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Seattle lunch chowhounds unite!

  • l

If you're bored with the conversations on this board, start some new ones!

I live in Seattle and I work downtown near Pioneer Square. I'm adept with public transit and while I love my lunch, I'm always looking for new places. Funny how when you leave for that 1 hr of freedom, you pick well-worn paths. I know a lot of the places on 1st Ave, the ID, and 3rd Ave.

Anybody have lunch favorites that they are burning to talk about? I'm game for any recommendation as long as its under 10$ and I can make it back to work in about an hour.

I live for lunch. I love playing mystery lunch! Lunch is like oxygen for chowhounds. Too many "special dinners" on this board :) Leslie

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  1. It's been awhile since I worked downtown, but when I did, some of my favorites were La Paloma on Yesler in Pioneer Square (delicious hummus, excellent mediterranean sandwiches), Grand Central Bakery on First Ave S. & No. 1 Teriyaki on 2nd Ave. S. At No. 1, the teriyaki is good, but the Korean food, on the sit-down menu, is much better. Now I'm much more likely to grab a banh mi at Seattle Deli or at the Vietnamese restaurant with the red sign on Rainier Ave S. near the exit from I-90 (can't remember the name).

    3 Replies
    1. re: Susansea

      I'll have to check La Paloma out. Its one of those places that my feet walk past when I go to Julie's Garden (formerly Pho.com).

      I've had some wonderful lunches in Grand Central. Funny how when I pick up a little something to read at Elliott Bay I walk right past that door grill, thinking..."just a little too dark."

      Terayaki place on 2nd. Where was the cross street on that?

      1. re: Leslie Basel

        Hmm, not sure about the cross street. It might be Main (the same one the waterfall park is on). It's about a block or two north of where 2nd Ave S. runs into Jackson Street.

        1. re: Susansea

          Just south of the No 1 Teriyaki on 3rd is Salumi (between Main and Jackson). I think the Korean/Teriyaki is corner of 3rd/ 2nd and Washington. Salumi is one of Seattle's treasures, but known enough to be crowded. Open Tuesday-Friday, 11-4.
          In the ID--7 Stars Peppers on 10th and Jackson, SE corner. Upstairs in the Ding How (?) mini mall.
          Smaller and a former favorite--until 7 Stars--is Sichuanese Cuisine, same intersection, NW corner in the front of that mini mall, next to Thanh Vi, Vietnamese...also pretty good.

    2. I work in Belltown. I like Chinese Wok on 4th Ave for their Won Ton soup and other light stir frys - stay away from the curry - bad experiences with that. I usually order to go service from them. Nara Grill has a wonderful Udon Noodle soup and a decent sushi bar and huge bento boxes for very good prices - and a nice quiet atmosphere if you just want to relax and get away. Then there's always Mama's Mexican for cheap, fast lunches. Oh and I can't forget that little Mid-Eastern place on 3rd across from the Bon (can never remember the name, I just go there). I want some hummus! And if I'm feeling like I want to travel a bit, I'll go to Typhoon down on Western (great lunch deals). There's not really any good sandwich places around here. Lots and lots of ethnic choices which is outstanding.

      6 Replies
      1. re: AJ
        babette feasts

        I believe the falafel place across from the Bon is Zaina. Is there still a branch near pioneer square (1st & Cherry?)?

        1. re: babette feasts

          Yep, its still there. Matter of fact, I used to work in the Lowman Building and my window looked down on Zaina. (Even my view was chowhound.)

          Sigh. I have no view now. No watching the hookah smokers camp out on the sidewalk on Friday afternoons. Back a few years ago they also had a belly dancer come in and dance at lunch one Friday a month.

          1. re: babette feasts

            Zaina by the Bon is gone, but the Cherry street shop is still there - love the eggplant special.

          2. re: AJ

            Belltown's a tad far for sitdown for me, but takeout bento boxes at Nara's Grill sound *completely* irresistable. I'll take your other suggestions for when the boss is on vacation and I can loosen up the 1 hr rule.

            Zaina is the place you're thinking of. I love the felafel and shwarma (sic?) and they still have their original 1st and Cherry spot.

            Since you eat so close to the Bon, what's the deal with that sushi place next door to that Zaina? I'm curious.

            1. re: Leslie Basel

              The sushi place next to Bon is really cheep! But the sushi is not that great. So, if you want cheep its fine, but if you want good-go to Saitos in Belltown.

            2. re: AJ

              Oh, I forgot. Sandwich places.

              Rex's at 2nd and Seneca (or Spring?) makes a good, but pricey sandwich. A couple of Noo Yawker expats turned me onto it.

              Bakeman's, down some marble stairs right next to Zaina on 1st and Cherry, makes a good sandwich and made fresh to order. I've had their turkey, tuna, egg and meatloaf sandwiches. Lines are long at around 12:15. You sometimes take some soup-Nazi guff from the cashier and you have to know what you want, but the price is right.

            3. I work on the north side of Pioneer Square and usually walk up the Market for lunch. Favorites: Crepes, soup from Saigon Restaurant, sandwiches from La Buona Tavola, gyros, chowder from Pike Place Chowder, piroshkies.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kiliki

                I love!!! the Saigon Restaurant. I love their hot & sour chicken soup, their wonton soup, and their mustard green, ginger, whitefish soup. I also love their cold lemon grass chicken salad, panfried salmon and ginger, and their tilapia. MMMM.

