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Jan 6, 2009 09:45 PM

Need restaurant tips for solo dining in Seattle

I am planning a trip to Seattle in mid April and there are so many restaurants that I don't even know where to start! I will only have a week, so I really want to avoid the "just ok" places.

I thought I would come here and see what the locals really like. I love all different kinds of food! Of course, I will want seafood - but I am not going to want that all week. And don't even bother telling me about the great "Seafood Feasts" at those restaurants down by the pier because they discriminate against people who like to eat by themselves! (Geesh! Is it so hard to make a feast for just 1 person?!!)

All price ranges are ok ... but I can't spend $$$ every day. Just pretend I am not a tourist and I am new in town. Where should I go eat? (Any type of atmosphere is fine as long as the food is Chow worthy!)

It might also help if I tell you I won't have a car but I love riding the bus ... and I am staying in Capital Hill on 18th. (But like I said, no problem taking the bus and/or a cab)

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  1. On Capitol Hill, Quinn's is a great place and a nice bar that would be fine for single dining. Cafe Presse is also good food, but not expensive. In Belltown, Spur, Tavolata or Txori come to mind. I tend towards bar dining when eating solo and all have bars (I think Txori does) as well as great food. Spur especially has amazing cocktails. The Pike Place Market is walking distance from Capitol Hill (or a quick bus ride) and has tons of inexpensive eating options. Have fun!

    1. Definitely try Steelhead Diner. Comfort food. Half a block from Pike Place Market. Wallet friendly. Distinctly a find!

      9 Replies
      1. re: firecracker

        I'd recommend eating at the bar at Matt's in the Market over Steelhead Diner.

        Other great restaurants with bar dining are How to Cook a Wolf, Poppy and Palace Kitchen.

        1. re: frygirl

          Is it just the bar that is better at Matt's, or is it the food? I actually prefer eating at a table, so I want the one with the best food. Should I try both?

          1. re: boisenewbie

            I've never noticed a difference between the bar counter and the table. A solo diner might actually prefer a table with a view overlooking the market anyway.

            1. re: SauceSupreme

              Sorry about the confusion!

              I was talking about the 2 restaurants. I was wondering if the food at Matt's was actually better over Steelhead ...

              1. re: boisenewbie

                I prefer both the food and the ambience of Matt's in the Market to Steelhead Diner.

                1. re: frygirl

                  Right on frygirl, Steelhead definitely falls into the "just ok" category and Matt's is wonderful. I would also choose Le Pichet over Cafe Campagne. I had lunch at Le Pichet today -- salade verte and the oeufs plats, jambon et fromage - all for $13 plus tax and tip. Txori is a great recommendation also. And Three Girls Bakery- grilled ham and cheese on black rye. For really inexpensive Mexican, also try El Puerco Lloron on the hillclimb behind Pike Place Market.

                2. re: boisenewbie

                  They're both good, Boisen. Matt is no longer at Matt's in the Market having chosen to move on. You won't go wrong with either one.

              2. re: boisenewbie

                The food, in my experience, is better at Matt's - but I'm overdue to give Steelhead Diner another try since I haven't been in at least a year.

                I've eaten well at both, but I've had a couple of disappointing meals at Steelhead where I felt like for the same money I would have done better at Matt's.

                And flying solo you could definitely go Spinasse if you're ok with either a communal table or the bar. (That's all they have, except for one lone 4-top in the window.) I think that's the best new restaurant in Seattle at the moment.

            2. re: firecracker

              I was recently in Seattle dining solo. I was personally rather disappointed by Steelhead Diner (it was fine but pricey for the experience...). Cafe Campagne had a nice happy hour (with lots of little wine tastes available) that I morphed into dinner but it was pretty empty (FYI-if you feel better with more people buzzing about). The wait staff were great though. I looked at Matts but ran away clutching my pocketbook. A nice casual meal can be head at Pike Place Chowder (or something like that). Chowder was *excellent.*

            3. I'd recommend having the oeuffs en meurette for brunch or lunch at Cafe Campagne. It's absolutely to die for and I've eaten there at a table alone and been fine and they have nifty bar seating and there are always lots of lone diners there, as well. Also, I'd try Three Girls bakery at Pike Place, the sandwich counter behind the bakery. Their reuben is fab, it's solo eater friendly and it's such a great Seattle-vibe place.

              And I second Cafe Presse on Capitol Hill (south Capitol Hill). Also, if you're up there some day and just can't work up the energy to go far or be very creative, I have a soft spot for Byzantium. Greek-ish food, and lots of it. Friendly staff whenever I've been. I've gone alone with a book and felt comfortable. I'ts not haute cuisine or probably even very legit but it's comfort food.

              Have fun!!

              1. Quinn's is a must. Also second Matt's at the Market, Palace Kitchen and Steelhead Diner. You are staying near the Kingfish Cafe which is a Seattle gem. I also suggest the upstairs bar at Maximillien's at the Market (same menu as the restaurant below) and Coastal Kitchen.

                1. These all sound great! Keep em coming ... I don't mind sitting at the bar, but I actually prefer a table. Actually, it doesn't matter. Just afraid people are trying to think of restaurants where I could sit at the bar. (Know what I mean?) All options are open.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: boisenewbie

                    Really excellent reccomendations here. Spot-on. I'll quibble only with Kingfish, which I think has slightly declined over the years, since it has no communal dining area. If you are up for that situation, I also reccomend Sitka & Spruce.