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NYC couple hoping for great budget food in Seattle

Hi everyone. My boyfriend and I will be in Seattle for three nights, and we're hoping to find great places to go for lunch and dinner. We're staying in Capitol Hill and are on a budget (i.e. less than $30 per person for dinner) but love good food, so any suggestions would be much appreciated. We're not really looking for Italian/pizza, and we like places with a good atmosphere. Thanks!

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  1. You've got quite a few choices-there's plenty of inexpensive places on the Hill and around.

    You're close to the International District, where there are tons of budget choices (some short on atmosphere, though) where you can eat for way less than $30/person, including tax and tip.Many of these have been much discussed here or reviewed elsewhere, so searching or googling will turn up more info.
    Szechuan: Seven Stars Pepper (get the crab-you'll push your budget but still stay within it even if you get other things)
    Vietnamese: Green Leaf (best food, IMO) or Tamarind Tree (more atmosphere)
    Malaysian: Malay Satay Hut
    Dim Sum: Jade Garden

    On the Hill:
    Baguette Box for deluxe Vietnamese sandwiches
    For nicer than usual Mexican, Galerias.
    Chutney's (Indian) is pretty good.
    I haven't been, but a lot of people LOVE Siam on Broadway for Thai.
    Than Brothers for great pho

    7 Replies
    1. re: christy319

      those places sound perfect. thanks so much for all the great suggestions!

      1. re: christy319

        Strongly recommend bypassing Than Brothers in favor of Pho Cyclo for pho on Cap Hill, but I think Pho Bac on 7th Ave & Jackson in the ID is the best in town.

        1. re: terrier

          proving again that there is simply no accounting for people's taste, i made a point to heading to pho cyclo on my last broadway jaunt rather than than brothers where i had always been pleased. my server was surly and the pho, when it finally arrived, was watery and dull. the tendon requested was nearly absent and the basil leaves were not all that fresh. how anyone can prefer this place over the superb than brothers just mystifies me - but, then, there are still people who will spend good money at canlis...

          1. re: howard 1st

            I have eaten at both Than Brothers and Pho Cyclo many times. I find the service at each to be equally surly. I think the broth and the quality of the meat (I always get the fatty beef) at Pho Cyclo is much, much more flavorful than that at Than Brothers. I agree, the basil, chiles, bean sprouts are much fresher at Than Brothers. But the I prefer the broth at Pho Cyclo so much more that it's my preferred pho.

            1. re: howard 1st

              For me: the SODO Pho Cyclo has always been gd, though I can't speak to the Cap Hill Cyclo, as I haven't been there. Has anybody noticed serioius differences between them?

              Speaking of Pho joints with multiple locations, I thought Pho Bac on 7th was also good (but Cyclo won that round), but have not yet tried the one up East of Jackson Square. Again, any opinions out there? (ROFL)

              1. re: mr.nelso

                Good point. My comments were based on visits to the SODO Pho Cyclo.

                1. re: mr.nelso

                  Pho Bac on Rainier & Jackson is the original location and is stictly pho only - nothing else on the menu, no menu. I don't think they even serve pho ga. Anyhow, Pho Bac II on 7th is significantly better. I don't particularly recommend any of them on a weekend, either - they really bring their A game during the regular workweek.

          2. I wouldn't stick around Capitol Hill the entire time as it is certainly not a very hot dining spot any longer. For inexpensive, I would suggest:

            Oysters at Jack's Fish Spot in the market: sit at the counter and order a dozen. A true Seattle experience.

            Any cured meat sandwich at Salumi: Father of Mario Batali who is the "king" of meat.

            Small plates at Tango in Capitol Hill: Spanish Tapas. Eat in the bar.

            Small plates at Black Bottle in Belltown: lots of people, lots of candles, lots of black but the food is very good and inexpensive.

            Sushi at Blue C Sushi in Fremont (conveyer belt system): extremely funky experience with anime often projected on a large wall.

            Uwajimaya Food Court: Arguably the best Japanese market in the states offers a variety of very good food in their food court.

            Ray's Cafe: A great view of the Olympic Mountains, on the water. Go for happy hour drink and food specials. The menu isn't bad and won't cost you an arm and leg as the downstairs.

