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Best Workin'Persons Lunch in Downtown Seattle

We can all use a little local lunch info, right? Too many threads on here are from out of towners looking for recs =)

Here's the criteria:

- must be available for takeout
- no 1-2 hour lunch type places (after all, how many of us can realistically do that on a regular basis? I know I can't.This might also have to exclude Salumi and any place with a ridiculous wait)

- must be within reasonable walking distance of downtown

My picks:
Hambao from Mee Sum in Pikes place, the delicious baguette sandwiches from le panier, Combo from Harried and Hungry (although a bit expensive for the portion size), hot sliced turkey and soup from Simons.

I'm sure theres lots of others I havent discovered yet - maybe of them will even fit in my 20 minutes to find something I can eat at my desk =)

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  1. Specialty's is a chain bakery with sandwiches and is goooood! They have a peach pastry that is gooey and decadent. Any of their sandwiches on ciabatta bread are good, but my hubby and I are partial to the breakfast sandwich. They are 2 or 3 locations around downtown.

    4 Replies
    1. re: happy2sing

      I actually went to specialty's today =)
      sandwich wise, it was kind of heavy on the bread and the herb bread got oil all over my hands =/

      I think I will stick with their soups and thier evil, evil cookies.

      1. re: happy2sing

        The line/wait can get quite long, but they take to-go orders online! You place your order, pay with a credit card and tell them when you'll pick it up (I think they only need 30 mins notice or something like that). They'll have the order waiting for you at the side of the counter so no waiting in line! You can even though in one of their excellent cookies!

        1. re: happy2sing

          And every time I go there, I ask "and how is Specialty doing, these days?" and am regarded with blank looks. WTF?

          1. re: mrnelso

            This is why I don't go to Depressialty's. Also I got sick of cream of bacon soup.

        2. I've always been a big fan of Blue Water Taco Grill. They have several locations downtown and in QA. Good burritos, especially the fish or shrimp or calamari burritos with the lime tartar sauce. Usually a line, but pretty fast nonetheless.

          Unlike Taco Del Mar, their burritos actually have flavor.

          1. Turkey or meatloaf sandwiches from Bakeman's.

            Almost anything from Zum Zum (but ask for 1/2 rice, 1/2 salad unless you want to be uncomfortably full and/or dealing with leftovers.)

            1. I second Zum Zum. Total comfort food. I like Zaina's at the north end of Pioneer Square for... Greek-y, Mediterranean food. Gyros, falafel, etc. Just moved to 4th and Jefferson and have made a few discoveries. Fuji Sushi at 5th and Main although I can't find their menu right now to know whether they do take-out. The bento box is great and a deal at $8.95. Viet My at 4th and Main is yum. And my newest fave is Tenoch, fabbo burritos with a nice variety of fillings, on 5th between Main and Washington.

              4 Replies
                1. re: laurahutch

                  I keep wanting to like Zum Zum, but not really liking it. Their kidney bean dish is pretty good, but every time I eat there, I find my dish very salty and tasting like... something I can't quite put my finger on. An artificial flavor or a flavor enhancer? Something also doesn't sit quite right after I eat there.

                  However, I work 1.5 blocks away so I keep trying every once in a while.


                  1. re: seattledebs

                    Yeah, I went there once, and I don't think id go again, especially when I can probably make better at home. I do pick up just a thing of rice once in a while when I've brough tikka masala sauce leftovers from home and I want to make a CTM risotto in the work microwave.

                    (btw, if you've never tried that, its awesome)

                  2. re: laurahutch

                    I love Tenoch! Excellent burrito bar kind of place! The staff are friendly. Also, pretty cheap. Usually no seating at lunch time, but super quick and easy to walk back to the office. Although they are closer to the International District than downtown.

                  3. DeLaurenti's at the market has a take-out window for pizza, and World Class Chili, behind and below DeLaurenti's offers rustic and flavorful chili. The reuben at The Girls Bakery is great, as is the Cioppino at Jack's Fish Spot a few feet away, and Halibut or salmon sandwich at the Market Grill, across the street, a sausage in a bun at Uli's. Turkish Delight, at the North end of Pike Place has good Borek and Talash. On the route you will pass Russian Pastries.

                    1. There is a crepe sidewalk stand at the convention center. Their dessert crepes are better than their entree crepes (their chocolate ganache crepe is fantastic!), but the entree crepes are good too. We even take visitors to the stand because it's fun and different. They make each crepe individually and there's usually only one person working, so if there's a line and you are pressed for time, you should just come back later.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: happy2sing

                        Yes. I found this place by happy accident. Seemed better to me than other crepes in town (especially the vulcanized rubber ones). I enjoyed whatever it was (gruyere and swiss?), and will be back next time I'm nearby.

