THE BEST FOOD IN NEW YORK—JUST ASK ANYONE UNDER 16
bagels Ess-a-Bagel (831 Third Ave. at 51st St., 212/980-1010; 359 First Ave. at 21st St.; 212/260-2252; www.ess-a-bagel.com). brunch, with live Brazilian music Coffee Shop (29 Union Square W.; 212/243-7969). brunch, with live gospel music Lola (15 Watts St.; 212/675-6700; www.lola15watts.com). popovers Popover Café (551 Amsterdam Ave. at 87th St.; 212/595-8555). eggs and bacon EJ's Luncheonette (1271 Third Ave. at 73rd St., 212/472-0600; and two other locations). waffles, downtown Bulgin' Waffles [This business is no longer in operation]. waffles, uptown Sarabeth's (423 Amsterdam Ave. at 80th St., 212/496-6280; and two other locations; www.sarabeth.com).
LUNCH AND DINNER
burgers, with theater-star sightings Joe Allen (326 W. 46th St.; 212/581-6464). burgers, with a mile-high pile of fries NoHo Star (330 Lafayette St.; 212/925-0070). fried rice Ollie's (1991 Broadway at 67th St.; 212/595-8181; and four other locations). grilled cheese sandwiches Grilled Cheese (168 Ludlow St.; 212/982-6600). hot dogs, cabbies' pit stop Gray's Papaya (2090 Broadway at 72nd St., 212/799-0243; 402 Ave. of the Americas at Eighth St., 212/260-3532). hot dogs, Euro-style (two doors from Krispy Kreme doughnuts) F&B (269 W. 23rd St.; 646/486-4441). mac and cheese Chat n' Chew (10 E. 16th St.; 212/243-1616). matzoh ball soup Second Ave. Deli (156 Second Ave. at 10th St.; 212/677-0606). pizza Lombardi's (32 Spring St.; 212/941-7994); Two Boots (37 Ave. A at Third St.; 212/505-2276; and five other locations). ribs Virgil's Real BBQ (152 W. 44th St.; 212/921-9494). tacos Gabriela's (685 Amsterdam Ave. at 93rd St.; 212/961-0574).
BIG NIGHT OUT
Balthazar (80 Spring St.; 212/965-1785; www.balthazarny.com)—Paris has landed, with mirrors, golden light, and the best bread around. Tavern on the Green (67th St. and Central Park West; 212/873-3200; www.tavernonthegreen.com)—a whole lotta razzle-dazzle.
EASIEST NIGHT (OR DAY) OUT
Grand Central Terminal—From quesadillas to frozen custard, fast and first-rate.
FANTASY, AND A BIT OF FOOD
Jekyll &Hyde Club (1409 Ave. of the Americas at 57th St.; 212/541-9505; www.jekyllandhydeclub.com)—prepare for a change in temperament. Mars 2112 (1633 Broadway at 51st St.; 212/582-2112; www.mars2112.com)—blast off!
GIMME SOME SUGAR
black and whites William Greenberg Desserts (1100 Madison Ave. at 82nd St., 212/744-0304). chocolate chip cookies City Bakery (3 W. 18th St.; 212/366-1414). cupcakes Magnolia Bakery (401 Bleecker St.; 212/462-2572). frozen hot chocolate Serendipity 3 (225 E. 60th St.; 212/838-3531). milk shakes Ellen's Stardust Diner (1650 Broadway at 51st St.; 212/956-5151). s'mores DT.UT (1626 Second Ave. at 84th St.; 212/327-1327).
WHEN IN CHINATOWN
Kids get crabby at a fish market. Their Chinatown favorites: dim sum at Golden Unicorn (18 E. Broadway; 212/941-0911); ice cream from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (65 Bayard St.; 212/608-4170; www.chinatownicecreamfactory.com); and souvenirs from Pearl River Mart (277 Canal St.; 212/431-4770), a department store stocking paper pajamas, Chinese board games, and white T-shirts that are a New York fashion-world staple.
PAYING A VISIT TO THE PLAZA
The hallways at the Plaza (Fifth Ave. at Central Park South; 800/441-1414 or 212/759-3000, fax 212/546-5324; www.fairmont.com; family of four from $345) are still wide enough for precocious little ones to skidder and scibble along à la Eloise, and kids swoon before the dessert table at the Palm Court. The service at this New York landmark (conveniently located across from the equally mobbed F.A.O. Schwarz) doesn't always live up to the grandeur of the lobby or the price tag of the rooms. But afternoon tea is a quintessential New York experience—and if it coincides with your child's birthday, the resident violinist will announce the occasion with a serenade.
I GOTTA GO
Where to pee when you're out and about
Don't bother running around the city in search of public facilities—in fact, there are only two of those new-fangled, pay-per-use, supposedly self-cleaning toilets (they're at Greeley Square Park, Ave. of the Americas and 32nd St., and Herald Square Park, Broadway and 35th St.). Instead, take advantage of the city's hotels. After all, haven't you always wanted to peek into the Waldorf-Astoria (301 Park Ave., at 50th St.), the St. Regis (2 E. 55th St., at Fifth Ave.), or the Royalton (44 W. 44th St., between Fifth Ave. and Ave. of the Americas)?Elegant bathrooms can also be found in large stores, such as Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman, and even the Banana Republic in Rockefeller Center. And Restoration Hardware stores (935 Broadway, between 22nd and 23rd Sts.; 103 Prince St., between Mercer and Greene Sts.) use their toilets as mini showrooms. In a pinch, duck kid-first into the best looking restaurant around and in no time you'll be sitting pretty.