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Need one more restaurant in Seattle

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Hi. My husband and I will be in Seattle over New Years Eve. We will be there for 5 nights. So far, we've picked Mistral for New Year's Eve (our bust the bank dinner), Matt's in the Market, Harvest Vine and Tamarind Tree.

We need one more restaurant for dinner. We want something moderate in price (most entrees under $25). We'll be staying at the Inn at the Market and will not have a car so we want something either within walking distance or a short taxi ride. So far we've come up with Cafe Campagne, Elemental at Gasworks, and Purple Cafe. Does anybody have any thoughts on any of these restaurants or any other others? We are leaning towards Elemental but the downside is that they don't take reservations. We thought about the Chinese restaurant that comes so highly recommended here but Chinese just doesn't seem like much fun for two people. So what are we missing from our dinner plans? (By the way, we're adventurous eaters. We also live in LA where virtually every type of food is available.) Thanks for your help. I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

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  1. Siam, You have done your homework well. (Harvest Vine will enchant you.) I would suggest Maximillien's at the Market rather than Cafe Campagne. It's going to be dark and rainy and the upstairs bar offers the perfect atmosphere while featuring the full restaurant menu. Also recommended is nearby 94 Stewart Street. (They just won a national award for their wine list. Creative and affordable.)

    1. I much prefer Le Pichet (a few blocks north of your hotel) to the Campagnes.

      The Palace Kitchen is a slightly longer walk (to 4th ave), but is another great casual option (they don't take reservations, but 2-tops aren't usually a long wait - my wife and I actually prefer eating at the bar there and seldom wait at all.)

      Elemental is terrific and unique. I highly recommend it, but one must budget a lot of time for the meal. See http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/... - also note that it's entirely possible they'll be on vacation around that time of year - you'll want to call them first.

      Purple Cafe is not in the same class as the other restaurants you listed.

      1. Palace Kitchen is a great suggestion. Another place I really enjoy that doesn't get much Chowhound mention is Crow on Queen Anne. Other solid options are Crush in Madison Park or Lark on Capitol Hill.

        I didn't totally love my meal at 94 Stewart.

        4 Replies
        1. re: charmedgirl

          Palace Kitchen should be on every visitor's short list. I'm sorry you didn't have a great experience at 94 Stewart. My recent visits have been exceptional in both food and service; you might give it another try.

          1. re: charmedgirl

            I definitely support the Palace Kitchen recommendations; it has great food and a lovely atmosphere for the price. I was about to add my suggestion for Crow when i read yours! I love that place, especially their roast chicken (a "vanilla" choice, i know, but it's sooooo good).

            1. re: abbeyraish

              I sat at the chef's counter at Crow the other night, and saw an order come in for a four top and they ALL ordered the chicken! I mean, it is wrapped in prosciutto.... The steak and the lamb shank also looked fabulous, and the portion sizes at Crow are really generous compared to other restaurants in a similar price range.

              1. re: abbeyraish

                Their roast chicken is one of the entrees my friend and I split last time I was there. LOVED it. I'm totally with you on that. Glad to see someone else on Chowhound recommending a favorite of mine!

            2. I think you should rule out Purple Cafe. I've been to 94 Stewart and while I really liked the proprietors, I thought the food was somewhat uneven; I'll give it another try to see if I was there on an off night, but I wouldn't put it on your short list. I also am not wild about Campagne for dinner (I agree with both of the previous posters that either Le Pichet or Maximilien's would be better), although I think you should plan to have brunch at Cafe Campagne one of the days.

              Have you considered sushi? Seattle's restaurants are exceptional, and there's excellent sushi within walking distance of your lodging. I was very impressed last week with relative newcomer Umi (in Belltown). If you don't want sushi, you may want to consider Restaurant Zoe (NW comfort food), a short walk from your hotel. I have always enjoyed meals there. If you're willing to take a cab to Capitol Hill, try Crush.

