This list is always growing but I will admit to eating out quite frequently every week and here are some of our faves:
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, USA
MY TOP 5 SEATTLE RESTAURANTS FOR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG KIDS IN TOW:
Tutta Bella, Portage Bay Cafe, Molly Moon’s or General Porpoise, The Armory at Seattle Center House (There is a children’s museum below, a science center nearby and a monorail to ride and an abundance of good fast food eateries so everyone can get something that they like) and Din Tai Fung. And if you’re in the city and want to see one amazing foodie thing you need to stop at Starbucks Roastery too!
(If you’re going to splurge add in Poppy, any Tom Douglas Restaurant and Salty’s breakfast buffet and eating at the Space Needle with kids is a huge hit for a celebration evening. We also have a soft spot for Loulay for special breakfasts because although it’s not really a kids’ restaurant they were kind enough to split the french toast for my guys and my kids ate every last morsel!)
But here are places we frequent a lot (it’s coffee and bakery heavy, but that’s what we love most):
Agua Verde Paddle Club: I love their Mangodillo (a mango quesadilla but it’s a little spicy for kids). My guys like the quesadillas and chips and it’s just lovely sitting on their patio after kayaking with the family.
Assembly Hall: Oh, this is the greatest place ever because it’s like a food court but all the food is yummy and gourmet. You can pick up things at Home remedy or eat sandwiches from Assembly Hall or get sushi from Tanakasan or eat in at Tanakasan but if you take all your food upstairs there are cool retro games (Pacman!!!) and ping pong and the kids like to just sit and eat and hang out here and so do we.
Beecher’s Cheese: how fun is it to sit on a galvanized milk bucket and watch cheese curds being made in the market? It is unpredictable how busy it will be so sometimes we just stop in for curds alone, but if there’s a spot we grab mac and cheese and a sandwich and sit for a little while. If I’m totally craving mac and cheese I pick some up from the freezer for home or head to Liam‘s at Uvillage for a less frantic meal.
Bitterroot: This is a really funky BBBQ restaurant where you eat off baking trays. It’s in Ballard and it doesn’t take reservations so going early is best but they do take your name and phone number so it’s easy to go and explore while you wait. There is a great toy store called Clover a few doors down. My guys love the cornbread, mac and cheese with mix ins and catfish. (But I’d skip dessert here and go to Hotcakes.)
Bottega Italiana: This is a great ice cream stop near Pike Place Market and I have a small but healthy addiction to their mint and strawberry basil ice cream.
Blue C Sushi: Also known as Round and Round Sushi in this house. My guys could live off their avacado rolls and chicken katsu. We like the one in Fremont. It’s not the most fabulous sushi but the kids like the experience. For fabulous sushi we head up north to Vancouver BC.
Cactus: This place has Southwestern/Mexican food and I really like their decor. The kid’s meal has a reasonably priced bean burrito that is yummy. I like the drinks, fajitas, tortilla soup and fry bread. Our favorite Cactus is the one on Alki.
Cafe Flora: this is a really sweet vegetarian restaurant with a beautiful enclosed patio and a little toy/reading nook for kids. I love that it’s non-vegetarian friendly-think hearty delicious meals with a southern influence and not piles of grassy weird stuff. They have amazing beignets and cheesy grits and the surround neighborhood is quite cute too. (PS. this is where I first saw Kate Endle’s art displayed and totally fell in love!)
Cafe Vivace: Our favorite place to stop for coffee as a family because of it’s kid-sized table. They feel VERY at home here.
Chinoise Cafe: this used to be our favorite spot in Queen Anne for years and we just re-found it. It has moved to Issaquah and it still tastes the same! The kids menu here has terriyaki salmon and chicken and a dish called “Ninja Noodles” that my kids want to eat again.
Columbia City Bakery: I am in love with their cardamom cake and the boys adore their cinnamon twists and their easy to look in pastry case. Olive bread when available is divine too!
Commons Cafe in Woodinville: this is the cutest little cafe in a sweet part of Woodinville that I know we need to explore more. It’s made by the Heavy Restaurant Group who made Barrio and Purple and the menu here has a Southern feel. There have big breakfasts and an emphasis on decor. On my last visit I spotted some Bloody Mary’s in Mason jars that were totally enviable. The changing tables in the bathrooms are even stocked with diapers.
Dahlia Bakery: if the hubby stops here and picks up their potato bread we are guaranteed a yummy dinner of bread and soup and delightful french toast the next morning. The restaurant next door Dahlia Lounge is one the hubby and I have loved for date nights forever and the boys have lunched here with us sometimes too.
