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Jan 13, 2009 11:37 AM

4 days in Seattle - need help prioritizing my list!

My husband and I will be visiting Seattle from L.A. for 4 nights at the end of the week. We've got 4 breakfasts, lunches and dinners to eat - hurray! I'd like a mix of delicious cheap, casual eats and a couple of nicer places. Based on Chowhound, Yelp, and the Seattle Weekly, I've developed a list but I need help in figuring out what's a don't-miss and what's all hype!

I especially need help prioritizing the non-cheap eats, since we do want to make our splurges count. If anyone is familiar with LA, we eat at a lot of hole in the wall ethnic joints, but we also like Grace, Lucques, and Father's Office, for example. Also, coming from Los Angeles, I decided to leave Mexican, sushi, and Vietnamese places off the list. But please do let me know if there is a can't miss place serving any of these cuisines.

I'm pretty sure we'll go to:
Matt's in the Market
Bavarian Meat Deli
Ballard Sunday farmers market

I'm less sure about:
Cafe Juanita
Harvest Vine
Spring Hill
How to Cook a Wolf

Any thoughts would be appreciated. We'll be staying downtown, but are willing to taxi elsewhere (still debating the rental car). Thanks so much!

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  1. I would take Cafe Juanita off the list. It's a long way from downtown and you've got Osteria Mozza at home. I haven't been to Dinette and Spring Hill - but of the remaining on your "less sure" list I would choose How to Cook a Wolf. Spur would be a fun place to go for cocktails and nibbles one night.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Lauren

      As a pair of counterpoints:

      1. I think Cafe Juanita is excellent

      2. On my last visit to CJ, I encountered the proprietor of Osteria Mozza, who indicated that he had enjoyed a very fine meal.

    2. In the week we were in Seattle, July 2007, the superb meal at Cascadia tops the list. Far from inexpensive & not on the beaten path, the cabby had to phone in to get directions. The ambience is elegant & the food unsurpassed. Highly recommended.

      2 Replies
      1. re: alxnrth

        A prior posting on this site stated that Cascadia is closed.

        1. re: FoodDee

          Confirm that Cascadia is closed. The chef, Kerry Sears, is now at the new Four Seasons on First near the Art Museum.
          Definite on Matt's and Salumi. I would also do either How to Cook a Wolf or Union - both are Ethan Stowell's restaurants. Union is spectacular and downtown if you want to save a cab ride. I have not been to Wolf but hear it is great. Txori is also a great idea if you don't make it to Harvest Vine (I love them both)

          My foodie friends have raved about Quinn's but I have not been.

      2. I don't know Bavarian meat deli, just fyi. I love strolling the farmers market, but you can also not do it as a meal, more a snack, if you need to juggle things. I am assuming you won't be cooking.

        as to your less sures, I would skip Juanita, and I don't know Spring Hill or Dinette. For the splurges, I would say: Crush--delicious, innovative, and a slightly more upscale ambiance. A must. Wolf--small plates and fabulous. Must. Harvest Vine is my favorite in Seattle. Sit at the food bar. My only caveat is that I haven't been there in a while and the owners opened a new place, so I don't know if the Vine has suffered at all. Their new place is called Txori--it's more of true tapas--very small plates. If you need a happy hour/snack or late night place, it would be a good choice, especially if you don't fit in the Vine. I am going to Spur for the first time tonight, but it may be you want to go to either Spur or Quinn's, but not both. sort of my impression. I wouldn't call any of these places cheap, but Crush is the only one to approach fine dining. Finally, for a real Seattle twist, I would consider Tilth or Sitka & Spruce, but you are trying to shorten your list, not add to it,

        4 Replies
        1. re: cocktailhour

          Yay! 2 votes to get Juanita off the list, and 2 votes for Wolf! These suggestions are very useful.

          Are Tilth and Sitka & Spruce similar to each other, or would either be a good replacement for anything else on the list? Harvest be honest, tapas would not have been my first choice, but it seems to be a huge favorite so I added it to my list.

          Bavarian Meat Deli just sounded like fun...a place to pick up cured meats for later, but not for a meal. Same with Ballard market. My hubby saw something about pork belly sliders at Spur, so that was also put on the list (so perhaps Quinn's can get crossed off).

