Food + Dining
ParentMap readers are tastefully opinionated, and no more so than when stacked against a field of restaurants, grocers and a diverse assortment of food purveyors.
Not just any fool can feed our babies! Read on to discover the best eats for family fun day, pizza for the team, treats for our sweets, weekend breakfast, cultural eats and more.
2014 Food + Dining — Winners + Finalists:
WINNER: Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria
A longtime Seattle-area favorite, Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria continues to shine for its family-friendly atmosphere. With five locations in Seattle, Bellevue and Issaquah, this celebrated pizzeria lures locals with its wood-fired “authentic” pies, “awesome happy-hour deals,” creative table activities and open kitchen views. Bonus: The lively setting easily drowns out any pre-pizza tantrums, making it a win-win for parents and fellow diners alike.
Boasting 10 locations in the Seattle area, Mod Pizza is relatively new to the scene, but quickly climbing in rank with parents on the go. Set in modern, minimalist venues, these counter-service pizza shops are a top choice among families for their superspeedy and “completely customizable” wood-fired pies, affordable prices and healthy topping choices.
As last year’s Golden Teddy winner, Zeeks Pizza continues to stay on the radar as a top pick for families. With 11 locations in the Puget Sound area, Zeeks is a neighborhood go-to featuring creative signature pies, “special pizzas for little tykes with allergies,” party space and dine-in adult beverages. Whether you’re in need of a delivery, an afternoon slice or a quick pickup, Zeeks is a reliable choice for families craving hand-tossed cheesy goodness.
Located in Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood, Pritty Boys Family Pizzeria serves up hearty signature pies, slices and other Italian staples. Complete with a play area for tots and an arcade room for older kids, this popular family-friendly destination also offers high-definition television for sports lovers, and a beer-and-wine menu for parents in need of some R&R.
Peppering the Puget Sound region with a range of locations, The Rock is a solid choice for Neapolitan-style pies and wood-fired casual grub. Offering “pizza dough to play with” at the table, sports-broadcasting TVs galore and a robust drink selection, this bustling family of pizzerias is a staple for families in need of a night out.
⇑ Food + Dining | Doughnuts ⇒
WINNER: Top Pot Doughnuts
Revered as having “the best doughnuts this side of the Mississippi,” Top Pot Doughnuts takes home the win this year for its delicious array of fresh, handmade offerings. Now with 16 locations throughout the Puget Sound area, these trendy cafes serve up espresso drinks and a colorful assortment of treats for cake and doughnut lovers big and small. Parents love the “quiet atmosphere for sleeping babies,” half-price day-old selection and fast, friendly service.
Featuring vegan doughnuts “without some of the noxious ingredients” you’d find in store-
bought competitors, Mighty-O Donuts is a resounding favorite among local families. Located in Seattle’s funky Tangletown neighborhood, this pint-size bakeshop offers delicious organic treats that everyone can get behind. Parents rave about its great locale for “people watching,” “supernice staff,” healthier options and “kid-friendly atmosphere.”
A celebrated pit stop for doughnut lovers worldwide, the Krispy Kreme Doughnuts chain continues to draw crowds with its doughy delectables. Local parents on the go love being able to hit up the drive-through, while others can’t help but stop when the “Free” sign is lit (who can resist?). As an added bonus, kids can see the doughnuts being made while waiting for a fresh batch at the counter.
Named for its “delicious and innovative” treats, Frost doughnuts in Mill Creek is a staple for local families and foodies alike. Showcasing a wide variety of creative flavors, including bourbon, bacon and Butterfinger, this cheerful gourmet doughnut shop has plenty to offer for those with adventurous sweet tooths.
⇐ Pizza | ⇑ Food + Dining | Ice Cream ⇒
WINNER: Molly Moon’s
If you can smell the scent of freshly made waffle cones and see a line, most likely you’re close to one of Molly Moon’s six Seattle ice cream shops. Established scoop mainstays for many Seattle families, these modern parlors feature an “exceptional” variety of house-made seasonal ice creams, including the celebrated salted caramel and the balsamic strawberry. And, with all ice creams made fresh daily with locally sourced ingredients, it’s easy to understand why families are happy to queue up around the block.
