15 Jersey City Restaurants for Family-Friendly Eats
Jersey City is one of New Jersey’s most exciting restaurant scenes, with many Jersey City restaurants serving delicious eats for all diners (Read: There's more than just mac and cheese and chicken fingers.) These restaurants are stepping up their family-friendly dining game by offering delicious kids’ menus that feature creative takes on the classics as well as approachable, palate-expanding options.
From the best place to score a burger to can't-miss brunch spots, we've rounded up the 15 best family-friendly Jersey City restaurants. The diversity of the local JC community is also reflected in our list. Cuban, Caribbean, Japanese, you name it, you can find it in Jersey City. Don’t forget to save room for dessert! We’ve even included the best Jersey City ice cream shops to swing by for a sweet treat after your meal. Find more family-friendly eats in our New Jersey Restaurant Guide.
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Jersey City Restaurants for Breakfast and Brunch
People watching is epic at this light and airy café, thanks to large picture windows that look out onto Grove Street. Open daily at the family-friendly hour of 8am, you can build your own omelets, breakfast sandwiches, and burritos, while your kids dig into berry and banana-covered pancakes, waffles, or French toast. Make sure to stop at the bakery case in the front of the café on your way out, which is filled with fresh-baked goods to take something home for later. The lunch and dinner menu includes burgers, sandwiches, and entrée bowls.
2. Buddy’s JC
Buddy’s famous cereal pancakes combine your kids' two favorite breakfast foods into one delicious dish. Choose from Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Captain Crunch, Fruity Pebbles, Reese Puffs, or Apple Jacks-stuffed pancakes. Cereal pancakes are available to order all day and can be made gluten-free upon request.
Fluffy pancakes in extravagant flavors rule the menu at Life Pancake Company.
Previously known as the Brownstone Diner, you’ll still find the fluffiest pancakes in town at this revamped restaurant by Zoe Bournias, who grew up working at the diner as the daughter of the former owners. The extensive menu features 25 pancake variations, including M&Ms, Oreos, chocolate-covered strawberries, Nutella, pretzels, and bacon, just to name a few. Kids with hearty appetites can try digging into a pancake wrap—that’s eggs, cheese, meat, and potatoes rolled inside an oversized pancake!
4. sam a.m.
Early risers—because who sleeps in on the weekend anymore—will appreciate that this Paulus Hook neighborhood cafe opens at 8am (6:30am weekdays). Once you blink your eyes open with a cup of its delicious house blend, take a look at its specials board for locally sourced breakfasts, like Jersey peach-topped French toast. The staff even whips up off-the-menu cheesy eggs to please the pickiest of eaters.
Hudson Hall is a crowd-pleasing destination in all seasons.
Lunch and Dinner Restaurants in Jersey City
5. Hudson Hall
The big draw to this huge smokehouse and biergarten—beyond the tasty, smoked meats, craft beer selection, and long tables ideal for family dining—are the hot, fresh donuts. Made to order, these delicious donuts can be glazed or coated in powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. Take it up a notch and order a donut ice cream sandwich, with ice cream and Nutella sandwiched between two hot glazed donuts. After dining on nuggets, a hot dog, or mac and cheese, kids are sure to agree it’s a perfect way to end any meal at Hudson Hall.
Coloring books and crayons win over the kids at this hip burger bar—and keep them busy while you enjoy a beer or its famous rum punch. Left Bank has great kids' meal options like freshly battered chicken fingers, sliders, and mac and cheese, while you can build your own burger (with grass-fed beef, turkey, veggies, or grilled chicken). Specialty burgers towering with inventive ingredients like fried cheese, sweet potato tots, and plantain chips are also on the menu.
Razza Pizza Artiginale offers world-call Neopolitan-style pizza.
Best Jersey City Restaurants for Pizza
There’s no shortage of good pizza in Jersey City, and this popular pizza restaurant draws a crowd for its thin-crust Neopolitan-style pizza. Located right off Newark Avenue’s pedestrian walkway, the three-story restaurant, which includes a rooftop, has everything you need in a pizza place: a family-friendly atmosphere, beer on tap for the parents, and inventive flavor combos. Try the Summer Betty, topped with goat cheese, mozzarella, and Jersey heirloom tomatoes. And you can't go wrong with the picky-eater-pleaser classic Margherita pizza.
