10 Family-Friendly Restaurants in New York City Close to All the Tourist Attractions

New York City's top family-friendly restaurants offer a smorgasbord of edible delights.
Aerial view of Manhattan and Central Park in New York City (Photo: Shutterstock)
Aerial view of Manhattan and Central Park in New York City (Photo: Shutterstock)

From burgers in Harlem to Dominican food in Washington Heights, the Big Apple is culinary catnip for food lovers and picky eaters alike. And whether your family is adventurous or finicky, the best family-friendly restaurants in NYC offer up tasty treats to fit any budget.

Best Restaurants in New York City for Families

As both a New York resident and an experienced family traveler, I’m constantly on the lookout for family-friendly restaurants in New York City. Having a plan for where you’re going to eat is key to keeping kids happy on vacation. Knowing where those restaurants are in relation to the city’s top tourist attractions is big, too. Kids can’t get hangry when good food is just a short walk away. So whether your pockets are deep or you’re on a tight vacation budget, here’s where to eat with kids in New York City.

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1. Lindens (SoHo)

2 Renwick Street, New York, NY 10013

Lindens restaurant in New York's SoHo neighborhood (Photo: Lindens)
The menu at Lindens is modern American with numerous vegetarian options (Photo: Lindens)

Parents who refuse to give up chic atmosphere just because they’re dining with kids will hit the jackpot at Lindens. The décor is cool enough for hipsters yet comfortable enough for those who still wear diapers. High chairs and space for a stroller mesh with industrial-style ceilings and a centerpiece bar serving craft cocktails. 

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The menu is modern American with numerous vegetarian options. Kids should enjoy house-made sodas, Parker house rolls as fluffy as feathers, and pasta tossed with fresh tomato sauce. The uncomplicated main dishes, such as roast chicken and striped bass, are delish. 

Price point: Moderate to expensive.

What’s nearby: Walk to the New York City Fire Museum and the Museum of Ice Cream.

2. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele (West Village)

81 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele in NYC's West Village (Photo: Rossella Pisano)
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele in NYC’s West Village is authentic Italian pizza at its best (Photo: Rossella Pisano)

Kids and pizza go together like milk and cookies, and L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is the West Village outpost of the famous pizzeria of the same name in Naples, Italy. You’d need to cross the Atlantic to eat more authentic pizza. 

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Kids will get a kick out of watching the pizzaiolo toss the dough before adding the toppings and cooking it in the blistering oven. Prepare your bambini to be made a fuss over by the friendly Italian owners and staff.

Price point: Moderate.

What’s nearby: The cobblestone streets of the West Village are some of NYC’s most scenic. It’s a 10-minute walk to the High Line, an elevated rail line that has been transformed into a linear public park. 

3. Teranga (Midtown East)

601 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10022

Teranga restaurant in New York City (Photo: Teranga)
Teranga’s cuisine is inspired by West African home cooking (Photo: Teranga)

Inspired by West African home cooking, Teranga highlights nutrient-dense crops that have been cultivated in Africa for centuries. Co-founder and Executive Chef Pierre Thiam’s creations include kid-friendly bowls with a base of the ancient grain fonio topped with simple grilled chicken or salmon. The restaurant’s fresh hibiscus juice is thirst-quenching. 

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Teranga is located inside The Hugh, a food hall with more than a dozen concepts under one roof, with something to satisfy even the most discerning little eater. There’s also a branch of Teranga in Harlem, open on weekends only. 

Price point: Inexpensive to moderate.

What’s nearby: From the Hugh, it’s just a 10-minute walk to NYC’s Museum of Modern Art.

4. Harlem Shake (Harlem)

100 W. 124th Street, New York, NY 10027

Harlem Shake restaurant in New York City (Photo: Harlem Shake)
Harlem Shake puts a modern spin on the classic diner experience in New York City (Photo: Harlem Shake)

Soda shops and diners have been a part of Harlem’s culinary landscape for generations, and Harlem Shake‘s modern take on those old classics easily makes it one of the most fun restaurants in New York City for families. The soda shop setting is a cool backdrop on its own, but the restaurant’s burgers (made with a custom blend of Pat La Frieda beef) pair to perfection with its thick milkshakes.

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The straightforward children’s menu features mini burgers, grilled cheese, and chicken tenders. A collection of vintage Jet Magazine covers and headshots of illustrious patrons are nice finishing touches on the atmosphere.

Price point: Inexpensive.

What’s nearby: The historic Apollo Theater is a five-minute walk. Time your meal with the Apollo’s Amateur Night and you may witness tomorrow’s next big star taking the stage.

5. Gordon Ramsay Fish and Chips (Times Square)

1500 Broadway, Suite 105, New York, NY 10036

Fried seafood at Gordon Ramsey Fish and Chips in Times Square (Photo: Gordon Ramsey Fish and Chips)
Fried seafood is the name of the game at Gordon Ramsay Fish and Chips in Times Square (Photo: Gordon Ramsay Fish and Chips)

A budget-friendly restaurant from a Michelin-starred chef in the heart of Times Square? Say hello to Gordon Ramsay Fish and Chips, a fast-casual eatery that will transport you to the English seaside. The star of the show is fried cod served with French fries. It joins kid-favorites like chicken tenders, shakes, and fresh lemonade. The helpful staff lets families know about the off-the-menu kid’s meal, offering a choice of fried fish, shrimp, or chicken, served with chips, dipping sauce, and a drink for a special price. 

