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Serendipity 3...worth it for a family for lunch/dinner?

Will be in NYC next weekend and had this place on a list of mine from a few years ago. Just wondering if anyone has been recently and if it is worth going to? Thinking of lunch or dinner so I can make a reservation and not wait in a long line since we'll have 3 kids with us.

Thanks so much!

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  1. The short answer is no.

    If the kids are small, one place where you can get them some ridiculous chocolate treats and a passable meal is Max Brenner. But for the adults, just have a hug mug of dark hot chocolate and eat elsewhere. The one on 3rd ave is right by St. Mark's Pl and some good Bahn Mi amoung other things.

    Another place that is better for all involved is Stand. Get the kids meals for the little ones and a shake if they want (Toasted Marshmallow is the best) and the adults can have drinks and even some decent food. They also have a small selection of some of the best gelato (il Laboratorio) in the city.

    2 Replies
    1. re: seal

      Agree that the short answer is "no, run!"

      Cannot agree about taking anyone to Max Brenner though. If the options were S3 and MB I would probably opt to go hungry since I wouldn't waste my money or time on either.

      Why not check out Jacque Torres instead? They also have much better quality chocolate and I believe an ice cream cart for the summer.

      1. re: windycity

        Sorry for the confusion, I realized belatedly that the longer short answer is: "no, run away!"

    2. i agree with seal. serendipity is not worth your time. too many good places in nyc to eat. let us know what, where and how much you are looking to spend. i'm sure CH can help.

      1. Thank you both! That was kind of what I though about Serendipity. A lot of hype over nothing.

        Will be in town for 3 days and need ideas for meals. WIll be staying at the Marriott Courtyard Midtown East (53rd and 3rd). Plan on doing the usual tourist spots and just looking for ideas for lunches and dinners. Pretty casual and reasonably priced (under $25 a person for dinner). Not picky eaters either. Any places you can suggest?

        Thank you again.

        1. I agree with the other posts. I've been to Serendipity 3 and it was terrible. The service was snotty and the food was mediocre. Only the price was high!

          Sorry, I don't know any good places for families with kids. I just want to steer you away from Serendipity 3!

          1. Serendipity is a tourist trap- plain and simple. Twenty years ago it was a fun, novelty, but not now. Even then, it was all about dessert, not food. Steer clear.

            If you want a fun place for sweets for your kids, you're close to Dylan's Candy Bar on 3rd Ave and 60th St. They have a website, so check it out.

            There have been a bunch of recent posts on places for lunch and dinner for families with kids.-- so a search of the site should produce plenty of results.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ann900

              Thank you all!!! Will steer clear of Serendipity for sure!

            2. It is funny you mention Serendipity because I just saw a show called "Ice Cream Paradise" on the Travel channel which featured it.

              I have never been there, but I agree that there are wayyyyyyy too many great establishments in the fine city to dine there. However, their ice cream sundaes did look pretty awesome. Maybe if you really are bent on going just stop by for one of their desserts just to say you experienced it.

              1. Not even if you paid me...

                I found the food actually pretty bad. I could make much better sandwiches at home. And the desserts were just boring. Top it off with a catty matre'd and fully neglected service, you can't get a worse experience in the city.

                1. The frozen hot chocolate is the only reason to go to Serendipity, if you ask me. If 1) you are walking by, and 2) there is no line, and 3) you are in the mood for frozen hot chocolate, then you should go.

                  1. Another vote for no way, don't waste your time. Might want to try Sweetie Pie. http://www.sweetiepierestaurant.com/

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: misnatalie

                      I'm sorry to disagree but GOD NO!! Sweetie pie is even worse that Serendipity 3!

                      Sweetie pie is pretentious...and the food was just terrible. really really terrible. i think if dessert is your thing, Max Brenner is the best bet

                      1. re: kelea

                        I only had drinks there and it seemed like a cute place but good to know about the food.

                        1. re: misnatalie

                          No problems...we had high hopes when we went and it was just terrible. My friend who is the dessert queen but by no means a snob could not wait to leave. I mean she will pretty much tolerate any quality of dessert and she foudn sweetie pie a place to never return to.

