It’s summertime, and that means families are busier than ever. When you don’t have time to cook, take the family to dinner at these kid- and parent-pleasing restaurants.
Burger Hero [AMERICAN] Your superhero wannabe is going to love this place, where the friendly owners give the youngest diners free ice cream. At the teeny spot, which is the former home of the original Lunchbox Laboratory, the burgers are mighty fine, too. Plus: Donkey Kong! Lunch and dinner Mon.–Sat. 7302½ 15th Ave. NW; 206.783.0204; Facebook: “Burger Hero”
El Camión Adentro [MEXICAN] The old Zesto’s is now home to the first brick-and-mortar location of Seattle’s best taco truck. Here, everything’s tasty and cheap: tacos (especially the grilled fish), burritos, horchata and salsas made from scratch. And there’s a Pac Man machine to ease the sometimes long wait, as well as free parking. Lunch and dinner daily. 6416 15th Ave. NW; 206.297.1124; elcamion-seattle.com
Chace’s Pancake Corral [BREAKFAST] Chace’s is a come-as-you-are classic that’s been pleasing kids and parents alike with affordable, rib-sticking breakfasts since it opened in 1958. Who doesn’t love tender buttermilk pancakes? Even better are the piping hot crêpes. And it’s probably the only place that’s up as early as your youngest, opening at 6 a.m., six days a week; 6:30 on Sundays. Breakfast daily. 1606 Bellevue Way SE; 425.454.8888
Elliott Bay Brewhouse & Pub [AMERICAN] Cozy into a booth with the whole family at this lively, friendly local chain of brewpubs. Here, mom and dad can sip a beer and dig into classics such as a Brewhouse BLT, while the kids color and crunch through a pile of some of the best nachos around (topped with chili and melted cheese). Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat.–Sun. 255 SW 152nd St.; 206.246.4211; elliottbaybrewing.com. Locations also in West Seattle and Lake City.
Vios [GREEK] New parents looking for a place to have a nice meal with little kids should head directly to Vios, where the food is a good balance of parent-approved (lamb kebabs, falafel, dolmades) and kid-friendly (tender pita with house-made hummus with grilled chicken skewers, plus mac and cheese for the pickiest palates). But the main draw is the dedicated play space in the back, where children are free to play while mom and dad enjoy a meal in (relative) peace and quiet. Lunch Tue.–Fri., dinner Tue.–Sat., brunch Sat.–Sun. 903 19th Ave. E; 206.329.3236; vioscafe.com. Second location in Ravenna.
Coastal Kitchen [American] The kids are welcome at Capitol Hill’s charming mainstay, open all day. At dinnertime, a children’s menu (noodles with butter, smaller burgers, quesadillas) and a grownup menu (now with perfectly fresh oysters from the restaurant’s new oyster bar) make this a spot the whole family will enjoy. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 429 15th Ave. E; 206.322.1145; coastalkitchenseattle.com
Geraldine’s Counter [American] Morning, noon and evening, this neighborhood diner hums with happy conversation, as tiny babies are held close, toddlers dip house-made chicken fingers into ranch dressing, and mom and dad sup on the superb chicken pot pie. In the morning, all ages enjoy the city’s finest French toast. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Tue.–Fri.; brunch and lunch Sat.–Sun. 4872 Rainier Ave. S; 206.723.2080; geraldinescounter.com
The Crumpet Shop [English] This family-run business in Pike Place Market is jam-on-toasty-goodness central. Grab some extra napkins to wipe the sweet, sticky stuff off your kiddo’s chinny-chin-chin. Mums and dads will appreciate the grown-up topping options, which include Stilton and orange marmalade, and the bottomless cuppa tea in a snug, laid-back space. Breakfast and lunch daily. 1503 First Ave.; 206.682.1598; thecrumpetshop.com
Urbane [Northwest] It might come as a shock that one of the most interesting kids’ menus in Seattle would be found in the sophisticated dining room at Hyatt’s Olive 8. Dishes such as Pick and Dip Salad and whole-wheat spaghetti with turkey meatballs hit the right tone. Toast the neat lineup with a Columbia Gorge strawberry smoothie. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.–Fri., brunch Sat.–Sun. 1639 Eighth Ave.; 206.676.4600; urbaneseattle.com
