Best New York Restaurants for Kids

It’s true, I love to eat. In fact, my whole family loves to eat and we always try to include dining at new restaurants, and sampling different types of food, wherever we visit. There is just something inherently fun about gathering the family and enjoying good food and good conversation. It gives everyone a chance to relax, reconnect and rehash all the excitement you are experiencing on your vacation…and it gives you a little break from all that walking, too!

As I’m sure you can imagine, New York City offers a smorgasbord of places to eat and sometimes trying to decipher which are the best New York restaurants for families — those that are fun for both grown-ups and kids — can take a good amount of investigating. But don’t worry, I’m here to help!

Listed here are five places, some that are full-service restaurants and others that are wonderful spots for grabbing a sweet treat, that my family and I really enjoyed during our last trip to New York City…and I think your clan will like them, too.

Ellen’s Stardust Diner
I’m sure many of you have heard of this iconic, retro 1950’s themed restaurant. Ellen’s Stardust Diner is located in Times Square on the corner of Broadway and 51st and is well-known for hiring Broadway hopefuls and up-and-comers. But just in case you haven’t, let me tell you.

First of all, not just anyone gets to work here, only those who are extremely good singers are even considered for a position at this place. While the taste and the variety of food here is good, the free entertainment you will receive while eating is a great New York City experience that you and your family shouldn’t miss.

This family-friendly establishment offers everything from burgers, fries and milkshakes to meatloaf, mashed potatoes and huge slices of dessert, and you get to enjoy them all while being serenaded by some of the very best, live, Broadway musical entertainment in the city…and it’s awesome! I suggest you call ahead to make a reservation, if possible, because oftentimes the line to get in, even with a reservation, can wrap clear around the block.

Best New York Restaurants for Kids - Ellen's Stardust Diner!
A member of the waitstaff singing his heart out at Ellen’s Stardust Diner!

Peanut Butter & Co. Sandwich Shop
While I am completely aware that quite a few children have nut allergies these days, I am still going to tell you about this fab place because, there are still many others who enjoy peanut butter immensely and can’t imagine life without it. (I may or may not be referring to my 12 year-old daughter who has brought a peanut butter sandwich to school EVERYDAY since kindergarten.)

Located at 240 Sullivan Street, between Bleecker & West 3rd the Peanut Butter & Co. Sandwich Shop is a peanut butter lovers paradise! While they offer a few standard lunchtime favorites, like a Fluffernutter® and Ants on a Log, they also have a nice variety of other crazy peanut butter sandwich concoctions, like the Peanut Butter BLT and The Heat Is On® Sandwich, which includes spicy peanut butter, chilled grilled-chicken and pineapple jam, that will have your taste buds going wild. They even offer a few other options like grilled cheese or turkey sandwich for those of you who aren’t nuts about peanut butter. Don’t forget to save a little room for dessert because the Wafflewich® Sundae is amazing!

All Around China Town
No, this isn’t the name of a restaurant but rather an area of New York City that is often overlooked when it comes to delicious, reasonably priced, family-friendly cuisine. The streets in this area of town are lined with some of the very best Chinese, Taiwanese and Vietnamese restaurants and noodle houses you will find anywhere in the U.S.

You can expect to find cooked-to-perfection, crispy, roasted duck, fantastic dim sum, huge and flavorful pho noodle bowls, delectable banh mi sandwiches, a wide variety of delicious ethnic desserts and much, much more. Although many of the restaurants in this area are named with Chinese characters and the locals don’t speak fluent English, they are still extremely kind and helpful and really love to make children the center of attention at the table. Trust me, try something new, you will be doing both you and your family a scrumptious food-favor!

Doughnut Plant
Oh my! If you like doughnuts, search no further. Doughnut Plant doughnuts are deliciously fresh and handmade everyday without the use of eggs, preservatives or anything artificial, even the stuffed-inside jams and fillings…and they are magnificent.

They have a multitude of flavors to choose from, like chocolate hazelnut, green tea, coconut cream, peanut butter and strawberry jam, carrot cake, crème brûlée, and many more, and honestly, they are the very best doughnuts we’ve ever eaten. While they do have the traditional round doughnuts, which are heavenly, they are also famous for their decadent filled square doughnuts, too.

We visited the location on W 23rd Street in Chelsea. Although it was small, it was filled with an incredible assortment of doughnuts, decorated with doughnut decor, and had a crazy disco bathroom, which made for a very fun atmosphere. This is a must-eat restaurant when in New York City, for sure.

Best New York restaurants for kids - Doughnut Plant
If your family likes sweets, Doughnut Plant is one of the best New York restaurants for kids!

Momofuku Milk Bar
On a tip from my cousin, who grew up in Long Island, we headed to Momofuku Milk Bar, in the dead of NYC winter, for some must have ice cream and cookies. Ice cream when it’s snowing? Yes, it’s that good.

Here you will find coffee, cakes, pies, and cookies that include crazy concoctions like blueberry & cream, cornflake marshmallow and their famous compost cookie®. They also offer several flavors of soft serve ice cream, but I must admit my family and I have only tried the one they are famous for, cereal milk™. I know it sounds strange but this actually tastes like someone took the milk that’s left in the bottom of the bowl after finishing your cereal and made ice cream out of it, and it’s downright delicious. In fact, so much so that although we have visited Momofuku Milk Bar in Midtown on several occasions, and over several different visits to NYC, we have never even cared to taste a different flavor. None of us, ever, because we think it’s that good. You can even get it rolled in crushed cornflakes too. Do yourself a favor, give it a try. Not only is it delicious, it’s also very reasonably priced and the lines are never too long. Enjoy!

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Know Before You Go

  • Opt for walking tours instead of bus tours if you want to eliminate the issue of traffic – just make sure to pack comfortable shoes!
  • If you bring your own ice skates, Bryant Park allows you to ice skate for free in the winter.
  • The Bronx Zoo is pay-what-you-wish on Wednesdays.
  • Utilize the New York Subway to travel like a local – it’s also a great way to avoid traffic!

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Mary Ellen M. Are you interested in traveling to New York City? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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