Kid-Friendly Restaurants in New York City

Families visiting New York City have so many options for eating, it can be overwhelming. There's no reason to dine at a chain restaurant you can find at home when you're in New York City with so many great places that can easily accommodate children. Dim Sum and Pizza are great choices for families, but you can also try out any of these restaurants for a meal that will please parents and kids alike.

A few tips for dining out with kids in New York City:

  • Eat Early - if you dine between 5 and 7 p.m. you are far less likely to find your children disturbing kid-free diners. Quite to the contrary, you'll often find many other families enjoying the early seating alongside you.
  • Don't Expect Crayons - sure, some restaurants offer crayons or other activities, but many do not so come prepared to keep your kids occupied while you wait for your food. I often travel with a small notepad and some crayons in my purse so that I can play tic-tac-toe, hangman or boxes with my kids while we...MORE wait for our meal.​
  • Be Conscious of Noise - NYC restaurants are often small and you might be dining fairly close to your neighbors, so be courteous and aware of how loud your kids might be (and if they're playing on your phone or other electronic devices, have them wear headphones or turn the volume off/way down
  • 01 of 10
    Alice's Tea Cup
    ••• Philip Ramey Photography, LLC /Getty Images

    This Alice in Wonderland themed tea shop is a fun choice for lunch or afternoon tea with your kids -- and the scones and sandwiches are quite good too. The menu includes homemade baby food, and the afternoon teas offer generous portions of food can be shared for a small additional charge.

    They have three locations -- the original (Chapter 1) on the Upper West Side and two on the Upper East Side.

  • 02 of 10

    This family-friendly French bistro serves a reasonably priced, straightforward bistro menu that adults and children will enjoy. Its close proximity to Fifth Avenue, the MoMA and Rockefeller Center make it a great choice for visitors in the area. 

  • 03 of 10
    ••• Otto. Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue/Flickr

    Mario Batali's simple pizza joint pleases just about everyone who enters. Kids can enjoy simple pizzas and pasta, while parents can enjoy more adventurous flavors and an outstanding wine list. The atmosphere is upbeat and friendly and if you dine early you'll find yourself surrounded by local NYC families having dinner together. It's close proximity to Washington Square Park is great for visitors who might want to take a post-dinner stroll with the kids.

  • 04 of 10

     This West Village restaurant first opened in 1989 and has been serving up a taste of Texas home cooking and hospitality ever since. Sure, it's kitschy, but in a fun, unique way that makes it worth visiting. Naturally, they have a kids menu and they often have live country-western music in the evenings.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Panna II
    ••• Curtis Perry/cc/Flickr

     Just one of many Indian restaurants in a small section of the East Village near 6th Street, Panna II is a place unlike any other. The interior of the restaurant is lit entirely with Christmas lights, creating a fun, festive atmosphere (and plenty of things to look at and talk about while you wait for your food.) It's BYOB and while it might not be the best Indian food in town, it's reliably good and a very fun place to bring the kids for dinner that they won't soon forget.

  • 06 of 10

     Although the original is in Syracuse, Dinosaur BBQ locations in Harlem and Brooklyn are great options for family-friendly dining. Everyone in the family will enjoy the casual atmosphere and delicious food served up alongside a great selection of beer.

  • 07 of 10
    Serendipity 3 is famous for their desserts
    ••• Rian Castillo/Flickr

    There's a reason that this restaurant nearly always has a line out the door -- it's famous with kids and parents alike, especially for its frozen hot chocolate. Portions are large, whether it's the foot-long hotdog or the ice cream sundaes. To avoid long waits (it can be 2 hours at peak times), have dinner and dessert and reserve well in advance (you can only make a reservation if you're eating a meal, not just dessert!)

  • 08 of 10
    Shake Shack Burger & Fries
    ••• Scott Olson/Getty Images

    If you're in New York City on a beautiful day and want to enjoy some time outdoors, Shake Shack offers surprisingly delicious food at reasonable prices. The Madison Park location is my favorite: here you can have a seat at one of the many tables, or take up some space on the park's grassy lawns with your family and enjoy Chicago style hot dogs, burgers and concretes at this Madison Square Park burger stand operated by Danny Meyer. They have now expanded and have several locations, so you can experience Shake Shack year-round indoors on the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side, the Theater District, Battery Park City, and Downtown Brooklyn.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    For the family that can't agree on anything, Shopsin's is a great choice for dining. The menu at this New York legend features a ridiculously wide variety of foods -- from eggs and waffles (available all day) to graveyard stew and yin/yang bowls. Keep in mind, they won't seat parties larger than 4, even if you try to pose as 2 separate parties.

  • 10 of 10

    Yeah Shanghai Deluxe

    This Chinatown restaurant is a great choice for families -- children can enjoy their traditional favorites and parents can choose to have the more adventurous, delicious Shanghai dishes the restaurant is well-known for. Quick service and a bustling atmosphere ensure that the kids will be fed before they get bored.

    Details: 65 Bayard Street (at Mott) | 212-566-4884