Your Guide to Family-Friendly Dining in NYC

There are few cities in the world as iconic as New York. Its mile-high skyscrapers, historic landmarks, museums, and parks are just part of the equation.

kids enjoy foods at nyc kid friendly restaurants

If you’re traveling with a family, New York’s kid-friendly options are as abundant as their long list of attractions.

Read on to discover the best kid-friendly restaurants in NYC that’ll satisfy young and sophisticated palates alike.

Alice’s Tea Cup

102 W 73rd St, New York, NY 10023
Phone: 212-799-3006
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Located in Lincoln Square, one block from the west entrance of Central Park, Alice’s Tea Cup brings the tea party in Alice in Wonderland to life.

You and your little ones can choose the tea party of your choice, selecting from a large assortment of teas, baked treats, and finger sandwiches.

They also have plenty of salads, sandwiches, and snacks you can order a la carte. I went with a friend and ordered the Mad Hatter tea party for two with lemon tarts, assorted cookies, tea sandwiches, and scones.

Junior’s Restaurant & Bakery

Multiple locations
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Junior’s is a historic New York City diner that every New Yorker frequents for their perfect New York cheesecakes.

With locations in Times Square, Brooklyn, and Midtown, Junior’s is a fun, kitschy, and lively diner with friendly service and classic diner favorites for over 70 years.

Whether you want a deli sandwich, a burger, or matzoh ball soup, you’ll get heaping portions of it. Whatever you decide to order, I recommend finishing on a high note with a slice of strawberry cheesecake with a graham cracker crust. 

Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

513 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Phone: 718-522-6260
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Located in Carroll Gardens Brooklyn, Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain is a period piece of a restaurant, transporting customers to New York in the 50s.

The beautifully restored tiled floors, wood-paneled walls, carved ceilings, and classic vinyl bar stools make the experience even more authentic.

They’re an ice cream and milkshake restaurant with every kind of sundae, handspun milkshake, and dipped cone variation imaginable, all served in a classic soda fountain glass.

I loved their peanut butter cup sundae with coffee ice cream, peanut cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream.

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Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

604 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Phone: 347-429-7030
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Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is proof that you can get great barbeque in a rowdy roadhouse environment north of the Mason-Dixon line.

Located in Harlem overlooking West Harlem Piers, Dinosaur Barbeque is a casual and inviting barbecue joint with a pet-friendly outdoor patio.

They serve Southern specialties like deviled eggs and fried green tomatoes for appetizers. I recommend getting a combo plate to sample a variety of smoked meats. I loved their Tres Ninos plate with brisket, pork ribs, and pulled pork.

American Girl Place New York

75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019
Phone: 877-247-5223
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American Girl Place New York is a toy store and doll-inspired tea party restaurant for mothers and their daughters.

Located a block from Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, and St. Patricks Cathedral, American Girl Place offers a fancy and dainty atmosphere to enjoy Shirley temples and finger foods.


47 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-581-0930
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Another Midtown destination, Benihana is a beloved national chain for Japanese Teppanyaki theatrics that originated in New York in the 1960s.

Each table at Benihana is a veritable culinary stage where you watch the skilled chef grill your meat and veggies tableside

They have a massive menu of cold and hot appetizers traditional in Japan, but their signature dish is the Hibachi chicken and rice with grilled chicken, rice, egg, and chopped veggies. I like the spicy chicken and rice hibachi with added chilies.

Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer

529 Broome St, New York, NY 10013
Phone: 917-639-3089
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With locations in Midtown, SOHO, and NOMAD, Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer is a hip, modern take on a 50s luncheonette.

They have a robust beer selection and over-the-top burgers, but they’re famous nationwide for their milkshakes.

Celebrity Chef Rachael Ray, The New York Post, and Buzzfeed all praise Black Tap’s extravagant milkshakes whose presentation is a favorite Instagram centerpiece.

I’m a chocolate fan, so I went for the Brooklyn Blackout shake topped with brownies, whipped cream, and chocolate drizzle.


519 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014
Phone: 212-633-1133
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Cowgirl is a Texas-themed restaurant with old-school wild-west décor, serving the West Village since 1989.

