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Best Bang for Your Buck in Seattle?

Hi there,

I'm the poster who is looking to impress her Big Apple Foodie hubby with Seattle. I'm working on an itinerary for our few days out there. One little issue - money! So what are some suggestions for lower cost but delicious food? We are thinking of splurging on one or two spots (Crush, Zoe's, La Medusa on the short list) but would love suggestions for spots that won't break the bank but will bring smile to both of our faces. A couple of places we have been that worked well: Salumi, Paseo, assorted happy hours in upscale spots, Than Bros., Noodle Studio, Blue Nile.

Thanks so much for your help. Tomorrow we arrive - splurging on a lunch at the Salish - worth it?

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  1. You've already named a lot of my choices. Also try, perhaps, Baguette Box (yummy "Vietnamese" sandwiches with unusal fillings), Ray's cafe happy hour (mussels, clams, buger are good and cheap), Tamarind Tree (Vietnamese in the Internation District - very reasonable prices), and for pasta - Machiavelli in Cap Hill (dinner only and can have long waits) or Rialto (try the alfredo - YUM) in Fremont (although, you probably have excellent Italian in NYC so maybe not so impressive).

    1. Nichole,

      I just did the Happy Hour at Spur last night and loved it.

      Billy Bob

      5 Replies
      1. re: Billy Bob

        Ahhh - I was looking at their website but couldn't find the happy hour info. I should check it out. What sort of stuff did they have?
        One thing I really love about Seattle is the huge variety of happy hours. Yup, we have 'em here in NYC but the ones in Seattle offer so much more. I was checking out the ones at Lola's and the Dahlia Lounge online..... those look great.

        1. re: nicholel


          Check out my blog for details on my Spur Happy Hour experience including photos. www.taoofchow.wordpress.com

          Billy Bob

          1. re: Billy Bob

            Went to Spur yesterday. Great drinks - weird service. We ordered a few dishes that never came but then suddenly appeared after I cancelled them BUT they compted them ALL. Really nice.... and they were delicious plates.

            1. re: nicholel

              Thanks for the heads up on the service. I had good service, but I also got there as soon as they opened so there was only three parties for them to take care of.

              Billy Bob

              1. re: Billy Bob

                well - they did give them to us all for free... that definitely made up for the service.

      2. Click on mrnelso and see more posts, many all about great cheap eats.
        I think I just did a big post about the Pike Place Market, which is Chow heaven hereabouts.

        Baguette Box is a winner, and Paseo (for this one,, order as many different "dinners" to go as you can handle [invite friends]. Taking them home and plating them up yourtself makes for a much better experience than squeezing around a tippy two-top, with crowd-presssure to hurry-up.

        Tamarind Tree is good Vietnamese, but also good (and even more economical) are Green Leaf and Lemongrass.

        4 Replies
        1. re: mrnelso

          Thanks - you have many good suggestions. I took a look at Elemental. Is that located where the old Meridien Restaurant used to be? I was actually fond of that place - I think the view is what did me well over the food though.

          1. re: nicholel

            I was about to say that, first off, Elemental is not cheap, but worth what you'll spend. I now see they've opened "Elemental Next Door," with less spendy options. I need to go there as soon as posssible.

            I don't remeber the Meridian Restaurant, but Elemental is at the Ground floor of a newer apartment/condo complex at the foot of Wallingford Avenue (34th). I do not remember a view, though my attention was so absorbed in the food I can't swear there wasn't one. Go before they open. Be ready to protect your place in line, and have a backup plan (Pasta Freska comes to mind, or Brad's Swingside Cafe. Maybe Stumbling Goat Bistro). Pho is a good idea when here and you can broaden yoiur exposure with Pho Bac, on 7th, and Pho Cyclo, down on First Avenue.

            1. re: mrnelso

              Elemental is not where Meridian used to be. I miss Meridian! I think it's now an event venue.

              1. re: mrnelso

                We went last night, after an event, and it was great. The menu changes depending on what's what, and they have 100 $15 splits and many wines by the glass (?$9).
                We had Manchego stuffed pequino peppers $12, which could have been truer to the pepper flavor with a Pasilla or something else with a little more fire, but it was tasty. Also good were:
                Spring veg ragu with tagliatelle, $18
                and Rabbit stew $19.
                We will be going there again.

                for $70,we enjoyed a nice little meal in an enjoyable space. Because of the lateness of the hour, we had the place and staff to ourselves, which we enjoyed.