                        1. re: mrnelso

                          Emmentaler, in most of their savory crepes, gruyere in others. My favorite thing about this place is that they make crepes with eggs the way I like them - cracking the egg atop the crepe.

                          1. re: terrier

                            The place I miss the most from the days I worked downtown is Dahlia Bakery - love the sandwiches, soups, everything. Now they have breakfast food, too - best. english. muffin. ever. I also really liked getting a blackened salmon sandwich from Market Grill.

                            1. re: WrightEats

                              Yes, R.I.P. Market Grill. It's dead to me now since they lost their original staff and recipes in an ownership dispute.

                              1. re: terrier

                                Oh, sad news! I guess you're saying they don't have the same blackened salmon sandwich anymore?

                                BTW, if you like the egg cracked atop the crepe, definitely try Anita's Crepes at the UDistrict and Ballard markets (perhaps elsewhere, too?). Her crepes are so awesome!

                                1. re: WrightEats

                                  not in downtown, but if you're looking for a blackened salmon sandwich, Mr Lu's in U-district is awesome. Good fishnchip as well.

                                  1. re: Jeters

                                    the Reuben or hot pastrami at NY Deli (opposite deLaurentis)
                                    takeout (by the ounce) from Taste of Asia in the Century sq food court (3rd between Pike/Pine)

                                2. re: terrier

                                  Terrier, have you tried Market Grill lately? There was a rough period rafter Mark left but things are back to normal now (though I saw they were training a new cook just this week, so hopefully we aren't in for another rough patch). The only recipe that "left" was the coleslaw, which isn't a huge loss IMO.

                                3. re: WrightEats

                                  Tom Douglas' tomato and basil soup at the Dahlia Bakery is not to be missed. Absolutely delicious! Great sandwiches and salads too. All is take out.

                          2. The Express cafe at Palomino - great, cheap lunch food.
                            I have to agree with the comment on Specialty's...best thing there are the cookies!! Ask which ones are freshest!
                            I also love Il Fornaio's downstairs Rissoteria.

                            1. "Downtown" just screams "Pike Place."
                              Right tight together with "Mee Sum," which you have spotted, is Jack's, where fresh seafood (Jack sells fresh fish) is presented in the West coast's #1 cioppino. Now, humble is not for everybody, but I m telling you now, this is the place. I was at "Shark's," in Newport, and when I remarked to the server that their cioppino rivaled Jack's, she responded "someday, we're going to beat them."
                              Brand new to the market is a stand near the little doughnuts place across the aisle from DeLauranti's.I do not remember the name, but they serve nice hot sausages in a nice bun, and are every bit a nice experience. I though the "spicy" offering a little lacking in spice, but then "spice is nice" for me, but maybe not for everybody...


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mrnelso

                                Sadly, walking 5 blocks there and back to pike place isn't always possible on lunch break.

                                Humbao and piroshkies are an exception, as they can be eaten on the walk home.

                              2. Bakeman's and Three Girls Luncheonette. Will eat at either of them, any day of the week.

                                1. I'm working for the next month at the 5th Ave Theatre. We are doing a musical of Shrek for Broadway. Lunch and dinner and one hour and that hour goes fast. What is right by there, besides Specialty's and the Logan Deli, that is quick and yummy? Dinner is typically from 5-6, and I know about the HHs @ Palomino, Benihana, and Rock Bottom already. The Market is too far, mostly I'm looking for a good lunch.

                                  Oh, and where is Zum Zum?

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: allisonw

                                    cafe zum zum is at 3rd and Marion food court (check out Cafe pho upstairs there too if you want something less heavy, or maybe some kalbi). 1 block north of there is Troiani where you can do a pretty quick lunch at the bar. 2 blocks south of 5th ave theatre is O'Asian for quick dimsum etc.

                                    1. re: allisonw

                                      I'm right across the street from there. I get a pastry or a bagutte sandwich from Belle Epicurean at least once a week (in the Olympic hotel on the 4th street side.) Duke's chowder bar next to BofA on 4th & University is pretty quick. There's a newish deli (don't remember the name) on Universty just west of 4th with a good salad case and some other interesting stuff. They have a really good beer selection, not that I'm advocating that for lunch.

