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Jun 25, 2007 05:26 AM

2 days in Seattle

2 35 year old NYC Chouwhounders heading to Seattle for 2 days ... looking for great recommendations for dinner/lunches/snacks. Funky/offbeat ok!

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  1. Nycmir, Since you're from New York, I won't recommend any Italian options. First would be Harvest Vine. (They may be rennovating; check to see they are open.) Matt's at the Market may be open when you arrive (they have also been closed for a re-do.) In our International District Seven Stars, Tamarand Tree and Green Leaf are all Chow-worthy. For lunch (Tuesday--Friday) Salumi. (Mario's father's place.) Get there right at 11:30.
    Palace Kitchen, Union and 94 Stewart Street are also good options for dinner. The mussels we have in Seattle are the best you'll find anywhere. The upstairs bar at Maximillien's at the Market offers 4 options. If you like mussels, these are a must. Finally, Shiro's for Sushi. Don't order from the menu; merely ask Shiro to make you dinner. (Be sure and get there at 5:30 to ensure a seat the bar.) You'll be enchanted with your meal. Enjoy and let us know what you liked.

    1. I'm visiting soon too. Here are a couple recent recommendations:

      1. if you're looking for funky/offbeat, you can't get much funkier than Elemental at Gasworks. Because it's a very small place with basically 2 staff (the owners), need to get there early to get a seat. Service can change from very friendly to very rude at the drop of a hat, so be sure to go in the proper frame of mind, i.e., not a good place to go if you require a lot of attention or are in a rush to be served.

        1. The sandwiches at Paseo's are a must try. Maekawa Bar also has great offbeat Japanese food you're unlikely to find elsewhere.

          1. thanks so much! i'm looking forward to eating my way through Seattle!

            12 Replies
            1. re: nycmlr

              I wanted to comment on Salumi, mentioned by another poster. The restaurant was run by Armandino Batali but he is retired and Gina runs the place now. They are open for lunch starting at 11am. They have a small menu heavy on sandwiches. They are famous for house-made salumi but also among the favorite specials are pork cheek, oxtail, polpettone, fennel sausage and gnocchi. The restaurant is at the intersection of 2nd and 3rd in the Pioneer Square area. The area remains a bit rough around the edges (think East Village) but is safe. No reservations are taken. You can call in your order which enables you to skip the line (not well known but a huge advantage). You can order sliced salumi by the pound as well but they may enforce their policy of advance call in only depending on how slammed they are. I would recommend getting there when they open at 11:00am (in fact 15 minutes early is not too early) if you want a quick line and a seat.

              For breakfast/brunch I would highly recommend that you get out to Ballard (a few miles north of downtown) for pastries at Cafe Besalu. The owner makes some of the most exquisite croissant dough I have ever had. I don't believe I will ever find a pain au chocolate better (and I have not found a better one so far). He also makes seasonal fruit danish, cookies, tarts, galettes, quiche, and more. Be careful though and check hours first. He is not open Monday or Tuesday and often is closed for several days around a holiday.

              The following is from Seattle Bon Vivant Blog

              >The days was just so overwhelmingly beautiful we dropped out loot in our car and
              > walked to Café Besalu for brunch. If you have never tried their pain au chocolat you
              > have got to get yourself to this den of all things French and delicious tout de suite!
              > I must tell you that in all my years of eating this, one of my favorite French
              > breakfast pastries ever--quite comparable in chocolate quality and flake factor to
              > those of Pierre Hermé, Lenôtre, Au Levain du Marais and Be. In fact, I am yet to
              > find a nicer pain au chocolat in our fair city-- Il Fornil and Le Panier included.

              Seattle has many fine French restaurants but for a slice of Paris downtown I would give the nod to Le Pichet. Jim Drohman actually just opened a second restaurant Cafe Presse, which is open until 2am in Capitol Hill.

              Lark and Sitka and Spruce are both among the new-ish wave of great comtemporary NW kitchens that have opened in the past few years. Both Johnathan Sundstrom and Matt Dillon were Food and Wine Best New Chefs (2001 and 2007 respectively) and both were recently mentioned by Food and Wine in an article about Seattle outsider chefs.

