While the idea of waterfront dining sounds luxurious (and maybe something you’d attempt in your pre-kid days), it can also be über kid-friendly and yep, affordable. From a restaurant with a super affordable kids menu to a lakefront escape, here are four restaurants in the area that welcome famished families for delicious food with a spectacular view.
Salty’s on the Columbia River
When people around here think of waterfront dining, Salty’s is usually the restaurant that comes to mind first. The whole family will enjoy sitting outside to watch sailboats float on the river below, Mt. Hood in the distance and planes flying above from the outdoor, wraparound deck or from a wind-free seat inside next to a wall of windows. And, quite frankly, where else will you find a kids’ menu with steelhead and shrimp along with the classic grilled cheese and chicken strips? Go for dinner and order the famous Salty’s Seafood Chowder, or hit them up for a weekend brunch for all-you-can-eat Dungeness and snow crab. Just save room for the four-foot chocolate fountain.
3839 NE Marine Dr.
Photo: Old Spaghetti Factory
Old Spaghetti Factory
Thanks to stunning Willamette River views from enormous windows and their extensive, inclusive and affordable menu, families have been coming back to this cute, kitchy and very popular spot for 46 years. Children like it for the food and for the fact that there’s an old trolley car inside – families can even dine inside the car if they’re lucky enough to snag a seat. Including the kid-pleasing Spaghetti with Mizithra Cheese and Browned Butter, the kids’ menu has nine options for no more than $5.99 each, that include their entrée, applesauce or salad, milk, apple juice or a soft drink, spumoni, vanilla ice cream, or a juice bar.
715 SW Bancroft St.
Photo: Tad’s Chicken ‘n Dumplins by Sammy S. via Yelp
Tad’s Chicken ‘n Dumplins
Tad’s is an institution and holds special memories for many natives who now take their kids here for hand-sized dumplings served over stewed chicken in gravy, just 20 minutes from Portland, with a spectacular view of the Sandy River. This casual family restaurant usually greets you with a crackling fire when you walk in and raw veggies and ranch instead of bread when you are seated. Kiddos are always welcome here with their own fish ‘n’ chips on the kids’ menu. The food is homemade, including the salad dressings, and the portions are generous, so pace yourself, or be prepared to take some home, but whatever you do, save room for apple crisp! While they don’t take reservations, call ahead to put your name on the seating list before you head there.
1325 E. Historic Columbia River Hwy.
Photo: Lake Theater & Cafe
Lake Theater & Cafe
If a lake view is more your style, head to Lake Oswego and kick back on the patio for some casual al fresco dining. The kids’ menu features everything from pizza to apple and almond butter sandwiches. After your meal, check out the films and activities at the theater, including $1 matinee movies (the schedule can be found online), or walk over to Sundeleaf Plaza to enjoy more of the sunshine. If you’re there for dinner, the fireplace heats up the patio. There’s also all-ages trivia night every Wednesday at 7 p.m.
106 N State St.
Where does your family like to dine with waterfront views? Let us know in the comments below!
— Marianne Walters