Let's face it: Everyone loves Seattle. Little kids, big kids and everyone in between. What's not to love? The city features a stunning setting (mountains, ocean and green space galore), and the culture here thrives. Whatever you fancy–music, literature, sports, the arts or beyond–there is something to sate your craving.
Kids delights in the city's whimsical touches (yes, Fremont Troll, we're looking at you), and venues like the Olympic Sculpture Park have a way of making even modern art seem desirable to visitors of all ages. So while adults get to take in the Emerald City's finer gems, children get to tag along for the ride, something not possible in every city on the map.
So what happens when it comes to mealtime? Thankfully, we've scoured our resources to offer a roundup list of eateries that offer kid-friendly menus and service, so that the whole family can enjoy meals as a unit. Whether your crew is seeking a casual cafe or a finer establishment (on the water, even!), we've found places that feature kid-friendly spaces and often kid-friendly menus too.
Some of our choices bustle during brunch hour, while others are better-known for their dinnertime dishes. One thing's for sure: no visitor needs to go hungry in this town!
Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club
This colorful waterside facility has widespread appeal. Focusing on organic ingredients, the cafe concocts flavorful Mexican eats like quesadillas, enchiladas and burritos, and it's also a popular happy hour spot. One of the specialties of the house is a spicy mole sauce served with various chicken and pork preparations, all of which are delectable. Live Latin music draws a crowd on Monday nights, when a $5 food / drink minimum is required. The adjoining paddle club offers the rental of single or two-person kayaks plus paddleboards for scenic excursions on Lake Union or Lake Washington. Come for the tacos and the margaritas, and stay for a whole lot more. (206-545-8570)
A great deal for your buck, this Fremonter is known all across town for its huge breakfast portions. Indeed, the place gets packed once the doors are open each AM, with the hodgepodge clientele swapping opinions on current events while enjoying traditional offerings of blueberry pancakes, corned beef hash omelets, and hearty scrambles. (Thankfully, a coffee canister outside will keep you caffeinated should you have to wait for your table.) The Dish's funky decor and upbeat music combine to make it a popular gathering spot among young folks, especially on the weekend. Lunches of delicious sandwiches and Gibraltar-sized burgers are also served. (206-782-9985)
LunchBox Laboratory got its start in a 400-square-foot building in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood "by the MacGyver-like culinary vision of Food Alchemist Scott Simpson. The original concept was born of Scott's love for his mother." The quirky venue mixes nostalgic Americana comfort food with an off-the-wall twist, and menu items here include the "As Seen On TV Dork burger," the "Burger of the Gods," the "Astronauts Mimosa" and items such as: "Hong Kong Buffalo Wings," "Goldfish Mac and Cheese" and the "Drunken Elvis" liquor-infused shake. Be sure to check out items on the weekly "experimental" menu like the "Bahn, James Bahn." (425-505-2676)
A quintessential Seattle experience is having a meal at Ray's (just past Ballard, en route to Golden Gardens Beach). Views of the mountains and the water, especially in sunset's glow, thrill diners almost as much as the cuisine. While many dishes have Asian flair (like pan-seared scallops in green curry or kasu-marinated black cod), others revel in simple preparations, like oysters on the half-shell, crab cakes as well as grilled wild salmon. The downstairs venue offers upscale dining; the cafe upstairs is a bit more casual. A wonderful wine list ensures that you'll have a terrific vintage to complement the food. (206-789-3770)
This charming spot on South Capitol Hill near Seattle University (open since 2007) offers full coffee service featuring Caffe Vita coffee, house-made pastries, affordable French wines, a full bar open daily until 2 a.m., a newsstand of various magazines and newspapers and a menu of "casual Parisian cafe; classics." Patrons feast on options from baguette sandwiches and French onion soup to cod filet, crispy duck leg and vegetarian Raclette. Weekends at Cafe Presse mean soccer matches featuring teams from America, Europe and around the globe in the bar up front. Cafe; Presse is open every day from 7am til 2am. (206.709.7674)