Lola [GREEK] Mediterranean flavor bombs go off all over the ever-changing menu, and the pint-size set gets looped in, too. Sure, there are crayons and grilled cheese sandwiches at this Tom Douglas place in the Hotel Andra, but the grilled chicken kebab offers proof that food is more fun to eat when it comes on a stick. Kids of all ages will go bonkers for the made-to-order doughnuts for dessert. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 2000 Fourth Ave.; 206.441.1430; tomdouglas.com
Uneeda Burger [AMERICAN] (pictured left) Hooray for Painted Hills ground beef sammies, which the whole fam-damily can feel good about eating. Uneeda’s eat-local mission extends to the dynamite fries and spectacular shakes; Snoqualmie ice cream is the creamy foundation for flavors such as salted caramel, providing a tasty geography lesson for the little ones. Lunch and dinner daily. 4302 Fremont Ave. N; 206.547.2600; uneedaburger.com
Hale’s Ales Brewery & Pub [PUB GRUB] Mom and pop appreciate the care that goes into the making of the craft brews that have been powering this Fremont mainstay for 30 years, while the kidlets get a charge out of the homey comfort-food fare, which includes meatloaf with mashed taters and the signature, super-cheesy mac and cheese. Yes, please. Lunch and dinner Mon.–Fri.; breakfast, lunch and dinner Sat.–Sun. 4301 Leary Way NW; 206.706.1544; halesbrewery.com
Stellar Pizza [Pizza] Youth softball and soccer teams pack in with their parents for the thick, hefty, oh-so-cheesy pies at this Georgetown pizzeria. Pitchers of Manny’s feel right (Georgetown Brewing is right down the street, after all), although the beer selection is especially good here. And there’s pinball and a photo booth to keep you busy while you wait for the pie. Lunch and dinner Tue.–Sun. 5513 Airport Way S; 206.763.1660; stellarpizza.com
Bing’s [AMERICAN] The new menu at this friendly Madison Park spot treats parents to sophisticated flavors—arugula salad with Manchego cheese and pistachios, flat iron steak with chimichurri sauce—while keeping it simple for the kids with an excellent mac and cheese and a tasty lineup of specialty burgers. Plus, there are plenty of Washington wines as well as a sweet strip of seating outside for sunny September evenings. Lunch and dinner Mon.–Sun., breakfast Sat.–Sun. 4200 E Madison St.; 206.323.8623; Facebook: “Bing’s”
St. Clouds [AMERICAN] Families flock to this shingled storefront café on Madrona’s main street, where the needs of the grown-ups and the kids are given equal care. Nosh on curry-roasted yams on chickpea cakes with sautéed kale in coconut sauce, or the herb-roasted chicken with gravy, while the kids slurp spaghetti and meatballs and/or a hot fudge sundae. And since September is always Seattle’s bonus month of summer, don’t forget one last meal on the deck or grassy area out back. Dinner daily, brunch and lunch Sat.–Sun. 1131 34th Ave.; 206.726.1522; stclouds.com
Chinook’s at salmon Bay [SEAFOOD] Take in the views of the deep-sea fishing and crabbing fleet at this Seattle classic, where the fish and chips are perfect, the chowder’s righteous, and the alder-plank-roasted salmon and Dungeness crab Louie serve as tasty reminders of Seattle’s seafood heritage. Servers are quick to bring crayons and coloring paper for the kids, and there are smaller portions of fish and chips and mac and cheese on the kids’ menu. Plus: free scones at breakfast! Breakfast Sat.–Sun., lunch Mon.–Sat., dinner daily. 1900 W Nickerson St., No. 103; 206.283.4665; anthonys.com
Serendipity [AMERICAN] This locally owned cafe is Magnolia’s kid-and-parent haven (and there’s a newly added lounge, but that’s for 21 and older). No one can resist the baked-potato nachos, made with house-made potato chips, sour cream, cheese and scallions; honkin’ burgers; waffle fries; a good beer list; and, probably the best part, a kiddo play area. What’s not to like? Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 3222 W McGraw St.; 206.282.9866; serendipitycafeandlounge.com
