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Seattle downtown options

t
thedoorchick Mar 2, 2008 04:58 PM

I did a search and didn't see much on this. I'm going to be in Seattle, staying downtown at the Fairmont, for two nights next week. Does anyone have recommendations for good eats near the hotel? Actually, I will have a car, so walkable places aren't strictly necessary but probably easier. I'm traveling on business, so budget is flexible. I don't think the best food is necessarily the most expensive, but I'm not limited to only casual places.

I like Italian, seafood, steak/grilled meat, Spanish/tapas, most anything except I'm finicky about Asian food. Generally when I travel for work I like to experience whatever is good in the place I'm visiting (for example, when in Baltimore once, I made sure I got some good crab). So food that is known to be good in the area is really what I'm after. I'm assuming in Seattle this means seafood, but I'm sure there are other less obvious great local options.

  1. z
    zoogrrrl Mar 2, 2008 07:04 PM

    Thedoorchick --

    There are many great restaurants in Seattle and you can search through this board, but I wanted to share one of my favorites that's close to your hotel: Tulio. It's at 1100 Fifth Ave. Try the sweet potato gnocchi w/butter and sage. Intimate place, cozy bar eating. Enjoy Seattle!

    1. l
      Leper Mar 3, 2008 05:15 AM

      TDC, Harvest Vine for Tapas is a short drive from your hotel. For Seafood, I highly recommend a local Chowhound favorite: The Szechuan crab at Seven Stars restaurant. (When eating this dish, be sure to wear a blouse that's easily replaceable.) Also, the upstairs bar at Maximillien's at the market serves fantastic mussels. Enjoy!

      1. l
        Lauren Mar 3, 2008 08:25 AM

        Just a few blocks from your hotel is Union, at 1st and Union. The seafood, pasta and meat dishes there are all fantastic.

        In your hotel is Shuckers, one of my favorite places for lunch or drinks and apps. They have great oysters (hence the name).

        1. j
          jamesbra Mar 3, 2008 08:48 AM

          I think Cafe' Campagne is excellent.

          I can't wait to try Tulio's ( I know - its only been there for a 100 years - is there salmon raviolli the top thing on the menu? )

          1. n
            NCRGBL Mar 3, 2008 09:24 AM

            Hello The Door Chick:

            Call a taxi and ask the driver to take you to "Dick's" at Queen Anne Ave. It is close, they don't take reservations and usually it is hard to get a table. It is wonderful food.

            The whole area Lower and Upper QA is nice with other restaurants, bars, theatre, etc. nice. Hip, cool, urbane. Check it out. QA is very easy to get around with walk, taxi, bus or whatever need to do.

            Downtown is dead at night. The Market closes at 6pm, so QA works. Here are few a few fave's"

            http://www.ddir.com/history.html (A classic

            )

            http://www.tenmercer.com/
            http://www.chowfoods.com/five/index.aspx
            http://www.mcmenamins.com/index.php?loc=36
            http://www.opalseattle.com/
            http://www.yelp.com/biz/how-to-cook-a...

            Whew!

            Doug

            BTW - Get out of a hotel. That is Business 101 Good Luck!

            10 Replies
            1. re: NCRGBL
              h
              hhlodesign Mar 3, 2008 10:08 AM

              I'm sorry Doug, but I had to chime in before TDC is lead astray. Dick's is a horrible fast food chain which originated in Seattle. Locals tend to love it purely for the nostalgia factor, when in fact, they make one of the worst fast food burgers I've ever eaten, YMMV.

              As far as Doug's other recommendations go:
              Tenmercer is a nice place to go for a drink after the theater or Sonics game, but the food is not very good at all.
              The Five spot is part of a local casual chain that serves unremarkable food.
              Mcmenamins is a chain from Oregon that makes bad pub type food.
              Opal is decent.
              How to Cook a Wolf is the only good recommendation of the bunch. But you're better off walking to the owner's other restaurant called Union, which is a mere 5 block walk from your hotel.

              My favorites downtown (and Belltown) are, Mistral, Union, Tavolata, and Marjorie.

              1. re: hhlodesign
                b
                bigred10 Mar 3, 2008 11:51 AM

                Also Matt's in the Market is great! For lunch try the pork tenderloin sandwhich. I can't order anything else.

                1. re: bigred10
                  Paul Weller Mar 3, 2008 05:21 PM

                  Lark is pretty good. Crowded but good. 6 of us ate there, shared like 6 choices off every menu except the desert, paid corkage on 6 bottles we brought and the total including 25% tip came to just over $80 per person.

                  1. re: bigred10
                    m
                    mrnelso Mar 3, 2008 05:32 PM

                    For me, it's the catfish sandwich

                  2. re: hhlodesign
                    l
                    Leper Mar 3, 2008 05:45 PM

                    Dick's is to burgers as Olive Garden is to Italian.

                    1. re: Leper
                      m
                      mrnelso Mar 3, 2008 06:05 PM

                      For me, your description fits Red Mill more closely, with Dick's more of a low-rent Burgermaster, but I support the general point. Dicks definitely gets you consistency, familiarity, nostalgia, calories, and calories, all really cheap and fast. The frat-and-sorority-house show is free. I actually look forward to the occasional Dick's Deluxe and fries when I'm crossing that way...

                      1. re: Leper
                        w
                        west5coastdindin Mar 11, 2008 03:28 PM

                        hehe. i moved here two years ago and most locals will defend dick's by saying, "well. it tastes great when you're drunk at 2am!"