“Weird” ice cream flavors, draft brews, regular live bands and vintage arcade games keep Full Tilt Ice Cream’s four Seattle locations abuzz with cool kids and adults. Offering all-natural ice creams with whimsical flavors (and vegan offerings) such as salted popcorn and peanut butter-Sriracha, these hip scoop shops are well loved for their down-to-earth atmosphere.
With a variety of locations dotting the local landscape, it’s easy to see why Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt is a popular and convenient destination for local families. Boasting a large selection of innovative, low-fat flavors with fresh fruit toppings, sauces, syrups and sprinkles, these self-serve fro-yo shops are a downright perfect pick for “fussy eaters” who like to customize their own treats. Parents especially love the “color-changing spoons,” “fun kid freebies” and dairy-free offerings.
With its three modern self-serve locations in the Seattle area, Zoëyogurt earns high honors for its creamy low-fat fro-yo, dairy-free sorbets and endless array of toppings. Locally owned and operated, this chainlet provides punchcards for families that can’t get enough, as well as 100 percent compostable bowls and spoons, which make it an excellent eco-friendly stop-off to boot!
⇐ Doughnuts | ⇑ Food + Dining | Treat Shops ⇒
WINNER: Stuffed Cakes
Once again, Stuffed Cakes reigns supreme for its imaginative artisanal treats. Owned by a local mom specializing in “small cakes packed with personality,” this charming West Seattle bakery offers a wide range of creatively flavored cakes stuffed with sweet fillings in both mini and shareable sizes. Hailed by readers as a “vegan and gluten-free paradise,” this cakery is also noted as having the “friendliest staff in town.”
Known for its hip, kid-friendly atmosphere, Cupcake Royale is a long-standing favorite for Seattle-area families. Serving up a variety of seasonal flavors and positively adorable babycakes, Cupcake Royale offers seven shops in Seattle and Bellevue — and continues to sweeten the deal with house-made ice cream, great happy-hour deals and espresso drinks.
Another celebrated pick among local families, Trophy Cupcakes & Party features a variety of classic and themed desserts made with gourmet ingredients (including gluten-free options). Noted for being “moist and delicious,” Trophy treats are sold at four locations in Seattle and Bellevue, with on-site party goodies and adorable toppers to boot.
Adored for its one-of-a-kind “adult and kid-sized treats,” Bakery Nouveau commands quite the following with its daily offerings of gourmet chocolates, desserts, classic pastries and lunch fare. With two Seattle locations, the bakery is touted by readers as the “best, best, best” for “delicious confections that make your mouth water and the little one’s eyes light up!”
⇐ Ice Cream | ⇑ Food + Dining | Breakfast Spots ⇒
WINNER: The Original Pancake House
Founded in Portland, this national chain eatery offers five locations in the Puget Sound area. Dubbed as the very best for its wide selection of pancake dishes and traditional, home-style breakfasts, The Original Pancake House is a favorite (and a classic!) choice for families far and wide. Parents love that there’s always “something for everyone” on the menu and that it offers a bustling atmosphere “the kids can be crazy in.” Along with its friendly service, it’s easy to see why this old-school chain remains your favorite.
As last year’s Golden Teddy winner, Portage Bay Cafe still garners raves as a top spot for family breakfasting. With three locations serving up hearty eats made with organic, seasonal ingredients, this busy, contemporary daytime eatery typically has a line for a reason: It’s darned good. Parents agree across the board that the breakfast bar, filled with fresh fruit and other toppings, is a must, as are the “delicious bennies and French toast.”
A stalwart institution for many families throughout the country, Denny’s continues to attract hungry locals with its inexpensive yet generous plates of traditional comfort grub. Plus, it offers weekly “kids eat free” deals — please tell us if there is anything better than free!
Located in Lynnwood, the Playdate Café is exactly that — an indoor haven where kids can play and parents can chillax on comfy sofas. Offering Wi-Fi, Caffe Ladro espresso drinks, and a variety of healthy breakfast and lunch meals, this popular venue features a shoe-free “huge play area” for tots, with a custom-made play town, dress-up area and bouncy house.
