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Aug 7, 2001 11:43 PM

Breakfast/brunch place in Seattle that won't give me a coronary

  • m

I'm an export from Sydney, where I was used to being able to go out each weekend morning for a great brunch with a choice of fresh cooked ingredients; hollandaise that didn't taste like it came from a tin; interesting breads, omelettes etc. I could also get good espresso coffee at the same place.

In three years I've not found a single Seattle place to compare. I'd love somewhere that wasn't a total greasy spoon - I don't mind grungy atmosphere but the food shouldn't be a bunch of fatty by-products with half a plate of potatoes. One of my favorite dishes from back home was several poached eggs smothered in roasted tomatoes&peppers with gobs of fresh pesto on top of some slices of crusty bread. I've tried some local pesto&egg dishes called Green Eggs and Ham that were rather dismal omelettes.

I'm not interested in bakery options like Honey Bear etc. Would love some Mediterranean-inspired options.

Someone recommended Cafe Flora but I was so appalled by what they served up I've wiped it from my memory.

*Julia's: not impressed and I don't like the queues
*Egg-Cetera Blue Star Cafe: so-so
*Hi-Spot : greasy spoon deluxe
*Boathouse Cafe(?name not Ray's, in U-district): getting close, but the staff can be very unpleasant


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  1. I should add as consolation that Kingfish cafe breakfasts are terrific - but having to queue up for an hour before hand and be squeezed into a corner of a shoebox does detract somewhat from the experience.

    Surely a city the size of Seattle can produce more than one venue of this quality. I'm hoping there are some well-kept secrets.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Mike

      You know, you are right. I have wracked my brain to come up with a suggestion that meets your requirements and I can't think of any place. There have got to be some. Brie and Bordeaux (RIP) used to and as far as I know, Eva is not serving breakfast. I, too, am tired of diner breakfasts and long waits.

      1. re: Lauren

        Sapphire on Queen Anne meets all these criteria:

        not greasy
        healthy yet delicious
        great meals all the time

        1. re: Anon

          I tried Sapphire a few times but I decided to pass on it after having a waiter drop either hot liquids or knives on me *every time I visited*.

          The little pastries they give out when you sit down are an attractive idea, but the breakfast entrees still need a lot of work - their version of green eggs and ham (the first place I'd encountered that dish) was extremely bland.

        2. re: Lauren

          I had high hopes for Jitterbug (in Wallingford on 45th) but the coffee there is truly deeply ghastly.

          The Broadway Grill actually serves up some decent cuisine from time to time (not from the buffet). However they don't appreciate that you can't just have two feet of open space between smoking and non-smoking areas. The coffee is terrible - I complained to the manager and she said (after tasting a sample) she would get her staff some training so the investment in new espresso machines wouldn't be wasted. The general service needs to improve so that catching the eye of a waiter doesn't become a full-time exercise.

          I hope this doesn't make me sound like a crank, but I really expect more in a city that charges so much for basic foods, and then charges overhead (tips) for terrible service. I can only suppose that people don't know better or lived off gruel and fast-food until they ate out in Seattle.

          1. re: Lauren

            Hello ? Anyone ? Anyone ? Bueller ?
            The Five Spot on Queen Anne has the greatest brekfast going. The Coastal Kitchen(same owners) in Capitol Hill- same deal. Just what you're looking for.

        3. could try the Madison Park Cafe. I've only been there once, so that's not much data to base a recommendation on, but ISTR it being good.

          1. Ponti, just south of the Fremont Bridge, features brunch with complimentary champagne or mimosa, fresh baked goods and a fresh fruit plate. Weather permitting you can enjoy brunch from your patio table overlooking the Ship Canal.

            Cafe Campagne, Etta's, Brasserie Margeaux at the Warwick, The Stalk Exchange, Sazerac at the Hotel Monaco are other excellent brunch spots.

            Bagel Oasis (Fremont, Ravenna and Kirkland locations)is a more affordable option. They offer bagels and omelets for brunch.

            1. c
              Charles Drabkin

              We love El Greco, on Capitol Hill (Broadway and "something" next to Hana Sushi) Try the bread Salad and a couple of poached eggs. Also the
              crepe place on Pine 611 Supreme is very good for light fare.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Charles Drabkin

                I second the El Greco rec. For awhile I found myself there every weekend. I'd give another thumbs up on the bread salad and the soups are always great. The pancakes can be exquisite. As in: as good as Sunday morning pancakes when you were a kid good. One tip, stay away from the drip. It can be really terrible. Cappuccinos and lattes are the way to go.


                1. re: Jason S.

                  i brunched at el greco this last saturday: pancakes with orange butter. very tasty. buttermilk batter, i think, and came with real maple syrup (which i guess is par for the course anyplace that considers itself half decent). but no other sides - no fruit, no toast, nuttin' - for $7.00! which would be fine if the three pancakes were plate-sized, but they were *small*; only 3" diameter. (works out to $2.33 per pancake, or $0.33/sq inch.) so don't get the pancakes unless you like quality a lot more than value.

                  BTW, my $4.50 smoothie was heavy on banana - could not taste the mango that it supposedly contained.

                  on the other hand, i wholeheartedly recommend their breakfast entrees (in the $8.00 range) which come with roasted potatoes and a few slivers of fruit and are much more filling than three little pancakes. my friend had something with eggs and chevre that was super good and she had enough left over to share with me to fill the space in my stomach that the pancakes did not.

                  i've had dinner there a few times and really do like their food. i'm just venting disappointment over the lacking pancakes. take with a grain of salt.

                  1. re: ben

                    I'll try El Greco again but I am not tempted by huge sides of potatoes or the slivers of flavorless fruit that are found in this city. My point is that the breakfast experience in Seattle is terribly homogeneous - very little variety in content or delivery.

                    Without wanting to sound cranky or smug - I just spent a couple of weeks back in Sydney, and found that the breakfast/lunch menus reflecting an even greater variety of tastes than when I was lat there a few years ago. I would dare to claim that in 3 venues alone there was more variety, greater quality and lower prices than in ALL venues in Seattle.

                    I would like Seattle to be better. There is nothing to lose from aiming higher.

              2. How about St. Clouds in Madrona? They served scrambled eggs with ham, white beans, roasted garlic, asiago cheese and tomatoes. Another option is with collard green pesto, pancetta and asiago cheese.

                Their breakfast burrito comes filled with Anaheim chiles, cheddar and cotija cheese and other ingredietns. If you crave an Asian-ish dish for brunch St. Clouds serves the Imperial Mix Up; tempeh, rice, eggs and ginger.

                Depending on the weekend you can also enjoy White Chocolate Scones, Hazel's Sour Cream Coffeecake or other fresh pastries.

                On Sunday summer weekend mornings you can enjoy your brunch in their shaded courtyard.