Typically, half of my travel photos comprise of various cocktails, wines, and spirits that I’ve imbibed. As a change of pace, I took a quickie trip down to Seattle, WA to spend a few days with a family that I love dearly. Over the weekend, I responded promptly whenever the youngin’ called for “Auntie Mel”. With two young and exceedingly sweet kids (at the best of time) in tow, I explored some of Seattle’s best kid friendly restaurants.
Portage Bay Café
It’s no wonder that this buzzing restaurant and catering business has expanded into three locations throughout Seattle and has loyal patrons waiting out the door continuously. This popular brunch spot delivers what a greasy spoon doesn’t: clean, fresh, and honest food that’s prepared with care and attention. They are, however, not fussy with plating; the service is swift, sharp, and not overbearing.
This lively joint serves up a variety of traditional and creative egg dishes, ranging from a delectable classical crab benedict to a pulled-pork loaded omelette with sweet potato hash. Their specialty, though, is the pancakes and French toasts. Judging from the photo above, their Mickey Mouse shaped pancake is a winner with kids. For me, I splurged on a ginger and berry bread pudding that’s sliced, griddled, and drizzled with crème anglaise. In truth, the bread was so dense from soaking in custard overnight that I could only finish 1/3 of it. For shame.
Their open topping bar is what made the children go cuckoo. With any pancake or French toast order, diners are granted a trip to the self-serve counter with all the berries, fruit, granola, sprinkles, and whipped cream that one can greedily scoop onto the plate. If you’re waist-high cutie pie, you’re forgiven if you spend way too long giving your Mickey Mouse pancake a funny face.
Kids can get loud and messy. I don’t always love them for it (and frankly, they freak me out), but it’s just a law of nature. Ideally, we need a place where kids can just be themselves but adults can still enjoy quality food. Uneeda Burger is one of those spots.
The concept is simple. Bring your kids to one of the many picnic tables on their extensive patio. Keep them busy by asking them to set the table for everyone by pouring water, laying out napkins, and getting ketchup bottles. If they spill, no biggie. You’re expected to clean up after your own mess, which also spares you from any embarrassment.
Meanwhile, the adults browse the impressive line-up of down-to-earth burgers with primo toppings such as watercress, blue cheese, and even truffle salt. It may sound uppity but it’s really not. The prices are reasonable too. In addition, they have a killer “Cronque Madame”, which I put in quotes because it’s essentially a fried-egg sandwich, but is equally as delicious.
As for the kids, they have plain ol’ hamburgers and puffy onion rings. Discerning adults can pair their selections with an ice cold brewsky. My only criticism is I wish their fries were crispier. Ah well.
Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant
It’s a universally known fact that children love noodles. Whether they’re picking it up with their fingers, twirling with a fork, or attempting to use chopsticks and end up flinging it across the room, slippery strands of noodles are always a hit. If you or your kids want oodles of noodles, Green Leaf in Seattle’s International District is a must-try.
This family operation is hands down my favourite Vietnamese restaurant in Seattle that beckons me every time I’m in town. Their ingredients are simple but something magical happens when they combine them to create robust noodle and rice dishes. In part, they are very detailed oriented and grill/ steam/ fry every item to perfection. Their home-cooking approach gives each dish a dose of comfort that always hits the spot. They are necessarily heavy-handed with their basil and mint, crushed peanuts, and fried onions, which to me makes all the difference.
Watch your kids hilariously try to shovel Bánh Tằm Bì (warm rice noodles, shredded pork and cucumber dressed in a creamy coconut sauce) into their little mouths. Extra props to you if your kid pours on the fish sauce too. For something easier to eat, they have a variety of grilled skewers. This lemongrass eggplant (topped with even more crispy fried onions) is the star of the bunch. Don’t let their huge menu, filled with not-your-average pho, salads, bun, curries, appetizers, desserts, overwhelm you. If you’re like me, you’ll be attempting to try every item on repeated visits.