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FOUR DAYS IN SEATTLE : foodies on a mission

Two foodies with four days in Seattle, a rental car, and glorious appetites.

Two late 20's travelers on our way to Seattle for the first time. We're staying at the Watertown near the University, but we plan to be mobile, and are looking to spend quite a bit of time in the city center area (not downtown, what do you guys call it?)

I found the Pike St Market Food Tour (http://www.brownpapertickets.com/even...), which sounds like a fun lunch, but otherwise I have no direction.

A couple of "fancy" meals would be great (looking for stand-out chefs), but we would prefer hole-in-the-wall joints for the most part. Budget is not tight, but then again we're not rolling big on this trip.

What are your regular go-to spots? Where do you take the hot date? What about the best desserts in the area? Best dim sum?

Note: Boyfriend has a life long mission for the world's greatest chimichanga. I just love great food.

I'll be stalking the boards for the next couple of weeks, but I thought I'd seek out some general input.

Hounds, you rule.

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  1. I travel to Seattle frequently on business and have eaten at all of the "coolest" places, but two of my go to spots remain Le Pichet and Salima. Le Pichet is a great, small French cafe that has a nice wine selection and excellent rustic food. Salima is another story all together - in an out of the way location, not fancy at all, but run by the owners and truly uniqu cuisine at very reasonable prices. Salima features Malaysian, Cham and Vietnamese food. Also, if you're into coffee, you can't do beter than Stumptown Coffee.

    -----
    Le Pichet
    Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

    Salima
    Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

    Stumptown
    1115 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

    5 Replies
    1. re: Husky

      This was the headline for a local newspaper article about Salima: Peanut heaven in the shadow of transit construction

      I'm there.

      1. re: Husky

        Salumi has pretty good sandwiches. The wait sucks and seating is almost nonexistant, but you can almost feel your heart slow down when you eat the food.

        1. re: Husky

          keep in mind Cafe Presse if you like Le Pichet. I've always had no problem getting in to eat at Cafe Presse, but have spent some time waiting for Le Pichet. Oh yum... their frites.... and there is a Stumptown right next door to Cafe Presse.
          and if you like desserts, go for breakfast at Cafe Besalu. hands down best pastries in the city. a must for a latte and pain au chocolate.

          1. re: Husky

            Whoa, a LePichet recommendation and a Salima recommendation in 1 post.
            You are my Chowhound god.
            (I like both as well)

          2. I've spent lots of time there on business and pleasure and sweetie is from there so we go back regular - in fact we're headed south at the end of the month. We never ever have enought time to try every place so have a tradition of "progressive eating". Appetizers here, salads or soup there etc. lots of sharing involved. So here's some of my favorite downtown things -

            Oysters at Elliots on the waterfront and if they have the smoked salmon spinach salad, I like that too
            Satay and mango daquiris at Wild Ginger
            There was a gelato place across the street from Wild Ginger I like too
            Cafe Campagne for casual french
            Assagio for great italian
            House of Hong for dim sum
            Metropolitan Grill - the house of big meat for great steaks
            First Hill Bar and Grill for casual diner food with a greek accent (love these guys!)

            I'm watching the boards too for new places to try and look forward to seeing more replies to your post

            1. For your stand-out chef meals, I would go to How To Cook a Wolf and Sitka and Spruce.

              I don't think your boyfriend's going to find the world's greatest chimichanga in Seattle.

              Another fun place is Quinn's.

              1. When I did my foodie tour visiting from LA, highlights for me were Matt's In The Market and Cafe Juanita.

                And Stumptown is great, so Portland thanks you.

                  1. I second Sitka & Spruce/How to Cook a Wolf. There's Lark,Txori,Union, Salumi-Great sandwiches and salumi-go during off hours, Rovers and Lampreia if money is no object.

                    Contrary to other recommendations Black Bottle do not serve tapas. What they served are medium size plates.

                    Green Leaf is fake Vietnamese food and Wild Ginger is unspeakably bad Pan-Asian.

                    1. Most of the replies were of pretty spendy restaurants, which is of course fine. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more classic red meat-eating experience than The Metropolitan Grill, or the $40 Argentinian steak buffet at Ipanema (Ipanema Brazilian Grill 1225 First Avenue), or the goat dishes at Sitka & Spruce. These are lovely.