Din Tai Fung: This place is one of our family’s favorites and we’ve been eating at Boom Noodles and Blue C a little less at Uvillage since it opened there. The guys love the dumplings and the green beans. They taste better than French Fries! And since there are always line ups, if we get there around 5pm and put our names in, we have time to shop for about 20-30 minutes before the kids get too hungry and the restaurant texts us to let us know a table is ready.
Eltana Bagel: a bagel restaurant in Capital Hill that seriously serves the best bagels we’ve found outside of Vancouver. Then, you’re competing with Sollys and Seagels. But here, my heart belongs to Eltana.
Fresh Flours: This is a sweet little bakery near the Woodland Park Zoo that has French/Japanese pastries. Our favorites are the muffins, matcha and bean-paste filled anything, macarons and pain au chocolate.
Fresh Udon: If only we lived closer to the Udistrict. Or if this place existed in my neighborhood. Yummy and reasonably priced freshly made udon, with all sorts of delectable toppings. I love the oroshi udon (hot in winter, cold in summer) and the boys love the soup udon. (A similar place if you’re in Honolulu: Marukame udon.)
Fuji Bakery: We stop in this place too often. I love the pear and apricot tarts. The boys love the milk sticks and shokupan. The hubby gets a pain au chocolat. The one in Interbay has takeout comfort Japanese food and if I get there between 12-2 I love the vegetarian curry rice and I get it with a pastry for a perfect meal.
Hue Ky Mi Gia: Before Din Tai Fung got added to the mix, this was our go to Chinese Food restaurant. My guys go here after bouldering and I’m always sad if I’m not invited. Lots of noodle dishes and delightfully crispy fried tofu.
Il Corvo: this is only if we are downtown midweek and with kids only if we’re here right when it opens. The noodles here are dreamy and delicious but the lineups are horrendous and out the door.
Lowells: if you’re in Pike Place Market and want a tucked away perfect window at lunch go to Lowells and go way up the stairs. This might be tricky with a stroller in tow, but if you can get upstairs mid-week there aren’t usually many crowds, there is a bathroom and big windows and good food.
Luna Park Cafe: burgers, milkshakes, fries and a Batmobile. Totally kid-friendly but can get super-busy too.
LunchBox Laboratory: fun milkshakes, burgers and free kids’ meal nights. Check their website to see the days. There are locations in Seattle and Bellevue and my kids love their mac and cheese.
Macrina Bakery: the hubby and I have loved this place since we moved to Seattle. It’s harder to do their brunch with kids in tow, but we love their rocket muffins, their roly polys and their orange hazelnut pinwheels (and practically everything else on the menu!) It’s also one of my favorite places to buy birthday cakes.
Maggie Bluffs: it’s on the water in the Magnolia neighborhood and it’s a great place to eat with kids. We like to bike there and make it an afternoon/evening adventure.
Market Hall: a grab a sandwich type of place with a bit of seating near the mall downtown.
Mod Pizza: cheap, yummy and fast pizza. Kind of like a ‘subway’ for pizza but better.
Molly Moon’s ice cream: yummy ice cream, cool flavors, and adorable logo. Expect long lines.
Nuna Ramen: I keep going here without the kids because they are now in school but it has a great selection of Ramen including one that is vegetarian with vegetarian broth. They have booths and roomy spaces between tables so I don’t think a stroller would be too problematic. I did not see high chairs so you might want to check before you visit if you need one.
Parfait: another yummy Seattle-made ice creamery with really intense and delicious flavors and amazing ice cream cakes. I dream of one day getting their 12 month supply of ice cream.
Playdate Seattle: if you’re looking for a play cafe near REI and cool restaurants in South Lake Union, I’d grab a cup of coffee here on a rainy day and let the kids get some energy out. There is food, drinks and snacks and my kids have fun being kids in this place. As with any kid-themed cafe, I get there early or hang out there during typical nap times so it’s not as crowded.
Poppy: A delicious food adventure. This is not a kids’ restaurant but they do treat kids nicely here. (I even spotted two high chairs.) They have butter noodles if you ask and you can always let your littles sample your thali. The dessert thali for two is divine!
Portage Bay Cafe: if you’ve stayed with us in Seattle, chances are we’ve brought you here. One of our favorite breakfast places in Seattle and awesome for large groups (with kids!). We love their pancakes, their toppings bar and their amazing French Toast.
