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Jan 29, 2008 10:11 PM

3 days in seattle, need help!

hi, SFBA pup apologizing in advance for the very broad nature of this query...

we're coming to seattle for a long wk-end and need LOTS of help deciding where to eat. we're staying downtown/belltown(?) at the el gaucho with no car, and unlikely to venture too far (but definitely willing to hoof it or hop a cab if it's worthwhile). we're willing to spend on dinner but would prefer reasonable and high quality to super-trendy and overpriced...

any recommendations for any of the following would be very welcome. feel free to include any must-do's or why you love something (or don't). if you could let me know the area of your faves, that would be helpful too. many thanks!

- breakfast/brunch
- japanese/sushi (Nishino, Chiso and Ume Sake House?)
- asian/southasian (Tamarind Tree, Green Leaf, Monsoon?)
- seafood (Flying Fish?)
- steak
- burgers (only if they're that good...)
- local, sustainable ingredients, eco-meats, etc.
- any other special experience (how's that for catch-all?)
- teahouse?

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  1. You should try the search feature to find answers to most of what you ask. I don't think you will find much on teahouses even though there you will find at least one in just about every neighborhood in Seattle. My favorite is at the Panama Hotel in the International District:

    1 Reply
    1. re: landguy

      - breakfast/brunch: steelhead diner, cafe campagne, mighty-o donuts
      - japanese/sushi: saito's, kisaku, samurai noodle bowl, chiso
      - asian/southasian: Tamarind Tree, Green Leaf, szechuan chef, bamboo garden, pho bac
      - seafood: jack's fish spot, pacific inn pub (fish n' chips), matt's in the market
      - steak: daniel's
      - burgers: two bells tavern, steelhead diner, palace kitchen
      - local, sustainable ingredients, eco-meats, etc: sitka and spruce, tilth
      - any other special experience: Union, palace kitchen for all-around good dining. Pac NW oysters anywhere you can get 'em.
      - teahouse: panama hotel

    2. Thanks for your replies. I know my question is so broad, but the initial research is a little overwhelming. Landguy, I did search for a few categories, but many looked like old posts. Equinoise, thanks for the recs, they are now added to the list. I'm sure as our trip gets closer I may have some more specific questions. In the meantime, thanks again. Anyone else please feel free to add to my growing lists of yum-spots.

      4 Replies
      1. re: asc339

        breakfast/brunch- Lola, Cafe Campagne
        - japanese/sushi-Nishino's,
        - asian/southasian Tamarind Tree and Green Leaf are great for Vietnamese. Malay Satay Hut is very good Malaysian food.
        - seafood-It gets mixed reviews but I have always been happy with my seafood at dahlia lounge.

        - burgers- The burger at palace kitchen is really good.
        - local, sustainable ingredients, eco-meats, etc.- Many of the places in the market such as Matt's and Maximilien's use mainly ingredients bought at the market.
        - any other special experience- In my opinion Seattle is a very good bakery and artisan bread town. In the area you are going to be staying the Dahlia Bakery is nearby and is very good. In other neighborhoods, Cafe Besalu in Ballard makes the best pastries in town, croissants rival Paris. Columbia city bakery, IMO, makes the best bread in town.

        1. re: dagrassroots

          - breakfast/brunch - add Crave to your list. A little further than walking, but good.
          - japanese/sushi Ume Sake House - is closest to you and just as good as nishino, also Shiro's
          - asian/southasian -Monsoon - hands down for vietnamese. International district has lots of good places as noted above, but don't rival SF's china town in overal atmosphere.
          - seafood - Flying Fish, is good conistent, used to be my fave. Rays is an old, but very good stand by with a great view, and near the ship canal locks, a worthy tourist stop. Rays upstairs cafe is more affordable and food as good. Elliot's for oysters with a view - but don't stay for dinner! (note that Jack's is awesome seafood, but really a stool in a fish mongers shopfront - beyond casual)
          - steak - my house from A&J butcher ;)
          - burgers - sliders at Cascadia happy hour, near your hotel
          - local, sustainable ingredients, eco-meats, etc.- Tilth, and Sitka and Spruce. S&S is weird location, no reserv, and a cab ride, but so very worth it!
          - any other special experience - Txori - near your hotel - authentic basque tapas.

          Adventureous menus: Lark, Crush, Zoe, Mistral

          Good Luck!