            7 Replies
            1. re: TacoBusHound

              I have to ask-I hear people recommending the food court at Uwajimaya sometimes, and I've had nothing but bad, food court type food there. The Vietnamese place in particular is awful. What is good?

              1. re: christy319

                only the deli/bbq place - no other place is nearly as good - half a duck or some crispy-skinned pork, either served over rice, will provide good flavor and strength to face a few more hours of shopping - also, sometimes bargains as closing time approaches

                1. re: christy319

                  kalbi at the Hawaiian place
                  shrimp pad ki mao at the Thai place

                  1. re: christy319

                    I work across the street from Uwajimaya and avoid the food court like herpes - but will on occasion grab mapo tofu from the hot case near the packaged sushi. Everything else is worth going out of your way to avoid, particularly when there's so much great food within 2 blocks.

                    (I do shop for groceries at Uwajimaya all the time, though - they have great produce and fish)

                    1. re: terrier

                      some good cheap places for lunch:
                      Fu Lin (on King st a block north of Uwajimaya)
                      - many lunch specials (Chinese and some Japanese)
                      Takohachi (on Jackson st 2 blocks north and a couple blocks east of Uwajimaya, look for the octopus sign) - Japanese combos (large portions; not sushi)

                    2. re: christy319

                      In the food court, I think the Korean place (at the front, near the cell shop stand) is good for a bbq pork sandwich and various soups.

                    3. re: TacoBusHound

                      Not too many good restaurants in Capitol Hill. Tango is a good pick for dinner. Baguette Box for lunch.

                      The Chinese and Indian food is better in NYC than it is in Seattle.

                      Other cheap places in Capitol Hill with atmosphere:

                      1)Bleu. Vegetarian, cozy, and romantic.
                      2)Dinette.
                      3)Monsoon is okay.

                    4. I recommend Ethiopian food. It's very cheap and we have a vast Ethiopian (and Eritrean) community here in Seattle - many more restaurants than you have in NYC (I grew up there). Cherry Street is covered with these restaurants, between about 21st and just beyond MLK (would be 28th). Also many around Jefferson between 12th and 14th. Search this board for people's favorites - I like Mesob at 14th and Jefferson and Lalibela (sp?) at Cherry and MLK.

                      Also, go to Agua Verde for an inexpensive and wonderful meal. It's a great Seattle experience - right on the water of the ship canal with a kayak rental shop downstairs (closed for the season) and a covered porch. Fresh, organic, creative Mexican-inspired food; things like yam tacos and mango quesadillas. I take friends there when I'm trying to lure them into moving to Seattle.

                      As to Salumi: it's a great place, but you can get so many great cured meats in New York. My vote is to stick to specialties of this region that are harder to find in New York (not that much is hard to find in New York).

                      Good luck and welcome!

                      1. Slroth, if you're at Pike Place Market during the lunch hour, check out Saigon Restaurant (post alley side), a simple place with delicious food. Those women stir up some magic. The chicken sour soup will warm you on a rainy day (or their fish in ginger sauce...). Not much atmosphere--it's an open area tucked in the market.

                        And of course Market Grill, in the main drag of the Market, has yummy salmon sandwiches and I am fond of their clam chowder as well. Go early--they just have a few stools at their counter (but turns over pretty quick).

                        For some reasonably priced good meals you might research some past posts on the smaller neighborhood favorites (e.g, Monsoon, Stumbling Goat, Persimmon). New place on Phinney Ridge, Oliver's Twist, has fun cocktails and small plates - fun, trendy-ish atmosphere. Have fun!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Janer

                          I concur on the Saigon recommendation. Definitely worth seeking out this nugget!

                          1. re: gastros

                            The only good thing I've ever had there is the soup that Janer mentioned, and I've tried quite a few things...this place doesn't hold a candle to the good Vietnamese places in the ID.

                        2. I noticed a lot of comments on Asian, but there is a seasonally focused, casual dining experience to be enjoyed at Coastal Kitchen - 429 15th Ave East. It's a classic weekend breakfast haunt, where patrons learn to read the Sunday paper waiting for a table. The evening meals can be a great seasonal adventure. The staff in the evening know the offerings and how they are prepared, all in an unpretentious manner.

                          Il Bistro (Pike Place Market - underneath Italian deli and fish market) - fabulous carpaccio. Share appetizers and wines by the glass for a flavour tour of Italy.