Some days, the prospect of putting dinner on the table feels a bit…daunting. One solution is to head out and enjoy some glorious outdoor dining happening in NYC right now, or you could try a meal kit delivery service. Another is to order in a full family meal created by one of the city’s local restaurants, or sign up for meal delivery service to have dinner handled on the reg. We had the “hard” job of sampling several—here are our top picks for getting (delicious) dinner on the table with ease!

photo: Olivia Cooks For You

For Gourmet-level Meals: Olivia Cooks for You

Do you miss sitting down at a restaurant and perusing a menu with items such as: "Grass-fed Strip Steak with caramelized brussels sprouts, and mashed organic Yukon gold potatoes and Saffron White Wine-Poached Wild Cod with Israeli couscous with herbs, local jewel box tomatoes and leeks"?

Treat yourself and the family by letting NYC restaurant industry vet Olivia Williamson do the cooking. Her aptly named, "Olivia Cooks For You" meal service is available in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and offers a seasonal-driven menu that changes weekly. The delicious dishes are made with fresh, local, organic ingredients, antibiotic-free meat, poultry and fish and customers  can request dairy-free, weight loss, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian. Olivia's got the kids covered with a special menu just for them with items like healthy Panko-crusted Chicken Fingers and  Organic Black Bean and Cheddar Quesadilla. (Our kid loved the chicken fingers, but also went wild for the non-kids menu Flank Steak—which she never eats!)

Meals start at $132 for four dinners. Menus are released on Thursdays, with orders due by end of day Saturday. Delivery is on Tuesdays. 

Hot tip: it may be worth signing up for the mashed potatoes and pumpkin cake alone. So good

Online: oliviacooksforyou.com

photo: Fields Good Chicken

For a Yummy & Healthy Chicken Dinner: Fields Good Chicken

With their Meals to Share menu, families can order a meal from this mini-chain with five locations around Manhattan that includes a choice of never-fried chicken (crispy-skinned whole bird, boneless herb breasts or mojo thigh), three house made sides, such as herb smashed potatoes or mac &cheese with cauliflower puree and toasted panko, two signature sauces and gluten-free cornbread. Prices for these meals (which serve four) range from $27.50 for whole roasted chicken (cut into quarters) to $28.50 for thigh or herb breast.

To order visit fieldsgoodchicken.com

photo: Marquet

For Flavorful Meals That Won't Weigh You Down: Marquet

Another meal delivery service started by an NYC culinary industry vet, Marquet aims to provide delicious ready-to-heat meals that are also nutritionally-dense. (Founder and chef Annamarie Marquet is a meal kit service startup alum, and ironically, found she didn't have time to eat well while working around the clock.)

Marquet's meals, which include options like Thai-inspired chicken and bell peppers with brown rice and garlic ginger string beans, and pork souvlaki with brown rice and a cucumber, tomato salad with feta, cut all the bad stuff like refined sugar and oils, process grains and low-fat dairy. The result is meals that aim to fill you up faster, keep you full longer and generally leave you feeling better, not sluggish. We're not experts in nutrition, but we do love to eat, and Marquet's entrees burst with fresh flavor and the salad and sides were fresh and delicious. (For a preview of Marquet's meals, check out its Instagram feed.)

Marquet is available as an individual, family or subscription plan throughout NYC.  Meals are delivered on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Online: marquet.nyc

photo: PDA

For a Pizza Party-plus: Public Display of Affection (PDA) 

At Brooklyn’s Public Display of Affection (PDA), from Roberta's alum chef Robert Guimond, the PDA Picnic Pack offers a great option for busy school nights and football-watching alike. The Picnic Pack includes two PDA wood-fired pizzas of choice, PDA’s signature warm spiced wings with chili jam, PDA salad and a bottle of wine or six-pack of beer (which will definitely keep mom and dad happy!) for $100.

Orders can be placed via text, phone (718-635-1678) or Caviar. 

photo: Dickson's

For a BBQ fix: Dickson’s Farmstand

If you love barbecue, the family meals served at Dickson’s Farmstand in Chelsea Market are sure to delight. Along with meat, these platters come with dirty chicken rice, cucumber mint salad and bbq sauce for four ($65). You can also order from Dickson’s menu that’s replete with other steak options as well as expanded burger/dogs/sandwich offerings. “Everything is super family-friendly,” says Jacob Dickson, owner. “There’s nothing spicy or challenging—just super delicious and made to order.”

Family dinner is available for in-store pickup, curbside dining and also delivery via Doordash/Caviar, Postmates & Uber platforms.

photo: Farmer's Fridge

Farmer's Fridge

We checked out (and enjoyed) Farmer's Fridge as part of our best meal kits for NYC families, and we'd recommend it for an easy way to get dinner on the table, too. The service has just introduced its Plates option, easy, fully-prepared hearty meals that just need a quick reheat in the  microwave. Choices include French Braised Chicken, Enchilada Roja and Falafel, and are made with the same super fresh ingredients of Farmer's Fridge delicious salads and snack. Plates meals are $9.95 each. 

Online: farmersfridge.com

photo: The Smith

For Something for Everyone: The Smith

At The Smith, a casual brasserie with four locations around Manhattan, Family Meal kits include offerings like the Fried Chicken Family Meal, Honey Chipotle Glazed Ribs Family Meal, Lobster Roll Family Meal and more. The Fried Chicken Family Meal ($59) comes with 12 pieces of fried chicken, six cheddar biscuits, four potato waffles, jalapeno cheddar grits and kale slaw.

To order, visit thesmithrestaurant.com

For a Home-cooked Meal: The Queensboro

This neighborhood restaurant in Jackson Heights offers a Family Meal Tuesdays through Fridays, which includes a three-course meal designed to feed a family of four for $50. While the menu is different every day (the Family Meal is posted at 8 a.m. every morning), the most popular meals are repeated often. For example, the meatloaf family meal comes with meatloaf with new potatoes and corn, creamy cucumber salad and peach tarte tatin.

To order, visit thequeensboro.com 

—Lambeth Hochwald

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