that are favored by the locals and not overly expensive. We definitely want a great New York Pizza and anything else that's "not to miss when in NYC". A suggestion or 2 in SOHO/Lower Manhattan, Midtown, the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side would be great.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Upper East Side
    serendipity for Ice Cream (near Bloomingdales UES)
    Sarabeths (UES)(American)
    Patsy's (Italian)(UES) is quite child friendly.
    JG Melons, Jackson Hole (Burgers)(UES)

    Upper West Side
    Shun Lee Cafe (chinese)
    Popover Cafe (American)

    John's for pizza;

    In the summer: anywhere with outdoor tables.
    lots of Chinese is child friendly.

    1. For burgers on the UES, I would head up to Ottomanelli at 93rd and Lex - I prefer their burger to others in the area. Not sure what your plans are, but this is not too far from Central Park and various museums.

      I find most Chinese restaurants to be child friendly as jwg posted - Shun Lee Cafe used to be a place I liked, but now think it's just a bit to greasy.

      Are there any particular kinds of food that you'd like to try?

      1 Reply
      1. re: MMRuth

        Also - in the Village - just north of Soho - is Lupa, a Batali place. I've been there for lunch with friends who have five daughters. The staff was incredibly nice - the younger girls didn't eat much and the bill ended up being quite reasonable.

      2. Thanks for the suggestions!
        MMRuth - no particular type of food we'd like to try...we're in Toronto so the kids are exposed to some different types of food. We just want to make sure we try some quintessential new york foods.
        Do people still like Shake Shack? More for hubby than the kids though! :)

        3 Replies
        1. re: fms

          I still like Shake Shack - would recommend going a little before they open to avoid long lines.

          1. re: MMRuth

            Or if you are willing, go up to the UWS location and there's never more than a 15 wait. I still love it and went just last night

            And like valerie said, avoid Seredipity. I think the food is just terrible and the service really ruins a meal. If desserts/chocolate is something the kids like, you're better off at Max Brennar.

            Also on the UWS is Pinch & S'mac. Pizza and mac & cheese, any kid will be happy with either and they have gourmet topping plus delicious salads for adults. plus beer. it's a fun environment and REALLY kid friend

            1. re: kelea

              The UWS location definitely has shorter lines. I've never been there for lunch, but I've never waited more than 10 minutes to order for dinner.

              We took my little cousins to the S'mac location in the East Village (which doesn't have a Pinch attached to it) and they absolutely loved it.

        2. I take the little one to Korean places all the time.. Particularly Woochon.. The lady there is super nice and you get to cook your own food.. Kind of like dinner and show.

          1. Cafeteria in Chelsea. Good food for you and the husband, nice cocktails. Fun food for kids. Fried oreos and great mac and cheese. Outside seating which is great if weather permits. Otherwise the noise level is pretty high which is helpful if your kids have there own high noise level!!

            1. Landmarc in Tribeca or Columbus Circle is a good option. And Korean is a good option too with kids for something a little different.

              I would avoid Serendipity at all costs.

              1. My favorite pizza on the Upper East Side is Nicks, as well as Giovanna's (a Nick's spinoff and technically East Harlem). Both are pizza restaurant spots, so nicer than a pizza parlor, clean, great service and family friendly.

                Totally agree that Ottomanelli's burgers (and waffle fries!) are the best and to avoid Serendipity, which is a tourist trap. For great gelato and sorbet (perhaps after Nick's or Ottomanelli, same neighborhood) go to Ciao Bella -- an ice cream parlor the kids will love.
                Ciao Bella Cafe - www.ciaobellagelato.com
                27 E 92nd St, New York - (212) 831-5555

                1 Reply
                1. re: City Kid

                  I also prefer Ottomanelli's burgers to any in the city, including the trendy SS and BJ ones. However, I think the place to too tight for child friendly as most toddlers do like to wander around. Best restaurant for children I've found is Doyers Vietnames in CT 11 Doyers, downstairs, big and food is delish and inexpensive. We always have our "family" events there and the staff is great and they don't mind the kiddies walking around. One caveat, they sometimes serve your food "backwards" entrees, then appetizers so tell them how you wnat it served.

                2. wow, thanks for the great suggestions everyone! I can't wait!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fms

                    Ottomanelli's-great burgers!
                    Pio Pio-fast, good food, UES location is small so you'd have to fold your stroller
                    JG Melons (I prefer Ottomanellis, but lots of people love it)-no strollers allowed, no high chairs as far as I know
                    Flex Mussels (UES)-great mussels, and serve some other good kid friendly food like fish and chips. very noisy so maybe good for kids, but need reservations for dinner, reasonable meal, they only have 1 high chair but ive never had a problem-i believe there is a PEI location also, though a bit far from TO to visit!
                    Nothing unusual but alot of kids like Big Daddy's Diner (83rd st & 2nd ave)-very big portions
                    Blue Ribbon Bakery-one of my favourite places in the city!
                    Fancy stuff-One if by land, Two if by sea-expensive but shockingly kid friendly for brunch
                    Kids restaurant week is this week-check back perhaps you'll get lucky and it will be extended for next week?
                    Have a great trip!