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Seattle Visit, Foodie Parents, 2 Kids Not So Much

We'll be visiting Seattle in a couple of weeks, first visit, very excited. We'll be eating early (9 month old, 8 year old), sometimes we'll feed the 8 y.o. before dinner so we can eat what we want.

Hoping to get some recs for seafood, Vietnamese, essentials (planning on Salumi) that are fairly kid friendly. We won't have a car until the last couple of days, staying by Pike Place Market. Don't mind public transport or cabs.

Thanks so much!

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  1. I am glad you are coming. Seattle is a beautiful city and very kid friendly. Salumi is a great place but it is tiny (just 3 or 4 tables) and very busy. Plan on doing take out (what most people do) and eating it at the park nearby. If I were you, I'd wait until the last days--so you have a car--to do it because sometimes the park has some panhandlers and drunks and it can be a little uncomfortable if you have the kids with you. You can easily park nearby and eat in the car. Don't get me wrong. It is perfectly safe and a nice area to explore, just if you have to do take out with kids it is a different ballgame. If you venture into Chinatown you might like to try Tamarind tree. The food is delicious, affordable, kid friendly--just try to go early or late (preferably early) because it does get busy. If you are staying by Pike Place, the Pink Door restaurant is very close (actually behind the market) and although it is not cheap it is good and reliable.
    You will find that Seattle is extremely kid friendly and I will keep my fingers crossed so you get some sunny days.

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    Pink Door
    1919 Post Aly, Seattle, WA 98101

    Salumi
    309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

    1 Reply
    1. re: dahlia2

      Thanks so much! After the heat we've been having in Chicago, I am looking forward to some cooler days and nights in Seattle.

    2. Just returned from a week in Seattle with our 7 year old. She is happy to try stuff but has a limited range of things that we can rely on to fill her up when out. Hope these notes - promised before we arrived, after suggestions from posters on this board - on our experience help.

      First, if you have Internet access while you are there check whether restaurants have a Kids Menu. Many do, including some good ones for foodies, and this is a good sign that your child will have workable choices.

      Second, most places will cook one or both of pasta with butter/Parmesan or French Fries, if asked. Mileage may vary if you go more upscale.

      Third, we have found that encouraging our daughter to try things (risk-free apart from the taste of course) helps her to expand her range. On this trip she discovered that salmon rolls

      Saturday night we went to Steelhead Diner. Both wife and I enjoyed our food greatly (Pork Collar, Black Cod entrees), as did all 3 kids (ours and a friend's). This is right in the Pike Place Market. We had a short wait, but this was a busy Saturday night after all.

      Monday lunchtime we went to Lola. Reliable and tasty without being spectacular. Doughnuts for dessert, good and fun to eat. By this point, was remembering how good beer is in Seattle.

      Monday night we went to Quinn's Pub. This is a brewpub but like many places in Seattle has a dividing rail outside of which kids can sit and eat/drink. We liked but did not love the food. Beer is great though.

      Tuesday and Wednesday lunch we went to Serious Pie. Tom Douglas has a small area of the city that he has made his own - you can go to this place, Lola, Dahlia Lounge, Dahlia Bakery (great cookies/pastries) all within 100 yards of each other. For you guys, Etta's Seafood is in the market on Western iirc, and just as good. Pizza can be prepared simple tom/mozz, no basil, if like our daughter your kids are violently resistant to green things on their food.

      Wednesday dinner we had a night out! Mistral Kitchen in the casual dining area. Have to say that (cocktails aside, wow!) we were underwhelmed, mostly due to ingredients not being matched by seasoning/preparation. Wish we had gone to Canlis or somewhere more low-key like Crush, Elemental @ Gasworks, Tilth for our splurge/grown-ups only night. My overall impression is that this is where Seattle shines, not on the traditional high end tasting menu. One thing I really like is that for the most part the chef is still in the kitchen in these places (MK are you listening?) vs the sprawling multi-restaurant empires that we see in NYC.

      Thursday I stopped in Wedgwood for Top Pot doughnuts and latte. Value for money, this was my single best food experience in Seattle :-) Of course it was not v expensive, this not being NYC, so that's not to run down the other great meals we had. Top Pot also has a downtown location and well worth the trip if you have a sweet tooth.

      Friday lunchtime we went to Toulouse Petit on Queen Anne Ave, which is walking distance from the Space Needle/Seattle Center if you head up that way. I had a very good jambalaya the place in NOLA-themed) and wife and friend each had a nice soup and salad combo. Kid-friendly assuming your kids will eat a plate of fries. They appear to have lots of price specials at different times, and it was busy.

      Friday night we went to Nishino in Madison Valley and had the chef's recommendation of sashimi followed by same for sushi. This was great, and exceptional value imo given the quality of the fish ($75 per head, including tip and a large cold bamboo of sake between us). Daughter had rice, and edamame in the pods (fun and good for kids). You can get the bus or a cab out there but I do understand that there are good sushi alternatives nearer to the Market. We picked this because we used to live nearby. It was very busy even at 5.30pm.

