Heading out to dinner with the kids in tow doesn’t have to mean defaulting to fast food. Seattle has several cool family-friendly restaurants, equipped with exciting yet accessible menus, high chairs, and fun distractions so children and adults alike will have a tasty and entertaining meal. You can also check out recommendations specifically aimed at parents with newborns.Read More
Refreshingly Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Seattle
Where to dine well with the whole family without worrying that someone’s grumbling about your children
FlintCreek Cattle Co
Greenwood’s upscale steakhouse, FlintCreek, isn’t the most obvious place to take children, but the excellent meat-focused restaurant actually has high chairs, juices, and a lovely kid-sized gnocchi dish — not to mention desserts like molten chocolate cake with peanut ice cream, sure to win over diners of all ages. The vegetable sides and apps have always been sleeper hits, too.
Chinook's At Salmon Bay
Chinook’s bills itself as casual and high-energy — sound like anyone in your dinner party? Part of the Anthony’s restaurant group, this waterfront restaurant at Fishermen’s Terminal has high chairs, a kids’ menu, coloring supplies, lots of space for gatherings, and enough boat activity to hold a child’s attention for ages. And if the weather’s nice, you can even take your fish and chips or tacos to go from Little Chinook’s and enjoy the sights outside.
Big Max Burger Co
This “fine fast food” restaurant in Upper Queen Anne — from chef Maximillian Petty, of fancy Eden Hill fame, whose own young kids feature heavily in the company’s social media presence — serves nostalgic burgers a cut above thanks to challah buns, smoked cheddar, house ketchup, and patties made of local beef and bacon ground on-site. The Little Sammy Slider shrinks the package with a 2-ounce patty manageable for smaller appetites. Big Max’s milkshakes, chicken sandwiches, and chicken nuggets are winners too.
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Cafe Flora has simple children’s menus that include the likes of black bean burgers, quesadillas, and pumpkin pancakes, depending on what meal you’re there for. The Madison Valley favorite also has a centrally located play area, crayon cups, and even step stools in the bathrooms to help the little ones wash their hands. Standouts on the regular menus include tacos stuffed with cheesy mashed potatoes, biscuits with mushroom gravy, and of course the vegan cinnamon rolls. And everyone can appreciate the pretty indoor fountain and the lovely, leafy, sunlight-filled space in general.
Portage Bay Cafe
Portage Bay’s four locations all have breakfast bars, where kids (and adults, naturally) can bury their pancakes, waffles, or French toast in a dazzling array of seasonal fruit, nuts, and whipped cream. The cafes also offer kids’ menus, gluten-free options, and lots of local ingredients. It’s going to be crowded on weekends in particular, so you might consider making reservations.
New owners Cindy Anne and Jeff Ramsey moved U District classic Cafe Racer to Capitol Hill in 2021, shifting the focus primarily to live music and minimizing the cafe angle — brunch and lunch are out. But the venue still welcomes all ages from 6 to 10 p.m. daily, during which you’ll find karaoke, affordable performances by brand-new indie artists, and a handful of sandwiches like a vegan option with hummus and roasted red peppers, pulled pork sliders, and a Seattle dog. Fans of wacky art can rest easy, as the famous Official Bad Art Museum of Art (OBAMA) made the move too.
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Optimism Brewing Company
Optimism’s Capitol Hill beer hall is big enough to have separate sections geared toward adults with and without kids — that is, the massive former warehouse has a gated play area for kids entirely separate from the main bar area in case some adults would rather sip their dark lagers and IPAs with fewer children around. Dogs are welcome too, so there’s always a lively mix of patrons here. And while the brewery doesn’t have its own kitchen, it hosts a wide variety of food trucks, with at least one on-site pretty much every day, so you might find the fluffy tacos of Mexicuban or the drunken noodles and fried rice of Tummy Yummy Thai. You can also bring your own food.
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The downtown Nordstrom has a few different restaurants, but the sleek top-floor bistro, Café Nordstrom, is specifically designed to accommodate shopping families, with super-fast counter service, coloring pages, high chairs, a kids’ menu, and lots of room for strollers. The salads, pizzas, and pastas are made to order and reliably beautiful, and the tomato soup and grilled cheese combo is an established kid fave.
A garden and chicken coop on-site not only supply some of the ingredients for Humble Pie — which offers covered and heated outdoor seating and draws renewable energy from solar panels — but also provide built-in entertainment for kids, who can split their attention between the plants and critters and the fantastic wood-fired pizzas, from simple margherita to mushroom egg arugula.
Marination Ma Kai
A boisterous waterfront destination to pair with a water taxi ride, a paddle in the sound, or a walk along Alki Beach, West Seattle’s Marination Ma Kai fuses Hawaiian and Korean cuisines for unforgettable dishes like kalua pork tacos, kimchi fried rice with tofu, and loco moco. Simpler options geared toward kids include a chicken and rice plate and a quesadilla, which go great with Hawaiian Sun drinks in flavors like strawberry lilikoi.
White Center pizzeria Proletariat offers thin-crust pies with the occasional surprise topping (like Spam), arcade games, a photo booth, and a cheerful family vibe. Service is blindingly fast. The fact that the kids’ area is right next to a table, so diners can actually eat their food while keeping an eye on the children, is a major bonus.