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Help me finalize my Seattle list!!

After many hours of research (probably more than I will actually spend on my vacation : ) I have actually reached a tentative list of eateries. I am open to scrapping any or all of my ideas for better ones, or moving one from one category to another. We will be in Seattle for 5 nights at the end of May first of June, will be staying at Hotel 1000, and have a car or can taxi. Here goes:

Breakfast/Brunch: (so far I only have one, but need some others, or at least some quick bite places)
1. Crave
2. Maybe something on Bainbridge Island?

1. Salumi
2. Matt's in the Market
3. Serious Pie
4. Ray's Boathouse cafe

Happy Hour:
1. Oliver's Twist
2. Harvest Vine
3. Cascadia
4. Earth & Ocean (for the french fries)

1. Dahlia?
2. Lark
3. Palace Cafe (after our Cirque du Soleil show)
4. Crush
5. Union?
6. 1 of these (Elemental, Sitka & Spuce, Dinette)
**Also, I looked at Herbfarm and am willing to go even with the price if it is just that good!! If I can substitute with something a little more affordable that would be better.
**I know this sounds cliche, but I would like to go to a Japanese "fusion" type restaurant. We just do not have anything like that at all in New Orleans. I am going to Vancouver and am going to do the suggested Izkaya crawl later in the week.

1. Trophy Cupcakes
2. Top Pot Donuts

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  1. Good list. I would move Harvest Vine from happy hour (which i don't think they do) to dinner and add Barolo, Umi and (drinks only, not much food) Vessel to happy hour. I would move Crush closer to the top of your dinner list. Nishino for Japanese fusion (and Tojo in Vancouver for a different style of Japanese fusion, order "omakase" of course). Do Herbfarm.

    1. Add the Steelhead Diner to the Lunch possibilities, Mtleahy. You won't be sorry.

      1 Reply
      1. re: firecracker

        Steelhead has really good breakfast too, if you are short in that column, move it on over!!!

      2. Try Cafe Nola on Bainbridge for brunch. *But watch out as apparently it was recently on a Food Net show and the lines are kinda long now! I was there a while ago and we actually wandered in because it was the least crowded place and were nicely surprised! Take an earlier ferry and beat the crowds.

        Also, I agree with Barlywino - hit up Vessel for happy hour and do yourself a favor and stop in at Zig Zag cafe for cocktails at some point as well. Don't order your old standby, order something off their menu and be amazed at how good it is.

        Cascadia's happy hour is pretty popular, so get there early. I believe they don't open until 4:30 or 5, and it's not uncommon for them to have a line outside!

        1. your list is really impressive! for dinner, i would recommend going to either dahlia lounge or palace kitchen, but not both. in place of the one scratched off the list, definitely move harvest vine into the dinner category. in my opinion, the best meals i've had in seattle are at crush, harvest vine, union, and lark (in that order).

          also, i enjoy oliver's twist, but it's a bit of a trek from downtown - about 20 minutes one-way. if you do decide to leave it on the list, i'd pair it with a dinner downtown (as opposed to cap hill - lark, harvest vine - madison park, cruhs - also madison park).

          i agree with firecracker regarding Steelhead Diner for lunch. i think you could scratch Ray's Boathouse off the list to accomodate. the food isn't stellar, but if a good view is important it could make Ray's worthwhile.

          1. I love lunch at Matt's in the Market - and am glad to know there's a happy hour at Harvest Vine.
            Have you thought about Canlis? They're somewhat of an institution in Seattle, 58 years and running, but the 3rd generation has kept them ahead of the times and they're nominated for James Beard again this year.
            I'd keep Bainbridge on your list as well - or if you don't want to head that far, go to West Seattle to Bakery Neaveau. Stunning creations!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Reorrico

              And if that sort of a trek for pastry appeals, consider Cafe Besalu for lovely coffee and pastries right up the street from the Ballard Locks. The grounds there have one of Seattle's finest offerings of exotic and wonderful woody plants. On the way there, you may pass through Fremont, or Wallingford, or both, with all they have to offer.

            2. What about beer? The PNW is the center of craft brewing in America and unless you're staunchly anti-beer you should sample at least one local brewpub. The #1 and #2 in my book are the Jolly Roger Taproom and the Elysian pubs. (Avoid the Pike Place Brewery; I wish it were great but it ain't.)

              2 Replies
              1. re: terrier

                Don't pick on the Pike. Now that the original owners have reclaimed the business some fun stuff has transpired. They have actually turned their back space, known as "the museum", into a beer museum-- so worth the visit.

                Yes, the place overflows with tourist during the summer (it is in the market after all) ... at which times I avoid the place,

                1. re: phinious

                  I just was never much of a fan of their beers (not that they're bad but there's so many better in town) and their food was always pretty bad. Has anything changed in that regard?

