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I've got Seattle foodie-date block! :( Can you help?

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So, here's the situation...

I'm meeting someone new within the next week. It's up to me to pick the place and time. Usually this is a can-do kind of proposition, and easy at that, but I'm having a mind block for some reason.

Here is what I need: budget-minded (think light cafe-type standard fare - pricewise), not coffee-centric, unpretentious, and central to the downtown area. He likes tea and most any other drink except coffee. I really have no drink preference, but would prefer non-alcoholic or a mix of drink choices this time around. Would like somewhere also condusive to chatting, but not deathly quiet (people watching is always good). On top of all that, I'd like a place open later in the evening.

Any interesting ideas? I'm sure once I start hearing yours, I'll think of a few too...

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  1. Hm, you want a cafe that's not coffee-centric, serving a light lunch late in the evening, that's quiet but with good people-watching. Oh, and no alcohol.

    I think you might need to work out some of the inherent contradictions in your requirements.

    If you aren't scared of booze, the Zig-Zag might fit the bill as closely as you're going to get. I personally would think it criminal to go there and not order cocktails, but I'm sure they'd be gracious about it.

    1. the restaurant called Taste in the Seattle Art Museum (1st and Union) www.tastesam.com
      Steelhead Diner (Pine below 1st)

      1. Here's a regular idea-mill for you --- good luck with it...

        Though one might think a coffee-shop too obviously coffee-centric, Cherry Street Coffee pops up here for the soups, sandwiches, pastries (especially B&O [?] chocolate eclairs), they also do tea. Both the 1st & Cherry and 3rd & Marion locations have capacious seating/conversation areas. The Cherry Street location has a lower level with lots of cushy seating. You could ask the staff when the best times are for the people-show. The 3rd Av shop is in an office building with a really nice seating area in the lobby. Again, timing for best crowds may vary.
        Zaina, across the street at 1st & Cherry has plenty of seating if it's not the lunch rush, some of it semi-secluded in the back and they have great middle-eastern food.
        Maybe Horchata at Puerco Lloron?
        The waterfront has lot of places with outdoor seating.
        Two-Bells tavern has a couryard and fine hamburgers.
        The Pink Door patio is great in good weather and any number of nifty little places in the market are good for intimate conversation.
        For a lark, have the conversation along the route as you take the water-taxi across to Alki and shuttle to the Sunfish or other spot there.

        Please do report what you decide and how it goes...

        Oh, and these days much of the "coffee" menu has drifted so far from coffee as to belong more properly in the milk-shake category.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mrnelso

          I feel you on that milkshake comment. But there are some places that still feel like they are about real coffee-- even if they have blended mochas on the list to please the people who don't actually like the taste of coffee, more just the idea of it.

          For a less coffee-ish feel what about Macrina? They're only open until 7pm, but light cafe is kind of weird after 7.

          I think Puerco Lloron is a good idea. I love horchata, although it generally fits into the sugar sugar sugar drink category.

          Water taxi would be so fun. Sunfish is great. If you ended up at Alki, Cactus is fun too. http://www.cactusrestaurants.com/

          What about Panos Kleftikos in lower QA? Maybe not best for people watching.

          Serious Pie if you're not there in major rush hour--- it can get very crowded.

          This is a difficult question. I don't know if there is an answer, especially downtown.

          Le Pichet is good cafe, not coffee centric, open later, fantastic people watching. Not in the right budget.

          Good luck.

          1. re: sophie.

            Is the Cactus at Alki quieter than the (loudest restaurant I've ever been in) location on Madison?

        2. Do you want this thing to work? Add alcohol. :)

          1. On my first date with the SO (and we've been together for a year) he took me to Flower's on the ave. I was totally floored at the date-spot picking, as I am a picky foodie. It has lots of beer on tap and good drinks, but also does cafe type stuff. I know its not downtown, but its easy to get to. Also, quiet enough to talk, but enough going on around you to not run out of things to talk about (lots of good people watching out the window). Good solid food options without being too pricey....I think its open decently late, as it has a bar area where people drink.