Named the best pizzeria in North America in 2019, you’ll find drool-worthy wood-fired pies at this fantastic Jersey City spot. The menu changes based on seasonality, so you know what you’re eating is always fresh and delicious. The pies here are slightly on the smaller side, so be sure to grab two (or three!). Opt for something simple for the kids, like a classic Margherita, and more adventurous for you, like a yummy Burrata pizza or mushroom-topped Funghi pie, so everyone leaves feeling satisfied. Currently, Razza is open for take-out orders only.
Dig into a savory bowl at Ani Ramen House. Photo by Liz Clyman
International Eats at Jersey City Restaurants
Kids love slurping up their dinner at the Jersey City outpost of the popular ramen chain. There are many options for little eaters, with noodles swimming in deep bowls of savory broth and plenty of add-ons (like a creamy poached egg) available. Or, try the steamed bao buns in flavors like fried tofu, soy-glazed chicken, and panko shrimp. Sure, they have forks, but let kids use chopsticks for a more authentic feel.
10. Rumba Cubano
Introduce kids to flavorful Cuban food at this eatery, located right off Hamilton Park. Small touches—kids meals are served in cute paper cars—make little ones feel special. The generously-portioned kids' meal options include pressed ham and cheese sandwiches, chicken fingers, and Cuban-style hamburgers with french fries.
Harry's Daughter brings island flare to the shores of the Hudson.
11. Harry’s Daughter
This Caribbean-inspired gastropub located in the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood delights with a modern take on traditional island fare. You’ll feel instantly transported to the islands as large straw chandeliers sway overhead. A robust event schedule includes live music on Wednesdays with a crowd-pleasing $10 fried chicken basket. Or, come on Sunday for brunch and live reggae
What kid doesn’t like hot dogs? You’ll find several different preparations on the menu at this German-inspired beer hall, including the aptly named Puppy Dog—kids hot dog sliders served with house-cut fries. Oversized tables fit larger groups, and high chairs are plentiful. If you aren’t feeling like a hot dog, burgers and chicken sandwiches are also on the menu. And, you'll definitely want to order a side of poutine fries or loaded fries for the table.
Enjoy a birthday sprinkle ice cream sandwich at Milk Sugar Love Creamery & Bakeshop.
Jersey City Ice Cream Shops
With two locations in Jersey City (Hamilton Park and the Heights), this sweet shop scoops handmade, seasonal, small-batch ice cream and non-dairy desserts. Made with organic ingredients, Milk Sugar Love offers kid-friendly staples (S’Mores and PB Fudge), as well as delectable flavors for grown-ups (Matcha Brownie and Caramel Corn). Bonus: The sprinkles here are natural and dye-free. Other sweet treats include its cool ice cream sandwiches and cakes, like the Mac Daddy filled with Fruity Pebbles ice cream, as well as homemade cookies and cupcakes.
14. Stack Creamery
This newcomer to the local ice cream scene is already satisfying the sweet tooth of many residents and visitors. Beyond ice cream cones and to-go pints, pick your favorite flavor to sandwich between your choice of doughnuts, brownies, or chocolate chip cookies. Ice cream flavors include traditional favorites like cookies-and-cream, strawberry, and vanilla, but Stack also has unique options like a mudslide, cookie monster, and matcha green tea. Pick up one of its inventive ice cream pies for a casual celebration at home.
15. Torico Ice Cream
Whether you’re running errands downtown or grabbing a bite to eat nearby, you won’t be able to resist the sweet aroma of fresh cones and sugary goodness wafting from this Erie Street ice cream shop. After more than 50 years in business, Torico is still a local favorite for a reason. The tropical flavors such a coconut, passionfruit, and tamarind are inspired by the owner’s Puerto Rican roots. There’s always plenty to choose from, with at least 50-60 flavors on rotation on any given day, in addition to its heavenly homemade waffle cones.
Unless noted, photos courtesy of the restaurants/shops