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NYC couple hoping for great budget food in Seattle

s
slroth Nov 29, 2006 04:20 PM

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!

  1. z
    zacfi Dec 5, 2006 02:30 AM

    I'm glad you had a good experience. I'm also from NYC and when I visited in August we were a family of five and finding kid friendly places downtown wasn't always easy. They were always too tired to go anywhere. We wanted a decent burger one night and the hotel recommended a place that was just awful in the middle of an office building plaza. Why would a hotel send a family to a deserted place that was suitable for a casual business lunch? We had an OK seafood dinner at one of the touristy waterfront places. The kids liked it, but my crab was mediocre. At least it was lively. I kept my eyes open during the day for better places to go, but they were always too far for the totally pooped out kids, although we had a car and never left the downtown/queen anne/capital hill area.

    1 Reply
    1. re: zacfi
      c
      christy319 Dec 5, 2006 05:15 AM

      That's too bad. There've been quite a few threads on kid friendly dining in Seattle you can check out if you ever plan to come back...

    2. s
      SChalfant Dec 4, 2006 06:59 PM

      My personal favorites when in Seattle are always going to be Le Pitche on 1st downtown. Yummy eats and good wine. Cozy and very French Bistro - visit everytime I'm in LA. Also love Flying Fish (also downtown)- probably a total tourist spot to anyone who lives there, but the Salt & Pepper Crab is soooooo good!

      1. s
        slroth Dec 4, 2006 12:53 AM

        hi everyone. thanks so much for all the fantastic suggestions! we had amazing meals the entire weekend. our favorites were Seven Stars Peppers (the noodles were incredible, and we left feeling really woozy, maybe from MSG?), Pho Cyclo, and Baguette Box. we know we need to come back to hit all the great spots, but we never would have found all the fantastic places if it wasn't for all your recommendations. thanks again!

        1 Reply
        1. re: slroth
          o
          Olympia Jane Dec 4, 2006 01:31 AM

          Terrific - I'm glad you both ate well while in Seattle. I am one of the folks who thinks the #7 at Pho Cyclo is pretty wonderful (it has mysterious restorative powers), and I agree about the powers of Chowhound for advance dining recommendations. The last time I was in NYC on a business trip alone, I ate extremely well thanks to the Manhattan board - it works equally well for us when we Pacific Northwesterners trek to your neighborhood!

        2. s
          slippek Dec 2, 2006 07:38 PM

          I just want to add that the bi bim bap at the deceptively named #1 Teriyaki in Pioneer Square is absolutely not to be missed. And if they have the grilled pigeon special, go for it!

          3 Replies
          1. re: slippek
            m
            mrnelso Dec 2, 2006 09:01 PM

            In recent years, #1 Teriyaki has been on 2nd Avenue, below Masin's furniture. A few months ago, they became a falaffel place for about a day, then closed again. Yesterday, they were open again as a Gyro place. If #1 Teriyaki has re-located, do you know its new address?

            1. re: mrnelso
              daryn Dec 2, 2006 10:41 PM

              i'm pretty sure they're gone..

              1. re: daryn
                s
                slippek Dec 4, 2006 06:47 PM

                Hm...well, they were there the last time I was in Seattle. Sorry if I recommended a dead end---they've been there for over 20 years, so I didn't think they were going anywhere.

          2. daryn Dec 2, 2006 06:36 PM

            Are you staying at the silver cloud? don't eat there, very generic mexican food..

            $30pp for dinner will get you pretty far on the hill, if you don't drink too much. There are tons of little places of every ethnicity, nothing very fancy, but they're affordable and tasty.

            A lot of the suggestions so far are more obvious / foodie choices (baguette box, for example, technically fits your budget, but it's still kind of pricey at around $9 for a takeout sandwich). so here are some other budget neighborhood places I like, having lived on the hill for almost 8 years. These are fine dining by any stretch, but casual, comfortable, and in your neighborhood. The cross streets are roughly close, I always forgot exactly where places are.

            611 crepe supreme (pine & boylston) - decent crepes, good drinks, nice atmosphere

            bimbos - hipster burrito place (pine & belmont)

            honeyhole (pike and boylston) - their hot sandwiches are a good lunch/lite dinner, i don't really like the cold ones so much.

            crave (12th & pine) - http://www.cravefood.com

            frites (11th & pike) - if you need late night belgian frites.

            via tribunali (11th & pike) - i know you said no pizza, but it's really good neopolitan style pizza, so if you change your mind you won't be disappointed, and it's a nice space.

            elysian brewing company (12th & pike) or six arms (pike & melrose) - two brewpubs with good microbrews, and decent pub-style food.

            These are all assuming you're staying around pike/pine, and walking. There's tons of other places i'd suggest if you have a car.

            1. g
              gastros Dec 1, 2006 08:44 PM

              For some fabulous Mexican food, try La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard. Prices are very reasonable and the food is devine! Get there early, as seating is limited and it gets crowded. Also, for certified Neapolitan pizza, try Tutta Bella in Wallingford. Good stuff!

              1. SanseiDesigns Dec 1, 2006 04:49 AM

                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.

                1. j
                  Janer Nov 30, 2006 03:17 AM

                  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
                    g
                    gastros Dec 1, 2006 08:45 PM

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

                    1. re: gastros
                      c
                      christy319 Dec 2, 2006 11:41 PM

                      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. seattledebs Nov 29, 2006 10:55 PM

                    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. t
                      TacoBusHound Nov 29, 2006 06:07 PM

                      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
                        c
                        christy319 Nov 29, 2006 06:12 PM

                        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
                          h
                          howard 1st Nov 29, 2006 06:34 PM

                          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
                            barleywino Nov 29, 2006 07:35 PM

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

                            1. re: christy319
                              terrier Nov 29, 2006 08:02 PM

                              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
                                barleywino Nov 29, 2006 08:34 PM

                                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
                                i
                                itsonlyfood Nov 30, 2006 07:59 AM

                                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
                                m
                                Misanthrope Nov 29, 2006 08:11 PM

                                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. c
                                christy319 Nov 29, 2006 04:53 PM

                                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
                                  s
                                  slroth Nov 29, 2006 05:09 PM

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

                                  1. re: christy319
                                    terrier Nov 29, 2006 05:19 PM

                                    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
                                      h
                                      howard 1st Nov 29, 2006 06:12 PM

                                      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
                                        l
                                        Lauren Nov 29, 2006 06:56 PM

                                        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
                                          m
                                          mr.nelso Dec 1, 2006 01:38 AM

                                          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
                                            l
                                            Lauren Dec 1, 2006 04:27 PM

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

                                            1. re: mr.nelso
                                              terrier Dec 5, 2006 06:14 AM

                                              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.

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