                The chowder house. Where is that? Are you talking about Jack's - I like their chiop...chioip...Italian fish soup. :) Its also where I get my fish to send to family. Its a heathen thought, but salmon should be worshipped, not thrown.

                Thanks for the tip, I'll check 'em out!

                1. re: Leslie Basel

                  There's a place called Pike Place Chowder on Post Alley near the SBC coffee. They serve a number of seafood bisques and chowders and are very generous about samples. They say their clam chowder has won some big New England competition a number of times. I am not normally a huge fan of the dairy/shellfish combo, but their chowder is really good.

              2. d
                David in Olympia

                I love this topic! I never do the 'special dinners' and only treat myself to good lunches. It's also the one topic I can actually make a contribution to. (I'm always asking for opinions on here, but not often able to provide one (partly because I'm in Olympia).

                Anyway, the very first recommendation I got from this board was for Noodle Ranch. It's near Bell and 2nd St (I think!). Everything they bring out of the kitchen looks really good, but I always get the Mekong Grill with pork, because it's what I ordered the first time, and I love it, and I don't get to Seattle enough ($2.17 a gallon???) to try anything other than my favorites. The guys that work there are very cool and friendly. They seem to keep things running at a good lunch-time speed too, leaving you to linger or dine and dash, whichever your preference.

                2 Replies
                1. re: David in Olympia

                  Thanks for replying! You get to Seattle way more than I get to Olympia. I think that lunch defines the true chowhound, dinners are for foodies. :)

                  I've been to the Noodle Ranch once and I had a great lunch, but even with great bus timing getting there and getting back its just a *tad* too far away for the hour. (A lunch when the boss is away, in other words) I'll check and see if they do a carryout.

                  1. re: David in Olympia

                    Though generally a stay-at home city-boy, I do get out of town now and then, and would surely appreciate some tips for the next time I wander past Olympia, so please, please contribute your intelligence.

                  2. Seems like no one has started to talk about the International District, so I'll start.

                    Recently been reintroduced to Kau Kau BBQ on King St. in the ID. They have a lunch special for $5 which includes BBQ pork, fried rice, soup, veggies, and another meat. I like their duck -- where else can you get a bunch of nice duck breast pieces (with fixings) for $5?

                    1. It has been a few years since I worked downtown, but when I did, I adored Bombay Wala, the Indian place in the Westlake Center food court.

                      And the humbow place in Pike Place... the curry beef humbow... YUM. Love the Russian place too, not the piroshky place but the one with borscht and beet-walnut salad.

                      Palomino used to have a good happy hour too... free caponata.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: milhouse

                        The lamb curries at Bombay Wala were a favorite of mine when I was more able to get there than lately.

                        1. re: milhouse

                          I've always like Bombay Wala... but I seem to order the same thing everytime I go. Masala Dosa which comes with a cup of lentil soup if you order "for here". 3.99 for a great lunch.

                          The Middle Eastern place right next to it is also pretty good. Especially the falafel special with 4 salads of your choice.

                        2. The post seems to have died down but I have to recommend Sestos Cafe on the back side of Pike Place Market. It's a small, little known cafe, but the sandwiches are ALWAYS good, especially the muffaletta, assuming you like meat. Sestos in located in the 1500 blk of Western Ave.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: policingwhileeating

                            Thanks for reminding of this choice little spot. It's a gem.

                          2. I'll have to seek out Sestos Cafe. I've never heard of it. My go-to lunch spot in the market is the Market Grill. It's directly across from Uli's Sausage. Market Grill serves the most perfectly-cooked blackened salmon sandwich on fresh-as-can-be french bread with herbed aioli. It comes with delicious coleslaw with pink (!!) dressing, made so by a splash of tabasco. I take all my out-of-town guests there for a Pike Place experience, and they marvel at how delicious the salmon is.

                            Another nice thing about Market Grill, as grungy as it looks, I was sitting at the counter one day when the health department inspector stopped by to inspect the joint. I asked him what their track record was, and he said they always get a perfect score. Nice to know!

                            1. Ever tried Cafe Zum Zum at 3rd and Marion? Pakistani food, perfect for this winter weather. I like - is it Three Girlds Bakery? - in the market downstairs from that Cuban place. Sit at the counter, order a reuben and soup and soak in the market ambiance.

                              1. The bus ride will take a bite out of your time, but Turkish Delight on Pike Place offers a lot of flavor and a splash of Market ambiance. Especially in summer, when the windows are open to the sidewalk traffic and the motown guys are singing a few doors down.

                                1. Samurai Noodle, on the West streeetfront of the Uwajimaya Village complex, makes its own ramen. This is swell all by itself, but they spice it up to the max max max and offer Tetsu Hellfire. Oh baby...

                                  1. El Puerco Lloron on the Pike Place Market stairs is a good place for lunch but it's best to go before 11:45 if you don't want to face a long line.

                                    1. New place I just found in Pioneer Square - Tat's Deli. Some of the best pastrami I've had on the west coast. You can check out their website at www.tatsdeli.com. Worth the walk/bus ride.