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U-Dist Seattle: Picks and Pans on the Ave, 2006 Update?

There is some outdated info on this topic on the board - outdated because I hear the turnover on the Ave is high - so please provide your places to hit up and places to avoid on the Ave, for cheap or moderately cheap lunches?

Also, please mention notables within walking distance of Safeco Plaza if you have them.

I just started working in the neighborhood and am eager to go exploring. Thanks!!

So far I've tried Pagliacci (pretty good but they ran out of every pizza variety at 12:30 the one time I was there), tiny thai place near pizza (thai tom?) which was pretty decent although the quality of the meats (I got a chicken curry) was slightly below premium, and the indian/pakistani place in the other direction, where I have liked everything I've ordered in 2 visits (especially the okra - mmmm). And a coworker told me that 2 recent visits to a sushi place by the movie theater turned up cockroaches alongside the fish, so this will clearly be a pan.

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  1. Thai 65, Ruby's, Shalimar, all between 42nd and 43rd on University Ave, are very good. Good Pho at Tran Bros. a little further south. Also, new and a great place, Pam's Kitchen at 50th and Univ. Ave., Caribbean.

    1. I really like the Aladdin Gyrocery - cheap, delicious.

      1. My guilty pleasure in the u-district is s.u.b.s on the SE corner of 50th/Ave. The interior could use a MAJOR update but their sandwiches reall good, esp. if you like Italian meats and oil n' vinegar like they make grinders in the NE. Also people love Cedars on Brooklyn (50th) and Taste of India on Roosevelt (55th) - both are owned by the same people. Watch out for the incessant beverage refilling at Taste of India however!

        1. There is a truly charming, unassuming, family-owned Greek diner/restaurant on the Ave, called the Continental Cafe, just below 50th (not on the corner, further down), that has survived for at least 20+ years. On the regular table side there are students, tourists etc. enjoying the tasty lamb and creamy avgolemono soup, and on the cashier side a few tables, mostly inhabited by Greek speaking people sounding like they're arguing. On the shelf are home-cured olives, delicious even though they occasionally have to be soaked in water if too salty, wild Greek oregano, and the MOST delicious olive oil for cooking, Spitiko. The people are ultra-nice, the pastries good if you like the honey-soaked phylloness of such things as baklava. Oh, and it's inexpensive.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rcallner

            ahhhh... the continental. Good to know it is still there. I've only ever eaten one thing there and that is the feta/tomato omelette, a million-leaves sort of construction (I saw the guy make it once, it spreads out to a huge diameter and then gets folded and folded). Order it with the greek fries and pita. A wonderful breakfast. I'll have to go have one myself next time we come up from Portland.

            And I second Aladdin (glad it's still there too!). Excellent, big, cheap falafel sandwiches, and decent zaatar pita too. And the turkish coffee is good.

            While I'm thinking about it, what is in the space on 45th between U Way and Brooklyn, next to the alley? That spot changed owners about once a year... last time I ate there (2000!) it was a pretty good taqueria.

            1. re: patrick

              That space on 45th is still a taqueria, but it might have changed hands. The people are nice, but the food isn't that great.

          2. I'm trying to recall the name of the outstanding falalel place (tiny, near Thai Tom). Other than that, I second the rec for Pam's.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ssusu

              That was the OTHER Aladdin (yes, there were 2) but I think it's gone now.

            2. I absolutely love Jewel of India -- it's on the Ave just south of 50th on the west side of the street. Really tasty, comforting dishes. Love the palak paneer/saag paneer. Great spinach naan. Nice mutter paneer. I'm mostly familiar with the vegetarian dishes, but everything I've had has had nice flavors. They have a lunch buffet and more choices for dinner.

              1. Six years of living in the U has been nothing if not educational:
                The staff and product at the Pagliacci is unparalleled. The quattro primo they serve during the annual cheese festival makes me weep openly. However, there is often no pizza at peak times.
                Thai Tom is always 'pretty good', especially on a cold day when you have a primal need for fire in your face (not so much in July). I get the chicken and broccoli, then take it home to dilute it since he always puts too much garlic salt stuff in it.
                We used to grab burgers from Schultzy's, but the quality has gone down recently so we go to A Burger Place (next to the post office) - they are made to order and cheap!
                Tokyo Garden (the Japanese place near the theatre) does have a lot of roaches - we saw one walk across our table and die right in front of us - but their chicken curry rice is so good I get it to go. I'm gross like that.
                The water refilling stops at Cedars or Taste of India if you put a napkin over your glass. And don't tip, because the owners keep them and pay a high hourly wage instead to the servers (a server confimed this rumor to me). The butter chicken is exquisite.
                Ruby is okay as a bar, but the food is disappointing. Both myself and a friend have had rotten things on our plates on separate visits. The taco joint near the bus stop on 45th is kind of bland.
                Kai's on 43rd has surprisingly good food, and the happy hour specials are great.
                Araya on 45th between 11th and 12th is mediocre.
                Than Bros., Aladdin, the Gyrocery, and the Continental are all great choices for lunch.

