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Where to move for food

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I've received a job offer in downtown Seattle. I've been told that finding the right-fitting neighborhood is important in order to fit in here. Which ones are the most congenial for chowhounding?

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  1. Since we are moving to Seattle too, I look forward to reading the replies on this one.

    1. What types of food tickle your palate? How much time do you want to spend commuting?

      1. Hmmm, the right-fitting neighborhood. What does that mean? What makes it right-fitting? The is good chow to be found in most neighborhoods. Maybe tell us a bit about yourself and we can tell you where like-minded people live. That sound like it would be right-fitting.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Lauren

          Sure, I'd be working downtown, standard office-type job, and moving from New England. As far as chow goes, I've been told that most neighborhoods by now have a brew pub and coffee roaster. I eat in more than I eat out, so I'll be looking to map out Indian, Asian, Hispanic and farmer's markets. Rather than finer dining, I'm more likely to go out for Thai or Indian, or try out other Asian fare, especially where they put the food ahead of the decor. LIke the Seattle stereotype, I'm also pretty outdoorsy as well. (And I won't be making 119,000)

          1. re: thinks too much

            Thai food is everywhere in Seattle--you'll see some blocks with two or more Thai restaurants! Indian likewise isn't hard to find, particularly around the University District. The International District has the highest concentration of Chinese and Vietnamese restuarants, but you'll find them scattered all over, too. That's also where you'll find Uwajimaya, a very well-stocked pan-Asian market, as well as a lot of other Asian specialty stores. There's another Uwajimaya over in Bellevue, and other Asian specialty markets in the north end and north suburbs, mainly clustered around Hwy 99/Aurora Blvd. The Great Wall Shopping Mall in Kent does Asian products in the south end, and Federal Way (another south suburb) has a big Korean population and some markets catering to them. Indian markets seem to be found in Renton and the east hills of Kent, south of town. Mexican restaurants are pretty well distributed, but *good* Mexican places (as well as markets carrying Latino products) are mostly in the south end, especially around White Center, South Park, and Burien. There are farmer's markets all over, but the biggest and arguably best are probably in Ballard and the U District--and of course, there's Pike Place Market downtown.

            The part of town south of downtown is somewhat lacking in trendy foodie destinations, with the possible exceptions of Georgetown (still funky and low-rent but up-and-coming, with some good, casual restaurants and pubs), Columbia City (you'd think you were in Fremont, or some other north-end area with a high concentration of popular restaurants), and Burien (getting more and more interesting all the time). But the south end does offer cheaper housing prices, and parts of it will be well-served by the new light rail that starts running in 2009 (something to think about if you work downtown--public transportation here may not be what you're accustomed to on the east coast, and driving to a job downtown is not really an option for most people). I've lived in SeaTac for eight years (we were totally priced out of the north end, even that long ago), and I don't feel starved for good dining options--and it's not such a long drive to the north end if I want something I can only get there.

        2. The short answer is - live within 10-15 miles of downtown Seattle and you should be OK. Of course, depending on your job offer - that may be difficult as it takes $119,000/year of income to buy a median-price house in Seattle now: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html...

          If driving around town is not your thing, there's free bus service in the downtown core, which includes everything from Chinatown to Belltown. There should be enough restaurants in that region to keep you happy.

          1. Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, U District...

            I'd personally like Capitol Hill, but there are a ton of places you can live within walking distance of fantastic restaurants. I've liked in Lake City (about as ghetto as Seattle gets) for 2 years and am still finding great new places nearby every week.

            7 Replies
            1. re: koggit

              I have to agree. I live on Lake City, having moved from madison park and ballard, and Lake City rocks for finding little, terrific places. I live across the street from the 2nd best chinese food in town, less than a mile from the best (IMO), there is a great variety of types of food with in 5 minutes, it is pretty sweet.

              1. re: dagoose

                dagoose- could you name some names? Are you talking about that Xi'an place?

                1. re: equinoise

                  Chiang's Gourmet (second best) and Jack's--dreamy. I haven't even made it down to the Xi'an place...but that reminds me it needs to go on the list!

                  1. re: dagoose

                    I haven't given either of those places a try -- I'll keep them in mind. Where is Jack's? I Googled Chiang's Gourmet and it seems to be around 80th, where-as I'm around 125th. Hopefully Jack's is a little closer. I'm typically willing to walk about 25-30 blocks for dinner.

                    I'm a big fan of Judy Fu's Snappy Dragon and Black Pearl for Chinese.

                    1. re: koggit

                      Actually, it'd be further. Jacks is just past 51st, iirc.

                      Try googling for Jack's Asian Tapas

              2. re: koggit

                I can assure you Lake City is much safer than Rainier Beach or the Central District. Or even the U-District for that matter.

                1. re: HungWeiLo

                  I think that when a person says "ghetto", it means it is "uncool". When I think of a hip neighborhood, I wouldn't put Lake City on the list. It is inexpensive and safe...but very strip mall.

