Desperate times call for desperate measures, and we’ve all paid too much for a mediocre restaurant lunch of PB&J or box mac ‘n’ cheese just to keep our little ones happy. But when there’s time to plan, we recommend treating your tiny gourmand—and yourself—to a meal at one of these places, where the kids’ menus are way better than basic.

young-american-ale-house_jack

photo: Kristina Moy

Young American Ale House
This latest addition to the Maria Hines Restaurant Group brings elevated, organic American pub classics (with a twist!) to its regular menu and to its all-new kids’ dinner menu and kids’ weekend brunch menu. Each night, the Ballard gastropub-inspired restaurant offers fresh, locally-sourced dinner options for kids 10 & under. Mini restaurantgoers can choose from grass-fed mini beef burgers with sharp cheddar and beef fat fries (so delicious!), mac ‘n’ cheese with sharp cheddar and bechamel, grilled broccolini with oven dried tomato vinaigrette or YAAH kids pizza with mozzarella and tomato sauce. On the weekends, families can delight in Young American’s farm-to-table brunch with sweet and savory options including kid faves like french toast bites with powdered sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon, smoked ham, egg and cheese sandwiches with cheddar and sun dried tomato aioli and organic chicken fingers. View the full kids’ dinner menu here and the kids’ brunch menu here.

What’s for dessert? During dinner hours, you won’t want to miss the root beer floats made with house-made vanilla bean ice cream and Snoqualmie Draft Root Beer. Got a chocolate tooth? Order the chocolate mouse pie and add on a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

1744 Northwest Market St.
Seattle, Wa 98107
206-706-2977
Online: mariahinesrestaurants.com/restaurants/young-american-ale-house

Hours: Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sun.-Thurs., 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 4 p.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

young-american-ale-house-kids-meal

photo: Kristina Moy

Hard Rock Cafe
The only chain restaurant to make our list is here for good reason: their Roxtars kids’ menu features healthy choices as part of the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program. The real kicker? The dishes—chicken breast, salad, “twisted ‘n’ tasty” cavatappi pasta, and the like served with apple juice and veggie sides—are tasty enough to please picky palates as well.

What’s for dessert? Getting your kids to eat a healthy dinner means you should have no guilt letting them indulge a little after. Split the ultra-decadent hot fudge brownie sundae or cheesecake made with Oreo cookie pieces among the entire family—they’re rich enough to share!

116 Pike St.
Seattle, Wa 98101
206-204-2233
Online: hardrock.com/cafes/seattle or on Facebook
Hours: Daily 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

hard-rock-cafe-menu-for-kids

photo: Kristina Moy 

Elliott Bay Brewhouse & Pub
A beer hall may not be the logical place to dine with your tiny foodie, but this is no ordinary brewery. You’ll find a laundry list of brews and ciders, though Elliott Bay Public House is a family joint at heart, with a wide-open dining room perfect for people watching and enough noise that nobody will hear your littlest whining. The kids’ menu gets points more for variety than creativity: one kid can get a hot dog and fries, another salmon teriyaki and the third fish and chips. All are executed well.

What’s for dessert? There’s a stout cupcake that’s top notch, but who could resist a root beer float?

12537 Lake City Way N.E.
Seattle, Wa 98125
206-365-2337
Hours: Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri., 11 a.m.-midnight; Sat., 9:30 a.m.-midnight; Sun. 9:30 a.m.-11 p.m.

255 S.W. 152nd St.
Burien, Wa 98166
206-246-4211
Hours: Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri., 11 a.m.-midnight; Sat., 9:30 a.m.-midnight; Sun. 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

4720 California Ave. S.W.
Seattle, Wa 98116
206-932-8695
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-midnight; Sun. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Online: elliottbaybrewing.com or on Facebook

elliot bay brewery

photo: Sara C. via Yelp

Skillet Diner
As far as diners go, Skillet is a step above the rest: cleaner, brighter, and serving quality interpretations of picky-eater favorites. The all-day menu for the under-7 set includes fluffy griddle cakes with seasonal fruit—is there anything better than pancakes for dinner?—or a stellar grilled cheese on brioche, mac made with orecchiette pasta and homemade cheese sauce or a tiny version of the legendary Skillet burger.

What’s for dessert? During breakfast hours, you won’t want to miss the made-to-order doughnut holes, though the kiddo-sized milkshakes are hard to beat.

Capitol Hill
1400 E. Union St.
Seattle, Wa 98122
206-512-2001
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri-Sat., 7 a.m.-11 p.m.

Ballard
2034 N.W. 56th St.
Seattle, Wa 98107
206-922-7981
Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-9 p.m.

Regrade
2050 6th Ave.
Seattle, Wa 98121
206-512-2002
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Seattle Center
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, Wa 98109
206-428-6311
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Online: skilletstreetfood.com or on Facebook

skillet diner mac n cheese

photo: Skillet Street Food Facebook page

Lola 
Tom Douglas’ popular Mediterranean-inspired eatery is best known for its brunch, but it’s the lunch and dinner menu that’s something special. In addition to buttery noodles and grilled cheese, hangry little ones can choose chicken or salmon kebabs with fries. Is there anything better than food on a stick?

What’s for dessert? The sweet treats menu features a variety of frozen goodies in innovation flavors—try the pistachio ice cream, pear sorbet, or chocolate peanut butter gelato. Or go for the made-to-order doughnut holes with seasonal jam.

2000 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, Wa 98121
206-441-1430
Online: tomdouglas.com or on Facebook
Hours: Mon.-Thu., 6 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri., 6 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sat., 7 a.m.-3 p.m. & 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sun., 7 a.m.-3 p.m. & 4 p.m.-1 a.m.

lola via yelp

photo: Lily Y. via Yelp 

Palisade
Because even the smallest food-lovers deserve to experience fine dining, Palisade offers sweeping Elliott Bay views, cloth napkins, and a prix fixe kids’ menu that’s both impressive and affordable. For just $9, your discerning diner can choose a starter (apple slices, seasonal veggies with ranch, cheese and rosemary crackers or a Caesar salad), entrée (herb-marinated roast chicken, pan-seared steelhead, mini burgers or grilled sirloin steak), dessert and drink.

What’s for dessert? Sure, there’s a berry shake and simple crème brûlée, but the butterscotch bread pudding topped with whipped mascarpone and pecan shortbread streusel is so good you’ll want to lick the plate yourself.

2601 W. Marina Place
Seattle, Wa 98199
206-285-1000
Online: palisaderestaurant.com or on Facebook
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. & 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Sat., 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. & 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. & 4 p.m.-8 p.m.

palisade dessert

photo: Kristine H. via Yelp

Hungry? Share your favorite restaurant to eat with the kids in the Comments below.

— Chelsea Lin & Kristina Moy