          1. re: bluedog67

            I second Crave, great breakfast/brunch.
            Also second Cascadia, every out of town person I have brought there loves the mini burgers, proximity to the water, and the evergreen martini (I know it's not the best drink in Seattle, but is a neat drink, come on a little snowball? how cool)
            imo, Nishino is worth the trip for sushi

            1. re: nseattlefoodie

              I third Crave for Breakfast- It will be a little walk up to Capital Hill but you could make a morning/adventure out of it* Maybe do lunch up there too.
              UMI is great for sushi happy hour- The best I have found so far!
              Cascadia HH is wonderful too- They have great mini burgers and there is a salmon variety. If it is sunny out and you are willing to bundle up. Sit outside- Great urban atmosphere.
              I have heard that the burgers at Brasa in the lounge are some of the best in the city and Tamara is one of our "famous" cooks- she battled on Iron Chef.
              You could Serious Pie for a Tom Douglas Experience- I have heard good reviews*
              I am attaching some of my links and reviews to give you more background and information. Make sure to check it out.

              This list is about Pike Place eats and cheap eats around it-

              Also- I would suggest taking the bus, walking over the Fremont bridge after taking Westlake to it, or getting a car for the day and exploring Fremont and Ballard- both fun spots and Fremont and Ballard have farmers markets on the weekend, shops, restaurants, local parks, activities, etc. It would be a shame to just stay downtown :)

              Here is my uber long list for places around there and link-
              I live in Fremont- basically reall around the corner from Ballard. Here are my recs based on experience, your budget, and having fun.

              Mike's Chili Parlor- right by the Ballard bridge- was on Diners- Dives- and Drive~Ins (not typical chili- it is just meat and onions with awesome midwest east coast style seasoning)- Get just the chili and make sure to add jalapenos (this is what the owner recomends)- large portions and inexpensive
              Spuds Fish and Chips- Greenlake area... one of the best in Seattle- there is also one on Alki that you can take a water taxi too.
              Roxy's Diner in Fremont- for breakfast- E.O.G(egg on bagel) is $1.95 with extra meats and topping to be added on for $. They use Bagel Oasis- suppose to be the best in Seattle- fun decor!
              Jolly Roger Taproom- Ballard- for sliders!! and the sampler of local brewery Maritime (they have a HH)- is on the water industry side of Ballard
              La Isla- Ballard... something a little different that has been getting great reviews- Puerto Rican food!
              Kwanjai Thai- Great, inexpensive, and the best Thai in Fremont
              Quazi Curry House- Fremont- Very nice inside with linens and fine service- under $10- extensive menu with many wonderful options- they also have a lunch buffet
              Rancho Bravo- Taco truck on 45th by I-5- one of the best
              Dicks- A local institution- Go hungry... get fries, a shake, and a cheeseburger- cash only- cheap! eat it in the parking lot like a teenager or take it to a park like Gasworks.
              Mighty-O donuts- In tangletown (between Wallingford and Greenlake... beyond worth the effort to find... I love even just their plain donut (favorite is french toast and pumpkin) and after 4pm they are half priced
              Musashi's Sushi- on 45th in Wallingford... the fish is fresh and you can get take out- one of the best cheap eats in Seattle
              Trophy Cupcake- on 45th in Wallingford as well- you will not find better... do not bother with Cupcake Royale... try the cupcake of the day, green tea, or hummingbird. The triple chocolate is very decadent. The lemon is amazing.
              Brouwer's Cafe- Biggest selection of beers to try in a Belgium style setting
              Mad Pizza in Fremont or Zeek's Pizza- for a slice
              Caffe Ladro- for a local coffee experience- in Queen Anne, Fremont, etc.
              Than Brother's- Ballard- pho under 5(cash only)! delicious and many locations- veggie and chicken are my favorite
              Gordito's Healthy Mexican- in Greenwood... order the larger burritto(big as a baby... really!)- split it- and make sure to order it wet and fajita style. All for under $10 total
              Hi- Life- Ballard... brunch is suppose to be amazing
              The Dish- between Fremont and Ballard...suppose to be one of the best breakfasts in Seattle

              Volterra in Ballard is reasonable for Brunch or your splurge meal
              Senor Moose in Ballard(Mexican regional dishes) is very original and a must try
              Paseo in Fremont- cannot be missed... it just opened again this weel- it sometimes runs out of sandwiches early so go for a lunch or take home to eat later- the Midnight Cuban and the Prawn sandwich are the favorites
              Ray's Boathouse has HH in the cafe upstairs- all food based! Best view and right by the Ballard harbor

              other Downtown recs- some repeats :)
              HH at cascadia, umi sake house, dragonfish in the paramont(look up thier menu!
              )Green Leaf
              Black Bottle for tapas and wine in Belltown- try the antipasti and one of the "flatbread"
              Del Rey for fun swanky enviro and HH in Belltown

              Here are some links...

