There are so many ways to introduce your children to the diversity of the world – food is just one of them and can be a lot of fun. I hear too often from my friends that their kids are picky eaters. I say “try it, you’ll like it” and boy is it true. I have to say, I am quite lucky that both of my girls are good eaters. I heard somewhere that kids have to try something 17 times before they may enjoy eating something which is new to them. That seems like a lot, but the point being you have to try something more than once to like it.
Here are some local suggestions for different types of ethnic foods to try. I live in the Long Island/New York area, but I am sure you have similar family friendly ethnic restaurants you can try in your area.
Extra tip: Before you go out to eat, print out fun facts about the country of origin where you are going to eat to further the educational experience.
Birgitta’s Favorite Local Ethnic Family Restaurants
German – Plattduetsch Restaurant and Biergarten (Franklin Square) – During the summer, there are outdoor picnic tables and music bands on Fridays where the kids can try many different types of wurst (sausages), Wiener Schnitzel sandwiches, homemade German potato salad & potato pancakes, giant hot pretzels, etc. It is a relaxing venue for kids as well as adults and easy on the wallet.
Indian (South) – House of Dosas – (Hicksville) – South Indian vegetarian food which is super authentic with Indian “donuts” (actually called vada) – If you have never had a paper masala dosa, this the place to have it. It is hard to describe, but you have to see it – my kids love it!
Indian (North) – Akbar – (Garden City) – North Indian food with fabulous buffets which we intend to enjoy on the weekends. Great way to expose kids to Indian food so they can try different things. Even though setting is a bit more formal (table cloths), this restaurant is very child friendly and food is very good.
Italian/American – Lucky Duck (Garden City South) – From the name, one would think Chinese, but it has great Italian food and super family friendly. They sometimes have a magician on Thursday nights. Girls love the bread basket and enjoy dipping the bread in olive oil. Farafelle San Remo pasta is the kid’s favorite. If they order a kid’s meal, they will get ice cream where they can create their own sundae with whip cream, sprinkles and hot fudge which is always a lot of fun!
Japanese – Benihana – (Manhasset/national locations) – Childhood favorite we used to visit for special occasions… especially birthdays…love it for lunch with the kids because it is easy on the wallet and you can take your time since it less crowded. Entertainment built in with the chef cooking in front of you and the family picture at the end for birthday celebrations always creates a nice memory. PS – We have never been disappointed with the food or the picture (everyone is always smiling ).
Mexican – Chipotle – (Mineola/national locations) – This is our favorite choice for “fast food”. Kids enjoy the sides of rice and beans which is less than $3. I usually get the salad with toppings and they have really nice guacamole too. Love it!
Portuguese – Brasa Rodizio – (Mineola) – Great churrasqueria place which is child friendly with family style side dishes – great to expose kids to Portuguese food and they even have a kids Rodizio…even if you are stuffed, get the heavenly whites for dessert…
Turkish – Beyoglu – (Upper East Side/NYC) – I love this place! So many small dishes to try – hummus, taboleuh, spinach, eggplant, etc. Fresh food, nice outdoor seating and reasonable prices. This is a great place to try for lunch/dinner if you are checking out one of the museums on the Upper East Side (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim, Whitney) – We are always looking for a reason to come back to this restaurant.
“Variety is the spice of life!”, I always like to say. Having your children eat different ethnic foods is just one of the many ways of introducing your children to cultural diversity. Plan a culinary adventure with your family; I am sure it will be a ride the whole family will enjoy! Buon Appetito!