              3. Based on my experience, if you are just renting, you can afford to live in the Magnolia neighborhood. It has a good bus route to downtown (you'll want to use it unless you want to pay up to $24/day to park downtown). Magnolia has good Italian (Mondello), Thai (Kinnaree), Greek (Niko's) and American-style diner breakfast (Rudy's). It has it's own summer farmer's market and upscale grocery store. Other neighborhoods have better coffee hangouts.
                From there, it's a short drive to Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford and Greenlake, other neighborhoods with good chowhound experiences to discover.

                2 Replies
                1. re: chipqmunk

                  Does anyone still live in the ID? Think about how many gems are in a 5 block radius around, say, the intersection of 7th and Jackson St. I could list like 20 names that have already been listed 40 times each on this board. Maybe people are sketched out by the pj's at Yesler Terrace, but I'm just hoping a dope Somali joint sprouts up there. I was walking to my car after some bar snacks at Maneki the other night, and the International Towers were looking pretty good...

                  1. re: equinoise

                    The reason there are so few residential buildings in the ID has more to do with the ownership structure of the buildings there - most are controlled by family associations with the ownership split up among dozens of descendents who can't agree on anything. Still, there are a few condo buildings down there (Fujisawa, Tobira) and a few more rental buildings, especially the Uwajimaya Village complex atop the excellent Uwajimaya supermarket.

                    Living down there has a lot to recommend, food-wise - probably the tightest concentration of great food (and, it must be admitted, a lot of mediocre food - but it's easy to give those a miss) anywhere in the city. Uwajimaya, Big John's PFI, Chinatown Market, and Viet-Wah are all essential food shopping resources in walking distance.

                    Also, it's one of the few parts of this sleepy burg that doesn't shut down with the sun - lots of good restaurants are open to 1am or even later. Downtown's a short walk or bus ride away (and most of the ID is in the ride-free zone.)

                    Still, If you want to walk to brunch (that's not pho or dim sum), or if you have young kids in public school, it's probably not your 'hood.

                2. Being a former New England girl myself (central Mass.), I would vote for Ballard. I lived there for seven years before just moving (this month) to Pinehurst/Lake City. Ballard is near the water and to me, feels the most New England-y. Plus, there are a ton of good restaurants and bars in the downtown part of the neighborhood. And, like previous posts stated, a killer farmers market on Sunday. My new neighborhood seems pretty cool too, though not quite as walkable as where I was in Ballard. Commuting to downtown from either neighborhood is a breeze by public transit. Driving solo can be frustrating. Good luck with your decision!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MaggieSue

                    Holy crap, another central mass'er? I'm from gardner (and agree about Ballard totally)!

                  2. For grocery store heaven, move to the U District/Roosevelt/Bryant Ravenna. In reasonably close proximty, you have Whole Foods, PCC Ravenna, Metropolitan Market, the flagship QFC, and a large Safeway.

                    1. Just moved to Capitol Hill from the Boston area... lots to do in the area - bars, cheap and yummy food, some good pubs, local farmer's market, and some nice restaurants too. There is good bus transportation to downtown, and it's only a 20-30 minute walk downtown too.

                      1. Any of these neighborhoods will be great-Ballard, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Fremont, West Seattle, Greenlake, or Phinney Ridge. Columbia City if you need a more affordable choice. All have good shopping and dining options and are close enough to the center of the city that you'd be able to easily get to other neighborhoods if yours doesn't have what you want.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: christy319

                          Y'know, even Georgetown is coming into its own restaurant-wise.

                          Of course it's been the 'next Ballard' for, what, 7 years running?

                        2. I live way out in the suburbs (due to marriage), and I vote for Ballard. It's still a friendly place. Actually, West Seattle is even friendlier...though it takes a bit longer to commute to downtown.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: tinaweha

                            We stayed in Capitol Hill (where our daughter lives). I was amazed at the variety of ethnic restaurants in our immediate area. Very easy to take the bus downtown, easier tomorrow with the bus tunnels reopening.

                            1. re: zataar

                              Yay Capitol Hill! We live in S. Capitol HIll and think it's great! A gazillion restaurants, lots of bars, and lots of action (in a good way), but not a quiet neighborhood until you get north of roughly John Street.

                              We also used to live in Fremont, which was great - nice downtown, a little more of a neighborhood feel then CapHill.

                              Ballard's great, but a pain to get to downtown and some other neighborhoods; one thing to be aware of, it can be hard to go east-west in Seattle.

                              1. re: pusherman

                                Seattle's such an expensive place to live, I guess if I were moving here I'd have to look at more practical things first. I can't think of many neighborhoods that don't have some great food.

                                1. re: allisonw

                                  yow---where are you from? coming from SoCal, we've found Seattle to be a bargain!

                          2. i really like the queen anne/lake union area if you're renting...i used to live on dexter avenue which is a couple blocks east of lake union. it was great, cuz my friends were always able to find free parking on the street. also, it put me in close proximity to the restaurants up in queen anne hill. my favorite was chinois cafe, and then on queen anne avenue (uptown) there was some great chinese (uptown china), pizza (pagliacci's), burgers (dick's), and a grocery store...but lot's of good cheap eats down there...also, hopping on 99 to get to downtown or north seattle is infinitely better than traffic on i-5.

                            hope that helps and that your move goes well! :o)