Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Pacific Northwest >
Aug 9, 2008 05:47 PM

Olympia food help needed!

We'll be traveling down from Seattle with the family for an overnight later this month and staying downtown (near the Capitol). I was looking forward to eating someplace new, but now am a bit afraid after reading the recent posts re: a lack of good options in Olympia.

As mentioned we are staying downtown and need a place for dinner and breakfast on a weekend. We can drive for dinner (though closer would be better given the toddler in tow) but would love walking distance breakfast if possible. We like everything to eat, it just needs to be kid-friendly. I had heard there were good pubs in Olympia years back, but couldn't find anything very favorable on the list. But anything tasty is good.

Planning to hit the farmers market Sunday a.m. - is that sufficient for breakfast?

And good coffee is needed too. Anything downtown?

Thanks much is advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I don't think it's a total wasteland here... moved here in November from Maryland and we're doing all right. If you're headed to the farmers' market, I would suggest the Bread Peddler for coffee/pastries--I think it's on Capital Way, and you'll pass it on the right as you're headed down to the market. Near the intersection of State. If it's not on Capital then it's on Columbia. And of course the farmers' market will have tasty stuff. I can't help you much with dinner--I have a toddler and a preschooler myself and haven't been able to do much sussing out of good options! I will say that Lemongrass Cafe on 4th has some tasty Thai food. Budd Bay Cafe's food has seemed unremarkable to me but the view is lovely and the service is friendly... and there's a playground just down the dock... Enjoy your visit!

    1. I agree with the other poster that you should check out the Bread Peddler for any early day eating. You can find a nice variety at the Market, but it is simpler fare. My very most favorite place in downtown (this week) is Quality Burrito. It is really very tasty -not traditional Mexican food by any means. Look for the lime green storefront on 4th. You won't miss it. I would love to hear what you think of it too.

      1. Cicada for breakfast/brunch! It's awesome (I think the brunch dishes there are better than any I've had in Seattle). I hear their dinner is good, too, but I've only been there for brunch and loved it every time. Depending on what kind of dinner you're looking for - I like Speedway BBQ in Lacey (I think - I am fuzzy on where Tumwater/Lacey/Olympia begin and end).

        I don't like BuddBay (had some pretty off crab there) but others do like it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: akq

          I wouldn't consider Cicada to be the best place for a toddler. It is more of a quiet, upscale place (and I have had mixed results there, including very slow service and cold food).

          In downtown Olympia, a good standard for Thai food, in addition to Lemon Grass (often crowded, a small place) is Bamboo, on 4th Avenue, one-half block east of Capital Way.

          The Ranch kitchen in the Governor's House hotel (on capital Way) is a good BBQ place, as is the South Sound BBQ about 6 blocks up Legion Way from capital. Both would be kid-friendly.

          Several Vietnamese places downtown are inexpensive and reliable --- Little Saigon, Saigon Rendezvous, etc. Chopsticks on Legion is also a popular asian choice.

          1. re: Steve in Olympia

            I haven't tried the other places you mention (thanks for the recs!), and I've only been to Cicada for brunch. At brunch time I see families (including kids) and couples. It's more of a nice neighborhood resto, imo, than upscale to the point where kids wouldn't be welcome. Maybe different at dinner. I've only been there a handful of times and I am sure they have off days, but every time I've eaten there the service and food have been exceptional (especially for the area). It's the highlight of my overnights in Latumpia.

        2. I've lived here over half my life and can say with authority that Olympia has better dining options now than it ever has before. For breakfast, my 7yo and I adore Blue Lotus, a tiny, vegetarian-friendly spot on Franklin St, just down from the YMCA. Amazing, fresh, seasonal and organic, the breakfast here just can't be beat. And the vegan cupcakes are awesome! When we're craving something greasier, we head to Darby's on 5th for the standard bacon-and-eggs fare. Be forewarned, this is a popular destination and wait times can be pretty unbearable around 10 a.m on a Saturday. They will let you sit outside w/ coffee though - thank goodness! For lunch/dinner, I agree with previous posters that Lemon Grass is the best choice for Thai and Quality Burrito should not be missed. I also think that Waterstreet (on Water St.) has a great happy hour menu (bar and patio only). Their house red wine is usually always tasty and it's only $4/glass during happy hour - plus you can get mini burgers for $2! I would avoid the Oyster House (expensive and uninspired), Anthony's or Anthony's subsidiaries(boring - except if you want fresh oysters), and basically any of the other tourist traps downtown. You can have a fantastic meal without spending a fortune if you don't care about having a waterfront view.

          1. Oh, forgot to add: Batdorf and Bronson (B&B) or Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. for coffee. There is a B&B right accross the street from the Farmer's market. I like crab sandwiches for breakfast but if you don't and want something more substantial than pastries in the morning, the market isn't the greatest spot for breakfast.