          1. re: mmmmangos

            I would give a extreme thumbs up for Wolf, Salumi, Quinn's and Matt's in the Market. Harvest Vine I fond just ok, nothing too spectacular (and hit or miss service). The two I would not miss would be How to Cook a Wolf and Matt's. Two of my top places in Seattle.

            1. re: mmmmangos

              Bavarian Meat's is a great place to do just what you are thinking - pick up snacks for the room. I love their liverwurst. And they make these pretzel rolls that look fabulous.

              Tilth and Sitka and Spruce are very different in feel. I've only had breakfast at Tilth so I can't speak to it's food but Sitka and Spruce pushes the envelope a little more. Tilth's claim to fame is all organic. Sitka and Spruce pushes the local/seasonal angle. If you're interested in Sitka and Spruce, you might want to check out The Corson Building, Matt Dillon's latest venture. I had a very interesting meal there.

              Re: Spur and Quinn's. Both are great. Spur is a more "refined" and Quinn's is more "rustic".

            2. re: cocktailhour

              Just returned from a weekend in LA preceded by extensive CH research so I feel I know your perspective now better than I otherwise might

              Excellent advice by cocktail hour, and others. I would add that Spring Hill is very good and arguably as "Northwest" as it gets. I am a huge fan of Spur, Crush and Quinn's; each executes its locally sourced and inspired dishes as well as remarkable restaurants in much larger cities. Steelhead Diner too, though perhaps not quite as consistently. I would definitely pass on Cafe Juanita; haven't been to Dinette or Wolf. I appreciate your having Vietnamese in spades in SoCal, but consider that Tamarind Tree and Green Leaf are quite remarkable, Monsoon for dim sum/brunch too. These are far from a pho spot or bahn mi deli (though we have good examples of those here too). I quite like the related Spaniards Harvest Vine and Txori, but I think for a short stay Tilth or Sitka and Spruce may be more represenative of the locavore scene, as cocktail hour suggests. I would advise generally not doing Italian either, but hear great things about Spinasse, the pasta specialist/N. Italian newbie.

              P.s. Park's BBQ, Jitlada and Lucques--all awesome.

            3. I'd really consider adding Monsoon for dim sum/brunch on Saturday. I'd pass on Dinette as it's a nice little neighborhood place but not remarkable. I would add Sitka & Spruce or Lark to this list.
              Didn't realize Bavarian Meats was more than a counter, anyone know do they make things?

              1. Matt's - go for lunch (catfish san + salad nearly qualifies as cheap eats at under $20)

                Bavarian Meat Deli - (just a door away from Starbuck's #1) yes, this is one of about a hundred unique and wonderful things at the Pike Place Public Market (go early and stay til closing). In a similar vein, see Uli's Famous Sausages (made fresh by Uli) just across Pike Place and a few stalls South. They have a huge and delectable selection, wonderfully flavorful spices and no preservatives.

                Paseo - A must - Call your local friend with a lot of dishes and get several "dinners" to take out and plate up at home (too huge and messy to eat all that on a tippy two-top). What a great picnic that is.

                Salumi - Definitely - Sit at the common table and try the specials. Ask Irma what's good today.

                Ballard Sunday farmers market - yes, but many vendors are on a circuit and all the markets are good.

                Cafe Juanita - you'd surely get good food, but Juanita's a schlep and pricey (see other splurge candidates below).

                Harvest Vine - This is memorable, though not cheap. Sub Txori to Save.

                Crush - A splurge, but worthy. Other Very Seattle splurges = Tilth, Lark, Elemental, Art of the Table, Sitka and Spruce.
                Spring Hill
                How to Cook a Wolf

                Transit is pretty good (get info at METRO desks - 2nd & Jackson, Under Macy's at 3rd/4th and Pike). You can see the town from a little higher perch than a car and don't have to drive.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mrnelso

                  Wow. This is such great info. I will def. add either Tilth, Sitka & Spruce, or Lark to the list. Thanks for the feedback on all the places, and the Monsoon brunch suggestion sounds good as well.. Will pass on Dinette. Something about Quinn's really appeals to me, so I may keep that as well.

                  Equinoise, glad you had some good food experiences in L.A.! Lucques and Jitlada are both great. Haven't been to Parks BBQ but I've heard good things.