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Foodies coming to Seattle for 2 1/2 days

My boyfriend and I have turned our 4 day Seattle trip into a 2 1/2 day Seattle and 7 day cruise to Alaska. So, I am now really wanting to get to the best of the best food spots in Seattle. We are coming from Chicago, so we are really wanting to experience NW fare. Notice, I say 2 1/2, rather than 2 days. We like to eat three meals a day when traveling! :)

So far we are definitely going to Wild Ginger one night and I have to have fish and chips. Any suggestions? I have read about Anthony's, Jacks- which the reviews say not so great, and also Elliot's' although, just for oysters though, and not fish and chips?

We are also definitely going to Paseo for lunch. So, I am still in need of:

Fish and chips for lunch

Dinner-was thinking Cafe Juanita, How to Cook a Wolf, Quinn's, Sitka and Spruce; although, I see no menu anywhere. Would love some suggestions!

Any great spots for chowders?

2 Breakfast spots-thinking about Lola's and also stopping by the doughnut place at the Market-not sure the name though!

Any suggestions or critiques?

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  1. Reconsider Wild Ginger; nothing special.
    Will you have a car?
    Cafe Juanita is in kirkland but is worth it if you have a car. Other suggestions for dinner would be Harvest VIne or the other places you listed.
    For fish and chips you should go to Quinns for lunch and get it there. The burger there is also really good.
    Do paseo.
    Chowder at Pike place chowder.
    Breakfast: Lola is good. For the other you could do the doughnuts at the market, Daily Dozen, and also get an egg sandwich at I love NY deli stand right next to it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dagrassroots

      Wild Ginger must have some kind of national PR campaign...it attracts out of towners like a magnet. If you want a high-end meal, Asian, pan-Asian, or otherwise, there are several better places. You could do very well at Tamarind Tree or Monsoon with traditional or modern Vietnamese.

      I like Fish and Chips at Pacific Inn Pub, which also has good beers and jukebox, in a dive bar setting. Its cod, though; If you want Halibut, I guess its Quinn's, maybe Pike St. Fish Fry. If you don't care about setting, the Nordstrom's cafe has really good fish and chips, I must admit.

      Paseo: believe the hype, everyone else does.

      Dinner: I'm personally not on the Cafe Juanita train. I like Sitka and Spruce but the no-rez policy can be annoying if time is short, and you are waiting in a strip mall. I often recommend Lark in its place, because you can enjoy a cocktail next door during the wait, and order from a more-extensive, local/organic menu. Never been to Wolf, but I really like the chef's original restaurant, Union. If you are going to Quinn's for lunch, no need to do dinner too. Harvest Vine and Txori are both good, the latter for more just interesting Spanish snacks. Since you are coming from Chicago, I wouldn't look for much in the way of Thai, Mexican or Eastern European.

    2. Cafe Juanita is a good bet.--don't expect to see any red sauce with pasta. Highly recommend the rabbit there. Fish & chips? For a maritime view, try Anthony's on the waterfront (otherwise avoid Anthony's, but the fish & chips are good) or Little Chinook's at Fishermen's Terminal. For the best French fries ever, go to Sambar in Ballard and eat with a drink. Alas, I don't think they're open for lunch. Elliott's is for oysters--everything else I've had there is only so-so. Agree with the other poster's comments on skipping Wild Ginger--lots of people like it, but I think it has gone down hill considerably in the past few years. Head on down to the Internatonal District and have REAL Asian food--try the green mango salad and any of the vermicelli dishes or banh xeo at Green Leaf, or the mu shu (you pick the meat or vegetarian) and hand shaved noodles at Shanghai Garden, for example. Or go up to Little Saigon to Malay Satay Hut and have roti canai, char kway teow and green beans balachan--call ahead to make sure they're open, as the Seattle branch is a little iffy that way but the food is good. Agree with your idea on Paseo. Am partial to Tsukushinbo in the ID for Japanese home style cooking, but there are good Japanese restaurants in Chicago, aren't there, so no need to go there. Piroshky and baklava (not in the same place) in the market are good. Belle Epicurean in the Olympic Hotel is good for French sweet rolls.

      1. Great starting point- findings and research-
        I would suggest you spend a lunch or meal wandering the Pike Place Market and eating your way through it- I love NY Deli, Daily Dozen Donuts, Crumpet Shop, Cinnamon Works, Beechers, Piroshky Piroshky, Turkish Delight, Bavarian Meats, Three Sisters, etc.

        Regarding your comments-
        So far we are definitely going to Wild Ginger one night... I vote you go somewhere in the ID for dinner instead- Think Tamarind Tree or Green Leaf (we are know for our Vietnamese) or another- wander and enjoy- maybe a dessert at one of the ID bakeries or in Uwajimaya?

        We are also definitely going to Paseo for lunch- Good Plan- I love the scallops sandwich.

        Fish and chips for lunch- Ivar's at the Pier- basic- Very Seattle and you eat it there :)

        Dinner- Crush, Art of the Table, How to Cook a Wolf, Spring Hill, or a Tom Douglas restaurant for fun

        Any great spots for chowders? Pike Place Chowder- scallops chowder and other great varieties

        2 Breakfast spots-thinking about Lola's... good idea- also maybe Steelhead Diner in the market with donuts after? or Le Pichet?