Purple: The Heavy restaurant group has an amazing beverage list for the grownups. Purple restaurant has an amazing kids’ menu and their beverage options for the kids? Two words: Milk Flight. Seriously awesome. (I heard they may have gotten rid of the milk flight! OMG OMG! Tell me this isn’t true.)
Red Robin: How did a ‘chain’ restaurant get on my list? I love the one on the Seattle Waterfront. It has lovely views, a great kids’ menu and it’s the perfect amount of touristy/kitschy/familiar when you’re eating out with kids.
RIP to my kids’ childhood favorite. This was one more chain restaurant the kids loved on the waterfront. We used to bike there. Sadly it closed but I managed to snap a picture of the caboose on it’s way out…
Serious Pie: You could add the rest of Tom Douglas’s restaurants to our fave list, but this one is one we love going to with the duo, especially the one in South Lake Union because you can look down from upstairs and watch pastries being made below.
Sushiland: Closest thing Seattle has to Vancouver for inexpensive tasty sushi. It is easier to go to now that the guys are not babies….they don’t have as many high chairs as Blue C. (We go to the Queen Anne one.)
Thai Fusion: this little restaurant near SPU has become one of our weekly staples. They have one of the best kids’ menu options I’ve seen: two chicken satay skewers, vegetarian spring rolls, rice and two dips and my kids love it. They’re happy hour is fabulous too.
Trophy Cupcakes: I will love this place for life. Especially the one in Wallingford Center. They have macarons and cupcakes and beautiful aesthetics.
Tutta Bella Pizza: yummy pizza, fun atmosphere and tons of highchairs. Love their beet salad, namesake pizza, Chianti and a dish of nutella Gelato. Life doesn’t get much better than that. (PS our favorite location is the Wallingford one.)
Uneeda Burger: this is a great burger restaurant near enough to the zoo that it’s a great stop pre or post adventure. There are many burger varieties (their turkey and vegetarian burgers are quite good!) and milkshakes and fries.
Wandering Goose: Can you imagine anything more fabulous than a cafe/restaurant with beautiful sayings carved into their tables and oh so tasty pastries and cake?
Wild Ginger: Passion Tofu is amazing even if you’re not a vegetarian and maybe even if you’re not a current tofu fan. The kid’s satay is the same as the satay appetizer on the adult menu.
(Sans kiddos add Spinasse and Canlis to the list. And the Whale Wins or the Walrus Bar. And Westward which we went to with kids but it wasn’t as good as when we went WITHOUT kids. Delight!)
Grilled Cheese Grill: we can’t go to the city without a trip to this bus/food cart/decadent cheese-y sandwich delight.
Salt and Straw: Seriously yummy ice cream with very inventive flavors. There isn’t a lot of seating, but the treats are so worth it. (They also sell Woodblock Chocolate here, a Portland Bean to Bar chocolate.)
VANCOUVER, BC (I have to shout out the hometown and we have so many favorites here too!)
Cora: this is a neat breakfast place that seems like an IHOP or Denny’s but has a huge focus on fruit and healthier options. The kid’s menu has pictures so the kids can see what they’re getting.
Chambar: If I get babysitting, this is where I want to be. Yummy drinks, delicious food…get the “dessert tasting platter” and you will swoon. (PS. their Dirty Apron cooking classes are on my bucket list and I love love love their Cafe Medina next door.)
Edible Canada: great open kitchen, lovely kids’ lunch menu and so much for kids to look at.
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company: It has a little kitchen area that the kids can play in and it is on every list of where to eat with kids in Vancouver.
JapaDog: I just love it because I’m half-Japanese and think the toppings are cool. And who doesn’t love a good hot dog?
Stephos: I am still not sure what Veggie Briami is, but I adore it and crave it in Seattle. This is not fancy, and there is often a huge line for its cheap Greek food. With kids we order take out and eat on the beach in the summer.
Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe: this place has evolved from a fun breakfast date-place in our college days (my claim to fame is once I saw “will” from Will and Grace here. We breathed the same air!) to a place that we can bring our kids if we show up super early. They love the kitchy decor and the yummy food. FYI: there is always a line, but it is oh so worth it.
White Spot: This is a Canadian chain that is headquartered in Vancouver and it’s my guys’ hands down favorite because of the pirate packs and it’s nice to eat here sometimes and reminisce about being little and hope they bring the grownups an extra chocolate coin. At some locations you can still order outside and eat in your car.
Anywhere Granville Island. I love Dockside for sit-down but tend to grab soup, coffee and pastries and a table by a window in the market with the guys so we can all sprawl out and take it all in. And Edible Canada is a new fave.