One of the best things about living in Seattle—aside from the fantastic views, the easy access to nature and the reasonable weather (polar vortex, anyone?) is the wide and delicious variety of available ethnic cuisine. From Thai to Mexican to Italian to Greek, if you crave it, chances are you can get it, and it’s going to be good. Pho (pronounced “fuh”, for the uninitiated) is the latest craze in the Vietnamese dining scene—a new restaurant will likely pop up in your ‘hood before you can say Sriracha. But which ones are kid-friendly? Never fear, foodie family—flip through for nine fantastic pho joints for the whole pho-mily.
Best Family-Friendly Variety: Pho Cyclo Cafe (SoDo, Broadway, South Lake Union, Bellevue)
This totally family-friendly, full service Vietnamese restaurant is named after the French word for rickshaw—the cyclo drivers in Vietnam can always get you to the best home cooked meal at a reasonable price. Pho Cyclo’s expansive menu ranges from banh mi (mouth-watering French bread sandwiches full of fresh ingredients) and spring rolls to rice and bun (noodle) and com (rice) bowls, but their pho is a stand out—robust broth with a generous helping of cilantro and green onion, and all the fresh toppings you’d expect. They offer the full menu of pho options, including rare steak, meatball, tripe and tendon, and even quail egg for the extra-adventurous, as well as chicken and tofu (served in chicken broth).
We recommend: The rare steak pho is tender and buttery, and the eggrolls are stuffed full of minced pork and shrimp. The noodle bowls can easily serve two and would be great to share with your little ones, or the ginger chicken lettuce wraps are fun little lettuce burritos to keep your tots busy while you devour your pho.
What is Pho?
With an estimated 73 Pho restaurants in the Seattle area (#3 in the nation according to the website phofever.com), you’re likely to find one around every corner. Pho is a Vietnamese beef noodle soup, consisting of rice noodles and a variety of meats (or tofu and veggies) in a beef (or chicken or veggie) broth seasoned with anise, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Yum! Provided with every order, fresh bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime wedges and jalapeno slices can be added, as well as Sriracha and hoisin or plum sauces, depending on your pho preferences.
What the Pho: Great for the pho beginner—Southcenter, Bothell & Bellevue
La Lot: Fancy pho—Downtown Seattle
Papaya Vietnamese Cafe: Offers a “light pho” option with zucchini noodles—Renton & Bellevue
Pho Tai: Nice kids’ options, friendly service—White Center
Where’s your favorite place to eat pho with the kids? Let us know in a comment below!
-Erin Cranston (words and some photos)