685 Amsterdam Ave., at 93rd St.
315 Amsterdam Ave., at 75th St.
It’s a never-ending fiesta at these colorful home-style
Mexican restaurants. There’s a kids’ menu with roast
chicken and tacos, frozen margaritas for you, and a staff that
truly understands what feeding a family is all about. Come early
to avoid the lines. (I–M)
9 E. 46th St., near Madison Ave.
250 Vesey St., near West Side Hwy.
Children of all ages will be fascinated as dish after dish
of sushi cruises by on a conveyor belt. Pick the ones you
like, and pay according to how many plates you’ve selected
and the color of the plates. California rolls and edamame
are super kid-pleasers at these Manhattan outposts of one
of Japan’s largest sushi chains. (M)
Camp at Aix
2398 Broadway, near 88th St.
On the first Saturday of every month, Aix pastry
chef Jehangir Mehta teaches kids 4 to 14 how to
make molten chocolate cake and fruit tarts, then
spoils them with tastings of divine sweets like
bittersweet chocolate and guava ($40). If you want
privacy, schedule a party for $50 per kid.
780 Lexington Avenue, near 61st St.
The zebras on the red walls at this restaurant have been mesmerizing
kids since it opened 59 years ago. The menu includes non-designer
Italian items like chicken à la cacciatore, veal Marsala,
and manicotti. The pastina in brodo can beat the pants off
any chicken soup, with stars added as a bonus. Tables are
close together, so Gino is better for older kids, who will
feel very grown-up here. Cash only. (E)
Enough to Eat
483 Amsterdam Ave., near 83rd St. 212-496-0163 The Upper West
Side meets upper Vermont, where a kids’ menu written
in crayon features burger bites, chicken fingers, and mac
and cheese. They’ll give your little ones books and
crayons to keep them busy so you can focus on the exceptional
home-baked cakes and pies. (M)
1491 Second Ave., at 78th St.
An Italian diner of sorts, Googie’s serves uptown nannies,
moms, and their offspring a wide variety of dineresque goodies.
Sunday brunch is especially popular; when the weather is nice,
strollers and Times readers vie for space at crowded sidewalk
168 Ludlow St., near Stanton St.
Who knew grilled cheese could be so gourmet? The laid-back
staff at this small shop patiently waits and supplies complimentary
treats (sorbet, chips, or carrots) as customers chew over
a dizzying array of grilled-cheese specialties, ranging from
“the classic” to meat-and-vegetable combos. Sweet-potato
fries and icecream sandwiches earn major points with the kids.
221 W. 57th St., near Broadway
The Manhattan location of this chain boasts a pair of white
feathered wings worn by Fiona Apple, and the black-and-white
leather jacket that covered Michael Jackson in the classic
Pepsi ad. Don’t plan on any heart-to-hearts while you
munch hamburgers, pulled pork sandwiches, and salads: Both
the music and the patrons are pretty raucous. (I–M)
22 E. 17th St., near Broadway 212-414-2298 This Union Square
cocina offers kid-pleasing rice and beans as well as Cuban
pressed sandwiches and build-your-own paella. Many of the
Latin libations (batidas, sangria, mojitos) can be made alcohol-free
for the underaged. (I–M)
322 E. 86th St., near First Ave.
An instant Upper East Side hit, this cool spot is a great
place to introduce your kids to more sophisticated cuisine.
“Small plates” are perfect for trying lamb chops,
grilled shrimp, pasta, and even fish, cooked plain or in fabulous
preparations if your kids are more daring. Come before eight,
especially on Sunday nights, when four kids can easily share
the 50-ounce porterhouse carved tableside. (E)