        1 Reply
        1. re: natalie.warner

          For this Seattle native, Ivar's on the pier is mostly about the seagulls (very nice seagulls. trust me), as the Fish and Chips is just, well, Fish and Chips. Just about every kitchen in this maritime town features F&C. Tastes in fish-flesh, breading, and ambiance vary, but here are some notes from our book: Halibut and Chips at Sunfish, on Alki, is especially great when you get there via the West Seattle Passenger Ferry, which departs the downtown Seattle waterfront (Coleman Dock) regularly (the taxpayers of Seattle welcome you with this magnanimously subsidized, gorgeous ride - there is controversy here...).
          In the Pike Place Market (well, almost, as its entrance is actually on First Avenue, there's a place called the Pike Place Bar and Grill. As with most places with B&G in their name, the cuisine is spotty, but I had me a great surprise one day (OK, so it was years ago) when I succumbed to a sandwich-board ad for Halibut F&C and was blown away by beautifully caramelized, beautifully beer-battered, beautiful Fish with beautiful chips (can you tell I liked it?), with an truly world-class slaw (if there is such a thing, that was it). Do not count on a repeat of my experience; it felt like a fluke (heh) at the time, but I am a lucky man.
          If you take a 54 down to West Seattle, I seem to remember another good F&C at Endolyne Joe's (many fans, many detractors), mere blocks from the Fauntleroy ferry dock. Details are hazy, beyond that the ales were stout, but worth a look just to visit West Seattle.
          Back in the north end is the most Seattlest place ever, with its view, overlooking the North end of lake Union toward the Space needle at the South. Ivar's Salmon House runs Happy Hour all day long, every day (last time I looked). Situated on the Lake Washington Ship Canal (dug to connect lake Washington to Puget Sound), this is a favored hangout of hoards of UW grad-students looking for passable grub (sometimes great, it depends). We avoid the main menu and the main dining room, but take broke friends to happy hours in the bar. We get the Caesar, the chowder, the F&C, sometimes Halibut bites, often the squid, and always a pint of Manny's. In good weather, this can happen on the barge.
          Nearby, just across the Fremont bridge, blocks East of the Troll, is Pacific Inn Pub. This is a household favorite and features great NW taps, a Panko-beaded F&C, and a grilled Reuben that is the best of its class.
          Whatever you make of this, please report back. You are coming to Seattle at a good time (the rest of the year is damp, dark, and notably fungal).
          RE:Chowder, we like the seared scallop at Pike Place Chowder. That's not really fair, though, since we stopped ordering anything else long ago.
          Wild Ginger is long-since tamed by the excellence of its competition. We bear no specific complaint, but there is lately so much more to taste elsewhere.
          We avoid Jack's F&C, but Jack's has one thing not to miss: the Cioppino. For about 3 bucks, you will have Cioppino rivaled only by Shark's, in Newport (go to the Oregon Coast Aquarium while you're there - take away a bomber of Shakespeare Stout).
          Those tiny doughnuts are cute, in a County-Fair sort of way, but, for flavor, Top Pot is a whole nother deal, and not a mile away. You could use the walk there, anyway, after your indulgence at the Market (oh, yes, get baked pork hum bao at Mee Sum, a grilled sausage at Uli's, and a Halibut sandwich at the Market Grill, across the aisle, mere feet away).
          Paseo is Ab-Fab, but the tables are small, the line-pressure is huge, and the forks are polypropylene. If you can find a friend, go re-plate this huge meal somewhere where you can really relax into the experience. If not, a polypropylene fork is a small price to pay for this treat.
          Definitely Roti-Chanai, if you make it to Malay Satay hut. The rest of the menu will blow you away if you are Singaporian, but may just confuse you, if not. A graze with Bahn Mi at 88..., a Bon Bon salad at Tamarind Tree (if you're into the adult beverages, do the kumqaut, though only if they're orange. They did me a green one once, so now I ask first). At Tamarind Tree, if you want to pop your eyes out, get the seven courses of beef...
          Have fun and please report back.

          -----
          Pike Place Market
          1501 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

          Tamarind Tree
          1036 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104

          Ivar's Salmon House
          401 NE Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98105

          Pacific Inn Pub
          3501 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA

          Market Grill
          1509 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

          Endolyne Joe's
          9261 45th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98136

          Pike Place Chowder
          600 Pine St Ste 404, Seattle, WA 98101

        2. I forgot! You could wander the neighborhood of Capitol Hill- have coffee at Cafe Vita or Stumptown- fish and chips at Pike Place Fish Fry and ice cream at Molly Moon's- all great Seattle places and fresh on the food scene- all within blocks of each other :)

          1. IF it is nice when you are here go to alki across lake union or take the water taxi, and go to spud for the fish n chips. great views and i think the best fish n chips.

            whatever you do stay away from wild ginger, it is turning into a PF changs of sorts. if you are here on a friday go to SALUMI for lunch. the best bar non! Paseos is rockin too! you have great places in chicago for steak so stay away from the steakhouses here although they are all great.

            do make sure you wander the market and try everything there.