Best Kids-Friendly Fine Dining Restaurants in Manhattan ⇒ If you’re tired of eating at the local diner with the littles, or the grandparents are in town and you all want to go out for a nice brunch, have no fear. There are plenty of upscale restaurants in Manhattan that welcome kids and families with open arms. Having kids shouldn’t be a synonym to downgrading your dining experience, as in fact, it should be an excuse for you to have a nice evening.
Agern, Midtown East
Agern introduces little eaters to a range of flavours (including lots of tasty veggies) with an Icelandic twist. “It’s important to welcome young diners if we want to change eating habits,” says general manager Katie Bell. Exposing little ones to new foods, like the restaurant’s signature pork belly and smoked salmon, helps them become more independent and courageous diners. Keep an eye out for the annual Kids Table event—Agern, along with other area eateries, open their doors to kids only!
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Midtown West
This midtown steakhouse combines fancy meals with classic kiddie favourites, making the transition from kids’ foods to grownup menu easy. “As a father myself, I know how a special a family dining experience is and how hard it can be to find a restaurant where the entire family can enjoy themselves,” says general manager Orlando Santana. “We pride ourselves on providing families with an incredible meal that will create a lasting memory.” And, trust us, your kiddos will remember the Del Frisco’s prime cheeseburger, wagyu french dip and a huge list of sides including lobster mac & cheese and onion rings, long after you’ve paid the bill. (Plus, the restaurant is loud, so nobody cares if your tot throws a bit of a tantrum!)
Dirt Candy, Lower East Side
Chef and owner Amanda Cohen admit that brunch isn’t always the best meal of the day to have to work. “Who wants to get up in the morning!” she says. “But one of the things that makes it worthwhile is to look around the dining room and see so many families having a good time. Call me corny, but it honestly means a lot to me when I see a family sit down around a table and enjoy a meal together.” Families even flock to Dirt Candy on Monday nights when the eatery turns into a pop-up Canadian bar. The menu is limited (think cheese fries and nachos), but perfect for little diners. “So far, I can’t keep kids away from the Moose Ears, which are big flat fresh doughnuts covered in Nutella, Maple Butter, or PB&J.”
Jack’s Wife Freda, West Village and Soho
Yes, both of these outposts are cosy, but they’re also very accommodating to families with strollers. “I’m a mom myself with two little boys,” says owner Maya Janelowitz. “It’s challenging enough to push your stroller down the city streets, let alone walk into a restaurant with that stroller. So, even if Jack’s Wife Freda looks small and cramped, don’t be scared to come in! We will always make space for strollers.” Everyone on staff is “pro-baby,” adds Janelowitz. “We hand out puzzles, crayons, and stickers, and we also have a cute kids’ menu called ‘Granny Freda’s Grandkid’s Menu’ curated by our own kids.” Plenty to keep your kids busy while you take another bite of that Madame Freda, a pressed sandwich with duck prosciutto, cheddar béchamel, gruyere and a sunny side up egg.
Loring Place, West Village
This new cafe is a great way to introduce your kids to seasonal, locally prepared cuisine. Loring Place’s menu incorporates lots of veggies into its savoury dishes—we love the Butternut “Fries” with parmesan dressing and the Wood-Grilled Broccoli Salad. There are also tasty pizzas on the menu, perfect for your kids to share—they’ll especially love the Portobello Mushroom pizza with mozzarella and cherry tomatoes. “We worked with OXO to obtain really great booster seats and highchairs, and we always ensure we have coloured pencils and colouring materials on site as well,” says chef, owner and dad of two Dan Kluger. It’s working: Jo G., a Manhattan mom, says the restaurant made her two daughters feel right at home. “They even have two mocktails called the Georgia and Bella inspired by the chef’s daughters,” she tells us.
Ristorante Morini, Upper East Side
“We opened Ristorante Morini as an Upper East Side neighbourhood restaurant, with the expectation that families would make it their local and regular favourite spot,” says Ahmass Fakahany, CEO and owner of the Altamarea Group. And, good news: They’ve more than succeeded! With kinds of pasta like spaghetti and rigatoni to hearty entrees like chicken and flank steak, this uptown eatery is the perfect fine dining experience.