Seattle is a wonderfully family-friendly city. Great natural beauty, tons of fun activities, cool museums (the Jimi Hendrix exhibit being one of my favorites), some pretty decent sports teams, and plenty of amazing restaurants. In this guest post, Kelly Watson takes us on a tour of some of the best places you and your kids can grab a meal without having to worry about breaking expensive wine glasses or spilling something on one of those intimidating white tablecloths.

Love traveling – and eating out – with your kids, but want to be sure a restaurant is family-friendly? If you’re like our family, you want to experience local cuisine, while eating in a place that is conducive to family dining. You know, those restaurants that don’t mind kids, have great meal options (not just chicken tenders and fake pizza), and delicious food. If you’re in Seattle, you’ll have plenty of options! However, these are our tried and true family favorites:

  1. Dick’s Drive-in. A Seattle legend, Dick’s Drive-in offers several soft burgers and soft-fries (they call it Seattle-style).  With a limited menu (4 hamburgers available, fries, shakes, beverages, and ice cream), Dick’s can focus on deliciousness. A fast-food chain, there are locations all over Seattle. The best part of this historic burger joint (58 years old!) is the family atmosphere…well, and the shakes. Kids of all ages will eat well here! Locations and more:
  2. Mae’s Phinney Ridge Café. Love breakfast? Head here! Mae’s only serves breakfast and lunch. Try the Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon Hash and Eggs, or the House-smoked trout and eggs. My favorite is the Mae’s Famous Cinnamon Roll, but the biscuits are pretty tasty, too. Our daughter particularly loves the Green Eggs and Ham. Friendly waitresses, a hilarious bathroom, and fast, hot food make this a family dining winner.
  3. Thai Tom. Located in the University district, this small Thai restaurant is well worth any wait  (which generally families try to avoid). There’s limited seating, but the rock-star chef will make it worth your while. Belly your family up to the grill-side seating, and watch him work his culinary genius. If your kids love Thai food, or if you’d like to get them started, this is one authentic Thai restaurant, and one of our very favorites. The waitresses move sinuously through the small seating area, and often serve food in banana leaves, or cool shaped dishes. Everyone here loves kids.  And everyone that comes here loves the incredible peanut sauce.
  4. Toyoda Sushi. Generally recommended as the VERY best Japanese cuisine in a town studded with excellent Japanese restaurants. Locals and visitors alike love this place – as you can see from the plethora of Christmas and greeting cards from around the world adorning the entranceway. A family-friendly place that locals love to share, Toyoda Sushi boasts an incredible sushi chef, fresh ingredients, and traditional Japanese dishes. It’s an education for kids, to see the Neko-chans and the sushi clock on the wall, and to discover the delicious qualities of Japanese cuisine. Extra thanks to the owner, who is extremely friendly and welcoming to kids.
  5. Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ. Now, I am a fiend for smoked meats. And Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ features beef brisket smoked for 14 hours, and slow-smoked pulled pork sandwiches.  The menu is diverse, there are a variety of sauces on the table, and the brightly colored walls make anyone happy. Why is this so great for families? It’s casual, delicious, encourages eating with your hands, and is funny (looked for the mailman thigh bones, $10).  Despite all the divine sides (Mac & cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, corn muffins), don’t forget to leave room for dessert! Located in the Ballard neighborhood – head to the Locks for an after dinner stroll, and play among the wave sculptures and check for fish running.

Kelly Watson is a professional blogger that writes on a variety of topics including Detroit restaurants. She writes for, a leading restaurant directory of fine dining establishments.