The Ridge [PIZZA] The kids can play skee ball while mom and dad catch up with the neighbors at the next table at Phinney Ridge’s favorite pizza joint. All the pizzas are named for Phinney notables, from the Carmelita, a veggie-topped pie, to the Yanni’s pizza, with Greek toppings (feta, kalamata olives, red onions), both dedicated to neighboring restaurants. Plus, it offers lots of local beer and wine to drink. Lunch and dinner daily. 7217 Greenwood Ave. N; 206.687.7621; ridgepizza.com
Pomegranate Bistro [Eclectic] You’d never guess that this sweet spot, owned by catering legend Lisa Dupar, would be hidden in this industrial part of Redmond. But open the doors and the smells of espresso grinding and fresh flatbreads baking in the hot oven will pull you in. Comfort food is Pomegranate’s forte, so opt for the ham and maple-glazed pineapple firebread, the fried chicken with mashed Yukon gold potatoes; for kids, cheese quesadillas and grass-fed beef hamburgers (maybe to split; they’re quite large). And note: The seasonally inspired cocktails are especially tasty. Lunch daily, dinner Tue.–Sat., brunch Sat.–Sun. 18005 NE 68th St.; 425.556.5972; duparandcompany.com
Grub [ECLECTIC] This relative newcomer feels like it’s been here forever, with its sophisticated offerings for parents—farro salad with grapefruit, avocado and hazelnuts, and a perfect pork chop with romesco sauce—and the dedicated kids’ menu, which ranges from hot dogs to mini steaks with mash and veggies. Lunch and brunch are also winners. Lunch Tue.–Fri., dinner Tue.–Sat., brunch Sat.–Sun. 7 Boston St.; 206.216.3628; letsgogrub.com
Pizzeria Pulcinella [PIZZA] If the thin-crusted pizzas of Naples are your weakness, it’s worth the trip to Pulcinella to taste the wood-oven-baked pies at this often overlooked South End treasure. It’s not unusual to witness three generations supping on a slew of chewy-crusted pies (the Pompeii, with pesto and Parmesan, is especially good), with the Chianti flowing. And, of course, there’s spumoni ice cream for dessert. Lunch and dinner daily. 10003 Rainier Ave. S; 206.772.6861; pulcinellapizza.com
Blue C Sushi [SUSHI] Let’s be honest: Watching a rainbow of sushi dishes travel around the dining room via conveyor belt at Blue C is just as much fun for the adults as it is for the kids. And the best part? Even the picky eaters (raw fish? yuck!) will gobble down the soy-sesame noodles, while everyone else can enjoy the always fresh ahi, salmon and seaweed salad. Lunch and dinner daily. University Village, 4601 26th Ave. NE; 206.525.4601; bluecsushi.com. Other locations include Alderwood Mall, Bellevue Square, Downtown, Fremont and Southcenter.
Tutta Bella [PIZZA] Hunks of dough keep little hands busy while the parents choose from the long list of Neapolitan-style pies. Kids will adore the cheese pizza, made with whole-milk mozzarella. Thoughtful servers deliver drinks, lids firmly in place, so there will be no spills. Lunch and dinner daily. 4411 Stone Way N; 206.633.3800; tuttabella.com. Additional locations in Columbia City, South Lake Union and Issaquah.
Chutneys [INDIAN] Don’t look so surprised when your toddler gets a taste of your mango lassi (the irresistible yogurt and mango smoothie) and refuses to give it back. Or when the tandoor chicken and tender, warm naan disappear before your eyes. At this Wallingford mainstay, the chicken tikka masala hits the spot, the lunch buffet is bounteous, and everybody leaves happy. Lunch and dinner daily. 1815 N 45th St.; 206.634.1000; chutneysbistro.com
Proletariat Pizza [Pizza] Mom-and-pop-owned and supremely kid-friendly, this pizzeria on White Center’s main drag is so popular that it had to expand to keep up with demand earlier this year. And with fun (and really good) thin-crust-style pizzas—such as the ham-and-egg, along with more traditional pepperoni and Hawaiian versions—a good beer list and a kids’ play area in the back, it’s no wonder the place is packed with families. Dinner daily. 9622 16th Ave. SW; 206.432.9765; proletariatpizza.com