          2. Seattle Magazine did a feature on "Cheap Eats" a couple of months ago. I just cruised around their website for a little bit, and couldn't find a link anywhere. But you might be able to find a copy somewhere... *shrug*

            My friends and I wrote an article about cheap eats in the International District (Chinatown).

            1 Reply
            1. Like others have mentioned, Tamarind Tree. I always review the bill b/c I feel like i've been undercharged for the quality/service/ambiance.

              Also Tutta Bella for great neopolitan style pizza.

              I haven't done Salish for lunch, but the hubby has and enjoyed it. I've had the weekend brekkie which was delicious but way way way too much food (fruit/yogurt course, pastry course, oatmeal course, and then pancakes/bacon/eggs course plus great coffee served with chocolate shavings and whipped cream.) I didn't eat for 3 days.

              1. -Maekawa Bar has an awesome selection of izakaya style dishes that are relatively inexpensive, a great small atmosphere as well.
                -Ocho is ballard is a nice little tapas spot.
                -La Carta de Oxaca is also in ballard and has great mexican
                - A lunch at Matt's in the Market is also recommended

                I strongly support Crush as a splurge spot as well.

                1. Cafe Presse on Capitol Hill for yummy yummy French food.Their all day cafe menu is ridiculously affordable ($6 for a croque monsieur!). Their dinner specials are also quite affordable. They also have cheap wine by the glass and pichet (mini pitchers). The atmosphere is quaint and casual. I'm embarassed to admit that I have never eaten at their sister restaurant, Le Pichet, which is downtown. I hear it's also quite lovely. I would definitely hit one of the two.

                  1. Nicholel: I would give La Medusa a miss, personally. That place is wildly overrated. Just bad food, period.

                    A new place I really like that could replace that is Poppy on Capitol Hill... also, Odd Fellows is really fun, though not fine dining exactly. A very nice atmosphere, good food, communal tables, etc.

                    Good luck!

                    1. You're probably gone by now, but for the next time:

                      Forget Than Bros with their watery broth - get your pho at Pho Bac or Pho Cyclo.

                      Also, Saigon Deli has much better bahn mi than Baguette Box, and for less than half the price.

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: terrier

                          I'll second the Pho Bac.
                          Cafe Campagne and Metropolitan Grill have good HH menus.
                          Sitka and Spruce for fresh and innovative tapas. They are moving (if you look them up on the net).
                          Quinns is a good gastropub.
                          Thai - Typhoon and Buddha Ruska
                          Malay Satay Hut
                          Green Leaf Vietnamese
                          Rancho Bravo Tacos or Tacos El Asadero (sigh)

                          More money -
                          Stumbling Goat

                        2. Real americana fill you up inexpensive breakfast here:
                          Voulas Offshore Cafe

                          1. It is worth the splurge. Get a seat by the window and relax. The attic right?


                            Take a look at this. Some interesting HH promos and Monday bring your own wine for no corkage fee? Nice. Wine, fire, waterfall. Very romantic.

                            1. I would add Txori to the list in Belltown.

                              2207 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: shaolinLFE

                                There are some pretty spendy places in this list!

                                Pecos Pit BBQ is a very good bargain if you like Texas style BBQ.

                              2. Without a doubt, I would say Txori. Black Bottle also Tapas Style has huge plates for not a lot of $. Our favorite is Dim Sum at Harbor City BBQ, so cheap and so good. Also El Puerco Lloron for cheap, authentic Mexican by the market!

                                1. sezchuan noodle in chinatown is cheap and yummy. we're always amazed at how little the bill is. the vegetarian dumplings (spinach and tofu) are amazing, better than the pork dumplings. and the cold chicken noodle salad is wonderful, especially if it's hot out.

                                  1. It's not fancy by any means but last time I was in Seattle we ate at a little hole in the wall Cafe Bengodi (700 1st Ave-Seattle, WA 98104 (206) 381-0705).
                                    Food was really great. It's a small little joint and we really enjoyed it.

                                    Another spot we really loved was Palace Kitchen. We went during happy hour. The burger is AMAZING. We loved the food... and of course the chef is Tom Douglas- a heavy weight in the Seattle food scene.

                                    Enjoy your trip.

                                    1. Wow. Didn't realize this was originally posted in April. Sorry for the past the due date reply.