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Manhattan Restaurants continued

Luke’s Bar & Grill
1394 Third Ave., near 80th St.
Families come to this friendly, neighborhoody joint to eat inexpensive pub grub indoors and out. Two large television sets provide entertainment for the kids while you dine at leisure on the likes of Cobb salad, roast chicken, or super-juicy burgers. Come on the early side, though, before the singles-oriented bar set arrives. No credit cards. (I)

Lupa Osteria Romana
170 Thompson St., near Houston St.
Weekend lunches at this Roman trattoria from the talented Batali and Bastianich team are jammed with kids eating gourmet helpings of buttered spaghetti. The down-home front room is boisterous and perfect for large families, while the quieter back room is a place to teach your kids how to eat pasta with polish. (M)

Ma Ma Buddha
578 Hudson St., at W. 11th St.
When your little ones are tired of playing in next-door Bleecker Playground, stash their strollers, scooters, and cycles in the corner at Ma Ma Buddha, where super-friendly waitresses will attend to their every food need. The kitchen can make just about anything Chinese that a kid could want. (I)

Mama Mexico
2672 Broadway, near 102nd St.
Every day is Cinco de Mayo at the colorful uptown branch of Mama Mexico, where wandering mariachis and busy wait staff create a festive and cacophonous setting. No one will hassle you about your noisy kids, so sip oversize margaritas to your heart’s content. There’s no children’s menu, but chicken, rice, and taco choices will please even the fussiest eater. (M)

Mars 2112
1633 Broadway, at 51st St.
Transport your little ones to the Red Planet at this intergalactic Times Square favorite. The food—salmon, ribs, and calamari for adults, plus typical kid fare (hamburgers and chicken fingers)—is served by waitresses who frequently converse with aliens. There are dancing Martians, an arcade, and a gift shop as well. (M)

Mary’s Fish Camp
64 Charles St., at W. 4th St.
Head to this tiny Villager for authentic Maine lobster rolls and pan-roasted brook trout. The fried clam roll and Canadian steamers are good bets as well. Portions are sized for a shipload. (M–E)

Meli Melo
110 Madison Ave., near 30th St.
Despite the distorted geography lesson your kids will get from the kooky map on the wall of this charming lower Madison café, you’ll certainly feel like you’re somewhere in Europe as you sample cuisine with Mediterranean and French influences. The staff is incredibly sweet and will guide your young ones toward dishes like garlic shrimp or mussels while you select the more sophisticated Dover sole or halibut. (M)

Mesa Grill
102 Fifth Ave., near 15th St.
Go on the weekend for a Southwestern brunch in a festive room where kids enjoy toned-down versions of star chef Bobby Flay’s chicken-and-sweet-potato hash and scrambled eggs. The din is so loud that you won’t have to wonder whether your noisy kids are bothering fellow diners. The cactus-pear margaritas and cornbread are excellent. (M–E)

Mumtaz Indian Restaurant
1493 Third Ave., at 84th St.
Avoid the neighboring kid magnets of McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme, and encourage your brood to enter this colorful, almost mystical red room, where sitar music quietly accompanies delicious north Indian food served at an unhurried pace. Skip the searing beef vindaloo or lamb masala and opt for “cooler” dishes like chicken biryani, vegetable samosas, and keema paratha (Indian bread stuffed with minced meat). (I)

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From the Fall 2004 edition of the New York Family Guide