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Sep 14, 2009 05:20 PM

Food Centric Neighborhoods Seattle/Portland

What's up chowhounders! I am heading out to Seattle and Portland the 17-24th to visit friends and scope a possible new place to live. My gf and I are in our late 20's and coming from Brooklyn so there is your frame of reference. We love great food of course and that will be a big part of our decision to relocate. We want to have good access to markets and restaurants cheap/moderate/expensive, whatever. We really don't know anything about where we are going so we hope you can clue us in. Is there anywhere downtown we would live (in either Portland/Seattle or are all the interesting pockets spread out a bit? Any specific food centric nabe's we should check out? Any must try's while we are out there. We are good for all food types, especially clean unfussy fresh stuff, bbq, chinese, mexican, french, blah blah blah. Thanks for all your help. And feel free to steer us away from unnecessary tourist traps.

Thanks so much. We appreciate any advice!

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  1. Depends on what you're looking for, whether you'll rent or buy and your price range. In Seattle, check out Capitol Hill, Ballard, Queen Anne, Wallingford and Fremont. Belltown is also fun for happy hours/bars and don't miss in and around Pike Place Market downtown. All are within 10-30 minutes by bus to downtown (Capitol Hill is walking distance to downtown, but it's up the hill). Good food can be found all over Seattle! Ballard has a ton of restaurants and is an easy 20 min bus ride from downtown. Also, check out the Ballard farmer's market on Sunday. Don't forget to check out the lightrail to South Seattle for some good food in Columbia City (I like Kallaloo) and/or the International District (Chinatown). You should be able to find a bunch of places if you search the board for these neighborhoods.

    5 Replies
    1. re: akq

      Thanks akq - I should have said we would be renting...hopefully a average priced 2br in a safe/convenient neighborhood.

      1. re: akq

        I generally agree with the above... Columbia City is a great neighborhood to visit, but it seems a bit staid (of course, I live in Seward Park, so shouldn't really talk). I would add Georgetown to the list. It's a very young neighborhood filled with cool bars and artists, and seems both lively and tasty.

        1. re: Booklegger451

          Naw, I'd pass of Georgetown.
          Fun for a month, but you'll get bored quickly with the options and want to drive either North to the above mentioned places or south to explore Burien/White center.

          Georgetown now = Ballard 20 year ago. Which means you have to wait at least 10 years to get more than the few (very nice) places that have opened thus far.

          1. re: GreenYoshi

            G-Town obviously bests Columbia City on night life, but not food. In Columbia City you have the farmer's market, roy's, geraldine's, la medusa and the columbia city bakery, all of which IMO contend for best city-wide at what they do, respectively. I think verve is any overlooked value for local/organic/NW/bisto/etc, and there is a new panini place that seems to be drawing a crowd. Good beer selections and decent bar grub at the alehouse (but really lame hours). Nearby in Seward Park you have good groceries at PCC and great pizza at flying squirrel.

            Coming from BK, you may or may not prefer to live in a neighborhood predominated by white hipsters/yipsters/yuppies. Most, if not all, of the desirable neighborhoods north of the ship canal have that demographic. My sister-in-law was just visiting from NYC and she thought Columbia City comparable to park slope, but I think Ballard or Capitol Hill (especially the east side of it) are more that way, minus the notable presence of ethnic minorites.

            1. re: GreenYoshi

              Georgetown now = Fremont 20 years ago. It's a great, hip, neighborhood - if that's what the OP is looking for. If you wait 10 years, that hip, industrial feel will go away like it did in Fremont.

        2. I am in my 20's and I have lived in Fremont/Wallingford area and Upper Queen Anne area. I rove around the city and eat out as much as possible. With that being said I would suggest Capitol Hill (maybe somewhere between Broadway and 19th?- more residental in city that crazy city street- I walk from Capitol Hill to downtown, Belltown, Lower Queen Anne, Eastlake, and the International Distict regularly) and Fremont/Wallingford area(which is walkable to Ballard, The Ave, Greenwood, and Queen Anne if you are a wanderer like me- or there is always the bus). Fremont/Wallingord is on one side of the heart of Seattle and Capitol Hill is on other. Both of these places make it easy to get to any part of Seattle in about 10 minutes- or you can take the bus. I like Ballard but besides the main heart of it- it is less city and more suburb.

          I would suggest driving around these areas- and not just on the main roads. Maps of Seattle on Google and online do a good job of outlining what the area are.

          1. Portland's small enough where the whole town should be considered one neighborhood. That being said, I like to show people the following food neighborhoods:

            * 82nd Ave (the unofficial official Asian part of town)
            * SE Division/Belmont (a residentially neighborhood with tons of awesome eats)
            * The Pearl (very much the martini-lounge part of town, and for better or for worse, the fastest growing)
            * NW 21st/23rd (mostly for the picturesque Victorian homes, coupled with some fun dining spots)
            * Alberta (Portland's most vibrant arts district)
            * Cart Pods on SW 10th and Alder and SW 5th and Oak (carts are the lifeblood of downtown lunch, and I also show them the carts on SE 12th and Hawthorne which are quite the late night scene)
            * Inner East Side (since this is where I spend most of my time)

            My lease is up in December, and I'm hoping to move somewhere around in the teens on the eastside, which centrally locates me between the inner east bars, the restaurants on Hawthorne and Division, and easy freeway access.

            2 Replies
            1. re: SauceSupreme

              I'm not sure if my post from last night failed or was deleted for too much real estate info, so my apologies if you're seeing this twice. The ones that I'd consider would be the Alberta arts district, which has access to the Concordia New Seasons Market, or the inner eastside, which might get you within walking distance of the Whole Foods on NE 29th and Burnside.
              I'd also consider the Boise neighborhood for its access to the N Mississippi scene (and is also within walking distance of some decent places on N Williams and ME MLK, too), but I don't know of good food markets there.
              I'm a little leery of the Pearl and NW 23rd because they're pretty expensive (although I think that prices on the east side have gone up since I was last on the market).

              1. I didn't think El Masry was doing Egyptian food anymore. Has anyone been lately? I haven't been down that block in about a month or so.

              2. If it were me, I'd look for a place to live between the Willamette River, SE 82nd Ave, SE Division St, and NE Alberta. This would be your best bet funwise and foodwise.