Price point: Inexpensive.

What’s nearby: In the heart of the Theater District, Gordon Ramsay Fish and Chips is one of the best family-friendly restaurants in NYC for a quick meal before or after a Broadway show. 

6. Peachy Keen (Theater District)

325 W 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

Sundae at Peachy Keen in NYC's Theater District (Photo: Peachy Keen)
Head to Peachy Keen in NYC’s Theater District for milkshakes, sundaes, and comfort food (Photo: Peachy Keen)

With a color palette heavy on the bright orange and hot pink, Soul Train footage playing on multiple screens, and a disco soundtrack, the vibe at Peachy Keen is a groovy 1970s immersion. Comfort food like fried chicken and pork chops with peach glaze is the rule here, while scrumptious milkshakes and soft serve ice cream with sprinkles complete the nostalgic experience.

Price point: Moderate.

What’s nearby: Proximity to Broadway theaters makes Peachy Keen an excellent choice before or after a show. It’s also just a 15-minute walk to the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise dock, a breathtaking way to view NYC from the water.

7. Queens Night Market (Flushing Meadows Corona Park)

Grand Central Parkway and Van Wyck Expressway, Queens, NY 11354

Queens Night Market (Photo: Sharon Medina)
Queens Night Market is a delightful destination for foodie families (Photo: Sharon Medina)

For foodie families, visiting NYC without tasting the eclectic offerings in the borough of Queens would be a culinary crime. Modeled after the open-air night markets of Asia, the seasonal Queens Night Market is held every Saturday (April to October) starting at a bedtime-friendly 5:00 p.m. Showcasing the ethnic and cultural diversity of the borough, it’s home to mouth-watering morsels from some 100 stalls selling Haitian, Bangladeshi, Burmese, Jamaican, and other international cuisines. Live entertainment is the cherry on top. 

Price point: Inexpensive.

What’s nearby: The New York Hall of Science, an immersive hands-on science museum, is right there.

8. Tavern on the Green (Upper West Side)

67th Street and Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

Tavern on the Green front entrance (Photo: Paolo Verzani)
Tavern on the Green is one of the best family-friendly restaurants in NYC for celebrating a special occasion (Photo: Paolo Verzani)

Located right on the fringes of Central Park, Tavern on the Green is an urban oasis that looks as if it were lifted from a fairytale. Immersed in greenery, it’s the perfect family-friendly restaurant in New York City for a celebration.

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It’s not cheap, though the children’s menu is fairly priced and packed with kid faves like sliders and mac and cheese. Many come here for the setting alone, but food is surprisingly good, leaning towards classics such as organic salmon and plump ravioli. Leave room for the decadent desserts. With stellar service, prepare the kids to be spoiled like little royals. 

Price point: Expensive.

What’s nearby: Lincoln Center is a five-minute walk. Central Park’s carousel and ice-skating rink are each a 10-minute walk. 

9. Jalao NYC (Washington Heights)

2420 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10033

Courtyard of Jalao in New York City (Photo: Jalao NYC)
Jalao NYC’s vibe is that of a tropical oasis in New York City (Photo: Jalao NYC)

Brightly colored murals, carnival masks, and floral prints give Jalao NYC the air of a tropical oasis. This family-friendly NYC restaurant celebrates the Dominican kitchen, a cuisine that’s a hodgepodge of African, Spanish, and Taíno influences. The food is flavorful but not necessarily spicy. Little ones should enjoy guacamole served with house-made plantain chips, golden croquettes, and juicy roast chicken. More sophisticated palates shouldn’t miss the mofongo and ceviche marinated in passion fruit juice. Live music and dancing in the courtyard up the festivity factor.

Price point: Moderate.

What’s nearby: From Jalao NYC it’s a 20-minute walk to The Cloisters, with its glorious gardens and collection of Medieval tapestries featuring unicorns.

10. Isle of Us (Upper East Side)

1481 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10028

Isle of Us restaurant in New York's Upper East Side (Photo: Isle of Us)
Isle of Us is a local favorite in in New York’s residential Upper East Side (Photo: Isle of Us)

The Upper East Side is a residential neighborhood where you’ll find Isle of Us, a café and marketplace that caters to local families. Chef Matt Aita makes made-to-order and prepared foods from quality ingredients, with everything from healthy wraps, salads, sandwiches, and bowls joining hard-to-resist cakes and cookies. Kids should enjoy the “Greens, Eggs, and Jam Sandwich” and flavorful turkey meatballs. If the weather cooperates, select grab-and-go items and head to Central Park for a picnic. 

Price point: Inexpensive to moderate.

What’s nearby: It’s a 10-minute walk to the Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s fabulous Egyptian art collection and Central Park.

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Allison Tibaldi
Allison Tibaldi has written for publications including CNN, Business Insider, FamilyVacationist, HGTV, USA TODAY, and Travel Weekly. As a former early childhood educator, she is interested in the way kids experience the world, and thinks that travel is the best education for young minds. Tibaldi is based in New York City.