A cedar replica of a Northwest Indian longhouse, Ivar's Salmon House (401 N.E. Northlake Way, 206-632-0767)--with its Native American-inspired carvings and views of the Seattle skyline across Lake Union--is the perfect place to take out-of-town visitors traveling with children. There's a good selection of fresh fish, including alder-smoked salmon, and seasonal seafood specials. Corn bread and wild blackberry ice cream will delight the kids, who can order from a children's menu.
Favorite dining adventure
Imagine having dinner in Ali Baba's tent while sitting on low pillows and eating with your fingers. If your family is open to culinary adventures, dining at Marrakesh (2234 Second Ave., Seattle, 206-956-0500) is like a magic carpet ride to Morocco. This exotic Belltown restaurant is a definite culinary adventure and ideal for special celebrations. Friendly wait staff in Aladdin-inspired costumes explain the five-course feast, which is served family-style (serve yourself with your fingers!) and includes lentil soup, salad, b'stilla (filo filled with chicken and dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar) and an entrée choice (usually chicken or lamb). Kids will enjoy the ritual hand washing before the meal and the large towels that are draped over everyone's laps. Dinner is $17.50 per person; for $10.50 children can share the main courses and get their own soup, dessert and mint tea. Not recommended for very young kids or picky eaters.
Favorite "real" hamburgers
If your kids think a Big Mac or Whopper actually tastes like a hamburger, you owe them a visit to Red Mill Burgers (312 N. 67th St., 206-783-6362 and 1612 W. Dravus St., Seattle, 206-284-6363). This is not fast food but definitely worth the wait, both to find a seat and for your food to arrive. Juicy burgers may be ordered with a variety of toppings; veggie burgers as well as grilled chicken are also available. Onion rings are a definite must (fries are average) and don't miss the creamy shakes and malts.
Favorite market and food court
Pig snouts. Exotic vegetables. Live sea creatures. Uwajimaya (519 6th Ave., Seattle, 206-642-6248; and 15555 N.E. 24th St., Bellevue, 425-747-9012) is a treasure trove of cultural and culinary gems, a delight to the senses and a great shopping adventure. (Don't miss the gift shop and the bookstore). One of the best aspects of a visit to the Seattle version of this bustling multi-cultural grocery store is enjoying lunch or snacks at the food court. Your family can sample different items from fluffy bao buns to stir-fry and sushi.
Mama mia! Yes, it's a chain. But there's nothing quite like Buca di Beppo (701 9th Ave. N., Seattle, 206-224-2288; 4301 200th St. S.W., Lynnwood, 425-744-7272) kitschy, irreverent over-the-top décor (check out the Pope's table), festive atmosphere or humongous portions of delicious southern Italian food. Everything is served family-style and arrives on gigantic platters: enormous salads, huge bowls of steaming pastas, mounds of luscious lemon chicken or tender veal Marsala. Since reservations are only accepted for large groups, there's usually a wait, so go early.
-- Deborah Ashin