Diners and pizza place suggestions for a specific NYC area & schedule
February 18, 2013 2:51 PM   Subscribe

So we're taking our kids (6 & 8) on an overnight trip to NYC and we need diner and pizza restaurant recommendations near Grand Central, the Empire State Building and the American Natural History Museum.

I've been to NYC quite a bit on my own but this will be my first trip with my family (aka picky eaters) in tow. It's a test run for a more extensive trip so we're doing limited sightseeing and need some food suggestions based on the following schedule -

Lunch near Grand Central Terminal
Dinner near the Empire State Building
Breakfast near 36th Street & Madison Avenue
Lunch near American Natural History Museum

Since eggs, bagels, hot dogs & pizza are always popular, diners that serve breakfast all day, good delis and thin crust pizza joints are probably the safest bet but feel free to make other suggestions if we'll be near a place you really love.
posted by victoriab to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Juniors in Grand Central Station is good and the cheesecake is amazing. Grand Central has some really good food places, given that it's, you know, a station.

For breakfast the Moonstruck Diner, 244 Madison Ave at 38th St. Standard diner food.

I also like The Barking Dog, 34th St btw Lex & Third Ave, and the Murray Hill Diner, 222 Lexington Ave, at 33rd St.
posted by essexjan at 3:07 PM on February 18, 2013

The ESB is near NY's Koreatown. Would the kids be too picky for dumplings at Mandoo Bar?.

There's a Sarabeth's in Lord &Taylor.

Barney Greengrass and Lansky's are short walks away from the Natural History Museum, also Good Enough to Eat has comfort food.
posted by brujita at 3:17 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Near Nat History? Big nicks pizza and Berger joint, shake shack ( long lines) and the Amsterdam diner. There's also a number of sweets/cupcake shops on Amsterdam Ave near there.
posted by The Whelk at 3:17 PM on February 18, 2013

Also seconding Good Enough To Eat.
posted by The Whelk at 3:18 PM on February 18, 2013

Lunch near Grand Central Terminal

Zucker's (bagels), Pershing Square (diner), Black Shack (burgers), Naples 45 (pizza), or Pret a Manger (if all else fails). There's a Magnolia Bakery and a Murray's Cheese (no prepped food though) at GCT now as well.

Personally, I don't like eating at the food court at GCT, it feels a little depressing and closed in to me. Sometimes homeless people hang out there as well.

Dinner near the Empire State Building

If you can afford it, Keens. Not sure about the temperament of your kids, but perhaps the older one might like the newspaper clippings, tons of old photos, and pipes owned by famous people, all across the ceiling. Also: hot fudge sundaes.

If willing to go a little outside the box: Madangsui for Korean BBQ. Perhaps they will like watching them grill the meat at your table?

Also I highly recommend Top of the Rock over the ESB observatory deck. You can actually see the ESB from Top of the Rock. It's timed entry and much newer. And the kid-friendly Jacques Torres, Magnolia Bakery, La Bonne Soupe, and Bill's Bar & Burgers are all nearby.

Breakfast near 36th Street & Madison Avenue

I'm guessing you're going to the Morgan Library?

Penelope is known for their breakfast, and a new branch of Sarabeth's (381 Park Avenue S at 27th) is opening up soon (they looked very close when I walked by last week, not sure when your trip is).

Lunch near American Natural History Museum

Shake Shack (burgers), Big Nick's (diner/pizza), Good Enough to Eat (comfort food), Barney Greengrass (bagels/smoked salmon, with two sections, so both sit down and take out), Sarabeth's (more upscale comfort food), Zabar's (their takeout cafe might work). Then hit up Levain Bakery for cookies afterwards. There's also a Momofuku Milk Bar and a Magnolia on the UWS as well. Luke's Lobster if they like seafood. It's basically lobster salad in a hot dog bun.

You don't say when this trip is -- a lot of the places near the AMNH will be completely packed on Saturday and Sunday as they will be doing a brisk brunch service. Oh, and Barney Greengrass is closed on Mondays.
posted by kathryn at 3:27 PM on February 18, 2013

Response by poster: Oops, sorry about that...we're arriving in town tomorrow morning and leaving on Wednesday afternoon.

I am very tempted by the Korean BBQ idea...I think my youngest might be intrigued by the novelty but my oldest is practically a vegetarian and really prefers most foods uncooked so it can be difficult to experiment with new foods. Of course, he totally surprised me by ordering AND eating 1/2 a lobster over the summer (it had the shell and everything still on it) so maybe I should be willing to try and fail more often. If you aren't going to do it in NYC then where are you going to do it!?!
posted by victoriab at 3:36 PM on February 18, 2013

Isabella's is right across from the Natural History Museum... outrageously good food if your kids can sit in a nice restaurant.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:44 PM on February 18, 2013

I lilke the food court at Grand Central. Lots of variety - Junior's is good, but I always seem to end up eating Two Boots pizza when I'm there.
posted by SisterHavana at 7:48 PM on February 18, 2013

Pizzarte makes good Neapolitan pizza, and would be a good lunch option if you go to MoMA - it's not really that far from Grand Central either.

There are lots of options in Koreatown as mentioned above...for a great view, go to Gaonnuri - it's on the 39th floor of a skyscraper on 32nd street. Great Korean food, and actually surprisingly affordable given its location. Another option is "Food Gallery 32"; it's a Korean food court and the food there is actually not bad - I'm sure you could find something vegetarian there. There's traditional Korean food, sushi, Korean-Chinese food, and buns. Not to be missed is the branch of Spot dessert bar on the 3rd floor; I love their chocolate green tea lava cake. And check out Paris Baguette or Tous Les Jours; they're branches of bakery chains in Korea and they sell a lot of nice baked goods - some quite similar to what you'd find in European bakeries and some with a Korean twist.
posted by pravit at 11:06 PM on February 18, 2013

In K-Town, Kum Gung San is pretty fun (there's a fake waterfall with a grand piano on it), and large/not cramped, so you won't be rushed like in other restaurants in the neighborhood. They also serve sushi and some more typical Asian American fare like teriyaki, tempura, beef and broccoli, etc, so those might be good fallback options for picky kids.

For breakfast there's Penelope at 30th and Lexington, if you want something a little nicer than a midtown diner. Be warned that you'll need to arrive early or risk an unworkably long wait for a table (they open at 8 AM for breakfast on weekdays, I'd be sure to arrive before 10).

I don't have a better suggestion for lunch near GCT but I agree that the food court is very dim and depressing. It's a fine option if you're, say, about to get on a train in half an hour, but if you have the ability to leave and go elsewhere, I would.
posted by telegraph at 6:02 AM on February 19, 2013

The ESB is a short walk from "Curry Hill," where there are many good India and Pakistani restaurants. I don't have a specific recommendation, because everytime I'm there I just walk into whatever place smells most delicious, but this NYT article might get you started.

Near the Natural History Museum, Big Nick's is OK, but Patsy's is way better if you're going for pizza.
posted by Dr. Wu at 6:29 AM on February 19, 2013

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