Best Family-Friendly Restaurants near Madison Square Garden

Zou Zou's has a chic vibe and serves a flavorful selection of Mediterranean-inspired fare. Photo by author
Zou Zou's has a chic vibe and serves a flavorful selection of Mediterranean-inspired fare. Photo by author
4/27/23 - By Jody Mercier

Madison Square Garden is a hub of activity no matter the season. Whether you've caught playoff fever and are cheering on the Knicks and Rangers or are seeing the latest family-friendly show on stage at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, when you hit the Midtown West hot spot, you're likely going to need a meal!

Avoid paying those sky-high stadium prices by opting for lunch or dinner out at one of these family-friendly restaurants near Madison Square Garden before or after the main event. Our picks include everything from fast-casual spots and excellent pizza—by the slice or pie—to unique sit-down establishments that will make your trip to Madison Square Garden a truly special occasion. All our top picks are below, but you can find more kid-friendly picks for many NYC destinations in our Guide to Family-Friendly Restaurants in NYC.


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Where Is Madison Square Garden?

For visitors or the unfamiliar, Madison Square Garden is perched on 34th Street in New York City's Midtown West neighborhood, directly above the transportation hub at Penn Station. It spans multiple city blocks, stretching from Seventh to Eighth Avenues and from 34th Street in the north to 31st Street in the south. It's easily accessible by the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit, plus the A, C, E, 1, 2, 3, B, D, F, M, N, Q, R, and W subway lines to 34th Street.

Best Family-Friendly Restaurants near Madison Square Garden

1. Zou Zou's – Manhattan West

Best bet for: A special occasion outing.
This Mediterranean eatery, in the bustling Manhattan West complex, offers a flavor-packed menu served family-style. Step into the doors and your senses are activated by the smells coming from the wood-fired oven in the wide-open kitchen. Start with the five-dip combo, which range from the well-known (a play on hummus) to the unknown (whipped ricotta with saffron apricots). All are exceptional. The Moroccan Fried chicken is not to be missed and a sure kid-pleaser; pair it with the jeweled rice for another familiar-but-adventurous dish. Parents are sure to enjoy its impressive cocktail menu.

RELATED: 50 Things To Do in Midtown Manhattan with Kids

Restaurants near Madison Square Garden: Ana Bar and Eatery
What's not to love about Ana Bar & Eatery, where we learned how to make heart-shaped pizzas? Photo by author

2. Ana Bar & Eatery – Hudson Yards

Best bet for: Families who need choices!
This sprawling space on the second floor of Hudson Yards offers an equally expansive buffet, where everyone can find something to suit their tastes from weekend brunch to weekday lunch. In addition, you can hit up the pizza, taco, or sandwich stations for made-to-order eats. This spot is best for lunch or early dinner before the happy hour crowd takes over, though there are some excellent drink specials to enjoy! Get a delicious taste of Ana Bar & Eatery by registering for our upcoming heart-shaped pizza-making workshop there.

3. Friedman's – Herald Square and Hell's Kitchen

Best bet for: Comforting and gluten-free eats.
With two locations within easy walking distance of Madison Square Garden and a comfort-food-rich menu that focuses on high-quality ingredients and mindful eating, it's hard not to love this local chain. Add to that the fact that nearly everything is available gluten-free, and a trip to Friedman's is a treat for the whole family. Its Herald Square location offers a nearly all-day brunch, and its fontina-Parmesean mac-and-cheese—available at both Midtown West spots—is an all-ages pleaser.

RELATED: Top Attractions in NYC: Best Things To See and Do With Kids

Restaurants near Madison Square Garden: Black Tap
All-American eats and over-the-top sweets are a trademark at Black Tap!

4. Black Tap – Herald Square

Best bet for: Over-the-top sweet treats.
Black Tap has long made our list of the most-insane, must-try desserts in NYC, and for good reason: This micro-chain is well-known for its over-the-top CrazyShakes. Pair those sweets with chicken wings, craft burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, and fries, of course.

5. Casa Dani – Manhattan West

Best bet for: Those searching for a hidden gem and unexpected flavors.
Nestled in the back of the Citizens Food Hall, Casa Dani is Michellin-starred Chef Dani Garcia's latest entree into the NYC food scene. The Spanish-Mediterranean mashup is best for older kids or those adventurous enough to be excited by the flavorful, tapas-style eats. If you're seeking more sustenance, order a paella for the table, too.

RELATED: Visit the High Line With Kids: Top Things To Do

Restaurants near Madison Square Garden: Shake Shack
Shake Shack is always popular for its fast-casual concept and high-quality burgers, fries, and shakes—of course!

6. Shake Shack – Hudson Yards

Best bet for: Quick eats and ultimate kid-pleasers.
What's not to love about Danny Meyer's casual burger-and-fry joint? Kids are familiar with the flavors and—depending on the line—you'll be in and out quickly. Spring for a shake to sip on your way to the game, and you might avoid the requests for cotton candy, ice cream, and soda once you're inside Madison Square Garden. No promises, though...

7. Let's Meat – Koreatown

Best bet for: Big appetites!
At this all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue joint, your party sits around a cap-style grill and the spread is laid out before you with options like New York strip steak, Berkshire pork belly, spicy short ribs, spicy squid, and much more to choose from. Everyone is sure to find something they'll nosh on, and kids pay half-price.

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

Restaurants near Madison Square Garden: Tick Tock Diner
Classic diner fare awaits no matter the time of day just steps away from Madison Square Garden at Tick Tock Diner.

8. Tick Tock Diner – Midtown West

Best bet for: Breakfast all day.
This 24/7 diner is steps from Madison Square Garden and happy to fulfill your kids' desire for pancakes no matter how early or late you arrive. We suggest going with the chocolate chip version! For yourself, why not order "The Chicken and The Egg," a fried-chicken-meets-fried-egg marriage serves on a brioche bun? It also seats a staggering 280 guests, so if you have to wait; it won't be long! 

9. Whitmans – Hudson Yards

Best bet for: Burgers with a twist.
Comfort food in a cozy setting is the vibe Whitmans is going for, and we think it's achieved that. The menu is heavy on burgers and sammies, but they go way beyond the basic. The specialty here will please mom and dad: The Juicy Lucy, while kids will be satisfied with the Whitmans Classic. A bowl of fried pickles or perfectly crisp tater tots please the whole table.

RELATED: Bryant Park and More Midtown West Parks to Visit

Restaurants near Madison Square Garden: New York Pizza Suprema
New York Pizza Suprema predates the arrival of Madison Square Garden in the neighborhood, so you know it's mastered the pizza pie. 

10. NY Pizza Suprema – Midtown West

Best bet for: A high-quality slice.
Whether you need a quick slice or want to sit down and spilt a pie, NY Pizza Suprema has been a neighborhood mainstay since 1964. You won't find anything but pizza here, but they seem to have perfected the art. The sauce is scratch-made every morning and high-quality ingredients imported from Italy up the ante on flavor.

Unless noted, all photos courtesy of the restaurants

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