Elegant dining – with kids? Absolutely possible at Maialino; kids and babies are made to feel very welcome. Despite not having a kids’ menu, the staff offered several suggestions for meals they could make for the 11-month-old babies we had dining with us. We chose the pasta with a butter sauce – and no-one even batted an eye at the piles of pasta thrown on the floor. Sorry about that, Maialino – next time perhaps spaghetti noodles are not the best idea for babies with minimal hand-eye coordination.
Highchairs: Yes. Stroller storage: Yes, for strollers that fold up. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: No, but the restrooms are in the lobby of the Gramercy Park Hotel, which are large and have space for diaper changes. Kids’ menu: No, but they will cook custom dishes for kids on request. Kids-friendly rating: ♥♥♥–
For Alec’s first Father’s Day, we wanted to try a restaurant near Central Park. Landmarc at the Time Warner Center is right on the edge of Central Park, at Columbus Circle, so it’s the perfect location if you want to dine and then stroll or play.
Landmarc features standard breakfast and brunch food, like omelettes, pancakes and egg dishes. I found them to be a bit over priced (a basic omelette starts at $18), you do get to eat lunch with a killer view of the park and Columbus Circle.
A real family restaurant, there are always lots of kids dining at Landmarc – which will be obvious as soon as you arrive and see all of the strollers parked outside. Be sure to reserve your table in advance via Open Table.
Last bite: Solid food, great view, and you’re right on Central Park!
Highchairs: Yes. Stroller storage: Yes. Stroller parking outside the front of the restaurant (inside the Time Warner Center), or you can bring in small foldable strollers with you. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: Yes. Kids’ menu: Yes.
10 Columbus Circle, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 823 6123
Delicious organic, vegan food – that even the fussiest carnivore will enjoy. Welcome to Cafe Blossom.
Alec took me to Cafe Blossom for my first Mother’s Day. It was the perfect location for a special outing – unique (and cruelty-free!) dishes, made with flair and obvious love.
I was pleasantly surprised at how baby-friendly Cafe Blossom was. They couldn’t have been more accommodating, or friendly towards us and Cheese.
Cheese loved the (healthy!) fries, while I was enamoured with every dish on the menu. Usually I only get a choice of one or two vegetarian items, so to have an entire menu of dishes that I can eat is such happiness.
Cafe Blossom take reservations – which I would strongly recommend, especially on weekends.
Last bite: If you’re vegetarian, vegan, or just love delicious food, check out Cafe Blossom. Be sure to try our favourite dishes, the BLT and fruit crumble.
Highchairs: Yes. Stroller storage: Minimal. Bring a small, fold up stroller or carrier. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: No.
41 Carmine St, New York 10014
(Btwn Bedford & Bleecker St)
Phone: (646) 438 9939
Hipsters of all sizes line up to eat at this popular brunch spot in Greenpoint. It’s a fave of the Aussie expat crowd too, thanks to its Kiwi manager with his refreshing down-to-earth manner, and its Aussie-style brekkie and coffee. The Aussie connection comes from Five Leaves’ inception – owner Jud Mongell was friends and business partners with actor Heath Ledger. The two planned to open the restaurant and bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, before his sudden death. With the release of funds from the actor (and Brooklyn resident’s) trust by the Ledger family, Five Leaves was opened.
Five Leaves draws creative-types from all over the city, with its bohemian vibe and hearty brunch. We often catch the G train (when it’s running!) to meet our Aussie friends there for a stack of pancakes, big fry up brekkie, or a solid burger and fries.
The interior is tiny and squished, so we always end up seated outdoors. This is preferable with a baby anyway, giving us more room to spread out, and meaning we don’t have to worry if she gets fussy.
My favourite dishes are the ricotta pancakes, because they come absolutely covered with seasonal fresh fruit, and the big brekkie, with its perfectly poached eggs and roast tomatoes.
Last bite: While the food is delish, the lines are long, so be prepared to wait anywhere up to an hour or longer for a table. With restless babes, put your name down and walk across the road to the park to play while you’re waiting.
Highchairs: No. Request an outdoor table that you can park your stroller at if your kid isn’t big enough to sit in an adult chair. Stroller storage: No. No room for strollers inside at all. Easy access: Yes (one or two stairs). Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: No.
18 Bedford Ave,
(Btwn Lorimer St & Manhattan Ave)
Phone: (718) 383 5345 (no reservations)
Not only is the food at this famous establishment delicious, the staff is also more than accommodating towards babies. While we were initially trepidatious about bringing the babies to Balthazar, the staff checked our strollers and sat us down quickly.
The ever-helpful staff brought us bread for the babes to chew on, baked freshly in the Balthazar Bakery, gave kids spoons to play with (which then then spent a considerable amount of time picking up again off the floor …), and a little crayon kit to draw with.
Brunch at Balthazar means fresh bread and pastries, best ordered in the bread basked and shared with a group, and one of their delicious egg dishes.
I always order the same thing – the scrambled eggs in puff pastry with asparagus (it actually comes with mushrooms as well, but I request it without the shrooms as I’m a bad vegetarian and hate mushrooms. It’s one of Balthazar’s signature brunch dishes for a good reason – perfectly cooked eggs and asparagus in flaky puff pastry. Yum!
The only downside we experienced was that the tables are tightly packed, making it hard to squeeze in with a highchair. Get to know your neighbours well! Reservations (a few weeks in advance if possible) are recommended to avoid waiting, particularly on weekends.
Highchairs: Yes. Stroller storage: Yes. Easy access: Yes (no stairs). Change tables: No (they do have ample bench space in the restrooms however and are more than happy for babies to changed there). Kids’ menu: No.
80 Spring Street
(b’ween Broadway and Crosby)
New York, NY
Reservations: +1 (212) 965 1414