Readers absolutely adore Stuffed Cakes, the West Seattle shop conceived by a local mom and designer specializing in “small cakes packed with personality.” These pops of goodness, stuffed with delectables like fruit, candies or caramel sauce, range from minis to 10-inch cakes for sharing. New flavor combos are always afoot, and this is your stop for something supremely unique. Our readers say: “Incredible creative ideas for the top of cupcakes!”; “Freshest and prettiest cakes!”; and “Are you kidding? If you haven’t tried it yet, go there. Seriously. You’re missing out.” And if you’re at a loss for the right theme or design, don’t worry, its staff can help you out. (It has gluten-free and vegan options, too!)
Whether you’ve got a birthday party on tap or just need a fun place to refuel, Cupcake Royale is a local favorite. Gluten-free goodies sweeten the deal and its “Sprinkle Your Own Parties” are always a hit. Cupcake Royale also has a mobile cupcake party cart for events in need of a little cupcake love, in addition to its six locations in Seattle and Bellevue. Says one reader: “‘Wow’ factor is way up there.”
Small cupcakes for kids, which look as great as the big ones. Trophy Cupcakes has a devoted following of families that know these aren’t just desserts; they are palm-size, luscious works of edible art. Using only the finest ingredients, such as Valrhona cocoa powder, local rBGH-free dairy products, free-range eggs and pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, Trophy (locations in Wallingford, Bellevue, U Village and downtown Seattle) is known for quality in design and taste, with plenty of unique and yummy (and party-ready) flavors.
Readers also gave big cheers for Flying Apron, Seattle’s 100 percent gluten-free and vegan bakery (“Lots of gluten-free yummies!”); PinkaBella Cupcakes (“I like to say it!”); and Playdate Café (“Their treats are yummy, locally sourced and not full of garbage”).
Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop
Fans rave: Well-sourced ingredients, best salted caramel and hot fudge on the planet...Kids and grown-ups love it! Vegan ice cream, large, shareable portions...
Full Tilt Ice Cream — Yummy ice cream and arcade — who can ask for more? Family-friendly, fun atmosphere. A wide variety of flavors, including vegan.
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt — Awesome fro-yo, fun for the family to pick and choose how to customize dessert! Low-fat, kosher, always new flavors, what's not to love?
Peaks Frozen Custard — Delish!! Great frozen custard and coffee and homemade cakes!
Zoëyogurt — Great vibe/location and they always have peanut butter flavor! Good yogurt and compostable bowls and spoons.
Next up: Best Grocery Store »
Locavore, sustainable, healthful — our love for these qualities abound in Seattle and the Northwest, and this penchant for natural foods is reflected in the readers’ choice of PCC Natural Markets as top grocery store. Started as a 15-family food cooperative in 1953, PCC now has locations in Edmonds, Fremont, Green Lake, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond, Seward Park, View Ridge and West Seattle. What’s so great about PCC? You say: “Good selection of carefully chosen items for healthfulness and sustainability” and “PCC has what we need & keeps us GMO & crap-free!” Not only do you love the local and organic options and the neighborhood feel, you love the fact that every kid can grab and wash a fresh piece of fruit, no charge, to munch on while cruising the aisles. Bright orange Kid Picks labels throughout the stores help shoppers find the most kid-approved items, and allergen-free options abound. PCC is also a major donor to the PCC Farmland Trust, a nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving organic and local farmland.
Trader Joe’s, says one reader, is a store with “everything at a good price, fun for kids, great kiddie shopping carts.” From yummy samples to quick and easy meal options to stickers for the kidlets and an easy-to-read Fearless Flyer, Trader Joe’s satisfies many of our wishes in a great grocery store.
With locations almost everywhere you turn, QFC offers families convenience, a large and well-stocked natural foods and products section, “amazing, always helpful” staff and a “clean/organized store.” For busy, hectic lives, you can’t beat that.
Voters also enthuse over Whole Foods, a health-oriented national grocery store chain that offers a huge variety of ready-made and convenient foods, plus hot-food and salad bars, and a pizza oven that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. “Amazing bulk foods department, always find what we need anytime day or night,” says one satisfied voter.
Next up: Best Pizza Joint »
With 10 neighborhood stores dotting the regional landscape, from Ravenna to West Seattle to Issaquah, Zeeks Pizza surfaces as the top pick for family pizza goodness this year. This well-loved joint hits the right key for parties, sports events, dinner-and-a-movie outings and any other time that’s right for pizza (that might be all the time). Families love the delivery and pickup options, calling Zeeks “perfect for a slice on a warm summer day after the kids are done playing at the Green Lake wading pool!” and “great for making a mess and nobody cares!” As a bonus for harried parents, the full dine-in menu includes beer and wine.
A Seattle-area institution, Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria’s family-style environment and neighborhood feel score high with voters. With locations in Seattle and Issaquah, this stomach-warming spot offers aromatic, fire-kissed pizza, fresh salads, fun table activities and a satisfying wine menu. Bonus: The loud voices of your boisterous kids won’t bother anyone over the pleasant din of this bustling restaurant.
