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Seattle- must eats

My husband and I are going to be in Seattle for three days. After spending inordinate amounts of time perusing the posts on here (it's just so fun and addictive!), I have a list of 400 places we should try :o) We eat all genres of food but are probably not interested (at least not on this trip) in Mexican/Vietnamese/Thai/Indian. We'd be interested in regional cuisine, "new" American, innovative/well-executed food :o) OH and we're really big beer dorks...and would love to explore fun beer places or places that make great cocktails.

Help us narrow it down, please! We're staying by the convention center on Pike Street. Anything that we MUST try in this area (restaurants, coffee shops, bars, etc)?? Thanks so much!!

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  1. what is your budget? and, will you have a car?

    Walking distance to your hotel, I would recommend Dahlia Lounge and Union. These are the two places that I have tried since moving up here in July that really stand out. I thought Dahlia was solid all the way around, but Union was interesting and more innovative.

    2 Replies
    1. re: maybelle

      those were definitely two places that made it onto our looong list of places to try. we were leaning towards union, although are tempted to try a tom douglas restaurant (dahlia lounge v. palace kitchen, anyone?)

      we won't have a car so prefer things to be within walking distance but are willing to take a taxi if a place is really worth it/there are other things to do or see in that area.

      and in terms of a budget, we're willing to splurge for some great food!

      1. re: cayetano

        I know this board has a lot of Palace Kitchen fans, but I wasn't too impressed when we went. I would pick Dahlia Lounge over PK anyday! The trout I had at PK was dry and fairly boring - felt like I could make that at home. The burger too wasn't as great as I hoped. The atmosphere at Dahlia Lounge is much warmer, and the food plain better. The prices reflect all this though!

    2. Definitely try Steelhead Diner. Upscale and down home. Pike Place Market neighborhood. You won't be disappointed!

      1. Palace Kitchen. Other restaurants, depending on your flexibility: Matt's in the Market, The Corson Building, elemental@gasworks.

        Also, beer-wise: Stumbling Monk, Jolly Roger Taproom (Maritime Pacific), Elysian, Über.

        Cocktail-wise: Zig-zag, Licorous.

        2 Replies
        1. re: terrier

          I'd have to say I'd go with Dahlia Lounge over Palace Kitchen, but fully support the recs for Matt's & elemental, as well as the beer & cocktail choices mentioned by Terrier.

          Some other greats are Sitka & Spruce, Tilth, The Harvest Vine, Art of the Table, and Crush. One of the best treats in Seattle that's actually on the lower end of the spending scale is a Cuban pork roast sandwich at Paseo's, don't miss it.

          1. re: bergeo

            all good choices, i would put Crush at the top for a splurge (tasting menu etc). For cocktails and some New American bites I would add Spur.

        2. Unless you don't like raw oysters, you should go to Elliott's Oyster House, 1201 Alaskan Way (Pier 56), and sit yourselves down at the oyster bar, where hopefully Dave Leck will be working that day, and have Dave guide you through the two or three dozen types of Pacific Northwest oysters they will have available. Pacific Northwest oysters are among the best oysters in the world, and you won't find a better selection of them than at Elliott's. (See my 12/5/08 Chowhound post on Pacific Northwest Oysters.)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Tom Armitage

            I am a fan of 13 Coins if you like a big breakfast/brunch. I have yet to get there for dinner but absolutely adore their breakfasts. Only about half a mile from the convention center.

            Also the bus system in the area of the convention center is very good and free if you stay in the inner city during the day (6am-7pm I believe.)

          2. Since you guys are into beer walk up Pike several blocks towards Capitol Hill and try Quinn's. Interesting beer selection - lots of awesome English cask ales and other small-production obscure finds. Crowd can be a bit obnoxious late-night, but the food is great, so go before 10pm.

            1. Stumbling Monk for Belgians

              It's been observed that The Stumbling Monk is poorly lit, poorly furnished, and peopled by the poorly groomed, but a good quiet place to sample some exotic Belgians.

              1. -- Lark...probably my favorite restaurant in the US...

                -- Harvest Vine

                -- Matt's in the Market

                1 Reply
                1. re: Simon

                  Thanks everybody! We just got back from Seattle (and miss the food options already)! We had a great time exploring the places you all suggested and unfortunately didn't get time to try everything (in fact, we never even made it to a brewpub...sad).

                  We loved Matt's in the Market and Crush. Matt's was delicious (of note: the foie gras appetizer and [surprisingly?] the Mexican chocolate pot de creme. Crush was really fun and innovative...totally was in a food coma by the end of the chef's tasting menu and in addition to the glasses we had been ordering, we were given half a dozen free drinks based on bottles that had been opened that night (perhaps not the classiest but we LOVED trying everything and really appreciated it!). We had some really good drinks at Zig Zag Cafe--enjoyed watching the bartender make drinks and the ambiance was nice. We had a somewhat average meal at Dahlia Lounge...some things were really over-salted but perhaps an off day? And were strangely disappointed by drinks at Liquorous (they sounded like they were going to be creative and fun but were for the most part sweet and kind of boring).

                  Thanks so much for the recommendations! We really enjoyed exploring these places...and still have a million and one places to try the next time we're there!