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Pacific Northwest Travel: Kid Friendly Restaurants in Portland, Oregon

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pacific northwest travel kid friendly restaurants in portland oregon

Pacific Northwest Travel

Kid-Friendly Restaurants:

Thanks to all the awesome recommendations from all of you and some folks on Twitter, we tried some delicious new restaurants that were hits with both of us and our girls! Since this was a little mini vacation for us, we decided to splurge a bit on the food & try a few different places for breakfast and dinner since Portland definitely seems to be a great location for amazing restaurants.

Our two favorite, all-around kid-friendly restaurants in Portland that we tried:

Mother’s Bistro:

Play Area at Mother’s Bistro

Our first restaurant stop in Portland was Mother’s Bistro, on the night that we arrived (Thursday). Mother’s was located right in downtown within about 4-5 blocks from our hotel at the Hotel Monaco (it was near the waterfront but not far from Pioneer Courthouse Square either). We arrived right during a busy time and it turns out that it’s a really good idea to get a reservation for the main dining area. It was going to be a bit of a wait, but they offered for us to eat in the little cafe section & we got seated right away. Turns out there was a kids play area in the main area, so we definitely will have to go check that out again. The food was delicious – so flavorful! Ben had the Macaroni & Cheese & I got the Meatloaf & we split ours so we could try both of them out. Yummy comfort food with a modern twist to it, making the dishes feel lighter, not as heavy of a meal, without sacrificing the taste!  The kids meals were very reasonably priced, with options as low as $2.95 (pbj sandwich) to $5.95.  Definitely a hit in our book – just don’t forget those reservations if you don’t want a wait & want to sit in the main dining area!

Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB):

We had so many reader recommendations for the Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB), that we decided to drive out there for dinner on a Friday night. This is definitely the ultimate family-friendly location in Portland – everywhere you looked there was a family with all ages of kids and they truly cater to families as the servers are very friendly & accommodating to kids’ requests.  They had several play areas, too, and would even seat you near the play area (if possible) so that your kids could play after they ate, which was so nice to enjoy some adult conversation with my hubby while the girls had fun playing. I will say that it was a very long wait (at least 45 minutes as it was a Friday night – the 5-7pm hours were the busiest) but thankfully our girls were very content to play in the play area.

The food was delicious, using fresh, local and many organic ingredients. The kids menu offered free range chicken, organic pasta & more – finally a restaurant where there were healthier options to serve your kids! The kids meals were reasonable too – $4.75 for the meal, side & drink. They even serve Earth’s Best Organic baby food for little ones if you forgot yours at home. I got a burger for under $10 & my hubby got a Calzone for around $13-$14.  All of our food was delicious & service was excellent, so we’ll definitely check it out again, but just try to time it better so it’s not during the weekend dinner hour rush! Love finding a restaurant dedicated to sustainable living in all that they do. And if you have someone in your family with food allergies, they do offer gluten-free options, so this is a great choice.

More restaurant highlights: 

These next 3 restaurants are not necessarily completely kid-friendly, but we thought the food was great and worth mentioning as options to check out with your family as our girls really enjoyed each of these places.

Voodoo Doughnuts:

From Mother’s Bistro, after dinner we just walked a few short blocks down to Voodoo Doughnuts to pick up some breakfast for the next morning. We’ve heard so many things about this place, that we had to try it out. When we’d driven by earlier about 5pm, the line was about halfway down the block. However, it turns out that going in the later evening (around 8pm) was a slower time and we only had to wait in line about 10 -15 minutes.


The girls were thrilled to pick such sugar-filled creations as M&M covered or Captain Crunch covered doughnuts. My husband and I tried out the Bacon Maple Bar- oh boy, that was something else! Good thing we had a day at the zoo to walk off that sugar high!  These doughnuts were delicious & so much fun for the kids to pick out their own,  however, I would caution you on walking to this location with your young kids if it is evening as we were walking at dusk & did not feel it was the safest neighborhood at that time of day. You might want to just send your hubby out to get these later in the evening to avoid the crowds.