                                    2. The Columbia Tower food court area runs the gamut of cuisines and runs the gamut from pretty good to bad.

                                      Highlights include the Indian buffet, the burger place (good basic burgers, including salmon burgers). The ladies at the Asian Express buffet do some very nice vegetable items, though some are occasionally oversalted and some combinations look pretty but taste bizzare.

                                      For ambience, I really enjoy taking the express elevator up to the Starbucks in the sky lobby and having one of their Tarragon Chicken sandwiches. They're real tasty, and you can gaze out over lake Washington on a nice day. Not worth it unless you can sit at least for a little while, but it's not a long lunch, either.

                                      Beyond that, the Red Bowl on 3rd does some good, basic, fast Korean to go.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: jjmccoy

                                        I have to chime in with a caution about the Indian place in the Columbia Tower. I went with a vegetarian friend who lived in India for a while, on her recommendation, and thought it was quite possibly the worst Indian food I've ever eaten. And I'm no connisseur so I figured it had to be pretty bad. But I'm a meat-eater so I wondered if maybe the veg dishes are the way to go? Anyway, I'd be cautious.

                                        I've generally forsaken eating in the Columbia Tower. It's sad because there's so little in this area but it just seems to be consistently awful. Specialty's is worthwhile for a quick sandwich (and they're breakfast egg sandwich is pretty yummo), but other than that, meh.

                                      2. I like the sandwiches and subs at The Buffalo Deli on First in Belltown. Pastrami and swiss on rye with deli mustard, turkey and swiss sub with tomatoes, lettuce, oil and vinegar, or the roast beef kimmelwick with horseradish mayo are my top choices. There is usually some interesting side to order, too -- maybe collard greens or some other vegetable thing or a pasta dish.

                                        It is a cheaper than the NY Deli in the Market (which I think is good but always seems kind of heavy and high-fat compared to Buffalo)

                                        1. *Piroshky on 3rd--not just the piroshkies are good, but the soups and main dishes are too (except the chicken pot pie--I wasn't crazy about that).
                                          *The new little Bento place at 1st and Marion on the ferry walkway--cheap, good veggie udon and potstickers. My coworkers love the sushi rolls.
                                          *Delicatus--very good new sandwich place
                                          *Julie's Garden--They make a great spicy chicken pho, though most of the rest of the menu is typical Chinese-American
                                          *Cherry St Coffee House--I've never been a fan of their coffee, but they make terrific, fresh sandwiches and salads. They make a great homemade veggie burger if you like those
                                          *Mediterranean Mix--the falafel is pretty good
                                          *Noodle Zone in Westlake's food court--it's actually pretty good despite its location in a mall food court, in fact it's the best Thai I've found downtown (which is not saying much admittedly--I don't understand why there isn't any truly good Thai downtown).

                                          1. An unlikely place to find a find.... Bombay Wala in the food court at Westlake has a really good Masala Dosa served with lentil soup. Say it's for here or you don't get the soup.

                                            I still like El Puerco Lloron even though it seems like it used be better.

                                            Tat's Deli. You can call ahead and now they have a line cam on their web site.

                                            If you make it as far as the ID then 663 Bistro is great and cheap. You can get a BBQ on rice combo or the regular restaurant is fast and cheap. The curry fish filet or any curry on rice dish is worth a try. The BBQ pork, roast pork and duck are all really good.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: seattleviking

                                              I work at the south end of Pioneer Square near the stadiums, and these are my usual spots in the area:

                                              -Bakemans (2nd and Cherry) The turkey sandwiches are the favorite, but some of the daily specials are good as well. Just make sure you know what you're doing and be ready to get through the line quickly, the owner has a bit of a reputation...)
                                              -Happy Teriyaki (3rd and Marion - Probably not the best teriyaki in the world, but I happen to like it)
                                              -Thai Curry Simple (Fifth and Jefferson - Pretty good curry for $5, and just off the bus tunnel)
                                              -Samurai Noodle (5th and Weller outside of Uwajimaya - Japanese ramen. Can be a bit crowded for a sit-down meal, but if you call ahead to order take-out you'll usually be in and out fairly quick.)
                                              -Mel's Market (Third and Madison - I really like the baked potatoes and the lasagna here.)
                                              -Tat's Deli (2nd and Yesler - Good Philly cheesesteaks and the Tat'strami is quite popular as well. There can be a line if you go during the lunch rush, so you might try going a bit later if that's an issue.)

                                              600 5th Ave S, Seattle, WA