                      2. re: hhlodesign
                        s
                        Swooze Mar 5, 2008 01:52 AM

                        Don't forget...Dick's was made popular in the snappy tune "Posse's on Broadway" done in the 90s (80s?) by Sir MixALot. Also originated from Seattle. LOL ("Dick's is the place where the poor hang out...")

                        1. re: Swooze
                          a
                          akq Mar 11, 2008 06:11 PM

                          Dick's is the place where the *cool* hang out. :)

                          Baaaadddd food, though. Red mill is much better.

                        2. re: hhlodesign
                          p
                          phinious Mar 11, 2008 08:40 PM

                          Not being a native, I somewhat agree with this assessment of Dick's. It's adequate for fast food, but it is nothing mind blowing. Far from the worst, but not close to the best. Mind you, I also think that California's In-and-Out burger is over rated (although I respect their business model).

                          Sorry, but MCD fries are close to crack as a food can get, and unless you are cooking your shoestring potatoes (and brining them first) in pure peanut oil, nothing comes close to them.

                          My favorite, messy, full flavored, cheap, bad-for-you-and-you-know-it, burger has been Oakland CA's Giant 1/4 pounders. Albeit, nostalgia plays heavily for me here too. But far superior to Dick's, in my book.

                      3. o
                        oliveoyl Mar 3, 2008 06:11 PM

                        You didn't mention if you are travelling alone. Some places are great solo dining, some not quite so .. if you are solo I recommend

                        Union on 1st & Union ..
                        Le Pichet . on 1st near the market ..it's fun to sit at the bar and it's open late if you feel like a walk & dessert
                        Shiro's if you like Sushi .. esp if you sit at the bar near Shiro and ask for his guidance

                        If you'll be in a group:

                        I strongly recommend the dungeness crab w/black bean sauce at Sea Garden in the International District .. take a quick taxi or bus (in the bus tunnel) rather than drive .. the crab is super messy but is so good ..if they have live prawns order an appetizer size salt & pepper prawns ... and the sauteed pea vines .... I know you mentioned an issue with Asian but still ...

                        I'll second Harvest Vine (if you are solo sit at the bar & watch them cook your food!)
                        I enjoy Lark and Licorous next door .. which would be lovely solo also (licorous)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: oliveoyl
                          b
                          bourbongal Mar 11, 2008 09:25 PM

                          Yes, Le Pichet! Order the chicken liver terrine. And yes to Harvest Vine for small plates -- it is easily one of the most creative and best places in town.

                        2. t
                          thedoorchick Mar 4, 2008 06:55 PM

                          Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. I thought it was only right that I come back with a report!

                          Last night, I went to Sazerac. Turned out they were participating in this "30 for $30" local restaurant promotion, so I ended up ordering off that menu. I ordered the wine flights that went with it as well. I started with the Caesar salad. I know that's not too adventurous but I was in the mood for one. It was fine, but I don't love Caesar salads with the leaves left whole, so I have to cut them. Nevertheless - a regular Caesar, as expected. That was served with a nice Abbey Paige chardonnay. The main course was the grilled hangar steak with horseradish stone-ground grits. The steak was cooked perfectly and the grits were really tasty with just enough bite from the horseradish. For dessert I ordered the "Small Box of Brownies, Cookies and Sweet Thangs" mostly because I just had to know what exactly constituted such a thing. It turned out to be brownies, gingersnaps, and a sugar/almond brittle type of thing, very similar to what is usually used to make baskets for ice cream, berries and such. All of it was tasty but it was too much for just me; I finished only about half of it. They served that with a nice sherry. I don't normally drink sherry but this was pretty good; just sweet enough to go with dessert.

                          Tonight I went to Tulio. I had a big lunch from my client meeting so I wasn't really very hungry. So, I decided to have just an appetizer and dessert. That turned out to be just enough food. I had the sweet potato gnocchi - delicious, perfectly crispy on the outside and the butter was a great accompaniment. I told the waiter I wanted a glass of Chardonnay, fruity and not too dry, and I got exactly what I asked for. For dessert I had the crostata (pear tart, with honey gelato) which was delicious. And it was not a huge portion, which is a typical problem with desserts.

                          All in all, a good Seattle dining experience. Hopefully DH and I will come here again on vacation and I can try more places!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: thedoorchick
                            s
                            Swooze Mar 5, 2008 01:54 AM

                            If you get another shot at it... go to Von's. It's a pub/bar...but wow, the salmon and chips is amazing. Even the veggie plate is good. Right near the convention center. Also, Tom Leykis' hangout. Not sure if that's a plus or not...but the food remains excellent in spite of Leykis' attendance.

                            1. re: Swooze
                              j
                              jamesbra Mar 5, 2008 07:59 AM

                              Von's? I don't know. Seattle is a culinary town. I'm not sure what he / she is looking for is Von's. Von's is a giant downtown touristy pub - pretty unspectacular. So close to the Market and some amazing choices down there, the last place id go is vons.

                              1. re: Swooze
                                l
                                Lauren Mar 5, 2008 08:23 AM

                                I used to go to Von's when I was in my 20's and only looking for strong drinks. The last time I went there as an "adult" I thought the food was awful. Your basic catering type food. And the drinks seemed totally watered down and over priced. ymmv

                                1. re: Lauren
                                  a
                                  akq Mar 11, 2008 06:14 PM

                                  Von's has good bar appies for when you want something big, bad for you and utterly pedestrian. (I know that sounds like a put down, but it isn't necessarily...I am sometimes in those moods and just want NACHOS or something to that effect). It's usually crowded and way too much hassle to be worth it.

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