      Saturday night we went to Tamarind Tree (Provincial Vietnamese) behind a mini-mall on the north side of Jackson and 12th. This was fantastic, we shared several dishes family style and loved them all - coconut chicken curry, house crepe to divide and wrap in lettuce leaves, lemongrass chili beef, grilled eggplant. Again, incredible value for us NYC-ers. Very busy so call ahead for a reservation.

      One off note - we had breakfast in Lowell's (right in the market) one morning, and found it overpriced, I did not realise this was such an obvious tourist trap. If Cafe Campagne is open it's much better and you can go always look at the view afterwards. Breakfast was the only meal where we did not venture as much as I would have liked, we ate in the hotel (Fairmont) every other day. Also would have liked to explore the amazing number of happy hours, but oh well.

      Hope you enjoy your trip. One final note is that we took the light rail from the airport to the city which is just as quick and way cheaper than a cab, also fun for our daughter. Practicality depends on how many bags you have, and how close you are staying to the stops downtown though. We returned to NYC having had a great number of good meals and only a couple of downers.

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      Canlis Restaurant
      2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

      Pike Place Market
      1501 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

      Tamarind Tree
      1036 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104

      Cafe Campagne
      1600 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101

      Dahlia Bakery
      2001 4th Ave, Seattle, WA

      Quinn's Pub
      1001 E Pike St, Seattle, WA

      Steelhead Diner
      95 Pine Street, Suite 17, Seattle, WA 98101

      Etta's Seafood
      2020 Western Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121

      Serious Pie
      316 Virginia St, Seattle, WA 98101

      Queen Anne Cafe
      2121 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

      Nishino
      3130 E Madison St Ste 106, Seattle, WA 98112

      Dahlia Lounge
      2030 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

      Mistral Kitchen
      2020 Westlake Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121

      4 Replies
      1. re: NYCTechy

        Thank you for the detailed review of your trip. Glad you had a nice visit.

        1. re: bluedog67

          No problem. We were impressed with how much the dining landscape has broadened since we left in early 2005. Looking forward to next trip already...

        2. re: NYCTechy

          One more thing I wanted to mention. After visiting Quinn's Pub we took a stroll around what has become a fabulous neighborhood north of Pine St, east of Broadway, anchored by a new playing field and park. Kids might go for this as a bribe to sit still later, while you visit one of the restaurants on Pike or Pine. Also in that area is Molly Moon which serves pretty good ice cream (expect a line). Broadway (from Pine St to Roy St) itself looked a heck of lot more welcoming than it used to as well.

          -----
          Quinn's Pub
          1001 E Pike St, Seattle, WA

          1. re: NYCTechy

            I live in Seattle and was amazed at how detailed and accurate your description was. Yes, there is a great food scene in Seattle and you covered some of my favorites. Glad you had a good time

          2. Also Tamarind Tree has a second restaurant downtown - Longs. It is near 2nd and Stewart. The menu is a little different than TT but very very good and plenty of kid friendly stuff (they will do plain noodles or noodles with chicken broth or whatever you need). Nishino does get good press for sushi though i prefer Mashiko is West Seattle. They are very kid friendly (esp if you go early). My son loves their udon noodles. Top Pot donuts is great - the closest ones to you will be downtown (near Cinerama on 5th) or the one on Capitol Hill. And for a fancy night out i always recommend Zoe in Belltown. I've been many times over the years and i always have a fabulous meal (and they have a great bar as well). Not so much a kid place though. Have a marvelous trip!

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            Tamarind Tree
            1036 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104

            Nishino
            3130 E Madison St Ste 106, Seattle, WA 98112

            1 Reply
            1. re: BorntoEat

              We went into Long Provincial one lunchtime (late, around 1.30) and it was dead as a doornail and so we left (for Serious Pie, which was hopping). Perhaps dinner has a better buzz, hard to see how it would match the Saturday night atmosphere we found at Tamarind Tree though.

              We too loved Zoe when living in Seattle - we went to Quinn's Pub last week instead, since we could not Zoe with our daughter.

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              Tamarind Tree
              1036 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104

              Quinn's Pub
              1001 E Pike St, Seattle, WA

            2. Oh and Monsoon in Capitol Hill would be a fabulous night out and they are kid friendly (enough anyway) esp if you go early. They have wonderful seafood.

              1. I would do Green Leaf for Vietnamese. They have their first restaurant in the International District which is very cramped and popular (so expect to wait), BUT, they just opened their 2nd restaurant in Belltown and it sound like no one has discovered it yet. So, maybe that's a better pick with kids. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html...

                I think Steelhead Diner is a great pick, too. That's one of our "family compromise" restaurants--my picky and unadventurous parents and sister can find something to eat, but we like it too.