                    2. I'm going to have to dissent. I loved Serendipity when I was a kid (granted that was about 15 years ago), but I've been within the past year, and I still think it has a decent burger, is a lot of fun, and has amazing ice cream sundaes. Kids will enjoy!

                      The sundaes are enough to feed 4 and are a good deal. Coffee ice cream, caramel syrup, almonds, and extra whipped cream is the way to go!

                      1. Re. Serendipity...ugh, don't do it! Dylan's Candy Bar, as suggested above is a veritable fairlyland of sweet stuff, if that's the need to fill.

                        I don't think you mention the ages of your kids, but right across the street from Dylan's (and just up from Bloomindale's, near you) is Cabana, an attaractive Cuban place that has a really good bargain lunch menu -- all items $11-12 with soup or salad, as well as very good entree salads, cubano sandwiches, etc. Satisfying food and family-friendly.


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: City Kid

                          Your kids might also enjoy some of these Indian places...right near where you'll be staying, many have interesting buffet lunches for around $10:


                          1. re: City Kid

                            I've only been to Cabana for mojitos but they were delicious!

                          2. The frozen hot chocolate is the only thing worth enduring Serendipity for. The foot-long hot dog used to be good, but not anymore, and they long ago stopped making my favorite little ham & cheese casserole. But the FHC still rules, though it's not as big as it used to be....

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Miss Rennie

                              Since the recipe for Serendipity's frozen hot chocolate has been published many times, just about anyone who really wants it can easily make it at home for a fraction of what it would cost at the restaurant.

                              1. re: Ann900

                                Fourteen different kind of cocoa? No, I prefer having them make it for me...besides, I never trust those published recipes. They always seem to hold something back...

                                1. re: Miss Rennie

                                  Here's the recipe-straight from Serendipity- hardly 14 different kinds of cocoa. And as you can see at the very bottom, if you don't want to make it from scratch you can buy a mix from them. I've had it at the restaurant, the version from this recipe and a version made from their mix and frankly, they all taste just about the same.

                                  6 pieces (1/2-ounce) chocolate , a variety of your favorites
                                  2 teaspoons store-bought hot chocolate mix
                                  1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
                                  1 1/2 cups milk
                                  3 cups ice
                                  Whipped cream
                                  Chocolate shavings
                                  Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place it in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted. Add the hot chocolate mix and sugar. Stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and slowly add ½ cup of milk until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

                                  In a blender, place the remaining cup of milk, the room-temperature chocolate mixture and the ice. Blend on high speed until smooth and the consistency of a frozen daiquiri. Pour into a giant goblet and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

                                  Get Serendipity 3's own chocolate mix at www.serendipity3.com.

                            2. No.
                              I was dragged there, kicking and screaming, last July, but it was the one place my friend's maid of honour wanted to visit when we were in NYC for a bachelorette weekend. Serendipity served the worst tourist trap meal I can remember having in New York, although the buffet at the top of the Marriott near Times Square looked like it would be a close second- I stuck with a mojito and abstained from the food...

                              If you (or any CH) does end up going to Serendipity, avoid the savoury food (especially the veggie burger), and just order the frozen hot chocolate or a sundae. Actually, the one sundae that arrived at our table looked like it probably tasted better than my frozen hot chocolate. The frozen hot chocolate is a large serving- so you might even want to split the frozen hot chocs- I certainly didn't manage to finish mine.

                              1. nope! all I can say is you should go to 40 carrots instead!

                                1. Darn - DH and I were going to go for the whole movie thing, only for FHC and Sundae. Still no?

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: itryalot

                                    Funny that you ask this after reading all these negative posts :)

                                    1. re: itryalot

                                      I will say that the FHC I had the one time I braved the place was good. But then I will say--you're thinking of going with your husband for a tribute to the movie--think about this. The only people who really brave this place anymore do so (a) because they haven't asked around here and (b) with children. My point is, unless you and your husband will have a movie-like experience from sitting in a loud restaurant that is 70% children under ten (and 25% adults at their wits' end from the wait, the service, etc.), you might want to consider saving the movie allusion experience for winter and going to Wollman rink instead.