Hearty, home-style comfort food is the draw at Meander’s Kitchen, a bustling yet intimate eatery in White Center. The “great food” is definitely “worth the wait” and its “supernice staff” can’t be beat. All around, it’s a great neighborhood choice for classic eats and a lively, kid-friendly atmosphere.
⇐ Treat Shops | ⇑ Food + Dining | Cross-Cultural Dining ⇒
Although these eateries didn’t register quite enough votes to claim a clear winner, we think they’re still pretty noteworthy (and delicious!). If your family is always on the hunt for a new foodie adventure, consider adding these reader-ratified 10 to your evolving must-try list:
Azuma Sushi: “Low-key environment, great sushi and tempura.”
Cafe Ibex: “Best Ethiopian in Seattle.”
Indochine Asian Dining Lounge: “Great selection of food, exotic décor; my son is always in awe of the decorations, furniture, booths and elephants at Federal Way and fish pond in the Tacoma restaurant.”
Saffron Grill: “Exceptional Indian, Mediterranean/Greek and American menus. There’s something for everybody, even the pickiest of kids!”
Pearl Bistro (5259 University Way NE): “Owner and host Tony is as sweet as you can get. Great food, great value, fast and very friendly service.”
Pho My Loi (10439 16th Ave. S.W., Seattle): “Noodles, soup, spring rolls, tofu. What more could you want?”
Snappy Dragon: “Judy’s homemade noodles! Judy’s homemade pot stickers! Judy’s amazing dipping sauces! Judy’s hyper-efficient and friendly staff! Judy, Judy, Judy!”
Sushi Connections: “Fun to watch the choices go around.”
The food court at Uwajimaya: “So much to choose from, and it keeps everyone happy. Plus, we love to wander the aisles to see what’s new.”
Yummy Pho (8920 161st Ave. N.E., Redmond): “We honestly go here at least once a month, if not more. My kids are obsessed with their fried rice. It’s total comfort food. Affordable, too!
⇐ Breakfast Spots | ⇑ Food + Dining | Coffee Shops ⇒
WINNER: Playdate Café (now PlayHappy Café)
A family-friendly restaurant and breakfast spot finalist, the Playdate Café in Lynnwood (which was renamed PlayHappy Cafe in late 2014) tops the list as the ultimate pick for best coffee shop this year. Serving up Caffe Ladro espresso drinks and a plethora of homemade cafe dishes, this popular indoor playspace is quickly becoming a mainstay for local families by virtue of its “great service” and “friendly staff.”
Loved by South Sound voters for its “great coffee and fantastic play area for kids,” the Frog n Kiwi Cafe in University Place offers an indoor haven for both kids and parents in need of a play date. Including a soundproofed wall between the playspace and dining area, this gathering spot assures a lively atmosphere for tots, a chill setting for mom and classic cafe fare for all.
A bustling hangout in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, Green Bean Coffeehouse offers a nonprofit community space for all ages and Caffe Lusso espresso drinks and casual fare for a quick bite. Local parents rave about the shop’s train table and its proximity to Top Ten Toys.
Hailed as a “consistent and predictable” spot to get your latte fix, Starbucks remains a stalwart go-to for local families. But, really, with a location at every turn, drive-thru service and an overall relaxed ambiance, what’s not to love?
Offering a dedicated kids’ playspace and espresso drinks (or wine!) for parents, Twirl Cafe continues to shine for its overall kid-friendly atmosphere. Touted by one voter as the “only real kid coffee shop out there,” this bustling meeting place allows parents the opportunity to sit back and chat over lattes or lunch with friends, while their tots work out all of the wiggles.
WINNER: Red Robin
Can't top it! Burgers galore, birthday ballads and bottomless mac ‘n’ cheese: Families far and wide continue to hail Red Robin as the very best when it comes to family-friendly dining. Originally founded in Seattle in 1969, this celebrated gourmet burger chain offers a much-appreciated, festive atmosphere that drowns out any unhappiness and replaces it with fun table activities, creative non-alcoholic drinks and customizable kids’ meals. It’s easy to see why Red Robin continues to be a crowd-pleaser! Local parents love the “friendly service and atmosphere,” the menu choices that work for both kids and parents and of course, getting the chance to meet Red, the dancing big bird behind the name.
