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Apr 25, 2007 01:13 PM

SEA: Cheap Eats around Uni and Downtown

SO is going to Seattle this weekend, staying next to the University. Need lunch, dinner suggestions either there or in Downtown area. Inexpensive ethnic or American is preferred. In the University area, would like to find something without frat atmosphere. He likes anything with meat, turko-ottoman, middle eastern, ethiopean, vietnamese, south american or good ol' burgers. TIA!

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  1. Assuming the university you are speaking of is UW... you should familiarize yourself with The Ave (aka University Way) near the bookstore. It's the main drag around the area, and lots of cheap eats - some of them quite fantastic, some of them not so much. Thai Tom has the best thai, and Than Brothers has the best pho. There are also an abundance of teriyaki joints, but the bone-in Teriyaki chicken at KiKu is amazing, and Sakura has the best katsu. (These are all totally just IMO.) Also, there are quite a few bubble tea shops in the area too. Pochi's is probably the most popular, but Shinka does some amazing things bubble tea - I think they elevate it to a whole new level (it is really about the natural flavors of the teas and mixing them creatively, not about blending in powders like most bbtea shops).

    If you want something with a nicer ambiance and such, I highly reccomend the District Lounge. Not a lot of people seem to know about it (perhaps it's better that way), but it's really fantastic. The entrance is kind of hard to spot, since it's sort of under a hotel. They have differnet jazz performers every day of the week, good cocktails, and a chefs who really care about their food. Also, the interior is quite beautiful as well.

    As for downtown, there are already a ton of threads on the subject, so I won't comment on that.

    9 Replies
    1. re: clearskies0810

      Thanks for your recs! Any non-Asian fare?

      1. re: welle

        There's a good hole-in-the-wall Middle Eastern (falafel, gyros, etc) near the Rite Aid. Can't remember its name. Just a counter and a few small tables.

        1. re: PAO

          I think you are talking about Aladin - the second branch of the main one near 42nd. Having tried Zania downtown, which I like a lot more, I personally am not a big fan of either - but to each their own!

          As for non-Asian faire, there isn't really anything that is spetacular in the U-Dist (other than the District Lounge). However, I think The Continental, a greek diner near 50th (not to be confused with Costa) does a pretty decent job. And if you are ever in the mood for a good, simple (and cheap!) grilled burger, A Burger Place does a good place for a quick fix.

          1. re: PAO

            the falafel at the place next to the old camera shop is quite good. not the best i've had--- i once almost cried over falafel in madrid-- but if i wasnt in the mood for thai tom it would be my next stop.

            1. re: sophie.

              I just went to the District two weeks ago and the appetizers we ate were completely uninspired, all beige and without flavor. The people are nice, though, and the happy hour prices are reasonable. Kai's is a better choice.
              No one has mentioned the Pagliacci on the ave, which is a jewel in the crown of the empire. I can't stomach the pizza from any other Pagliacci; the cooks there are just amazing. Every element is stellar.
              Try the Portage Bay Cafe for brunch if you're not in a hurry. Mamma Melina's on Roosevelt and 50th has good pasta and meat dishes. The Blue Onion on Roosevelt and 58th(?) has freakin' awesome chicken fried steak. Cedars is good for Indian food, but get it takeout because the service is annoying (I recommend the tandoori salmon). There really is a lot of great food around here, despite appearances.

              1. re: hertzdonut

                For a great South Indian experience, I'd recommend Neelam's on the Ave; nice lunch buffet and excellent dosas with multiple filling choices.

                1. re: manya7

                  Unless the original owner bought it back, I don't think it's Neelam's anymore. I used to go there all the time and a few years ago the name changed to Jewel of India or something like that. The food still tasted (last time I was there...about 3 years ago) the same and the new owner is/was very nice.

                  Even better Indian is Bengal Tiger on 66th and Roosevelt. It's 1/2 block north of the Whole Foods.....yum!

                  1. re: sophie.

                    American. I went once, and wasn't particularly impressed with the food. And the service was weird. I'd had a question about something on the menu, and asked the waiter to clarify. Somehow he took that to mean that I wanted to order it, and about 15 minutes later there it was in front of me. When I told him that I hadn't actually ordered it, he was weird to us for the rest of the night.

                    The space IS a nice contrast to a lot of the places in the neighborhood, so I might go back for a drink. But I agree with hertzdonut -- Kai's is better.


        2. Ruby at 42nd and University has great soups, curries and sandwiches in a funky, eclectic atmosphore. It's "ethnic" but not limited to a specific region. Their "omelets of the world" brunch menu is a great option on the weekends.

          For American food, Kai's is great. It's hip and modern, and a bit classier that most of the other places in the U-District. Good food in generous portions, imported beers, with great happy hour specials. They've got a big TV with sports on pretty often, but it's not fratty at all.

          1. Usually, "the university" means University of Washington, but can be Seattle U, Seattle Pacific U, or even others.

            1. Pam’s Kitchen on 50th and University is I think the only Trinidadian food in the city, so saying it is the best has little meaning but even if there were a whole slew of them here I have a feeling Pam’s would continue to impress. Everyone there is very sweet and helpful for the Trinidadian novice; the food is cheap and exceptionally good. Last time I was there they had a fantastic goat curry!