Flying Squirrel Pizza Co. opened its doors in 2008 and has been warmly received. With locations around Seattle, Flying Squirrel prides itself on using fresh ingredients that are also local and organic whenever possible. Families love the gluten-free crust options, cured meats and casual yet funky vibe.
Got a picky one? How about a family in which everyone’s pizza tastes differ? Not a problem for Pagliacci Pizza, another local chain with a passionate following. Pagliacci Pizza offers seasonal sensations alongside pie classics; its plain cheese pizza, which is anything but plain, is a well-established Northwest tradition. You’ll love the dine-in slice options and the option for half-and-half delivery pizzas. Plus, if you are a return caller, they’ll know your info as soon as you ring.
There is nothing more hurried than a parent on the move. That’s where Mod Pizza comes in. Its motto is “Simple food for complex times” and promises, truthfully, that its tasty pizza will be “super fast.” We, and voters, have to agree. Enjoy the hipster-friendly ambiance, the clever pizza names and the inexpensive prices.
Next up: Best Burger »
We Northwest foodies love our burgers, and the obsession starts young. Readers selected the national gourmet burger chain Red Robin as their favorite this year, praising its “excellent menu choices, including the kids’ menu,” “vibrant atmosphere good for kids,” “hearty and kid-friendly” quick meals and “gluten-free buns & allergy-safe fries.” Aside from juicy, customizable burgers, tongue-pleasing fries and sides, and table activities for kids, Red Robin also features a boisterous atmosphere that won’t leave you worried about your kid’s “inside voice,” and a colorful menu of drinks, salads and, if you have any room left in there, desserts.
Red Mill Burgers, on Phinney Ridge, at Interbay and at a new Ballard Totem House spot, is a local institution, and on busy days, lines can stretch out the door. But the wait is worth it. Red Mill’s back-to-basics menu delivers exactly what burger lovers look for: “Delicious” high-quality meats, flavorful fries on the side, and to-die-for shakes and malts, if you’re into that kind of thing (we bet your kiddos are, anyway).
Uneeda Burger, Fremont’s casual, roadside-style burger shack (with equally tempting sandwiches, sides and shakes) draws raves from its fans, who say things like, “Good lord, these burgers are to die for!”
Seattle has enjoyed Kidd Valley’s made-to-order burgers, old-fashioned hand-mixed shakes, fresh onion rings and signature fried mushrooms since 1975, when a small storefront in Seattle’s University District started the Kidd Valley tradition. You can still feel the nostalgia for a simpler era today when you visit and enjoy its “good, made-to-order burgers of all kinds” and “scrumptious shakes.”
Readers give enthusiastic nods to the creations of Blue Moon Burgers (“Delicious, uses well-sourced grass fed beef, has whole wheat bun options”) and Dick’s, the original drive-in burger (“Delish,” “Yummy”).
Next up: Kid-Friendly Restaurant »
The national gourmet burger chain is the top pick for families that want great food plus an ambience that welcomes all the energy, noise and tiny taste buds that kids bring. Red Robin, which first opened its doors in Seattle in 1969, is known for its masterfully mixed nonalcoholic drinks (the strawberry lemonade will please big kids and small) and deliciously accessorized burgers, as well as a mix-and-match kids’ menu, fun table activities, a lively atmosphere and friendly (read: patient) service. You love it for the “quick food, cheap & customizable kids’ meals,” and because it’s “loud enough that your kids are distracted and no one will be annoyed by them.” Hooray for camouflaged kid noise! Red Robin also features healthy sides, such as carrots, steamed broccoli and melon slices. All together, everyone: Yummmmm!
Playdate Café in Lynnwood is quickly becoming a favorite among busy moms and dads seeking a moment, or a few, to chill out while the kids have fun. Featuring healthy breakfast and lunch items, plus allergen-free options, bagels, pies, cupcakes and the ever-critical espresso menu, Playdate Café is “a fabulous space, great food, awesome staff ... [that] feels like a community, not just a restaurant.”
The folks at neighborhood favorite Phinney Market Pub, on Phinney Ridge, make it a point to source the freshest and most sustainable fare from local farmers to keep that distance to your plate as short as possible. And voters love the results. The menu, including a popular weekend brunch, changes with the season and local ingredient availability. As you say: “Great food for kids and adults. Awesome play area. Close to the zoo!”
Bean Sprouts Café, in Seattle Center Armory, seems to do what, on some days, not even the most intrepid mom can do: It offers “healthy food that is presented in a fun and playful way that makes kids excited to eat it.” Open most days through lunch and the afternoon, Bean Sprouts provides a much needed resting spot at the epicenter of many of Seattle’s best art, culture and play spots for kids. Adorable, craft-inspired sandwiches will inspire your kids, and a menu with healthy options that also happens to be super-friendly to those with allergies will thrill parents.
