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Jan 31, 2008 09:53 PM

Seattle food tours - worthwhile?

My boyfriend and I will be driving down from Vancouver and spending a few days in Seattle. I saw a couple of food tours offered: Seattle Food Tours (belltown and pike place market) and Savor Seattle Food Tours (pike place market only). Has anyone been on these tours and would recommend (or not recommend) them? Is one better than the other?

Also, I haven't had a chance yet to go through the boards and see what are the current recommendations for places to eat, but I do have a few ideas from when I last looked around the threads in 2006 (Salumi, Le Pichet, Lark, Union, Cafe Campagne, Monsoon, Baguette Box, Matt's at the Market). Are these still pretty good choices?


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  1. Yeah, those are still good choices. I'd add Marjorie in Belltown to dinner ideas.

    If you're coming down from Van, the Chinese would be disappointing, but we have a number of downscale but authentic Mexican joints here, and I know that can be hard to find up north.

    I have not tried the food tours, but it sounds like a lot of fun.

    3 Replies
    1. re: allisonw

      Where are the downscale and authentic Mexican joints in Seattle? Maybe it's because my expectations are too high since I grew up in Texas, but my experience with Mexican food in Seattle has been highly disappointing. The only places that have gotten my thumbs up so far have been Sam's in Pullyallup and Mexico Lindo in Kent (get the ground beed enchilandas). But maybe I haven't been looking in the right spots, so I would love some recommendations. Thanks.

      1. re: happy2sing

        Check out Taqueria La Estacion in Burien. I have also had decent tortas at El Quetzal on Beacon Hill. You definitely won't find Tex-Mex around these parts but regional Mexican styles can be found if you look.

        1. re: terrier

          Burien and White Center are good places to go for the best Mexican and Central American food in these parts. Besides Taqueria La Estacion (which rocks!), La Costa in Burien has great Mexican food. It's family-run, has Spanish-language soccer on the TV in the bar most nights, a jukebox full of Mexican folk and pop tunes, and on the weekends, a kick-ass mariachi band.

    2. I haven't done it personally, but a friend of mine just did the Savor Seattle Tour and really enjoyed it. She said it was very well-organized and I think she also said they had like headsets or something so you could also hear the guide? I might not be remembering that correctly. But anyway, she and her guy did the tour and I think they've been in Seattle for a while and still found it fun and informative.

      I've done the International District tour thru Discover U - they don't happen all that often but in case those dates might correspond with your trip. It was fun, but I was also with a super-fun group of people. The tour might not be quite as...lively if it's not a big group. I did another tour later (diff. part of Seattle) with the same guide and a small group of people and it wasn't quite as good as I'd remembered the ID tour to be.

      What weekend are you going to be in town? I am running a little Seattle food events calendar covering everything I can track down in the city and I can let you know if there's anything special going on that weekend. Have fun!!

      9 Replies
      1. re: ThreeBowls

        hi three bowls, I will be in town from 28 feb. to 2 march. are there any food events that weekend? thanks~

        1. re: asc339

          A few fun things during those dates - mainly some interesting sounding special dinners. If you like any, I'd recommend googling the places listed soon if i don't have web listed and calling for reservations - these kinds of things fill up fast.

          Farestart (if you are not familiar, it's an org that gives the homeless and disadvantaged job training in restaurant service and once a week has guest chefs from great local restos in for special and reasonable meal - like $25 without tax tip or bev). On 2/28 their guest chef is Dave Miller from The Jolly Roger.

          2/29 - Union Square Grill is having a "Crazy Cacao Dinner" 5 courses of choco-inspired dishes.

          3/1 - Serafina is a pop. Italian place and they have wine tastings on Sat - the specific kind of tasting that weekend will be on their website.

          3/2 is the start of the month-long Dine Around Seattle event, 30 fine restos offering $30 dinners (some offer a $15 lunch, too in case you're leaving early that day).

          Then if you like things like Farmers Markets, etc., our University District one is happening Sat. morn and a Ballard one is happening Sun morn. Happy eating!! Come hungry!

        2. re: ThreeBowls

          Thanks for the suggestions! I'll be in town Mon-Wed this week (4th-6th). Anything interesting going on?

          1. re: twinkienic

            Not a ton on those dates, but a few things...on Monday at The Tasting Room, a Washington wine shop near the Market, they have Mac and Cheese Monday, where they get some mac and cheese from local cheesemaker Beechers (also in market) and pair it with local wines...from 5-7pm but they might run out so go early if you want to try. Not sure about cost. At same location on Tuesday, Steve Roberts who is releasing a book on wines of Washington will be having a little book release party with cheese and copies of his book Winetrails of Washington - that one is free to attend. If you're doing a Market tour that ends in the afternoon, either would be convenient and prob not a huge time commitment so you could still get to another dinner, etc.
            And then on Wed, Union Square Grill (the one i mention above that's doing the five-course cacao meal) is having a complimentary choco and wine tasting from 4-6 pm. It's chocolate's savory side - savory canapes paired with local wines.

            So basically if you like wine and cheese or choco, you've got a few options there! Hope you guys have a great trip!

          2. re: ThreeBowls

            I wanted to bump this topic back up top as I have four days to kill in Seattle (evening of June 18 through morning of June 22) and I was wondering about tours and events as well. ThreeBowls, could you post a link to your calendar so future people who stumble on this thread (and I) can take a look without having to bother you?


            1. re: billjac

              Oh hey, Billjac, not sure if you are still checking this board. I'm sorry I have been so busy I have not a) been checking back here or b) updating my events calendar. I actually never posted the link because I wasn't sure if that was like Chow-board-kosher cuz it was kind of self-promoting. I have some downtime from work and will be starting to update the calendar again regularly in the next week or so, so will come back and check into the kosherness of my posting it once it's something that would be useful for folks again. Thanks, and again, sorry for not responding sooner!

              1. re: ThreeBowls


                I just checked this thread again as it was time for me to make my tour reservations (I went with Savor Seattle). I clicked through to your profile, then to your webpage and then to the calendar no problem. I don't know why I didn't figure that out back in March. Thanks much for putting it together.

                1. re: billjac

                  Have fun billjac! Sorry I wound up going back to work and still haven't been able to keep the calendar updated just yet, but it is on the to-do list. In the meantime, I still have all the sources at the ready so if you need any specific ideas for your dates, feel free to contact me via my page or post here. Again, have a great time!

                  1. re: ThreeBowls

                    Hey all - have started updating the food events calendar again so feel free to check it out via my profile.

          3. I did the Savor Seattle food tour with out of town guests, and everyone really enjoyed it. I would recommend it, she does use headsets, so its easy to hear her and follow what's going on. Found one of my new favorite teas now from the tour :)
            and your list still looks good!

            1. northgate community center (206/684-7080) sponsors saturday morning pike place market tours (inluding a seated lunch) guided by a retired chef/educator who sits on the market historic commission - i am told that other days may be arranged with minimums of 5 participants.

              1. Oh, also, I forgot - if you decide you don't want or can't schedule a formal tour and want to plan your own instead, there's a book called The Food Lover's Guide to Seattle that I bought when I was still getting to know the area and found it to be a good way to find some things I might not have otherwise easily come across.