Don't these Prom dates look hungry?

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Ah, the season where I begin vying for weekend restaurant tables against herds of dressed-up teens.  Some high schools include dinner in the Prom package; some kids have parents who will actually cook for the little dears.

Which leaves the rest searching for dining options somewhere between Dick’s and Drain-the-Lawn-Mowing-Account. Here are some a few notches down from the top of the pretension scale—teen-friendly but gastronome-approved.

Because everyone loves Italian: Neighborhood storefront Italian joints like Brad’s Swingside Café in Fremont, Bizzarro Italian Café in Wallingford, and Salvatore in Roosevelt can be counted on for pastas that don’t top $20, amid unpretentiously charming quarters.

Viewy: For dates that require beautiful vistas, choose pizzas on Alki at Phoenecia, seafood (plus blackberry cobbler for dessert) at Fishermen’s Terminal’s Chinook’s, or Baja tacos at the inimitably Ensenadan Agua Verde Café at the bottom of the U District.

Burgers: Because, you know it’s what they really want to eat. Good ones happen within reasonably upmarket quarters at 8 Oz Burger and Company and Skillet Diner—both with outposts in Cap Hill and Ballard—and Eureka! in U Village, whose Cowboy Burger and honey cinnamon sweet potato fries were made for teen tastebuds.

Middle of the Night. After the dance, the standard-bearer since my own Prom is, was, and always will be the 24-hour Thirteen Coins up from South Lake Union, for middle-of-the-night eggy breakfasts. (Steaks too, but only if your kid is a stockbroker.) Up in Pike/Pine, Lost Lake Café has an affordable all-night menu of crowdpleasers for small bucks. And though it’s not open all night (serves till midnight weekends)…nor is it particularly affordable….I have to give a shoutout to dessert at The Pink Door, which would certainly cap off the Prom of this critic’s dreams.

Please offer more suggestions in the comments below…untold high schoolers are counting on you.

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