Even with rising food costs due to record inflation and continued restaurant struggles, budget-conscious parents can still score great family meals without breaking the bank (really!). Need a night off in the kitchen? Here are five affordable meal deals for date night or for a Brady Bunch-size family.
Three locations: 2201 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, 14312 124th Ave. N.E., Kirkland and 6016 N.E. Bothell Way Suite J, Kenmore; buddhabruddah.com
The deal: $60 gets you 1 1/2 pounds of huli-huli chicken, a pound of kalua pork, four vegetarian egg rolls and three sides (32 ounces each of mac salad, Asian slaw and steamed rice); enough to feed at least four.
Cheap family specials tend to be stuffed with grains and fillers with little meat. This is a carnivore’s delight, nearly 3 pounds of smoked pork shoulder and a Hawaiian version of teriyaki chicken, enough for a pack of hungry teens to wolf down. Buddha Bruddah boasts an impressive sauce bar including three different dips with fish sauce, any of which would give the egg rolls a fiery, umami kick. If you stick with the cloying sweet-and-sour sauce that comes with your egg rolls, then that’s on you.
1546 15th Ave., Seattle; 206-838-8081; barcottopizzeria.com
The deal: $50 gets you a salad, pizza, pasta and a choice between a bottle of wine or two cocktails; for two or three with a small child.
All the greatest hits are packaged in a meal deal, so no need to decide if it’s pizza or pasta night. Bar Cotto offers a choice of nine wood-fired pizzas ranging from a roasted cremini with truffle oil to the prosciutto di Parma pizza with arugula. Pastas are made in house, with vegetarian and meat options offered every night including a bowl of fresh ricotta gnocchi. This date night menu can turn kid-friendly if you choose pepperoni pizza and order pasta with meatballs. For those who grumble that the Seattle restaurant scene turns dark on Mondays and Tuesdays, this Capitol Hill pizzeria keeps on its lights on these slow nights.
9818 Edmonds Way Suite A, Edmonds; 425-361-1487; bucatiniedmonds.com
The deal: The hoagies ($13.50-$16.50) can feed two, a half tray of pasta can feed eight to 10 ($50-$100) and a full tray 15 to 20 people for $110 to $200. (For pasta trays, try to order a day in advance to make sure the kitchen has all the ingredients.)
Chef Anthony Donatone must have had his big Italian family in mind when he composed this menu because the portions are absurd. These footlong hoagies are overstuffed, with the melted cheese binding the fillings to keep them from falling out of the ciabatta bread. For a hoagie that holds up well the day after (there will be leftovers), get the grinder filled with a whorl of coppa, mortadella and salami with caramelized onions and provolone. The best deals are hidden at the bottom of the online menu including a half tray of pasta anestino (with veal, beef, pork and mushrooms in a creamy tomato sauce) that runs $65 and can feed a Brady Bunch-size family. Or treat your Little League team to a full tray of pasta with sausage or meatballs for $150.
1802 12th Ave. N.W. Suite C, Issaquah; 425-657-0478; famous-kitchen.square.site
The deal: A pound of roast pork for $16.99.
On the Eastside, in a strip mall between the old GameStop and a Supercuts, stands a tall ceiling box of a room with the unlikely name Famous Kitchen, promising much. Its signature roast pork is a two-part winner: that bronzed, blistery skin encases an interior of moist white meat with a floor of fat that melts on your tongue. At $16.99 per pound, it’s enough meat to make four or five porchetta hoagies for a picnic. You can get roast pork in many Asian markets for a buck or two cheaper, but this Cantonese barbecue house is a notch or three better than most. The roast pork is not mucked with a lot of sugar or soy sauce. Just a clean, pork salty taste. The roast pork can sell out fast after doors open at 11 a.m. If you’re still in REM sleep by then, your consolation prize is the honey char siu pork ($16.99 per pound). If you score the burnt ends, hell, that’s just as good as its signature roast pork.
5242 Leary Ave. N.W., Seattle; 206-784-5568; elmoose.com
The deal: Family taco deals ($52 -$92) feed four to eight diners.
Taco kits became the new pizza takeout during the pandemic. Here’s one of the deals that stuck around after indoor-dining restrictions were lifted. El Moose’s family special comes with your choice of steak, chicken, al pastor or carnitas. The al pastor pork is popular, but the beef taco tastes more like street food — bits and edges of the chopped-up skirt steak get nicely charred from the griddle with just the flavor of salt and smoke. It comes with the usual fixings (jalapeño, diced onions, radish, lime, cilantro and salsa) and also sides of rice, refried beans and a bag of fresh tortilla chips. To dip, three different salsas are included: a tomatillo salsa, a salsa fresco and a mild tomato puya salsa. The $52 family pack includes 12 tacos and can feed a couple with two small children. Get 18 tacos ($65) for a family of six or 24 tacos ($92) for eight.