              Cafe Juanita on the East Side of Lake Washington is considered among the top restaurants in the Seattle area. Holly Smith has received national acclaim for her Italian cuisine inspired/informed by NW ingredients and she was a James Beard nominee this year. She also has a great wine list, heavy on Italian with a very nice Washington wine selection. The service there is also some of the best I have had ... anywhere. I would put Cafe Juanita in the same class as L'Impero. By the way the aforementioned F&W article also mentions Justin Neidemyer at Pian Pianino. This is very close to Sitka and Spruce. Justin worked as a pasta maker for Cafe Juanita. Believe me he is the real deal. I have not had pasta better. I understand that notwithstanding the article Justin is not truly open and he was not prepared for the crush of calls. If you can swing a reservation you will have accomplished something most here have not been able to do!

              Gotta go for now but I will give you some more ideas later.


              1. re: klsalas

                Note: Besalu is only open til 3p the rest of the week.

                I live near the place and I'm *still* forgetting they aren't open on M and T. =)

                1. re: klsalas

                  Suggesting Le Pichet as a destination French restaurant for someone from New York is like recommending Sizzler as a steakhouse for visitors from Chicago.

                  1. re: Glassman

                    Glassman, Calvin Trillion would agree. I have to say, even though Le Pichet has a very limited menu, they have managed to replicate the insolent service of the cheese-eating-surrender-monkeys of the motherland. (Note: I didn't say Fatherland.)

                    1. re: Glassman

                      now now, play nice ;) One could make the same argument for Japanese or CHinese places in Seattle compared to NYC. But we won't go there ;). Maybe the OP can be more specific about what kind of food they are looking for?

                      1. re: barleywino

                        Barley, I have to agree with Glassman. Can you imagine Le Pichet trying to compete with Cafe Boulud or Daniel? It's best not to recommend Seattle Italian or French restaurants to visiting New Yorkers.

                        1. re: Walters

                          Of course i agree with Glassman. I would say the same for CHinese and Japanese places in Seattle too. But we don't want to get into that whole can of worms again on this board ;)

                          1. re: Walters

                            That is such a strange reply. Le Pichet isn't comparable to Cafe Boulud or Daniel because those places are not casual, drop-in places. Le Pichet is fantastic at what it is, which is basically a Parisian-style cafe. Daniel is not a Parisian-style cafe. Having lived in NYC I'd say what you should seek out here are the Thai and Vietnamese restaurants, like Green Leaf, of which there are few to none in have to seek them out in outer boroughs. I'd actually second Harvest Vine except there are such great Spanish restaurants like Tia Pol opening in NYC that HV can't compete. I'd suggest eating as much salmon as you can while you're here, since, chances are, you're eating farmed Atlantic salmon in restaurants out there and that's just not the same thing. I'd also go to any of our great brewpubs. I was horrified at NYC bars and their 3-5 crap beers on tap. Stop into Brouwers in Fremont---they have, what, 500 beers? And great food too.

                            1. re: aaustin

                              AA, It was one of Calvin Trillion's main tennants not to recommend a local French restaurant to out of town visitors. (As in Chez Peoria.) Rather, focus on what is done best locally. (i.e. Steaks in Chicago, BBQ in Memphis.) Frankly, Le Pichet is nothing special to anyone that has traveled extensively.

                              1. re: Walters

                                I suppose my reading of Trillin would differ from yours. When he refers to "focusing on what is done best locally" he's talking about leaving the Space Needle Restaurant and it's Continental-in-the-Sky restaurant friends out of it. I think Trillin's point is, "don't take me to the 'fine dining restaurant' take me to the place you craved when you were away for a long time." By this standard I can honestly tell you that Le Pichet COMPLETELY fits that bill for me. I couldn't wait to come back for visits to Seattle so that I could eat the chef's pate de campagne with walnuts and honey.

                                1. re: aaustin

                                  Thanks aaustin and equinoise for coming to the defense of the Seattle French bistro. I lived in DC (a town of great French restaurants) before moving to Seattle and have traveled extensively with MANY trips to NYC and several trips to Paris. I stand by my recommendation of LePichet. I would put Le Pichet (and Cremant) against any French bistro in NYC.

                                  If I am not mistaken (and I know that I am not) the post was for great recommendations including places that are funky or offbeat. Our guests didn't say they were looking for only fine dining in Michelin-starred places.

                                  1. re: klsalas

                                    PS Have been to Tia Pol in NYC . It is not in the same league as Harvest Vine. Jimenez de Jimenez is an internationally known Spanish chef. We are fortunate to have him here.