              2. If you make the trek to the Herbfarm, make a day of it and go visit Chateau Ste Michelle, Red Hook Brewry and Columbia Winery, they are in walking distance of the Herb Farm.

                In Seattle, go to Etta's in Pike's Market - it is fresh seafood and raw bar- you can order oysters from different areas and there is also a crumpet restaurant, get one toasted with butter!!!!!

                1 Reply
                1. re: waitress

                  I just got back from a trip and here's what we did:

                  - Lunch Steelhead Diner. Liked the chicken sandwich and carnitas appetizer. Service a bit uneven.
                  - Dinner Matt's in the Market. Loved it. Loved absolutely everything except the noise level.
                  - Breakfast at the Crumpet Shop. Yum.
                  - Savor Seattle Tour. You do a tasting of many different places in the market. Was well worth the 30 dollars and finishes up with coconut cream pie from Etta's.
                  - Dinner - Elliotts on Pier 56 after an Argosy cruise. See other post for brief review..
                  - Breakfast at Le Panier - great pastries and coffee.
                  - Lunch at Cafe Campagne - authentic French, good service, excellent croque monsieur.
                  - Dinner Place Pigalle. Quieter atmosphere, nice view, good if slightly less creative food than Matt's.

                  Hope that helps!

                2. I really enjoy Glo's diner for breakfast - though the service is not great. I would also say that if you are going to be on the eastside for Cirque du Soleil, then you should head over to Cafe Juanita. It gets some Chowhound approval for sure, but not enough IMHO. I think you should also add Tamarind Tree to your list.

                  1. i second tamarind tree or green leaf, both in the international district, upscale, but not expensive vietnamese, i bet it's something you don't have in new orleans. also, cafe juanita, IMHO, is THE BEST restaurant around, and i've worked at a bunch on your list! it would be great after the cirque de soleil show, and closer.
                    for breakfast: le pichet, cafe campagne, both downtown.
                    lunch: quinn's on capitol hill
                    harvest vine is waaay far away from downtown & they don't really do a happy hour or have drinks. maybe you're thinking of txori, their new pinchos bar downtown? that would be nice for happy hour.
                    also, Vessel used to be an excellent bar, but they've been going through some major turmoil and recently lost their star bartender (voted best in the city). it's really changed the place for me.
                    Sambar is an awesome place to get drinks, it's in Ballard, which is an interesting neighborhood. Have fun! Sounds like you have a great plan.
                    Sitka & Spruce would be my choice out of the three.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: ccqueen

                      by car, Harvest Vine is probably 15 minutes from downtown. Txori is just a pale shadow of Harvest Vine (same owner). Sitka & Spruce is overrated imho although i would agree that it's a better choice than Elemental or Dinette.

                      1. re: barleywino

                        15 minutes by car is a long way to go for Happy Hour. It's too much driving in between unless you're planning to have dinner in the area as well. Txori may be just a pale shadow of HV but it's better for HH imo.

                        1. re: Lauren

                          agreed; as mentioned above, HV doesn't do HH anyway.

                    2. Ok, so now I have taken the latest advice and further refined my list. On top of that, I have some more specific questions.

                      1. Our first night my husband wants to eat somewhere with an amazing view of the water. Of my list, which would qualify, and if none of them do, do you have any additional suggestions? Quality and view are of equal importance.

                      2. I looked at Cafe Juanita for our pre Cirque dinner and it looks great, but we already have Cucina de Ra on our list. Is it worth dropping Cucina de Ra, or should I stick with having a post show dinner at Palace Cafe?

                      12 Replies
                      1. re: mtleahy

                        Waterfront Seafood Grill has good water views (and much better quality than Edgewater Grill imo). None of those places on your dinner list would qualify if that's what he's looking for.

                        1. re: mtleahy

                          1. Best views on your list up top are Ray's and Matt's in the Market though you have them both down for lunch. Canlis has an exceptional view and is probably worth considering.

                          2. If by Palace Cafe you mean Palace Kitchen, I'd stick with that.

                          1. re: terrier

                            So if I switch Matt's to dinner that will work for the view of the water? Is it a good view or should I consider something else?

                            1. re: mtleahy

                              I would pick Matt's anyday, for the view and food. But if he's looking for a "on the water" experience, it's not really that great. The best view in Seattle is Canlis, IMO.
                              Just my 2 cents on the rest of the list, Oliver's Twist has went downhill in service recently, and Harvest Vine is never on my list of recommendations due to so many "off" nights, tried them multiple times and the food isn't that great to make up for awful service.
                              Breakfast on Bainbridge, I'd vote for Cafe Nola, wonderful brunch and great service.
                              Cafe Besalu for pastries, and Top Pot for donuts and people watching!