              Finally, I was very impressed by Tilth, which opened in Wallingford on September 1st. All plates can be ordered in small and large sizes and no entree costs more than $25, if I recall correctly. The restaurant is one of two in the country that is 90% certified organic and the menu changes seasonally. Standouts were the pork belly, short ribs, a melon, feta, sel gris and mint salad, although I thought each dish was excellent (a companion found an heirloom tomato salad too salty).

              1 Reply
              1. re: ssusu

                Seattle's sushi at its best is indeed very good, but you don't have to go far out of your way to find better in LA. Even the inexpensive, generic neighborhood sushi bar with no sign I used to visit weekly when I lived down there was consistently better than any I've tried here except the top, top places (e.g. Shiro's).

              2. In that neighborhood, I would pick Union or Chez Shea over Matts for dinner. If you get to Union before 7pm or after 10pm you can get appetizer-size portions of main courses for $8 apiece (bar menu). Chez Shea is reasonably priced, plus has a 3-course prix fixe for around $25 (I don't recall the exact price). Matt's is better for lunch than dinner. If you're looking for a bistro, I would suggest Cremant over Le Pichet.

                1 Reply
                1. re: barleywino

                  I agree with barleywino about Chez Shea (we both mention that restaurant a lot. I bet I've seen you there). But...I would add it to your list, not replace Matt's. If I were to bump one of your choices, it would be Purple. I think Purple is good but you can find places like it in many other cities.

                2. I agree with janedoe and ssusu on Purple cafe. Also I liked Tilth (especially the half-size dish concept), although the fish preparation (sablefish sous vide) that Tilth chef Maria Hines used to make at Earth & Ocean was even better imo. Now if Tilth would only do half-size wine pours as well...

                  1. Most certainly Crow would my choice given its location. I was also most pleasantly surprised by a recent dinner experience @ Ten Mercer. Great for people watching too, the Gates looked like a cute couple....earnest and in love!

                    1. If you get to Crow and decide the menu or ambience aren't quite what you had in mind, walk 1 block to Veil and check them out. Both are good places: Crow is more casual in food and atmosphere, Veil is a place to go when you're looking more for presentation and creativity (think Providence in LA in terms of quality, but cheaper)

                      1. If/when you're downtown I would second Union as a great choice--you can eat in the restaurant or at the bar (and if you get there early (5-7?) you can get the bar prices) and we have never, never, had an unsatisfactory meal--we do a lot of sharing of small plates, and we love it.

                        I agree with the poster who said Matt's was better for lunch than dinner--I've had good dinners there, but overall have been thrilled with lunch.

                        Another poster mentioned that Chez Shea was undergoing renovation, but we've always had good meals at the resto and the bar.

                        We've enjoyed Crow, and also had many meals at 10 Mercer. We used to have tickets at Intiman Theater, and frequently went to 10 mercer for drinks/food before the show. We used to get the bar menu, and the beef tacos were always outstanding.

                        I applaud you for doing Mistral--our overall favorite in the city.

                        your other choice are good (although I too would obliterate Purple) and I think you're going to have a great eating experiece!

                        1. Hi Everyone.

                          I just want to tell everyone how much I appreciate all of your responses. I still haven't a clue what we'll do for our final restaurant but fortunately we still have time.

                          Thanks everyone.

                          1. I truly would avoid Palace Kitchen and Purple based on what you've found so far. Matt's, while not the best food, has a great "Seattle" ambience and I've enjoyed it there. Lark is a cab ride away and likely at the top of the list. Volterra a bit further away in Ballard but if you like Tuscan, you'll love the place. Closer to DT, Union is quite good, I think some people mentioned as well. Crush has a nice quaint atmosphere, close in location to Harvest Vine which is great.

                            1. check out www.bradeneats.com - he lives in Seattle and is quite the dining/food/eating critic and has several great restaurant reviews on the site. some that you already mentioned - sounds like you might have similar tastes.