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Seattle Dining Itinerary - pls comment

We've never been to the Pacific Northwest before and have an eight day trip coming up in early October. We will be staying at the Sheraton downtown and will not have a car except one day when we go to Woodinville to visit wineries. Here is my dining plan so far. i'd appreciate opinions.

Dinners
Ivars Acres of Clams (I'm having serious second thoughts on this one. I originally thought it would be the touristy, fun thing - buy the T-shirt etc but now I don't know)
Purple Care and Wine Bar
Red Fin - for sushi, sushi is a must
Ettas
Matts in the market
Rays Boathouse (I'm having second thoughts here as well)
Pikes Pub
**I need one more dinner**

Lunch
Hing Loon
Nola Cafe (Bainbridge)
Tamarind Tree
Salumi
*Need a place between Snoqualmie and Woodinville on a Saturday
*Need a place in Ballard

I appreciate any suggestions, comments etc

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  1. reactions:

    ivars - eat the shirt but not the dreadful touristy food
    purple and red fin - a bit trendoid but adequate provender
    etta's - as at other tom douglas places, a 90% chance of getting a superb meal
    matt's - best choice ever
    ray's - have no second thoughts; a great place (downstairs) but needing a car
    pikes pub (misnamed?) - unless beer is the question, this is not the answer

    other nearby treats: union, steelhead diner, le pichet, union square grille, o'asian

    1. You've got the right mind-set on Ivars. It certainly is touristy, campy fun. You might even find okay food. It's not where I would recommend for great food.

      Where are you coming from? I ask because both Purple and Red Fin have a very generic feel to me - like they could be in any major city. I've been to Purple a couple of times and it was okay. I've only been to Red Fin once but was underwhelmed. There are definitely better sushi places in town. Search through the many sushi threads for ideas.

      Etta's, Matt's, Ray's - all good ideas. I would add Union for your remaining dinner.

      Your lunches are spot on. What type of place are you looking for in Ballard. There's a lot going on in that neighborhood now so it would help to know the feel, cuisine etc. that you like.

      1. For your Tom Douglas place, I'd choose Palace Kitchen over Etta's. It has more of a locals vibe than touristy.

        Pike Pub... Do you mean the Pike Brewing Company? If so I'd skip that and try the Elysian Brewing Company on Capitol Hill. Award-winning beers in a fun neighborhood setting. Decent pub grub.

        Ballard... If you're going to be in town on a Sunday, I'd recommend walking around the farmer's market in Ballard during the day. There are high-end restaurants in Ballard that are very good (Volterra for example), but in this neighborhood, I think it's more all about the good, casual places. And cupcakes! Depends on what you're really looking for though so I won't recommend anything specific.

        1. Ray's Boathouse, altho not the same of old, is a real Seattle treat and not to be missed. Especially in October when the crab season starts. Ray's is noted for it's half crab in the shell and greatwines to go with it. The bar is always busy but the view up the Ballard Locksis wonderful. If it is warm enough you can sit outside and watch the salmon leap.

          Ivar's is a touristy thing and you would be better served to visit the clam diner (can't remeber name) in the Pike Place Market. There is a welcoming hostes always, great cheap views and great chow in major combination. Plus you cab 'do' the market as well. DO NOT FORGET Di Laurentis deli while there.

          Haute Cuisine is still Rotors. Thierry, the owner/chef is a hoot and there is always great conviviality in the dining room.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sparkleplenty

            Agree with the above comments re: completely nixing Red Fin and Ivar's, and also concur in the idea that Elysian is the superior brew pub over Pike Place, which has a cavernous space with a generic feel and mediocre food. It is easy to find much better eats in the Market and vicinity; there are many posts on that topic. I also think the upper level Ray's Cafe leaves alot to be desired.

            Tamarind Tree and Salumi are outstanding picks, and IMO, borderline requisites given your time frame. I don't know if there is anything else quite like these two in the country.

            For sushi, I like Saito's on 2nd Ave. It is well within the free downtown bus zone.

            For Ballard lunch, how about Mexican? I think both La Carta de Oaxaca and Senor Moose hold their own and offer great values. You don't seem to have anything else in Latin cuisine.

            I think sparkleplenty means "Rover's". I haven't been here for a few years, but when I went it was excellent french food, though expensive.

            1. re: sparkleplenty

              I think sparkleplenty is confusing Ray's Boathouse with the old Hiram's at the Locks. You can't see the lock's from Ray's - Ray's is farther northwest, on Shilshole Bay. Unfortunately Hiram's no longer exists. I used to love that place!

            2. I believe (although I could be wrong) that Purple is a national chain so why go there when there are plenty of wonderful local places?

              Ballard? On the high end, Bruce Naftaly's Le Gourmand for excellent French/NW food (dinner only, I think). On the low to medium end, La Carta de Oaxaca for good Oaxacan cuisine.

              I would skip Hing Loon--it's fine, but nothing that much out of the ordinary in Chinese seafood-- and try something more unusual--Malay Satay Hut or Green Leaf.