                1. * Flowers' lunch buffet. A little pricey but well worth it. I'm a carnivore but love this delicious vegan buffet for its freshness, scope and flavor.

                  * Thai Tom. Used to be THE best thai in Seattle. Now still good but the roaches I've seen the last few times and the overall quality seem to have slightly declined.

                  * Agua Verde. A little far for lunch from Safeco, but a delicious taco joint different than most other Mexican. Tasty margaritas.

                  * Cedars is fast, tasty and reliable.

                  * Pagliacci's of course is a great standby.

                  * Than Brother's Pho. I love Pho and Than Brother's puts out fresh, yummy bowls of the stuff. I usually go to the one in Ballard.

                  1. Oh yeah, I second Agua Verde-- not techincally "U Dist" but a nice walk that will remind you of your proximity to the water! Good fresh mexican food.

                    1. Pam's Kitchen @ 50th serves delicious Trinidadian food.

                      1. Picks:
                        - Taste of India/Cedar's (best for Indian for the 50th one, best for Falafel/etc. for the 42nd one)
                        - Pho Tran (much better than Than Brothers in my opinion, plus better service.)
                        - Appethai (above Thai 65, best of the many Thai places on the Ave. Thai Tom is VERY overhyped.)
                        - Pagliacci is okay, but I eat it on campus probably 3 days a week so it has definitely lost its luster.
                        - Gossip is the best for bubble tea.
                        - Agua Verde is good for Mexican (the meat isn't very tender though)
                        - Shalimar is also okay for Indian
                        - The one Piroshky place isn't terrible if you are really in the mood for one.

                        - All of the Chinese places, I have tried many, all of them were TERRIBLE. Go to the ID if you want decent Chinese food.
                        - All of the teriyaki/korean places are pretty bad as well.

                        1. I am surprised no one has mentioned “Jacks Tapas Café Mainly Chinese” on 52nd and University. It is some of the best Chinese food in the city. The food is from North Eastern China, so many wheat based breads etc. It is unclear what’s with the name as they seem to serve exclusively Chinese food, the food is not served as anything I would call Tapas and they do not have coffee on the menu, perhaps the meaning is lost somewhere in translation... I have never been here when there were more than one or two other tables so please make sure you go it would be a tragedy if this restaurant were to close.
                          The owners are wonderful always eager to guide you and make helpful suggestions so that your meal is well balanced. When you go you must order the crispy green onion bread, unlike its usual incarnation as a rather flat pancake this bread’s fluffy on the interior and crispy outside is some of the best food I have eaten in a long time. Their hand shaved noodles are fantastic thinner and more delicate then Shanghai Garden and perfectly seasoned. The specials board is ever changing so I hesitate to suggest anything off of it but rest assured you will have great food here!

                          Here is a stranger article from about 6 months ago. http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Co...

                          1. I'll have to try that place next time I'm in the area. Actually, I just got back from trying Pam's Kitchen, which I can recommend trying- limited menu choice for the made-to-order meal (curried meat and potatoes, with two bread choices), but the peanut punch was quite good.
                            As the bus rolled by, I believe I noticed that Shalimar(?) is now a Mexican place. Fully agreed that Jewel of India is a great buffet deal, and that the Chinese places on the lower Ave. are abysmal. Flowers is good once in a while, but the menu barely varies, so I wouldn't go there regularly. My memory of trying Araya once, a long time ago, was: Note to self - do not return.

                            1. One pick not to overlook is the Cafe at the Henry Art Gallery. Very good soups, sandwiches, and salads. You don't need to pay admission to the gallery to eat there. It's right on 15th, one block off the "Ave".

                              I also like Little Thai on 42nd between Brooklyn and the "Ave".

                              Another good find is the Big Time Brewery. Decent baked potatoes, soups and sandwiches.