Central Park, enter at E. 72nd St.
The fanciful American dining and beautiful pondside setting
of this Central Park sophisticate draw families for Sunday
brunches and early-evening dinners. After feasting on pan-seared
scallops or Colorado rack of lamb (and hot dogs and pastas
for the little ones), treat your kids to a gondola ride (reserve
246 Columbus Ave., near 71st St.
The décor is plain and the rooms are oddly shaped, but
pay no mind. Your kids will be fascinated by the open kitchen
at the entrance where ducks hang in Chinatown fashion and
chefs hack away at racks of spare ribs at lightning speed.
Dim sum all day long is a favorite, as well as dishes that
range from unspicy Cantonese to hot, hot, hot Szechuan. Try
the flat chow fun noodles in a variety of preparations. (I)
29 Union Square W., at 16th St.
The model-grade staff at this popular Union Square coffee
shop with Brazilian overtones won’t interest your kids,
but they’ll love the crayons, place mats with puzzles,
and kids’ menu with favorites like spaghetti and meatballs.
Go early to avoid the seriously chic crowds and try to score
some see-and-be-seen sidewalk seating where you can keep your
shades on while you sip your caipirinhas. (I–M)
Visit for bbqnyc.com
Portions are huge, table manners
are optional, and the barbecue is messy and delicious at these
Manhattan institutions. Try the oversize loaf of onion rings
with a “side” of slaw. (I–M)
174 Fifth Ave., near 22nd St.
Introduce your kids to Frankie, who rules the counter at this
super-narrow, vintage-1929 Flatiron luncheonette. Fountain
cokes and Dr. Brown’s Cel-ray soda combine with oversize
egg-and-bacon sandwiches and melt-in-your-mouth pastrami on
rye for a true New York experience. (I)
1271 Third Ave., at 73rd St.
447 Amsterdam Ave., near 81st St.
432 Sixth Ave., near 10th St.
Especially popular for brunch, these kid-friendly diners fill
bottles with juice or milk and serve pancakes better than
you could ever make yourself. All three locations offer a
kids’ menu with hot dogs, grilled cheese, PB&J, French
toast—you name it. It’s worth having to fold your
stroller for the dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. (I–M)
Épicerie Café Charbon
168 Orchard St., at Stanton St.
Like any reputable French grocery, Épicerie is stocked
with fancy foodstuffs, but the real draw is moderately priced
bistro fare like escargots, steak tartare, moules marinières,
and terrific frites that kids will love. You, on the other
hand, will love the Belgian beer list. Come early to avoid
the culture-vulture hipsters. (I–M)
F&B Güdt Food
269 W. 23rd St., near Eighth Ave.
F&B, short for Frites and Beignets, is the Arc de Triumph
of fast food. Sugar-powdered beignets arrive with a choice
of seven sauces, like caramel and berry. Hot dogs come in
22 guises including the Great Dane (with rémoulade, roasted
onions, and cucumber slices) and the Healthy Dog (a tofu frank
with hummus, diced carrots, and olives). (I)
105 Reade St., near W. Broadway
The staff is wonderfully friendly at this elegant Tribeca
seafood restaurant, where families donning lobster bibs can
munch translucent sea scallops and pick Ipswich fried clams
out of a Chinese takeout box. Kids will appreciate the barbecue