                              1. re: mtleahy

                                i would keep Matt's for lunch, not dinner. Views are not as good as Waterfront Grill.

                                1. re: barleywino

                                  I really did not enjoy my experience at Waterfront Grill. I felt like it was going into a seafood restaurant from the 50's (which is the appeal for some) where all the fish was prepared in butter and thats all the creativity they use. The views at Ray's Boathouse are fine.

                                  Oh and yes I would drop Cucina de Ra for Cafe Juanita. I would still plan on Palace Kitchen though.

                                  1. re: eat.rest.repeat

                                    actually i never get seafood at Waterfront grill- i get the Frenched rib chop or rack of lamb.

                            2. re: mtleahy

                              Amazing view of the water, dramatic and elegant dining room, good NW style food w. creative flair, great service: '67' at the Edgewater Hotel downtown Seattle.

                              1. re: staffstuff

                                I have never liked 67. The food seems dated to me and those metal "trees"! Like you're in a creepy scene from the Wizard of Oz!

                              2. re: mtleahy

                                I would drop Cucina de Ra no matter what you decide. It is disappointing.

                                1. re: mtleahy

                                  i think juanita is miles ahead of cucina de ra. if you do go, try to get a corner table by the window. they have a beautiful "backyard" view that makes you feel like you're in the middle of a forest (in the summer, anyway). i think you mean palace kitchen? i haven't heard of palace cafe?

                                  1. re: mtleahy

                                    I'd pick Cafe Juanita over Cucina de Ra ..anyday ..it is splendid & sorry to say but Seattle has little in the fabulous food fabulous food category. I'd try happy hour at one of the restaurants out on the piers ..and then wander up the hill to the market (there is an elevator) and have dinner at Matt's, Dahlia or Union

                                  2. Ok, one last question : ) I would like to get a really tasty Banh mi sandwich while I am there. What would be your best suggestion. Does the Green Leaf or Tamarind Tree serve this? I searched on this board, and found suggestions of places but most people had forgotten the names of the different places in the ID where it was found. A take out restaurant or sit down restaurant would be just fine. I think we are going to do a "sandwich" crawl one lunch and will start at Salumi's, go to Paseo, and then . . . .

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: mtleahy

                                      re: bahn mi-


                                      my personal picks are Pho Cyclo, Vietnam Saigon Deli, and Buu Dien (for the chicken only).

                                      1. re: mtleahy

                                        paseo is very far away from salumi, fyi. but maybe it'll give you time to digest :)
                                        as for bahn mi, you'll see signs at every other vietnamese place for them, but i think green leaf and tamarind tree are the two that don't have them! the difference between really good and average bahn mi is negligible...in seattle, to me, anyway.

                                      2. I've had really good meals and views at Cucina De Ra...

                                        1. Canlis was already mentioned here a couple times. I was just in Seattle for 2 weeks and it was sooooo good, I had to go TWICE. Everything I tasted was great, but my favorites were:
                                          Wagyu Steak
                                          Truffle Fries
                                          Chocolate Covered Chocolate

                                          Call at least a week in advance for reservations & request a window table. 7:30p is an ideal time so that you can enjoy the views while it's still light out and then watch the sunset. Dinner takes about 2.5-3 hours and there is a dress code.

                                          I also liked the food at Wann Izakaya in Seattle, but it's not fusion.

                                          1. For Japanese "Fusion" walk on the Ferry & go to Alvin Binuya's - Madoka http://www.madokaonbainbridge.com/ He was a chef for Tom Douglas (Mr. Seattle Fusion) at the former- Cafe Sport, now Etta's, & then onto Ponti & Axis (when they were owned by both Rich Malia & Jim Malevitsis), before finally opening his own restaurant.

                                            There's also Dragonfish at the Paramount Hotel on 8th & Pine, Downtown.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: belikeh20

                                              Alvin's place is often overlooked but I agree it's a great spot + a beautiful ferry ride

                                            2. Wow, what a vacation! The only comment I have is on Sitka and Spruce. My husband and I had a bad experience there because we didn't realize they offer about ten or so menu items, but they only cook one at a time. So eveyone who orders #1 gets there food. And then everyone who ordered #2, ect. So ordered #5 you have to watch the rest of the place eat while you sit there. It's also really small, you may have to share a table with others, and in a less-than-charming strip mall. I think you could do better, although I haven't been to Elemnetal or Dinette.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: chandraceta

                                                i worked there, and that's not how it works. sorry you had a bad experience, though. it's true they do offer a limited menu. everything comes in small or large portions. and, yes, sometimes you have to sit at a communal table. like most restaurants, they bring the food one course at a time, unless you ask for it otherwise. it's a very unique dining experience, but if you're looking for French Laundry service with a sommelier waiting on you hand and foot, that's not sitka!