17 Best Family-Friendly Restaurants near Times Square

Escape the crowds of Times Square for a communal meal at Gotham West Market. Photo by Daniel Krieger
Escape the crowds of Times Square for a communal meal at Gotham West Market. Photo by Daniel Krieger
1/9/24 - By Rosalind Muggeridge

Finding a family-friendly Times Square restaurant that doesn't belong in a mall might be more difficult than navigating the costumed-character-crammed sidewalks of the area with a stroller. The Applebee's and Olive Garden might leave you feeling as if you're in the 'burbs, not the crossroads of the world.

But just as there are things to do with kids in Times Square beyond the tourist attractions, there are also a variety of off-the-beaten-track, family-friendly eateries that serve tasty cuisine reflecting our melting pot of a city.

So, whether you're heading to a kid-friendly Broadway show, or exploring some other enclave in the neighborhood, here are our top picks for family-friendly restaurants in Times Square.


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Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in Times Square

1. Bareburger

Sure, it’s technically a chain now, but that’s only because its offerings are irresistible. Crayons galore combined with a casual, festive ambiance make this the perfect kid-friendly spot for a post-Broadway dinner. The kids' menu offers all the basics—burgers, hot dogs, and milk to wash it down. Order some fries or onion rings to share, and top off your meal with a milkshake. Bonus: You can splurge guilt-free—everything is organic.

RELATED: Best Restaurants near Rockefeller Center for Families

Family-friendly restaurants near Times Square: Carmine's
The lasagna at Carmine's is just like grandma used to make.

2. Carmine's

This family-style restaurant serves delicious Italian fare in an atmosphere akin to a Sunday-afternoon meal around grandma's table. How much more family-friendly can you get? Menus include enough familiar items to serve the most finicky eaters, and breaking bread together just may get your little ones to try something new.

3. Ippudo Westside

Ramen is usually a safe (and reasonably priced) bet for a quick and tasty family dinner. This outpost is within walking distance from Times Square and dishes up the same sought-after noodles as its original East Village location. Although the ramen is the star here, don't overlook the tasty appetizers, especially the delectable pork buns. Peek into the downstairs kitchen window to watch the noodles as they are made. Plan in advance: Reservations are now accepted.

4. Gotham West Market

If you’ve got a group with diverse tastes, this hip, casual food-court-style market has something to please everyone. Find seating at the long, communal tables, or grab your food and hit the road. Wash it all down with a milkshake from Creamline. Huge portions and a fun, ever-changing menu make this a kid (and parent) favorite across the board—but keep in mind, it does get busy.

Family-friendly restaurants in Times Square: Havana Central
Kid-friendly picks at Havana Central include mac and cheese and chicken fingers, but also flavorful Cuban picks like rice and beans. Photo by Deluxe Photo

5. Havana Central

This lively Cuban spot is always crowded, but I've never had trouble making a reservation—even the same day. The Cuban appetizer sampler is a must-order at every meal. Go beyond the kids' menu with simple dishes such as chicken and rice, rice and beans, and empanadas to please the little ones while you dig into a mouthwatering, generous portion of paella, Cuban sandwiches, or mofongo.

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Family-friendly restaurants in Times Square: The Little Beet
There's something fresh for everyone at The Little Beet.

6. The Little Beet

If you've got to go gluten-free, try this fast-casual spot near Rockefeller Center. The focus here is on fresh, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients, so expect some change in the menu from one visit to the next. No matter the dish, though, quality is at the forefront. Choose from one of the chef-made bowls or make your own bowl by combining a protein with seasonal vegetables on a base of grains or greens.

7. Don Antonio Pizza by Starita

We can't include a list of family eats without making sure there's a solid pizza place in the mix. While you won't have any trouble finding a slice in Times Square, you may want to head to somewhere you know you'll land a quality pie, and that's Don Antonio's. With Neapolitan-style, wood-fired pizza, fast and friendly service, and wallet-friendly prices—all your bases are covered here. Bonus: All of the pizzas can be made gluten-free, too.

8. McHale’s Bar and Grill

This is an NYC classic! The two-story Irish pub has been named one of the "Top 10 Most Famous" Irish bars in NYC. McHale's has been a mainstay for theater-goers since 2012. Grab some classic pub food—just steer clear of the “Dart Area” downstairs if you’ve got little kids in tow. While the lower level offers a more casual bar vibe, upstairs is a slightly more upscale experience.

RELATED: Essex Market with Kids: Specialty Shops, International Eats, and Treats

Schnipper's Quality Kitchen serves kid-friendly fare in its Times Square restaurant
Simple but tasty burgers, fries, and shakes are on the menu at Schnipper's.

