No Manhattan neighborhood screams kid-friendly quite like the Upper West Side. 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.
So, while you really can't go wrong, we've rounded up 12 of the best spots near two of our favorite kid-centric destinations: CMOM (83rd Street and between Amsterdam and Broadway) and AMNH (79th Street and Central Park West). For additional family-friendly options, check out our post about the best burgers on the Upper West Side.
Good Enough to Eat
520 Columbus Avenue at 85th Street
Beware: Even after moving from its Amsterdam Avenue location in early 2013, Good Enough to Eat is still as popular as ever, especially for brunch. Opt instead to 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 its 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 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 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 toddlers. However, Lalo offers brisk take-out so it's a good spot to grab a to-go snack. The artsy 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 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 a panini, pizza or salad.
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.
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.
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. 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.
505 Columbus Avenue between 84th and 85th Streets
The homey, Greek cuisine at this spot will warm your soul and the price point will be easy on your wallet. The tsoutsoukakia have been voted the best meatball by New York Mag and just might be familiar enough to make your finicky toddler an adventurous eater. The portions are generous, as is the dining area, meaning you won't wait long or leave hungry. A definite plus after an afternoon of museum hopping.
And for dessert...
325 Amsterdam Avenue between 75th and 76th Streets
The UWS outpost of this frozen yogurt chain is 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.
452 Amsterdam Avenue between 81st and 82nd Streets
If rice krispy treats are your thing—and why wouldn't they be?—Treat House is the place for you. This spot handcrafts beautiful, tasty, bite-sized rice krispy confections in inventive flavors such as birthday cake, bubble gum, chocolate pretzel, cookies and cream, and more. Adding to the sweetness of these treats, however, is the back story about how the company came to be and how it "treats it forward" today.
221 West 79th Street at Broadway
For a sweet, interactive dessert experience head to this chocolate shop where you can pick up a treat to-go at the counter, or craft your own using Voila's artisanal chocolates and yummy mix-ins to create a sweet ending to a family outing.
Read more about eating with kids in New York City or check out all of our posts about the Upper West Side.
This post was originally published in November 2011.