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Jan 27, 2009 04:54 AM

One Perfect Day in Seattle - Coffee, Lunch, Cocktails, Dinner...

Last minute trip tonight and meeting tomorrow am leaves me with Wednesday lunch, afternoon, evening, and dinner opportunities in Seattle - I will be downtown in the the vicinity of Grand Hyatt on Pine St. without car, willingness to walk (even if it's cold or wet - Boston is home for me) or take public transit or even a taxi if merited.

I hope to have enough internet access to do more thorough searches of this board before arrival - meanwhile, may I have your favorite recommendations for the following:

1. Locally-roasted artisanal coffee (not expresso and related drinks - French press, drip, etc. with awesome single estate varieties, for example) - I want some to drink and some to take home (for reference, I love Caffe Artigiano in BC, Counter Culture in NC, Blue Bottle in SF, and Mocha Joes in VT).

2. Great lunch - no budget or ethnic preferences - just a chow destination open until at least 2p that is your favorite reflection of what Seattle food is all about today.

3. Dinner - similar to lunch but somewhere else or variety - loved Dahlia Lounge about 15 years ago (and sadly haven't been back to Seattle since) - should I go back there or try somewhere else? I'll be dining solo so good bar setups are my preference (with real mindblowing mixology in a casual atmosphere would be a real bonus! for reference, a la Death & Co/Pegu Club in NYC and Drink in Boston). Do you have any great izakaya options in Seattle? I loved it in Vancouver and it does not exist in Boston at this point.

4. Anything else I should check out while I have the afternoon to wander?

Thanks for your thoughts and recommendation

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  1. Breakfast at Le Pichet or Steelhead Diner
    Lunch at Matt's in the Market or Salumi
    Drinks at Spur
    Dinner- Union, Poppy, Crush, or Quinn's

    1. 2. For lunch I would go to Matt's in the Market. It's a great chow destination with the bonus of a great view.

      3. Start with cocktails at Vessel (5th and University - next to the 5th Avenue Theater) and then head to Union for dinner.

      1. Thanks for the specific and good ideas - and I've done some of my own research now.

        It sounds like Matt's and Salumi are musts, with a possible stop for coffee at Zietgeist, Vessel is really appealing, and I need to look into more about Elliott's Oyster Bar, Spur, How to Cook a Wolf Crush to narrow down dinner options based on locations and other comments. Union looks pretty Italian which I love but we have strong options for in Boston. Still interested in izakaya if anyone has a recommendation in or near downtown....

        4 Replies
        1. re: rlh

          Matt's for lunch, Quinn's for dinner. Enjoy our balmy weather!

          1. re: rlh

            For a really great izakaya scene you have to go north across the border to Vancouver. There are a couple of places in downtown Seattle that try (Wann Izakaya, Kushibar) but they fall down on the food, IMO.

            The most authentic izakaya option is probably Maekawa Bar in the International District south of downtown - but again, it's nothing compared to the better places in Vancouver or New York.

            For lunch, Matt's in the Market, hands down.

            As you're dining solo, I'd actually recommend the bar at the Palace Kitchen for dinner. They make a fine cocktail and the food is miles better than at any of the cocktail specialists I like (In Washington, any place serving hard liquor has to serve food.) PK is where I take all my out-of-town guests.

            If you're making a stop for cocktails specifically, Vessel is good but do also consider Zig Zag.

            1. re: terrier

              Agree that izakaya here is lacking compared to Vancouver...Maekawa here is decent, but Guu up there is silly good.

              I think the food and cocktails at Spur are excellent. Really high on this place lately.

              1. re: equinoise

                Oh yeah, Spur is a very good option as well.

          2. COFFEE: Consider Lighthouse Roasters. They have one coffee shop on a residential corner in Fremont, and they roast the beans in the corner of the shop. I pop in frequently around 7am and I've spotted Dave Matthews several times.

            LUNCH: I agree with the Matt's in the Market recommendation. It's quintessential Seattle and will allow you to explore Pike Place Market after your lunch. For lunch I always order one of their specials, and be sure to start with a cup of their daily soup. Matt's excels at soup. Make a reservation, even for solo lunching at the counter.

            DINNER: I highly recommend How to Cook a Wolf. The food is insanely delicious. And you just can't beat the's a small restaurant with a gorgeous northwest-vibe of warm copper, natural wood, cozy feel. It's has the whole package. Since you'll likely have to wait for a table, there are several options in walking distance where you can have a cocktail and they'll call your cell phone. The host is very kind and can assist.

            Please report back on your perfect day!

            Matt's In the Market
            94 Pike St Ste 32, Seattle, WA 98101

            How to Cook a Wolf
            2208 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

            Lighthouse Roasters
            400 N 43rd St, Seattle, WA 98103

            2 Replies
            1. re: frygirl

              I just watched the Chow video about Blue Bottle coffee in San Fran ( It was facinating, but now I'm not sure if Lighthouse is what you are looking for. It might be, but I realize now that I don't know enough about local coffee purveyors to know who is passionate in the vein of Blue Bottle. Hopefully someone else can weigh in on that.

              1. re: frygirl

                Caffe Vita is known for organic fair trade sourcing, and has cupping events. They even have roasts that they bring back direct from specific farms.
                Does that fit the bill?


            2. Thanks for all of the great advice and recommendations. I had an awesome sunny, warm day in Seattle with amazing food and drinks all along the way.

              Started at Matt's for lunch-the catfish sandwich IS all it's hyped to be and more (and I don't consider myself to really like catfish - the spicy sauce really makes it) - bartender Robbie was great all around (nice wine recommendation!). I really enjoyed meeting and chatting with former owner Matt as well. This institution is amazing!

              Then I wandered around the market and picked up some Stumptown beans (great press coffee at Matt's is made with it, by the way!) at the DeLaurenti market (nice store with great variety even if pricey).

              I walked down to Pioneer Square and picked up four types of amazing cured meats to take home from Salumi as well as an interesting mini-selection from Sake-nomi (thanks to Matt for that tip!).

              I enjoyed a LOT of oysters (half price) at Oceanaire (though I do wonder if I should have gone to Elliott's instead - they were fresh and tasty but the shucking was kind of sloppy- too many shards to spit out), then headed to Zip Zag...

              where I totally loved meeting the institution there named Murray who made some of the best cocktails I"ve ever had (the Celery Bitters from Germany were really special!) and the fellow patrons were a blast to talk with as well.

              For a late dinner I initially planned on the lounge at Chez Shea but couldn't resist the pull of Matt's and went back there - the dungeness crab butternut squash bisque was excellent and the short rib was awesome!

              I was truly ready to crash when I got to my red eye flight and can't wait to get back to Seattle again - hopefully very soon. The city is beautiful, the people were universally friendly/interesting/helpful, and the eating/drinking is top notch. Thanks again!!

              2 Replies
              1. re: rlh

                Thanks for the follow up. It sounds like you had a great day!

                1. re: rlh

                  That sounds like a fantastic day. And how lucky for you to have enjoyed a warm sunny day.