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Child-Friendly (but not "kiddy") Restaurant

Cleveland, Ohio
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Child-Friendly (but not "kiddy") Restaurant

(Sorry this got long. I'm verbose. :P)

Hi, all. I've spent more time than I care to think about wading through various restaurant reviews here and on other sites, and am feeling rather overwhelmed with choices while not quite being sure if any of them fit what I'm looking for. :)

My mother and I are taking my 10-year-old niece to NYC this spring. She's a very poised young lady, and my mother wants to treat her to at least one place that would have a "grown-up" vibe. For reference, she's specifically picturing a restaurant we ate at many years ago (name & location unfortunately forgotten) that had a very... modern/metropolitan vibe is the best way I can describe it. Lots of glass and shiny surfaces, high ceilings, that sort of thing.

The tricky part is - while my niece is mature for her age in behavior, I'm not confident that her palate is quite adventurous enough for many of the restaurants I've found that seem to fit the ambiance side of things.

So, what I'm looking for:

- Ambiance that would give a "fine dining" sort of vibe

- A menu that has some fairly straightforward "meat and potato" style options or a "kids" menu (Though I hate the idea of taking her to a fancy restaurant in NYC and getting her chicken fingers. :P )

- Not wildly inappropriate to even think of taking a ten-year-old to

- Price range at, say, $30-$60/adult.

- We're staying on Times Square, so theater district would be ideal, but definitely not a must-have.

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated to help me zero in on a short-list to offer my mom to choose from. :)

new york city
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1. Re: Child-Friendly (but not "kiddy") Restaurant

Well there are 10 year olds and there are 10 year olds and most parents (aunts) will describe their kids as perfectly behaved.

The following lists 23 places in the theater district on the same block. If you are going pre theater (5pm-745pm) they are mobbed but after 8 they kind of clear out. Most of these would accommodate your needs and have seen kids before and will modify dishes for kids.


New York City, New...
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2. Re: Child-Friendly (but not "kiddy") Restaurant

Not modern and shiny but historic and elegant, the 21 Club is not far from the theater distict and has some good value prix fixe menus that are pretty basic. (For a $30 dinner in a nicer place, you will need a prix fixe menu). You can/should get dressed up. If you eat in the barroom, there are some fabulous "toys" hanging from the ceiling.


Capital Grille in the Time Life buliding has a $39/prix fixe pre theater.


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3. Re: Child-Friendly (but not "kiddy") Restaurant

Jane or The Smith (both owned by the same co.) sound perfect for you. Both serve upscale American comfort food with a lively crowd, cool decor (Jane is more adult; The Smith is more modern-retro), and fun cocktails, but still kid-friendly (think house-made chocolate chip cookies for dessert, served with warm milk and vanilla gelato!). Your niece will be able to order from the adult menu with no problems, and you'll find plenty for a more sophisticated palate, too. Good luck!

Edited: 22 February 2012, 22:24
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4. Re: Child-Friendly (but not "kiddy") Restaurant

My experience is that you can go to pretty much any high end restaurant in NY with a kid and ask them to do something simple that is not on the menu: chicken with rick, pasta with butter or tomato sauce, steak and broccoli. They will usually oblige. I do it all the time with a 4 year old.

In that spirit, I would recommend the modern and the museum of modern art. Not too far from where you are. Very sophisticated feel.

Hong Kong, China
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5. Re: Child-Friendly (but not "kiddy") Restaurant

I believe we saw a few younger ones eating at Bar Americain, it might be worth consideration.

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6. Re: Child-Friendly (but not "kiddy") Restaurant

My granddaughter now 9 has been dining in NYC since she was 4. Her favorite is TOLOACHE a Mexican themed eatery in the 50's and she has also been to CIBO, Giorgio's of Gramercy, Angus McIndoe, Maggie's Place and lots of neighborhood spots Rachel's Bistro, Pietrasantra, SW44 and lot more whose names escape me.

She is well beyond chicken fingers and enjoys all types of cuisine. Most of the venues are out of the 'tourist' district and are basically 'adult' restaurants.

No need for a children's menu for Riley - she is well behaved and has manners that you wish others could emulate.

Our policy, find a place, check the menu, make a rezzie, if needed and mangia!


Queens, New York
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7. Re: Child-Friendly (but not "kiddy") Restaurant

I agree with mmmmppp and Poppa: as long as your niece is "restaurant-friendly", there's no big need for a "children's menu."

Near the Theater District, I always recommend Vynl. (9th Avenue and W. 1 St.)


It's affordable, serves good burgers, pancakes and other classics, nice big cocktails and fun bathrooms!! (no rezzies.)

Across the street is Uncle Nick's Greek restaurant.


If you like kebabs and rice or potatoes, she can have an "exotic" version of her meat and potatoes.

If you're seeing an evening show, don't have your "nice" meal beforehand. Too rushed. Just go for pizza or something. But, after a matinee, an early fancy dinner will be relaxed.

What else is on your itinerary?

New York City, New...
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8. Re: Child-Friendly (but not "kiddy") Restaurant

China Grill - big, chic, dark place with dumplings and other approachable things on the menu.

Bar Americain is also a great idea. Maybe Red Eye Grill.

We brought my nephews about the same age to Nobu last year for my birthday. Even the picky eater one loved it - and the less picky eater wont stop talking about it (a year and a half later)

Blue Fin is also good.


Cleveland, Ohio
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9. Re: Child-Friendly (but not "kiddy") Restaurant

Quick thank you for the suggestions, all. I'll be running them by mom over the weekend, and it's great to have a bit more focus. :)

10. Re: Child-Friendly (but not "kiddy") Restaurant

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