Restaurants Near the American Museum of Natural History and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
[UPDATED: October 15, 2012]
This week we'll wrap up our series of posts focusing on the Upper West Side, so we figured we'd give you something to chew on: family-friendly restaurants near two of the neighborhood's most popular family attractions, the American Museum of Natural History and the Children's Museum of Manhattan.
Like almost everything else on the UWS, the area's restaurants are overwhelmingly kid-friendly. There are lots of eateries where families can dine, whether you're looking for a sit-down place to enjoy a full meal or a spot where you can grab a quick casual bite.
We've rounded up 12 restaurants near CMOM (83rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue) and AMNH (79th Street and Central Park West). For additional family-friendly eating options in the area, check out our post about the best burgers on the Upper West Side.
Sadly this restaurant closed in January 2014 after more than 30 years of business.
This unpretentious spot is famous for its namesake treat: a puffy, egg-rich batter-baked hollow bread, served warm with strawberry butter at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The rest of the comfort-food offerings include freshly made soups, burgers, sandwiches and pasta. There is a children's menu, but most kids will be able to find something to satisfy in the adult options. Comfy booths dominate, and though the cafe has ceased lending young diners teddy bears to cuddle, it's still a great spot for families.
Good Enough to Eat
520 Columbus Avenue at 85th Street
Although this popular eatery had to move from its longtime Amsterdam Avenue location in early 2013, it's still as popular as ever, especially for brunch. Instead, go for lunch or dinner, when things tend to quiet down. The decor evokes a Vermont farmhouse, and the kids' menu offers mini burgers, macaroni and cheese, pasta and pizza. The homemade desserts are uniformly delicious, and include American classics like pie, fruit crisp and layer cakes. The staff here really goes out of their way to please families.
2290 Broadway at 83rd Street
While most kids won't touch kishka or gefilte fish with a 10-foot pole, Artie's is packed with families chowing down on hot dogs, burgers, potato pancakes and rotisserie chicken. This retro spot offers an authentic New York deli experience, complete with Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda and brusque waitresses who call everyone "honey." Consider coming for the excellent breakfast before you head to nearby CMOM.
201 West 83rd Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway
Located right across the street from CMOM, this crowded cafe serves sweet snacks for kids and a shot of caffeine for parents. In addition to yummy cakes, pies and cookies, there are also light meal options like grilled sandwiches and salads. Due to its small size, flight of steps and lack of high chairs, it's not a great place for the toddler crowd. However, Lalo offers brisk take-out so it's a good spot to grab a to-go snack. The arty atmosphere, which includes jazz and classical music in the background, may look adult, but the staff welcomes families.
476 Amsterdam Avenue at 83rd Street
Named after a seeing-eye dog, this beloved neighborhood spot is just around the corner from CMOM. A few years back, actress and mommy blogger Amy Wilson wrote a guest post for Mommy Poppins with "insider" UWS info, and she highlighted this restaurant and bar, which welcomes kids, even cranky ones. A perfect spot for dinner, parents can sip on wine or beer while children color, then everyone can enjoy salads, finger foods and burgers.
460 Amsterdam Avenue at 82nd Street
This comfy vegan eatery is a great choice for a healthy snack or meal, especially if your family is looking for tasty gluten-free or non-meat options. There are lots of kid-appropriate choices, including delectable baked goods like brownies and chocolate chip cookies with no refined sugar, dairy or eggs, and a variety of smoothies. For more substantial fare, try the nachos, panini, pizza or salads.
432 Columbus Avenue at 81st Street
The restaurant's signature deep-dish Chicago-style pizza and its proximity to AMNH keeps it packed with families. The large kids' menu includes a make-your-own pizza option, where children get an apron, dough and toppings, and then go to work. Pasta, chicken nuggets and burgers are also available. This place is big, so you usually don't have to wait too long for a table.
2165 Broadway between 76th and 77th Streets
You don’t have to fly to Europe to enjoy authentic gelato. My kids and I have eaten at the original branch in Torino, Italy, and I can say that the Upper West Side experience is identical. Grom makes gelato and sorbet according to age-old, time-tested methods, using only seasonal ingredients. In colder weather, the shop sells addictive and rich hot chocolate. Of course authentic Italian flavor does not come cheap: Expect to pay $5 or more for a single cone. You can get two flavors in a single, if you want to share.
325 Amsterdam Avenue between 75th and 76th Streets
This frozen yogurt chain opened its UWS location last spring, and it quickly became a popular after-school snack spot. There are 16 flavors and tons of toppings to choose from. Best of all: You customize your scoop yourself at the bar. The entire yogurt, toppings and all, is weighed, and you are charged per ounce, so everyone gets a treat that suits their appetite.
Fairway Market Upper West Side Cafe
2127 Broadway at 74th Street
Located on the second floor of this bustling market (there's an elevator if you have a stroller), this cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu offers uncomplicated flavors that utilize fresh ingredients. While there is no kids' menu, pizza, burgers, chicken soup and grilled cheese are all available, as well as a fine steak and a large selection of desserts.
Alice's Tea Cup
102 West 73rd Street near Columbus Avenue
The UWS outpost of this beloved Alice in Wonderland-themed mini-chain features lovely Lewis Carroll-inspired murals. Before you're seated, the staff sprinkles your kids with fairy dust and offers them fairy wings (although they're on lend, you can opt to buy a pair). The spot specializes in a British-style tea of scones, clotted cream and jam, but also serves savory sandwiches and salads, perfect for a light meal. For kids, there are the Menu for the Small and The Wee Tee, which includes a scone, kids' menu item, dessert and a beverage for $20. Service is leisurely, so don’t expect to be in and out. Also, it's best to make a reservation as the place is often packed.
2090 Broadway at 72nd Street
Snappy hot dogs and an array of tropical fruit juices keep this take-out place packed. Its "Recession Special"—two dogs and a drink—costs about $5. Waiting for your grub is a quintessential New York experience. As you watch the franks sizzle on the grill, you rub shoulders with a veritable cross-section of the world, everyone from panhandlers to the rich and famous. Warning: Hot dogs are pretty much the only option here so if your brood doesn't like 'em, skip it. The line often spills out onto Broadway and there is no seating, just counter space, so get your meal to go and eat in Verdi Square across the street.