Zell’s Cafe – 

On Saturday, we were looking for a local breakfast cafe and wanted to find something close to OMSI since we were heading there after eating. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I googled the best Portland breakfast locations and Zell’s was a location that came up over & over and was only about 10 blocks or so away from OMSI, so we decided to check it out.  Now, I wouldn’t say this is a totally kid-friendly restaurant as it is a pretty small cafe (I think I counted about 12-14 tables) and so they have a very small waiting area – either on a long bench along the window or you can wait outside where they have a few tables set out.  It was super busy on a Saturday morning, so we did have to wait awhile (of course, it was their busiest time that we went). The wait was totally worth it, though – incredible food & impeccable service! They actually do not have a kids meal, but it turns out they will just make to order anything your child wants and the prices were very reasonable doing it this way. My husband got a Sausage Egg Scramble and I got one of their specials, a German Pancake with fresh pears. Oh my goodness, it was so good as the ingredients were so fresh and they gave you large portions for reasonable prices. They also bring you fresh scones when you first sit down, which were delicious and a nice treat while we decided on our meals. Besides the delicious food – the highlight was the outstanding service. They had quite a few servers on hand, at least on a Saturday, and we always had our drinks filled and our food was brought to us very quickly after ordering (quick service seems to be a rarity for us lately).  We felt they really worked hard to have many extra people on hand to serve people quickly, so we really appreciated that. This is definitely a favorite of locals around the area for a great weekend brunch and I would highly recommend this location, especially if you’re heading to OMSI for the day.

The Original – a Dinerant –

The Original was an interesting and fun, modern restaurant – or should I say a “Dinerant” (diner / restaurant).  We ate there for breakfast (what’d I tell you – we love breakfast) but they also serve lunch and dinner. The location is right in the middle of the city so the convenience can’t be beat – it’s about 2 blocks or so away from the Hotel Monaco where we stayed one night – and several blocks away from the main shopping district, Pioneer Courthouse Square and more. The decor is modern & chic and the food was very good- kind of a modern spin on some comfort food favorites. The kids breakfast menu had pretty standard fare with reasonable prices. This restaurant was recommended to us by a follower on Twitter and we were pleased with how the food turned out.  Their website does say they offer free valet parking (based on availability for the hotel). If you’re in Portland for a couples or friends getaway, this restaurant is also open till 4am on weekends in case you’re wanting somewhere to go eat after a late night out.

One restaurant that we ran out of time to try but are hoping to check out on a future trip to Portland was Slappy Cakes. So many readers tried this out & we had friends try it out over Spring Break as well and it was a hit with their kids.  This is a make-your-own pancake place right at your own table, along with other yummy meals you can order. This sounds like an awesome idea for kids, so they can be fully in charge of what they put into their pancakes. The only hesitation would be if you have younger kids who might try to touch the hot griddle – I did call & ask them about that as I could see my 4 year old being very curious about it. You may want to hold off if you think your kids couldn’t handle being that close to the hot surface, but otherwise it looks like a fun breakfast treat to take your kids. I have heard that it can get very crowded as they don’t take reservations, so just be prepared for a wait if you go on a weekend. {Update: We’ve now tried out Slappy Cakes – review to come soon, and it was a huge hit with my family! We went on a Monday morning & it was still busy, but the great news is that there is big area of food carts just a few doors away, so you can enjoy some treats before you head into Slappy Cakes}

There were so many awesome restaurants suggested by readers, so I can’t wait to go back and try out some new places on our next trip to Portland. It really seems to be a city full of amazing food – many places with fresh, local ingredients and they really seemed to have so many places that catered to families with kids!

We’d love to hear your favorite family-friendly restaurants around Portland – leave a comment on this blog post or on Facebook and tell us your favorites and why you love the restaurants!


One Comment

  1. The crunchy french toast (bread dipped in cornflakes then cooked) is amazing at Mothers. :)

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