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A "Crash Course" in Seattle Dining...?

My son (age 24) and a friend will be visiting Seattle in a few weeks, and he's asked me to post this request for dining suggestions. They'll have only a few days in Seattle, but here's what they're looking for (in HIS words...):

“something that’s classic Seattle”

The hidden gem

The place tourists shouldn’t know about

The out of the way spot with beautiful views

The best fish restaurant

The restaurant with great food and fun staff

The cool bar where all the hipsters go

The best music (jazz, etc.) night spot

The place you won’t find anywhere else

I know this is a tall order, but he's counting on CH to help make his first trip to Seattle a great one. Any suggestions for any of these criteria will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. Here are a few suggestions. View and Seafood - Pacific Palisades. Fun Bar Etta's, Also good for seafood, Dahlia's. Couple of places on Eastlake and Westlake for breakfast. If he likes coffee must try Cafe Vivace, you'd think you were in Italy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: local_guy

      Palisade is a decent view restaurant in Magnolia. Pacific Palisades is a town in California.

    2. Matt's in the Market for the uniquely Seattle place AND great seafood.

      Palace Kitchen also for a classic Seattle place, and for great food and fun staff.

      Cool bar: Zig Zag, though if you're looking for a dive-y, very casual hipster type bar, then maybe the Crocodile (live indie rock), Linda's just up from downtown on Capitol HIll or Hattie's Hat in Ballard.

      Out of the way with beautiful views: Sunfish on Alki. You can take the water taxi there. Or, not really out of the way but with a hidden sort of feeling: Maximilien Bistro in the Market, and the deck at the Pink Door, also in the Market.

      1. “something that’s classic Seattle” Obviously Pikes Market and waterfront-buy some smoked salmon, cheese from Beecher's (sp?) bread from the sourdough company, wine from the wine shop, fresh fruit from the vendors, local honey. Take the stairs down to the waterfront and eat your food watching the water. Go to the Curiosity Shop or walk on a ferry.

        El Gacho Steak(lower your price by going happy hour or just for desert.) Capitol Hill to walk around. Top Pot Donuts on 4th

        The hidden gem The Alibi room or the Pink Door, both in Post alley near Pike's Market Square or the "flying Fish" (drinks and Apps), going to the locks in Ballard (not hidden but a gem), AWESOME Fresh mexican at Aqua verde by UW

        The place tourists shouldn’t know about- I dont know, I like tourists and think they should see all of seattle. One thing I do hope though is that they dont realize it doesn't rain as much as people think and that it is beautiful on a sunny day. When they realize that, they move here!! :)

        The out of the way spot with beautiful views, see below for columbia tower, but also cool at Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill, Gasworks Park, Careek Park North Ballard, Alki Beach West Seattle, Walk on a Ferry.

        The best fish restaurant- I have had the best Scallops at Rock Salt on Lake Union, Elliot's on the Waterfront, Etta's by Pike's market,

        The restaurant with great food and fun staff- You will love Can Can near the square of Pikes Market. Crazy, Can Can Dancers, Great Food. Fun!

        The cool bar where all the hipsters go- The Chapel on Capitol hill (on Melrose), very cool, use to be a funeral home. Go happy hour time $4 martinis, list is unique and long, cucumbers, basil, lavender, blood orange, prickly pear. Etc. the Capitol Club (just up the street from Chapel), The Baltic Room. The Twilight Lounge.

        The best music (jazz, etc.) night spot- Jazz alley, Crocodille Cafe, Showbox

        The place you won’t find anywhere else- space needle :), Cheaper = same amazing view from Columbia center, tallest building in Seattle

        Have a great time! Hope this helps!

        1 Reply
        1. re: enneirda

          "The best music (jazz, etc.) night spot- Jazz alley, Crocodille Cafe, Showbox"

          I would add The Tractor and The Triple Door to that, of course, always depends upon your mood and who is playing.

          Showbox is the only one who disappoints me now and then, but I'm a bigger fan of 21+ shows. The acoustics at the Showbox always let me down.

        2. Not so out of the way, but try Gasworks Park for a dynamite view of Downtown and fresh water, houseboats, pleasure boats, float planes, etc., with a picnic lunch from sort-of-nearby Paseo (Cuban--try one of the pork sandwiches!).

          And it's DEFINITELY the Pike Place Market, not Pike's Market. Very good baklava at Turkish Delight at the north end of the market. The original Starbucks is close by.

          The new Seattle Art Museum sculpture park has fantastic views of Elliott Bay (the Seattle end of Puget Sound) and the Olympic Mountains and it's free! Eat at the cafe there or bring a picnic from the Market.

          Agree with observation about Kerry Park--very out of the way and good view. The new Federal Courthouse has a public observation deck that has a different view of Seattle--very nice. Be sure to bring ID (driver's license is fine), because you have to go through inspection before you get in. The mural that continues on three different floors of the lobby is superb.

          Fish and chips at the outdoor fish 'n' chips bar at Anthony's on the Waterfront or at Little Chinook's at Fisherman's Terminal--delicious, inexpensive, and with good views. Or clam chowder at either of these places. For this native, that's classic Seattle more than any of the gourmet restaurants that have sprung up in the last 30 years, as much as I enjoy and applaud the latter. (Unless your son wants to spring big bucks for Canlis, which is about as classic Seattle as you can get--or ditto with Ivar's for less good food but cheap)

          The place you won't find anywhere else: the Ballard locks on the south side of the canal. Much less touristy and more laid back, easier parking than the north side. Closer to the fish ladders/underwater fish viewing windows. Spend some time up above the windows looking down at the fish ladders to see the fish make the big jump. You can always walk over to the north side, go to the small museum and walk through the lovely gardens. Yes, the tourists go there but it's fun nonetheless,especially on a Sunday afternoon when all the sunburnt, tired, and sometimes inebriated boaters are coming in. They have outdoor concerts there around 2 pm on Sundays, I believe.

          Japanese Garden in the arboretum. Very lovely, very peaceful.

          1. “something that’s classic Seattle”
            The Pike Place Market - search chowhound PNW for detailed posts

            The hidden gem
            elemental, Matt's, Art of the Table, Senor Moose

            The place tourists shouldn’t know about
            elemental

            The out of the way spot with beautiful views
            Ray's

            The best fish restaurant
            Matt's, Etta's, Chinook's (fisherman's terminal views)

            The restaurant with great food and fun staff
            Art of the Table

            The cool bar where all the hipsters go

            The best music (jazz, etc.) night spot
            Jazz Alley, Tractor, Triple Door

            The place you won’t find anywhere else
            elemental

            1 Reply
            1. re: mrnelso

              I agree about Art of the Table being a hidden gem. I've gone three times and have always gotten a parking spot in front of the entrance. It's a tiny place with new photos up on the walls each time you go, and Chef Dustin comes out to tell you about his inspiration for each course as it's served--you can actually learn some cool things about international cuisine that way.

              the test for any restaurant is how they do veggies and soups, and the hot and sour seafood soup with homemade chili sauce was amazing--delicate and spicy. Great desserts too.