                      But I'm way more fond of the divey food experiences to be found at the out-of-the-way holes-in-the-walls; places my dad likes to call "gems". Like the succulent Chinese bbq pork or duck at Kau Kau BBQ in the International District (the "ID". Just look for the ducks hanging in the window). Or the cheap but tasty chicken and ginger congee (a Chinese rice soup) at Hong Kong Noodle House on 12th.

                      I also like the piled high hot pastrami at Market House Corned Beef downtown, the cheap, GIANT and fantastic burritos at Gordito's at 85th & Greenwood just north of Seattle. I'm also impressed by the fish & chips at Jack's Fish Spot in The Market.

                      Food for regular foodies...

                      1. Yeah, not so much with the chimichanga sadly. I'd also suggest Viet My on 4th at the north edge of the ID as good hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese. I, too, think that Wild Ginger is vastly over-rated. If I'm going to do slightly-corporate feeling Asian fusion, I go to Dragonfish. Service is wildly inconsistent and they're kind of chain-y (there's one in Portland too, I guess) but soooo tasty!

                        I love Place Pigalle in the market for the view, ambience and food (in that order). Must have the oeuffs en meurette for brunch at Cafe Campagne. Oh! And I am generally luke-warm on Tom Douglas joints but I do love Serious Pie. Potato and rosemary pizza is great comfort food... actually have loved pretty much every pizza we've ordered there.

                        Have fun!!

                        1. There's lots of good suggestions here. I'll add a few of my faves; I've only lived in Seattle for about a year and a half, so I'm kind of a beginner-

                          (1) for coffee- I don't care for Stumptown (underroasted), but am a big fan of Vivace (around, but the best ones are in Capitol Hill)

                          (2) I second Le Pichet and Cafe Presse. Presse can get busy, but you can always call ahead to get on the list.

                          (3) I really, really enjoy Quinn's in Capitol Hill -- not only a great bar and great space, but really amazingly good and sophisticated food, and not expensive by Seattle standards. It gets really busy, but again, you can call ahead and leave your name, or drop by and get on the list then hang out at the excellent Moe Bar across the street

                          (4) I'm not a big dim sum fan, I prefer Sichuanese; there are several good places in Seattle; my fave is Sichuan Cuisine in the ID (12th/Jackson), which is a total hole in the wall, but serves great food; get the pork w/eggplant and ask for it extra spicy

                          (5) For "chef driven" fancy, I have only been to a few places, but really like Cremant in Madrona and Tilth in Wallingford. I hear good things about Sitka and Spruce, but hard to manage to get in.

                          (6) Many visitors wouldn't miss Tom Douglasland downtown, he's about the biggest local celebrity chef, or anyway, the most financially successful. I really like his Palace Kitchen on 5th Ave.

                          (7) Salumi is great, but I think the sandwich not to be missed is at El Paseo in Fremont -- amazing!

                          (8) OK, last one -- your boyfriend should give up on the chimichanga, the mexican is pretty underwhelming in Seattle; but if it's Mexican you must have, many locals swear my Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard; personally, my tastes run towards the cheap hole in the wall taquerias -- try Taqueria Muy Macho in Southpark, the excellent taco truck on Rainier Blvd near Columbia City (I think it's called El Asadero), and Taqueria Tequila on 85th in Greenwood.

                          Have a great trip!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: pusherman

                            Regarding Stumptown being under-roasted...I'm curious how you drink your coffee? My wife also prefers a darker (French) roast and I prefer a lighter roast -- I think it has to do with the fact that she drinks her coffee with 1/2&1/2 and I drink mine black. The dark roasts are way too bitter when drunk black.

                            1. re: Husky

                              It also depends on which Stumptown bean you get. Tega & tula is surprisingly light, almost like a love child of a cup of coffee with a glass of strawberry lemonade.

                          2. Paseo! Fat, drippy Cuban sandwiches for around $7. There are very few tables, and people line up for these sandwiches. I think it's the best sandwich in Seattle. Try the Midnight Cuban Press (is this what its called?) - chunks of slow roasted pork, thin sliced ham, melted cheese, fat caramelized onions, hot peppers, garlicky aoli -- YUM. I like the scallop sandwich too.