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Apr 3, 2010 06:16 PM

5 Hour Lunch Time Lay-Over in Seattle

We are heading from Boston to Hawaii in early June for our honeymoon. We have a lay-over in Seattle for 5 hours during lunch time.

We plan to leave the airport, hop in a cab and go somewhere for lunch. We are looking for a great lunch place that is fun, interesting, has a good view, or some other relaxing / enjoyable way to spend some time in Seattle.

I think that since we are getting back on an airplane, anything too heavy would be less ideal. Otherwise, open to any ideas that folks have.

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  1. There is a very good taqueria only a mile or so from the airport: Taqueria La Estacion on the corner of Ambaum Blvd and SW 148th St in Burien.

    Taqueria La Estacion
    14820 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, WA 98166

    1. I suggest going to Seven Star's Pepper Szechuan Restaurant for their amazing Dungenous Crab. A true Seattle classic. Seven Stars is in the International District--a 10 minute cab ride. Also recommended there are Tamarind Tree and Green Leaf if you want to do some grazing on unusual Asian cuisine. For "traditional" Northwest with a view, Salty's in West Seattle is another good Chowhound destination. (Naturally they do Salmon well.)

      Tamarind Tree
      1036 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104

      1. Since we already have someone suggesting the ID, which is next to downtown, I'm going to suggest that you search the board for something downtown, preferably in the Pike Place Market--you can't get much more Seattle than that. I'd pick Matt's in the Market. Make a reservation, or call from the cab to make sure you can get a table. It'll take about 20 minutes in a cab, so you should have plenty of time. There are a number of hotels nearby (one right in the market, another across the street) so you shouldn't have any trouble hailing a cab back to the airport. There really isn't much close to the airport, which is in the suburbs between Seattle and Tacoma.

        1. You shouldn't even need to take a cab to get to downtown from the airport, since there is now light rail that'll take you from the airport to within a few blocks of the places being recommended for a lot less than a cab. One of the places at Pike Place Market would be good for the view (the International District has some good places as well, but not so much on the view.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Vexorg

            Yeah, but light rail takes an hour to get downtown...
            Combine that with security lines, and that 5 hours disappears pretty quick.

            Bai Tong, a Thai place, has been the "close to the airport" standby for many Chowhounders. You'll find it in other post around here.

            I'm a big fan of Abruzzi pizza in Normandy Park, but being from Boston, that would seem like a waste.

            Bai Tong Restaurant
            16876 Southcenter Pkwy, Tukwila, WA 98188

          2. Five hours is plenty of time to take a cab to Seattle, have lunch, and return to the airport in time for your flight to Hawaii. Since downtown Seattle is only about a 20-minute cab ride from Sea-Tac Airport, I wouldn’t limit yourself to places that are marginally closer to the airport, like Bai Tong in the Southcenter Shopping Center. You’ll only be saving 20 minutes or so in total transportation time, and the choices for lunch spots that are more uniquely “Pacific Northwest” are much greater outside of the area around the airport. Allowing 15-25 minutes to disembark from your plane and catch a cab, another 20-30 minutes for the cab ride to a restaurant, and two hours for lunch, still leaves you plenty of time to return to the airport an hour before your flight to Hawaii. Rather than focusing solely on food, or going to the International District, I would suggest a place that overlooks Elliott Bay, where you can see the ferry boats going to and from Bainbridge Island and, on a clear day, catch a view of the Olympic Mountains or, from Alki Point, see the downtown Seattle skyline.. Following the lead of christy319, my first choice would be a place located in the Pike Place Market, which is a historic Seattle landmark. If you have time left over after lunch, you can use it to stroll through the Market, which includes the site of the original Starbuck’s. The best view is perhaps from a table by the windows at Place Pigalle, but Matt’s in the Market also has a great view from a table by its windows. Both places have good food, although Matt’s gets more attention by Chowhound and other food media. The food at Matt’s (e.g., catfish or halibut sandwich, lamb burger) is a little more eclectic than the somewhat, though certainly not exclusively, French-inflected menu at Place Pigalle (e.g., steamed mussels, duck-liver and duck-confit terrine, oyster stew). You can check out their menus on-line. Another spot in the Market with a great view is the often overlooked Maximilien, most often mentioned for its happy hour. Maximilien features classical French food, including four different preparations of steamed mussels. Etta,’s, a Tom Douglas restaurant located just north of the Market, has good Northwest seafood, but does not have a view and, for a one-shot experience, why not enjoy a classic Seattle view? An alternative restaurant venue with good views is along Alaskan Way, which runs along the waterfront north of the downtown Ferry Terminal. If you like raw oysters, you can’t do better than Elliott’s Oyster House, which has a huge selection of impeccably fresh Pacific Northwest oysters – some of the best oysters in the world – which would be an interesting point of comparison to the Atlantic oysters from the East Coast. If raw oysters aren’t your thing, I’d pass on Elliott’s in favor of one of the Pike Place Market restaurants. A final alternative is to go to Salty’s on Alki Point for a magnificent view across Elliott Bay at the downtown Seattle skyline. The view is the thing at Salty’s, although you can do okay food-wise from a somewhat limited menu if you stick to simple, straightforward dishes like seafood chowder and simply grilled salmon.