      2. steak (cheap): kalbi short rib at Taphouse Grill (beer place) or Made in Kitchen (Vietnamese)
        steak (expensive): Frenched rib chop at Waterfront Grill (not far from El Gaucho)
        steak (even more expensive): Kobe steak at Canlis
        burger: lamb burger at 94 Stewart (many recent threads on burgers)
        pizza: Serious Pie (guanciale w/ pesto)
        seafood (cheap): catfish sandwich at Matt's, Virginica oysters at Union, curry mussels at Wild Ginger or mussels at Maximiliens
        seafood (not as cheap): Crush

        3 Replies
        1. re: barleywino

          barleywino - is the guanciale w/ pesto a special at Serious Pie? If so, I better get myself down there - I don't remember seeing it on the menu and it sounds great!

          1. re: Lauren

            it was on the menu last week-- gotta love it (I asked them to be generous with the guanciale ;)

        2. - japanese/sushi (Nishino, Chiso and Ume Sake House?) Definitely Nishino's
          - asian/southasian (Tamarind Tree, Green Leaf, Monsoon?) no on Monsoon --it's just not that interesting --try Wasabi Bistro instead. I haven't tried the other two
          - seafood (Flying Fish?) -- FF is good but Matt's in the Market is much better
          - steak -- El Gaucho has a tasty steak but a little overpriced IMO
          - burgers (only if they're that good...) Palace Kitchen. Try the trout there too.
          - local, sustainable ingredients, eco-meats, etc.-- Cascadia for regional fare --spendy but worth it
          - any other special experience (how's that for catch-all?) Restaurant Zoe - one of my faves in Belltown. Great service, good wine list, delicious food

          1 Reply
          1. re: bourbongal

            Taste cafe at Seattle Art Museum is nice. It is located in downtown Seattle. for information, URL is
            You can visit SAM then have lunch at the cafe perhaps.

          2. I just spent the last few days in Seattle, Jan 25-29... We stayed at the Hotel 1000 & W, and ate at the following:

            La Spiga, great room friendly staff, and a menu from Emiglia Romana. Not too heavy of a PNW feel.

            Taste @ SAM, the room is cold, but the food was excellent! local sustainable ingredients prepared with care - much more than a cafe in a museum, this place could stand up anywhere.

            Boom Noodle, Ramen noodles and Japanese small plates that make you feel like you are in Tokyo (I have been) even the communal seating is authentic. The kitchen here know what they are doing.

            Sea and Land, (in the W hotel) Charcuterie to die for! made on premise! All of the meals on the menu are great ( I tasted 5) Sustainable local in season ingredients abound. Tasting menu as well as a chefs choice.

            BOKA, ( in Hotel 1000) Local, sustainable, and well prepared. We had Venison and fish... both were great as were the sides and dessert.

            As well we took a food tour through Pikes Place Mkt... food and drink at every stop. (Savor Seattle Tours).

            Now that we are home I may not eat for a few days.

            3 Replies
            1. re: legourmettv

              If you like to try Chinese Sichuanese style hot pot, you can try Sichuan Restaurant located at S Jackson and 10th:
              This is the one of my favorites and you may find customers are mostly Chinese natives.
              This restaurant serves the best pot stickers and all dishes are delicious.

              1. re: legourmettv

                The restaurant at the W Hotel is called Earth and Ocean. Sea and Land was close ;)

                I just didn't want anyone searching for it and not able to find it.........

                1. re: legourmettv

                  I stand corrected, ("The restaurant at the W Hotel is called Earth and Ocean. Sea and Land was close ;)") I should have pulled out my notes before responding... I was still tired from never stopping to breathe while in Seattle and the flight home.