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Jul 22, 2010 11:13 PM

Places a foodie MUST visit?

I'm a grad student planning a trip up to Seattle from San Francisco in August (with parents and sibling.)

Any major foodie places that I just MUST see/eat at/visit?

Would prefer places that don't require dressing up and reservations. Prefer affordable stuff. Will have a car. Love hole-in-the-wall places, quintessentially local places, markets, farmers markets and the like.

And yes, will be spending some time at Pike Place Market and definitely visiting Uwajimaya.


Pike Place Market
1501 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

600 5th Ave S, Seattle, WA

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  1. Off the top of my head, I'd say our Uwaj is pretty mainstream, but still has great stuff. But wouldn't make it a focal point of the trip. Even though you're looking for mostly affordable stuff, you should splurge a BIT for either Matt's in the Market or Chez Shea (I'd do Chez Shea or their bar, the Shea Lounge, better prices). That's hands down one of the best dining and food experiences you can have in Seattle.

    Also, pink door is classic seattle, but the food over the years has gotten so-so. If you want great Ethiopian, do Queen Sheba on Broadway and Denny (I think denny....) Best cheap Mexican: Mama's in Belltown on 2nd Ave, Best Gourmet Mex: Mexico Grill in Pacific Place downtown. Great Greek: Gorgeous George's in the Phinney/Wallingford area. You WON'T regret that dinner. And George is a total character. Italian: Mama Melina's (new location now, not sure where) Crow on lower Queen Anne, awesome fresh PacNW cuisine, all local. How to Cook a wolf, on top of Queen Anne, good for just a couple people, really small, and small bites. Sushi: Ottoto's, top of Queen Anne. And of course, the 5 spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner, just at the top of Queen Anne Ave.
    Hope your trip is fun!

    Pink Door
    1919 Post Aly, Seattle, WA 98101

    Crow Restaurant & Bar
    823 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

    Chez Shea
    94 Pike St. Suite 34, Seattle, WA 98101

    How to Cook a Wolf
    2208 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

    Queen Sheba
    916 E John St, Seattle, WA 98102

    Mama's Mexican Kitchen
    2234 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

    4 Replies
    1. re: siirisampson

      Mama's? Really? While I wouldn't call it the worst mexican in the Pacific Northwest, it is pretty unremarkable for a field littered with mediocrity. El Puerco Lloron on Western ( is much better, additional choices may be found with a quick search on this board, but all of them are away from downtown.

      El Puerco Lloron
      1501 Western Ave Ste 200, Seattle, WA 98101

      1. re: siirisampson

        Stand in the South doorway of Uwajimaya and look Due South. About two blocks away, you'll see a big, old, government building (used to be INS, before they moved to the burbs).
        Walk down there along 6th Avenue. You'll be taking a bit of a jog East to get around the old INS building, and a door or two South, at 1001 6th Avenue South, you'll find a steep, nondescript driveway. Go down it and find Big John's PFI (Pacific Food Importers) at the bottom, where a handful of cars will probably be parked.
        Big John (Croce) imported a shipment of olive oil a coupla' decades back, and sold it out of the trunk of his car. It worked so well, he became the region's premier importer/wholesaler of Mediterranean specialty groceries, which he continues to retail out of this rag-tag shop. Pastas, cheeses, salumi (oh, yes, don't miss Armandino's Salumi, a few blocks away), cans and bins and slabs of Guava paste and and and...
        Fabulous foods, great prices, good advice.

        Armandino's Salumi
        309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

        600 5th Ave S, Seattle, WA

        1. re: mrnelso

          Oh wow! Love this tip. I will most definitely be heading that way later this week. Nothing like finding something new and exciting hidden right under my nose. =)

          1. re: Zereh

            take empty quart yogurt containers for wet/brined things (Feta, olives).

      2. If you are coming from San Francisco, don't do Mexican here. You'll find much better amongst the most average in the Mission.

        Vietnamese gets a lot of coverage here and is worth checking out. Places not as high brow (or difficult to get into) as the Slanted Door.

        I've never found anything but Papa Beards in Uwajimaya to eat. Unless it's materials to cook a great meal at home (live clams, sushi-grade fish etc.)

        If you are planning on doing the Market anyway, maybe try one of the food tours? They stop and nibble at a lot of the places in the market that you might not think to stop by otherwise. Search this board, there are previous posts.

        Grab some chocolate to go home with you. Fran's has a store on 1st. Theos has tours. it's not's much better.

        You'll have read about Salumi.

        For an excursion (and honestly the most delicious salmon I've tried) do the Argosy Blake Island tour. You get a little show (think luau but PNW Indian), a boat tour, steamed clams and their smoked salmon. Presentation is a little cafeteria-like on the food, but that salmon is memorable.

        It's a great time of year to enjoy Seattle. Have a great trip.

        600 5th Ave S, Seattle, WA

        309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

        1. Since you are going to be at the Market then Le Pichet would be a great stop. You don't have to spend a lot there but the food my wife and I had was really delicious. You can eat a delicous breakfast for what you might spend on an Omelet, orange juice and coffee at Denny's. Portions are moderate and prices match.

          Etta's Seafood at the north end of the Market has a happy hour with crab cakes and other items at a decent price. This would be a good stop for a foodie on a budget.

          Le Pichet
          Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

          Etta's Seafood
          2020 Western Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121

          1. We did Savour Seattle food tour when we were there 2 years ago. It was the highlight of our trip!


            Etta's is great. Coconut cream pie. Oh so good. :)

            1. Since you are coming from a pretty fantastic food land I would recommend places that are pretty unique. I second the Salumi recommendation, check the website though because the hours are short and the line gets long fast. If you can't fit it in to your itinerary you can buy some at Metropolitan Market, which is a fun grocery store to visit anyway. Pick us some finnocchio and mama lil's peppers and make a panini with provolone.

              I also second How to Cook a Wolf, I have only been once but I keep talking about going back, small plates so you can try a lot of different things. If you are here on a weekend I recommend Tilth for Brunch. Or Tilth for dinner on any day.

              Unless you have an undying affection for Tom Douglas I would skip those and take some of the recommendations for smaller places. They are all kind of pricey. I have heard the truffle pizza at Serious pie is spectacular though.

              The new Seattle thing are mobile food trucks. Skillet and Marination Mobile are the most famous, you can find where they are on a given day online. At Skillet the burger is their signature with cambozola and bacon jam.

              Happy Eating!

              Metropolitan Market
              1908 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA

              309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104