Restaurant Zoe (Belltown, 2nd and Blanchard) is a must. Make sure to try the chicken stuffed sweetbreads roulade, with shaved celery root and chestnut puree. Get a glass of reisling, or a half bottle of Zind. There's a comfy bar if you don't want to sit at a table alone. The Panama Tea House (International District, 6th and Main) is a great stop for lunch and a short walk from The Frye, a must see art museum. Geneva, near St. James, another gem that doesn't get much noteriety here, is definately worth eating at. Bon Appetit!
They don't have much table space, so they appreciate quick turns. Sitting with a book might draw some angry gazes from other diners looking to sit and eat. I'd recommend leaving the book at home and meeting a bunch of interesting people at my favorite communal table in Seattle. A must hit place! It's a long walk or a short (free) bus ride from the Westin.
Salumi is cured meats. People go with the sandwiches most often but I’d recommend the meat and cheese plates so you can taste all the meats and not fill up on bread. A lot of food for one but maybe you can make a friend or have leftovers. They have daily veggie sides that are always great. Big table in back with a serve yourself bottle of wine, so lovely. Google it to read more about it. Must go!
Green Leaf is a small Vietnamese place in the International District-lunch and dinner. Not a ‘must see’ place but inexpensive, good food, and nice people.
I love Salumi's cured meat sandwiches, but since it'd take a month of lunches to taste the full variety, I agree that the cured meat/cheese platters (hot or cold) are a good way to sample a range of Salumi flavors. Another approach is to skip the sandwiches altogether and go for the specials. They are listed on the sandwich board out on the sidewalk and samples can be seen in the glass case just inside the door. Usually there is a Soup, a vegetable, and a pasta. Today was Artichoke and salami-bits lasagne, with provolone. Actually, it was the last of last weeks special, and incredible. Simple complements of fabulous flavors. And the bean soup. Oh mama.
Chambar is on my list, thanks! (I'm also checking out the infamous tojo's)
these are great suggestions, thanks! The crumpet shop sounds great, I'll hit that, and cafe yamarka also sounds good. I'm definitely eating my way through the market, and I'll look into Salumi and Green leaf. What kind of food are they?
Must.. Salumi (lunch only tues-fri), Le Pichet- breakfast lunch or dinner- great for one, Green Leaf in the ID, Matt's in the Market, the Crumpet Shop for breakfast, coffee at Vivace on Capitol Hill.
If you wanted to cab over to Ballard go to Sambar, small place, perfect coctails and snacks.
Ps. While you’re in Vancouver check out Chambar...I’ve had many great meals and drinks there.
as expected from mrnelso, great reportage on the market - to add a few more jewels to the crown, the crumpet shop on first avenue makes superb crumpets every day and the best sandwiches in the city on housemade oatmeal bread - excellent gelato at bottega italiana a block further down first avenue - cafe yamarka (first and pine building ground level) makes their own peirogies in several varieties (both lamb and cabbage are my favorites) - on your way down the hillclimb, cafe zigzag is famous for its fresh and inventive cocktails - while the food at the athenian inn on the main arcade is not noteworthy, the atmosphere (as requested) is uniquely seattle
Pike Place Market is a must - just start at one end and walk the circuit. There is an amazing variety of delectables there. Because you might not find them on a random walk, look up World Class Chili (sit at the counter and tell Joe eric sent you - his Texas is the best chili you'll ever eat, except for the Cincinatti, which clobbers Skyline altogether), Matt's in the Market (sit at the counter) - [OMG they may be closed for remodeling], Jack's Fish Spot (Cioppino-definitely, fresh-shucked oysters (the grubby rag never actually touches your food, so you can relax, scary as it might be), crab cocktail...) if you can steel your nerve for the raggedy ambiance, this is top-drawer. There are better places for Fish and Chips (Sunfish, Pacific Inn - esp for Oysters and chips), Elliott's Oyster House (esp happy hour from 3:00 - sit at the oyster bar and talk with the shucker. 50 Cents from 3:00 goes up steeply to unconscionable/normal. The Market Grill, right in the main arcade, will get you a rea-deal fresh halibut or salmon sandwich. For French Bistro, there's Le Pichet, right off the sidewalk, Cafe Campagne, and Maximilien's (a shame to go solo for mussels there, though). Seattle is a hub of Vietnamese and you can't do much better than Green Leaf, Lemongrass, or Tamarind Tree. If you go Vietnamese, a local guide can be useful. Even inside one of these restaurants, figuring out what's what on the menu is a challenge.
Back at the Pike Place Market, go down the hillclimb to El Puerco Lloron and have a dozen tortillas with your order of Carne Asada or carntas tacos (with a side of guacamole). The last time I was there, the had removed the dozen tortillas from the menu, but still served it up, just as they have for twenty years. Heaven. It's all done cafeteria style, no pressure, and will remind you of border towns. If this really turns you on, grab (an expensive) cab or a (cheap) bus [get bus info at METRO at 2nd and Jackson] and head to South Park and Muy Macho. You will wish you studied harder in Spanish class, but you won't find tacos of Cabeza, Lengua, or Tripa, many other joints hereabouts (though the taco buses may prove me wrong).
If a sitdown Seattle seafood meal turns out to be an utter necessity, find a date and try Etta's or splurge and go for the full maritime view deal at Ray's (Chinook's will do this well, too, and set you back somewhat less - get the seasonal slump dessert) - go next door to the Hiliner Pub and hope it's Sea Chantey day (last sunday of every month). Actually, now that I think of it, this is more genuine of old Seattle. New Seattle is going the way of all condominiumized, strip mall America. For a real taste, go to the Athenian and have a beer and a hang-town fry with the old-timers.
If adventure takes you to Fremont, Paseo is a trip and Chilie's Paste will treat you right.
I love this town and its hidey-holes and wish you a good trip...
well, let me put this restriction on it all..... I am there alone, so I'd like places that I won't feel like a goob being in alone, and second...
while those might be the BEST places.... i'm also looking for places that really represent seattle. i'll give you a for instance...
In phoenix, I could send you to any one of our amazing four star restuarants, but it would be pathetic if you left Phoenix without visiting Ranch Market, a cheap Mexican market with the best mexican food you'll ever eat.
SO... point is.. if you were alone in the city, and you wanted 4 places where you really got a "taste of seattle".. what would they be?
HZP, A few months ago there was a formal, Seattle Chowhound poll of the best Chow destinations. Here are the top 20 by local Chowhounds' vote:
Matt's At The Market
Seven Stars Szechuan
Element at Gasworks
Malay Satay Hut
Boat Street Cafe
Le Carta Oxaca
Sitka & Spruce
I was in Seattle recently for a conference and in a similar situation. I reported on what I found at the following thread:
Although my tastes are veg-centric, I think that any of the spots I reported on would be excellent choices for any CHs. Didn't have a single bad meal while I was there. Enjoy!