Ex NYer in town for a night with 8 month old, need a great meal
I'm surprised you think Seattle is a "culinary wasteland" since (though we have not been there) our friend uhockey is currently posting on the Seattle board about all the places he dined at there, and it sure sounds pretty good to me.
Also, there is not one restaurant in NYC that requires a tie. (The lone holdout, the 21 Club, finally ditched it in 2010.)
Do you plan on taking your baby with you? Or will be be leaving him/her with sitter? That will make a huge difference as to where you end up since, in my view, there are restaurants where bringing a baby along is inappropriate.
You also need to help narrow down the endless choices by providing the following info: Dinner or Lunch? Cuisine preferences? Any avoids? Casual or fancy? Any particular neighborhood? And, most important, give us your per person budget for *food only*.
The sheer variety of restaurants in Manhattan makes it very difficult to answer your question without any sort of direction or guidance. I can't give you my top 5 without knowing a little more about what you're looking for.
As RGR mentions "No ties required" eliminates...zero restaurants from the running. There are still some restaurants where jackets are required.
Price and ability to get a reservation are usually factors--when is your trip? Day of the week? Many fine dining restaurants are closed Sundays. Many don't serve lunch on the weekends, but have great prix fixe deals during the week. Etc.
Your post title is ambiguous. We can't tell if you are asking for baby appropriate restaurants or not.
Are you looking for "Top five, price is no object, I'm planning 3 months in advance and can probably get a reservation anywhere, party of 2, not wearing a tie but still bringing a nice jacket, not bringing the baby"?
You might like:
Here are a few new places on my must-try list:
La Promenade des Anglais
50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002
9 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012
283 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10023
88 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011
43 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010
200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010
230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014
2 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013
75 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011
105 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003
113 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016
La Promenade des Anglais
461 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011
19 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014
Jungsik - I gushed about it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/815513
The Modern Dining Room and Bar Room
15 East - I was recently bowled over by the exquisite sushi I had there. Fooder, who was one of my dining companions for that meal, wrote about our experience here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/829717
15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003
9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019
163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003
2 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013
Whoa!! Relax Pork. My first thought was: With baby or not?
RGR and kathryn (NY Icons) were doing their best to be helpful.
If you've got a sitter for the infant and you are not on a budget just surf the plentitude of posts for "Best" _______
If you are dining with child I think it rules out most top tier restaurants but you could certainly ask when you make a reservation.
Otherwise, there are many fabulous places on 9th Ave that are baby friendly. Eatery, Pam Real Thai and the Yum Yum Thai places have great food and love children. Katz's for the best pastrami sammich of your life!!
And, yes, we do take food "too" seriously! Years of therapy and I am still not cured.
798 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Pam Real Thai
404 W 49th St, New York, NY 10019
Yum Yum Bangkok
650 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036
Yum Yum 3
658 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036
Yum Yum Too
662 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036
Even if the OP doesn't want this board's help anymore, I'd like to piggy back and ask everyone what their favorite restaurants are to take the 8 month old along.
I have a ten month old who has dined at some higher end places in Brooklyn, but I would have no idea how that would translate in Manhattan establishments.
Let's say price is no object. We would be eating early to not offend most diners. (i.e., get there before 6pm). Let's try to stay out of midtown, UWS, or UES (to at least make this challenging ;) )
It's been my experience that most restaurants are understanding of kids during those unofficial "family hours" - i.e. like you said, early rezzies before 6PM. I don't have a ton of experience with kids (don't have any) but I've dined with them a couple times. I can say Aquavit was very accomodating, they brought out a nice (Swedish-designed, of course) high chair for my two year old nephew when he was last in town, and made him a plate of Swedish meatballs to nosh on (I don't think he'd have gone for the juniper-smoked sweetbreads so much...)
Also, Landmarc is known for being a "family" place - the food might not be terribly adventurous, but it's good for what it is.
But really, ask any high-end place. They might put you at the table nearest the door, in case there's one of those unexpected crying fits that even the most well-behaved children tend to have, and the kid needs to be taken outside for a bit. But if they have high chairs, they're cool with it.
65 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022
179 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019
I have a newborn who needs to be picked up and bounced occasionally. I'm not sure how that translates to a more mobile 8 or 10 month old, but so far we've had luck during early dinner hours at casual-ish establishments, including Kanoyama and Ofrenda. Neither really has room for strollers. Early evening on a weekday, they might have room for a carrier in an extra seat, but call ahead to ask. I "wore" my baby at both places. (The 10 month old is too big for that, I'm guessing.) Neither place has room for emergency diaper changes.
On another thread, someone suggested Morandi, a likable Italian restaurant in the West Village. Based on my experiences there with a dog and very picky eaters, many of the staff do seem incredibly nice and accommodating in general. I've never been to the bathroom, there, so I don't know whether you could swing a diaper change.
I've seen a number of diners with children from infants on up at Maialino. I didn't notice whether smaller children were in high chairs or carriers. The bathrooms in the adjoining hotel, where diners are sent, are large enough that a diaper change would be doable, I think. Maialino is business casual and less casual than the other places I mentioned. Food leans salty, but it's very good.
211 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014
2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010