9. Schnipper's Quality Kitchen

For the quickest, most kid-friendly meal in the area, this cafeteria-style restaurant gets my vote. While we love Danny Meyer's popular burger joint a few blocks away, at Schnipper's, the wait is much shorter and the menu is much larger, including sloppy Joes, mac and cheese, tuna melts, and an array of salads, in addition to burgers, fries, and shakes. Just order at the register, find a spot at the communal tables, and your food is delivered within minutes.

10. Tony's Di Napoli

Tony's is a family-friendly restaurant with food served family style. This festive Italian spot serves generous portions of classic favorites. This is a great place for big groups to sit comfortably and order easily—each entree serves 2-3 people. It also offers a special theater menu and a generous list of lunch specials. Don't forget to save some space for one of its showstopping desserts—we recommend the cheesecake!

RELATED: 20 Must-Visit Cafes, Sweet Shops, and Family-Friendly Restaurants in NYC

Family-friendly restaurants in Times Square: Virgil's Real Barbecue in Times Square
It's not just barbecue at Virgil's Real Barbecue—kids can chow down on its famous mac and cheese, too!

11. Virgil's Real Barbecue

I am not a barbecue fan, and yet I love the grub at Virgil's. Find all the standards: ribs, pulled pork, fried shrimp or chicken, plus sides, such as mac and cheese, baked beans, buttermilk biscuits, and mashed potatoes and gravy. The combo platters are pricey but the best bet if you're sharing. Yes, it's loud, fattening, and messy. And yes, it's filled with tourists. But it's still worth it, and kids get crayons and coloring pages.

12. Friedman's at The Edison Hotel

If you're craving an all-day breakfast spot without the greasy home fries, this family-run restaurant in the Edison Hotel fits the bill. Kids love the mac and cheese, fried chicken and waffles, and blueberry pancakes, which are served all day long. Almost all the menu selections are available in gluten-free preparations.

13. Westway Diner

After decades of looking as if it was caught in an '80s time warp, this stalwart underwent a major makeover in 2014. Despite the facelift, it's more or less the same old-fashioned no-frills eatery. The menu includes all-day breakfast, Greek favorites such as souvlaki and moussaka, pasta and meat entrees, and the ubiquitous burgers, sandwiches, salads, and shakes. Kids' meals include drinks and dessert. There's rarely a wait, and the no-nonsense staff gets you in and out in a hurry. Its lack of pretense seems to have celebrity appeal: Reportedly, it's where Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld began brainstorming that "show about nothing," and lots of theater folks frequent the spot. I've seen Bobby Cannavale and Zach Braff here in the past.

14. Bacall's Family Steakhouse

Nothing says traditional NYC dining quite like a steak dinner, but if you can't picture your little ones chowing down on a giant cut of beef, fear not. The kids' menu here features all the usual faves, including hearty bowls of spaghetti with red sauce and chicken fingers with mashed potatoes. Make sure to leave plenty of room for the gloriously old-school desserts like Hungarian pull-apart cake with vanilla ice cream and the Hollywood waffle bowl sundae.

RELATED: The 18 Most Insane, Must-Try NYC Desserts

Family-friendly restaurants in Times Square: : Schmackary's.
Delight in colorful treats at Schmackary's.

Family-Friendly Restaurants in Times Square for Dessert

15. Schmackary's

This dessert spot serves milk and cookies...and not much else. But oh, the cookies! The 75-plus varieties range from the mundane (chocolate chip, oatmeal, etc.) to the exotic such as maple bacon, peanut butter banana crunch, candied yam, and pumpkin spice. There are brownies and ice cream sandwiches, too.

16. Amy's Bread

There's a lot more than bread here. The cafe menu includes scones, muffins, biscuits, doughnuts, cupcakes, cookies, and even pizza and quiche. There's limited seating, so plan to take out your order and head over to Hell's Kitchen Park one avenue away.

17. Junior's Restaurant

While there is a sit-down restaurant at this 45th Street outpost of the famed Brooklyn eatery, it's perpetually overcrowded and reservations aren't accepted for small parties. So save the calories for the crown jewel offering and head to the bakery outlet next door to pick up a slice of the restaurant's signature cheesecake, muffins, black-and-white cookies, rugelach, or cake slices. If you do desire a full meal, there's a second outpost north on 49th Street that offers a little more space and possibly shorter wait.

Originally published in December 2012.

Unless noted, photos courtesy of the restaurants

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