Near the Seattle Opera House
My wife and I will be attending performances of Wagner's Ring next month. Can you recommend eateries that are convenient to the opera house (walking distance if possible) and that serve lite meals, like soup, salad, lite entrees and such. Of course, it has to be good. We plan to eat lite before the performances, otherwise we'll fall asleep. Separately, we would like recommendations for really good seafood restaurants. Long, long time ago, when I traveled on business, I used to go to McCormick's, I think on 5th Avenue. I mean really good seafood restaurants in a range of prices would be appreciated. We won't have a car, but can be persuaded to rent one on a day off from the opera for something special that overlooks the water, or whatever. Finally, any recommendation for a "quintessial Pacific Northwest" restaurant experience -- one that stresses fresh local fare -- would also be nice. We're from the Northeast (NYC) originally and living in North Carolina, so a regional experience would be nice.
Panos Kleftiko, a Greek place, is within easy walking distance of the McCaw Hall; we go there often before the opera. Don't order entrees, which are only pedestrian; order appetizers from their extensive appetizer menu and eat with the good pita they offer. These small plates are wonderful and you can easily limit yourself to a smaller meal, if that's what you prefer.
Bahn Thai is an old standby Thai restaurant, also within easy walking distance, and a favorite of opera patrons.
I should have mentioned: I don't know where you're staying but getting to and from downtown to the Seatle Center where the McCaw Hall is, is easy with the monorail. You'd have to check on operating hours. But downtown would open up many more dining opportunities.
Since you are a visitor, I'd recommend eating at any one of these four and taking a taxi to the Opera House, if you want REALLY good seafood. You can review their menus on-line: Ettas (a Tom Douglas restaurant), Ponti Grille, Palisade and Seastar. Finding great food around the opera is tough.
re: Sandy Schumacher
Thank you all for the very helpful information. We'll be staying at the Hampton Inn which I understand is very close to the opera house. We're willing to travel to a really good restaurant on the days when we're not going to the opera, and will look into the places suggested. Is lunch or dinner at the space needle worth recommending, or should we just go there for a drink?
The view is nice, but stick to the drinks as there is FAR better food in Seattle. If you are willing to wander further afield on one of your nights away from the opera, then you really should go to Ray's Boat House. You will need reservations 1-2 weeks in advance. It is a good 15 minute cab drive from your hotel.
We regularly go to Panos before the opera and when the symphony used to be at the Opera House, before concerts. They are used to pre-event diners. For a 7:30 start time, I recommend getting there at their 5:30 pm opening time. If we get there at 5:30, we are generally finished by 6:30 or even earlier, leaving plenty of time. Am not sure what their hours are on Saturdays. Believe they are closed on Sundays. Prelude is also an option, right at McCaw Hall. The food is good, but service can be erratic. Thai Heaven is also an option, in addition to Bahn Thai. The paradise chicken there is recommended. There are no "fine dining" options in the area, to my way of thinking--Prelude serves food that would sometimes qualify, but in a huge room that reminds me of a college dining room. . . .
Prelude, which is right at McCaw is good, I think. They have both regular size entrees and also soups, salads, snacks, that kind of thing. The service had been a little whacky but they seem to be getting it figured out. And it's a pretty nice space.
I would also recommend Crow.
Totally ambivalent about Ten Mercer. I like the space and have had good-ish food there but overall, it could be SOOOOO much better.
I have heard good things about Tillikum Place Cafe which is on the opposite side of Seattle Center on Cedar. Their web site isn't working at the moment but seems to French Bistro-y stuff and I believe they had a small plates type thing going on.
Good luck and have fun!
Which Ring Cycle did you/are going to attend? My husband and I are here from L.A. and will be attending this week's (third) cycle. If you have already been here to attend the Ring, where did you end up dining? We have a rez at Prelude for this evening but haven't made any reservations for the nights of the other three performances.
As for McCormick's Fish House (on Fourth Avenue), it has been one our favorites for years, perhaps in part for nostalgic reasons since we dined there regularly back when our son lived in Seattle. We had a late dinner there last night. Fish is always very fresh; they receive deliveries multiple times per day.
MCCORMICK'S FISH HOUSE & BAR
722 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104
We were here in July and had an excellent dinner at Seastar (per Sandy Schumacher's reply). Great food and interesting cocktails as well.