Offering a community space for patrons both big and small, Twirl Cafe has been a go-to for Seattle families since first coming on the scene in 2010. In addition to its lively playspace for kids ages 9 months to 6 years, this convivial mainstay features a jam-packed menu with organic “healthy foods” (and wine), an “incredibly kind and patient staff” and “awesome classes” on the weekdays.
Playdate Café in Lynnwood offers the best of both worlds for kids and parents: A comfy seating area with Wi-Fi, healthy eats and a spacious indoor playscape with loads of activities for your energetic minis. Founded by a local mom in 2012, Playdate Café boasts a variety of structures, toys and decorated party rooms, plua a menu replete with homemade favorites, allergen-free choices and organic goodies.
Our overall Golden Teddy winner for best pizza, Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria just can’t seem to be beat with its standout kid-friendly atmosphere. With five locations in Seattle, Bellevue and Issaquah, this bustling pizzeria chain earns buzz for its Neapolitan-style pies, fun table activities and vibrant atmosphere. One parent notes: “No mess is too big! We feel like family.”
⇐ Coffee Shops| ⇑ Food + Dining | Food Trucks ⇒
WINNER: Moonie Icy Tunes
In need of a kids’ catering service that’s as smooth as soft-serve? That’s exactly what you’ll find with the popular treat truck, Moonie Icy Tunes. Parents rave about this throwback ice cream truck for its “awesome” staff and “great selection” of classic, kosher and gluten-free frozen treats. And the best part: “They come to you! How fun is that?!”
Other fan favorites for local food truck nosh:
El Camión: “Great food and prices. Best sauces!”
The Station: Marination Mobile: “Their kimchi fried rice is out of this world!”
Skillet Street Food: “Kids love the truck.”
Garden Sushi: “Indoor/outdoor seating. Yum.”
Tacos El Aserdo (7300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S.): “Good, inexpensive food and excitement of eating on a bus.. Outdoor seating options are a plus.”
Grocery Stores + Markets
WINNER: PCC Natural Markets
For the health-conscious families that pride themselves on keepin’ it green, PCC is a long-standing haven for locavores, both big and small. A veritable PNW institution, PCC was founded as a food cooperative in 1953, this well-loved chain market now features 10 locations throughout the Seattle area. All offering a PNW-style homegrown atmosphere with “friendly staff,” these neighborhood stores feature “well-organized” local, organic and sustainable grocery items, helpful “Kid Picks” labeling and a prepared foods section that takes the organic, gluten-free cake. An additional bonus: Parents resoundingly note that they LOVE that their kids can snack on free fruit while cruising the aisles.
Oh, Central Market … One voter puts it best by saying, “If only we lived closer!” With three locations in Shoreline, Mill Creek and Poulsbo, this celebrated grocery store has voters agreeing that its expansive selection is well worth the trek out of the city. Filled with organic produce, bulk goods and hard-to-find international items, Central Market is praised by voters as a top pick for all of its offerings, from fresh seafood to deli eats.
Time-tested and reliable, Fred Meyer continues to lure locals with its “one-stop” shopping. With stores dotting the Puget Sound landscape, this chain market provides a “great natural foods section,” reasonable prices” and even an hour of free childcare for parents needing to quickly maneuver the aisles (or grab a coffee).
Our PNW pride gets pretty puffed up when it comes to Pike Place Market, that true emblem of our regional best: The eye-dazzling local produce, amazing products, fine crafts and chance to be a tourist in your own town. And we almost don't even want to share the secret of our delicious daily dozen. We couldn't have summed it up better than this ParentMap reader-voter: "[It has] everything but toilet paper."
Always on the hunt for “good food at affordable prices”? Look no further than your neighborhood Trader Joe’s, attest many local parents. Featuring free samples galore, kiddie carts and fresh, organic goods that won’t break the bank, this funky chain store earns high marks for its “friendly staff” and well-stocked “easy options.”
A feel-good favorite for regional families, Whole Foods Market provides a robust selection of health-conscious groceries, with local and organic offerings throughout. Voters revere the chain’s “free bananas and applesauce for kids” as an indisputable sanity-saver, and love the endless variety of housemade dishes offered in the dining area. "Dinner = A snap of my fingers."