Seattle loves Cafe Besalu and the nice people who run it. This is the bakery of the moment, but in addition to its low-key hip quotient, it also has a distinctly welcoming vibe for families with kids.
Brioche, slightly sweet, fine-crumbed and tender, have a dense enough texture that babies can gum them without ending up with a handful of crumbs. The ginger biscuits are a revelation: impossibly tender, sharp with ginger, and sprinkled with sugar. Cookies - chocolate chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, and checkerboard - will please tiny sugarhounds and their more discriminating parents. Lattes here are superior. For lunch, try the savory pastries or quiche.
There aren't any high chairs here, and the bistro chairs inside can be difficult for small kids to manage, but there's a lovely seating area outside under big old trees. Service is swift, and it seems especially efficient when little kids are in tow. Patrons nursing a latte mix easily with the stroller set in this small room at the edge of downtown Ballard.
Avoid the heartbreak of coming out for brioche and learning that they haven't been pulled from the oven yet. Brioche are ready at 9am.
From I-5: Take 80th/85th Street exit (southbound) or Aurora/85th Street exit (northbound). Follow NW 85th Street westbound to 24th Avenue NW. Turn left. Travel to NW 59th Street; cafe is on the west side of the street. Street parking only. From downtown: Take Denny westbound and follow as it curves to the right and becomes Elliott. Travel northbound along Elliott, which turns into 15th. Continue north along 15th, across the Ballard Bridge. At the first traffic light across the bridge, turn left onto Market Street. Follow Market Street through downtown Ballard to 24th Avenue NW. Turn right. Follow 24th to NW 59th Street. Cafe is on the left in the middle of the block. Public transportation: Served by Metro routes 18,75, and 81.
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