First Time in Seattle and Vancouver
My wife and I will be visiting Seattle and Vancouver for the first time later this week and next week.
I'd greatly appreciate any recommendations for burger & shake joints, seafood (both fine dining and informal), various Asian cuisines and other fine dining recommendations.
I can't remember the dim sum place in Richmond that I loved, but if you were going to go to one restaurant in Vancouver, it should be Vij's.
By far the best burger and shake joint is Red Mill Burgers up on Phinney Ridge. Really, it's amazing! Chiso for sushi (in Fremont), and if you want great food and a really romantic/sexy setting try Mona's (over in Greenlake). If you've got time, also try Pair,Nell's, or the Harvest Vine. You won't be dissapointed. Have a great time in the Northwest!!
We have a few great Vietnamese places here. Tamarind Tree and Green Leaf are both fantastic and inexpensive (though nicer than you'd expect, especially TT). Monsoon is upscale Vietnamese and very good also.
We also have a fabulous Szechuan place-Seven Stars Pepper, on the second floor of the strip mall at the corner of 12th and Jackson in the International District. The Dungeness Crab here is amazing (get the Szechuan crab if you like spicy, but the ginger is very good, too).
If you want dim sum I'd go to Jade Garden, though you'll find better dim sum in the Vancouver area.
Floata. That's the dim sum place. Don't miss the Peking Duck, but unless you are a large party or have some place to stash the leftovers overnight, it's a pile o' steaming wonderfulness.
I went to Szechuan Chef in Bellevue for the first time this week and although I'm a big fan of Seven Stars Pepper, I think Szechuan Chef blows it out of the water. Possibly the best Szechuan food I've ever had -- not just in Seattle but also in Vancouver, SF and New York. It's in a depressing strip mall on Main Street off 148th NE, not particularly near anything except other depressing strip malls -- but it's definitely worth the drive. I'm going back this weekend.
You know, I went to Szechuan Chef expecting more of the same (excellent) fare I was used to at Seven Stars Peppers from both pre- and post-change in ownership, and all I can say is I was blown away. The restaurant is larger and the menu somewhat more extensive, with some more unusual dishes. It is possible that the owners have refined on an already good thing, or that the kitchen is better-equipped to accomplish more -- I have no idea. I thought the Szechuan crab was superior to the same dish at Seven Stars Peppers. Everything else was uniformly superb, whereas I have learned that some dishes at Seven Stars Peppers can be merely good, without being memorable. Certainly I may have caught Szechuan Chef on a good night. That (and the Szechuan crab) is a reason I'm returning this weekend.
You should try it and report back. I'd also be interested to hear if others agree or disagree with my take on the two restaurants.
I was in Seattle last month and went to Pike's Market Place - a must see! Had lunch at Lowell's -it's big, can't miss it at the market. Food was great. I ordered the seafood platter and we had a side of clam chowder in a bread bowl as well. The best fried oysters ever! Chowder just ok. If not into fried, there's also grilled. I was in Vancouver in '84 when they sponsored the expo. Whent to a then brand new restaurant for a spectacular meal at Le Crocodile. Not sure if it's still there but, Vancouver has fab places all over. Sounds like a great journey. Enjoy! P.S. if you have a free extra day in SEA take a drive to Snoqualmie and North Bend about 35/40 minute E on the 90 -the towns where Twin Peaks was filmed and home of the beautiful Salish Lodge http://www.salishlodge.com/
For Seattle, I really like the Waterfront for seafood. For Vancouver, Kirin has great dim sum. And if you want something different, try Guu or Happakazu on Robson...they're both Japanese bar/tapas type places. I also enjoy Tropicka for Malaysian food. Also if you want sushi, Tojo's is the place to go in Vancouver.
Cafe Juanita is a really great Northern Italian restaurant. It's a bit north of Seattle proper, in a converted house that backs up on a creek. They have an interesting menu, including pre-dinner cocktails paired with small tidbits. I had a Calvados sidecar served with fried rabbit livers, for example.
You must try Dick's Drive-In for burgers & hand-dipped shakes. They are a Seattle institution. While there are more upscale & gourmet burger joints out there now (Kidd valley, Red Mill, etc.), you really should try this as a cultural exercise more than anything. I mean how many local burger joints get immortalized by Sir Mixx Alot?
Saveur once named them one of their Top 100, too.
The fresh-sliced fries are a bit weak, IMHO, but a Dick's special and a chocolate shake....mmmmmmmm
Prices are ridiculously low, too. I think the Dick's Special is 1.60, and shakes are like $1.25
The one on 45th, just west off of I-5 in the University/Wallingford district is the best in my opinion.
I ate some Dick's when I was in Seattle.
The burgers, I'm saying.
They were good for what they are. I don't know that they really stand out over any other burger joint though. When I think back on memorable Seattle meals, I think of Dahlia Lounge, Cafe Juanita, places like that.
Crocodile Cafe is pretty good too, for casual dining. It's not the lame chain place you see in shopping malls, but an indie-rocker music club/restaurant. The food is fresh and surprisingly good.
Another must try is the cheese shop across from Pike Place market. I forget the name, but they make their own cheeses and the fresh curds are addictive.
Great recommendation. Got to give my props for the Croc.
"Back in my day..."
at the height of the grunge movement we went to the Crocodile to drink Red Hooks and Alaskan Ambers for my 21st birthday week blowout. I walk in and Krist Novoselic is sitting at the very first table (he is really tall!) Some dude wearing a Nirvana shirt was literally kneeling at his feet to talk to his idol...
So later on we go to the back room to listen to the band, and who shows up for an unannounced surprise but REM's Peter Buck & Michael Stipe (he is really tiny!). Ah, good times...
I have since been back many times to hopefully replicate that wonderfully surreal night--but to no avail. Good thing they still have great beers on tap, good food, and great local and national music acts.
Food-wise, you'll get diner-style classics (breakfasts, burgers, pastas) and post-concert grub in a friendly & funky atmosphere. Hip and fun Belltown location, too.
under the category of seafood/casual, try the flash-fried tiny crunchy (nickel- sized) river crabs at Union (Seattle).
For Vancouver there are many great choices. On a budget, Commercial Drive in East Vancouver. Especially now during World Cup, all ethnicities and cheap plentiful food
For Asian, three places come to mind. For Chinese Sun Sui Wa, multiple locations, dim sum and squab. For Malay/Fusion, Tropika, multiple locations as well. For Thai, Chili Club
Fine dining in Vancouver, Diva at the Met. And chef Rob Finney's place Lumiere come to mind. All of these are pretty much can't miss
In and around Pike Place Market: (I live there)
Matt's in the Market
upstairs (2nd floor) in the Corner Market Building
1st & Pike; tiny, try it
Etta's Seafood - excellent lunch or dinner don't miss
2026 Western Ave. 1/2 block n. of Pike Market; ask for dir.
Fish, fine dining
Flying Fish don't miss - people swoon
2234 1st Ave
4 blocks north of Pike Market; probably need res.
Two Bells Tavern
2313 4th Ave
10 blocks n. of Pike Market
Wild Ginger famous and worth it
1401 3rd Ave. need res
my favorite scampi in Seattle:
93A Pike Street
romantic great italian in Pike Market
I see Babu's post is the latest, and I would concur with Matt's, Etta's and Two Bells; vociferously disagree with Flying Fish (yeah, they swoon, but for all the wrong reasons) and Wild Ginger (10 years ago, yes); and would edit Il Bistro to say: "greatly romantic Italian in Pike Place Market"