The country-style furniture with red and white checkered tablecloths along with Texas-style hospitality has made Cowgirl a beloved spot for margaritas and family meals alike.

Timeout voted Cowgirl one of the best NYC spots for family brunches and kid-friendly menus. I went for their weekend brunch and ordered a frozen margarita with my huevos rancheros.

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Ellen’s Stardust Diner

1650 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-956-5151
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Owned by Queen’s native and Miss Subway winner Ellen Hart Sturm, Ellen’s Stardust Diner is a 50s-style diner with a musical theme.

Waiters jump up on tables to serenade the customers, creating one of the most iconic diner atmospheres in NYC.

Ellen’s Stardust Diner opened in 1987 in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, between Times Square and Central Park.

Thirty-five years later, it’s still a memorable destination. In true diner fashion, breakfast is served all day. I recommend their corned beef hash with two fried eggs on top. 

Harlem Shake

100 W 124th St, New York, NY 10027
Phone: 212-222-8300
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Named for the historic neighborhood in which it lies, Harlem Shake is a hip, Harlem-inspired fast-casual diner.

They serve classic luncheonette food like burgers, fries, and shakes. They are a black, brown, and white-owned restaurant with an emphasis on Black and Brown culture.

Their comforting, old-school menu features burgers, buttermilk fried chicken, shakes, hot dogs, fries, and draught beer. I loved their Jerk Burger with Jerk mayo and Jerk fries in the sandwich.

Nom Wah Tea Parlor

13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013
Phone: 212-962-6047
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The most historic restaurant on the list, Nom Wah Tea Parlor opened its doors in 1920 as NYC’s first Chinese tea house and dim-sum restaurant. The restaurant has changed hands over time, but always to Chinese families and longtime employees.

Located in Chinatown, Nom Wah Tea Parlor has been an iconic destination for authentic Chinese food for over a century, appearing in countless New York City movies and series.

The dim sum comes in dozens of forms, from shumai to pan-fried dumplings. My favorite was the fried shrimp with bean curd skin.

Pig Beach BBQ Queens

35-37 36th St, Queens, NY 11106
Phone: 718-362-6111
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Located in Long Island City, Queens, Pig Beach BBQ is a giant BBQ joint with a large outdoor patio filled with wooden picnic tables, making it an especially popular destination for summer and spring visits.

Their award-winning barbecue has won countless cookoffs in New York state and beyond. I loved their novel takes on classic southern fare, like purple coleslaw with smoked jalapeno and pineapple or Yankee sausage, stuffed with provolone and cherry peppers.

Serendipity 3

225 E 60th St, New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212-838-3531
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Serendipity 3 is a whimsical ice cream parlor on the Upper Eastside, adorned with dozens of blown glass chandeliers, pastel-colored marble tables, and cheerful murals.

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Serendipity 3 is yet another iconic destination featured in dozens of movies. It’s a favorite spot for children and adults who want to feel like children again.

Their signature dish is the frozen hot chocolate of which there are a dozen flavors. Still, I recommend one of their incredible sundaes, like the Strawberry Fields with cheesecake, strawberry ice cream, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream.

Shake Shack

Multiple locations
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With over a dozen locations around NYC including Time Square and Grand Central Station, Shake Shack is a no-frills, counter-service American comfort food restaurant.

They specialize in burgers, fries, fried chicken, hot dogs, frozen custard, and shakes. Shake Shack is the modern version of a 50s burger stand, with a clean, hip interior.

They have simple burgers and crinkle-cut fries for the kids as well as sophisticated burgers and shakes for adults. I loved their chocolate churro shake with cinnamon churro frozen custard and dark chocolate sauce.

Los Tacos No. 1

Multiple locations
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Los Tacos No. 1 is a counter-service Mexican taquería with locations in NOHO, Tribeca, Times Square, Chelsea Market, and Grand Central.

Los Tacos No. 1 was born of a collaboration between three close friends from Mexico and California that wanted to supply New York with the authentic Mexican tacos they ate growing up.

Their simple, authentic menu has all the Mexican favorites, from carne asada to adobada marinated pork.

My favorite tacos are carne asada tacos on fresh corn tortillas with chopped onions, cilantro, guacamole, and salsa.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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