Not surprisingly, Northwest parents love their brews — kids or no kids. Elliott Bay Brewing Company, with locations in West Seattle, Burien and Lake City, brews thirst-quenching suds, paired with equally well-crafted brunch, lunch, dinner and kids’ fare. We say, “Bottoms up!”
A Chow Foods “American grill” and a Ballard family staple, The Hi-Life has been pleasing grownups and kids for years, with a clever, rotating menu of delicious brunch options (enjoy the fun names, such as “Nighthawk Breakfast”) and family-friendly offerings, such as Sunday-night chicken dinner.
Once again the chorus sings the praises of Seattle’s Vios Café, with locations on Capitol Hill and in Ravenna (inside Third Place Books). Featuring a kids’ play area, healthy, authentic Greek menu options for kids, and proximity to a great kids’ book selection of new and used reads, Vios Café is, as one reader sums it up, “Awesome.”
We asked on Facebook... What’s your favorite family-friendly restaurant in the greater Seattle area?
Though these family-friendly eateries recommended by our Facebook followers didn’t register enough votes to make the finalist cut in this category, add ’em to your “try it” list when you feel stuck in a restaurant rut:
- Blue C Sushi. Kids can sit, grab their own food, and we’re out of there before anyone has a chance to have a major meltdown. — Michelle H.
- Luna Park Cafe. Something there for everyone in the family. — Odetta O.
- Kona Kitchen. Small Hawaiian family restaurant south of Northgate Mall (on 5th). Towards the end of the evening the owners’ kids pulled out their big toys in the lobby and start running around the place, so our toddler just joined in the fun while moms and dads got some adult time. — Kristi G.
- Cafe Flora. Great menu, kids play area, super-friendly staff. Did I mention AMAZING food?!! — Patrick Susie Liam
- A Terrible Beauty. I like taking my son to Terrible Beauty for pub grub and Irish music. — Katie P.
- Pritty Boys Family Pizzeria in Madrona. It has a kids’ play area with a train table, playhouse, kitchen, etc. in the main dining room. For the older kids, there is an Xbox and Wii. Gluten-free and dairy-free options are available. The back room is great for kids’ parties. — Janine C.
- Meander’s Kitchen (9635 16th Ave. S.W., Seattle). Huge new space and a whole back room with board games, pool table, dress-up clothes for kiddos, lots of wiggle room while you wait for a table, and most importantly, delicious self-serve coffee for the grownups! Funky Portland vibe and absolutely delicious food. — Katy L.
- The Barking Dog Alehouse. Barking Dog is pretty easy with kids. The wait staff always looks out for the rogue runner before walking with a tray. — Sara T.
- North Bend Bar and Grill. Roomy, casual, crayons/coloring, and a great kid menu. — Krista J.
- Angelina’s West Seattle Italian Restaurant. It feels nice and adult for the adults, yet it’s totally kid-friendly, with chalkboards in the booths and an appropriate kids menu. My family loves it! — Elisa T.
Next up: Best Family Breakfast Spot »
Family Breakfast Spot
Seattleites are picky about their breakfasts. On a cold, rainy morning or a rare sunny weekend, breakfast sets the tone of a day for a family.
This year, voters resoundingly selected the casual yet polished Northwest Portage Bay Café, in Ballard, South Lake Union and Roosevelt, as the fave spot for crispy waffles, belly-warming egg inventions, and kid-pleasing pancakes topped high with fruit and accoutrements from the mouthwatering toppings bar. Sound messy? Wipe yer mouths on the generous towel-like napkins, which will keep even the messiest little one respectably tidy. “Fantastic food, as many fresh berries and whip cream as you can eat!” says one voter.
With Washington locations in Seattle, Kirkland, Bothell and Puyallup, The Original Pancake House makes breakfast the way you remember it, specializing in baked versions of America’s favorite breakfast food. “Good, friendly, homey,” says one reader.
A Columbia City destination, Geraldine’s Counter offers breakfasts that taste homemade, with comfort-food twists and a fun kids’ activity sheet. It’s another favorite spot with a “good community atmosphere.”
Voters also loved St. Clouds (“Very fresh and yummy food, reasonably priced, great staff and feels like you are eating in a ’home’ not an establishment”); Lil’ Jon Restaurant & Lounge (“Cinnamon rolls!”); and The Hi-Life (“Lots of other kids and babies”).
Best Food Trucks
Moonie Icy Tunes
Fans rave: Awesome truck, amazing people and a great experience for everyone. The service is amazing and they have anything you could imagine! They are fantastic!! No extra fees, tasty treats!.
El Camión — Delicious, cheap, authentic, large menu, laid back, easy. My 5-year-old loves it! Fish taco, fish taco, fish taco!!!!
Maximus/Minimus — Good food, delicious coleslaw and lemonade.
Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream — Kids love ice cream!
Skillet Street Food — Such yummy food! The burger is the BEST burger in Seattle.
Where Ya At Matt — Delicious. Simply delicious.