Marination Ma Kai
In West Seattle, Marination Ma Kai brings the delectable flavors and happy vibes of Hawaii to a stunning beachside setting (near Alki). The venue's Hawaiian-Korean cuisine "melts delicate heat and the flavors of aloha together in [diners'] mouths," while the expansive patio offers to-die-for skyline and water views. As the owners put it, "it started with a truck, some exquisite marinades and a lotta love," and now, more than one million tacos and five years later, Marination has expanded to three separate venues and "one big aloha family." Loyal fans rave about the Kimchi Fried Rice Bowl, spicy pork tacos, award-winning Pork Katsu Sandwich, the boozy shave ice bowls, hibiscus-tinged cocktails, the special tangy "NUNYA" sauce and so much more. At Marination, life is good! ((206) 328-8226)
Chutneys Bistro Cuisine of India
Adventurous diners need look no further than Chutney's, the local authority on spicy Indian cuisine. The popular restaurant is one of the best in the area and offers a range of dishes inspired by regions throughout the sub-continent. Among the well-seasoned options you'll find are barra kebab, tandoori chicken, vegetable pakora, and tikka masala. On top of that, there's an impressive lunch buffet that gives you free reign over a variety of taste sensations. Their curries are also outstanding, and vegetarians will find plenty of possibilities as well. Adult guests will enjoy the refreshing cocktails like the Calcutta Cooler: mango and pineapple juices with coconut rum. (206-634-1000, 206-284-6799)
Chinook's at Salmon Bay
The Seattle waterfront is a not-to-be-missed city location. With a prime location at Fishermen's Terminal, this longstanding favorite consistently serves reliable dishes at reasonable prices. A classic is tender, flavorful alder plank-roasted salmon. Since the menu is comprised of whatever is fresh and in season, it's hard to go wrong in choosing; halibut fried in luscious tempura batter, Dungeness crab cakes, and mahi mahi tacos are all delicious. Save room for a generous slice of key lime pie before taking a postprandial stroll on the docks. This casual, high-energy seafood restaurant is ideal for family dining. ("To Go" style service available in the plaza area.) (206-283-4665)
This upscale dining room serves inventive Greek cuisine. Making an excellent starter, pita bread is served with your choice of spread, like roasted sweet red pepper, barrel-aged minty feta or skordalia. Meze, such as grilled octopus and dolmades with rice, and a variety of kabobs appear on the menu, and Lola doesn't skimp on main courses either. Offerings vary but may include a tagine of stuffed artichokes, avgolemono and saffron couscous or a whole fish with pickled green garlic and herbs. Kids will enjoy items like "cheesy scrambled eggs with bacon" (breakfast) or kebabs, noodles and grilled cheese sandwiches (other times of day). (206-441-1430)
This lively spot is known for its quarterly-changing menu that highlights a regional cuisine. So, in addition to the regular breakfast menu, you may find specialties like New Orleans po' boy breakfast sandwich, pain perdu (New Orleans-style French toast), or a Bourbon Street omelet. If you sleep through the usual breakfast hours, don't fret – Coastal Kitchen serves it till 3pm, and you can get the "All-Day Breakfast" any time (that's bacon, sausage, or ham, hash browns, three eggs, and toast). Local artists supply new themed pieces whenever the menu changes, and all of their masterpieces can be purchased and taken home with you. (206-322-1145)
About Corinne Whiting
Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's backpacked around Australia, taught English in Argentina and explored (so far!) countries from Cambodia and Egypt to Turkey and China.
Corinne served as associate editor at Where magazine for five years; as a freelancer, she now writes for publications like National Geographic Traveler and Amtrak's OnTrak. Here in the lovely Northwest, she's attempting to debunk the rain myths, up her coffee and live music quotient and find her Zen near/on the water.
Read more about Corinne Whiting here.
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