Thanks again to all of you wonderful foodies for your Pikes Place recommendations. I'm am heading over to Ballard and would appreciate not-to-be-missed restaurant recommendations (lunch) and bakery recommendations.
First, know that Seattle's historic farmers market is not "Pikes" (or Pike's) anything.
Properly, it is the Pike Place Market.You might say "Let's go to Pike Place Market, or more likely "the Pike Place Market, "or, as locals do, "the Market."
Ballard has Cafe Besalu, for very good French pastry. Have a croissant at Besalu and just about everything else in the case.14 See Paseo or Baguette Box for Lunch (OK they're in Fremont, but near). We like to order the "dinners" at Paseo and re-plate them from the styro boxes that can barely hold them. Baguette Box has a surprising fried Tofu sandwich we like, but the rest of the menu is good, too. Also on that block, find Cold Stone Creamery and PCC.
Pike Place Market
1501 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101
5909 24th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
1203 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101
For breakfast (or lunch) I would recommend Cafe Besalu. James Miller has received James Beard nominations for several years now but has not advanced to the short list. However his croissant dough pastries are, in my view, likely as good as any in the world (and believe me I have eaten a lot of mediocre croissants in the US and Europe to test that claim). James, the chef/owner, will be there. He is there all day every day they are open making small batches of pastry at a time so that what is in the case is as fresh as possible. As the day goes on he adds quiches and some tarts. My go-to order there is the onion-gruyere tart and the pain au chocolate. By the way the Besalu baristas are underrated. They do a very nice latte at Besalu.
I do enjoy Honore as well but I give Besalu the distinct advantage. Actually Fresh Flours down on Ballard Ave is also quite enjoyable. They also have soup and sandwiches at lunch.
In Ballard unfortunately the best restaurants are open for dinner only. These include the Walrus and the Carpenter (oyster bar and small plates, creative Pacific NW cuisine, Rene Erickson), Staple and Fancy (small plates, creative Pacific NW cuisine, Ethan Stowell), Bastille (French, Shannon Galusha) and Volterra (Italian, Don Curtiss). All of these are on historic Ballard Ave. Actually Volterra does a brunch on Saturday and Sunday and Bastille does Sunday brunch. All of these are on historic Ballard Ave.
An earlier post mentioned Paseo. This is a caribbean sandwich place. They do amazing Cuban style sandwiches. They are not only in Fremont however. About two years ago they opened a location down near Shilshole Marina (the Puget Sound waterfront of Ballard). Both locations are walk-up. However there is some picnic table seating at the Ballard location. Paseo constantly ends up at the top of restaurant lists in Seattle. On Urbanspoon Paseo (Ballard) has a 96% "like" rate based on 430 votes. The Fremont location has a 92% "like" rate based on 2060 votes. The Paseo location in Fremont is the #1 restaurant in Urbanspoon seattle overall. Whereas the Ballard location is #51 (despite having a higher "like" rate because of the higher number of votes for the Fremont location). The food is exactly the same at both locations. I have been to both and enjoy them equally. So if you like a good Cuban, Paseo is definitely worth checking out.
Interestingly the #2 best rated restaurant in Seattle is La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard. This is a Oaxacan style Mexican restaurant on Ballard Ave. They are open for lunch. For authenic regional Mexican cuisine I really enjoy La Carta. It is simple with a very light with great decor (mostly black and white photographs -- not pinatas and straw hats). I like the posole and tamales de mole negro. http://www.lacartadeoaxaca.com/
Also popular in Ballard for Mexican is Senor Moose on Leary Way, just off of Ballard Ave.
For seafood and great views you could get lunch at Ray's Cafe. It is the more casual upstairs restaurant at Ray's Boathouse. The cafe has a much sought after outdoor terrace overlooking Puget Sound with the Olympics in the distance as well as the entrance to the ship canal before the locks. This time of year of course is perhaps not ideal for sitting outside. In fact I am not sure if they have the terrace open during the Fall and Winter. Nonetheless there are good views from inside the contemporary bar/cafe as well through wall to wall windows. They really focus on seafood and I think overall they provide a good lunch in the cafe. I really enjoy the downstairs Boathouse for a fine dinner as well. http://www.rays.com/cafe Urbanspoon does not break out the cafe from the Boathouse. Rays overall is #9 in popularity by their index. Rays is close to Paseo ... just up the street a bit.
Oh, I would be negligent not to mention the excellent Tall Grass Bakery in Ballard. They are right next door to Besalu. Amazing loafs if you are in the market for a baguette to go. They do some other interesting breads though including a hominy bread that I love and use with meals throughout the winter.
A few other foodie tips for Ballard. Dish it up does kitchen design consultation and offers cooking classes. They also have a nice selection of retail merchandise for the kitchen. Dandelion Botanicals offers a large range of herbs, spices, essential oils, salts and some vegan products plus books and gifts. Local food celeb Kathy Casey has her food studio and corporate HQ on lower Ballard Ave. Savour, a new local gourmet shop on Market Street near the top of Ballard Ave. has some great deli, speciality food products, sandwhiches to eat there or to go, a small selection of merchandise and a well thought out wine selection. Maritime Brewery is over near the Ballard Bridge. There is a brewery and tap room/restaurant attached. Portalis has a large selection of bottles for sale as well as a cafe. It is on Ballard Ave. On 24th Ave. near Cafe Besalu is a new wine cooperative called Vintner's Annex. It is a shared tasting room for several Woodinville winemakers.
Good luck and enjoy.
Ray's Boathouse Restaurant
6049 Seaview Ave., Seattle, WA 98107
Honore Artisan Bakery
1413 NW 70th St, Seattle, WA
Senor Moose Cafe
5242 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
5909 24th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
5411 Ballard Avenue NW, Seattle, WA 98107
Market Street Cafe
609 Market St, Kirkland, WA 98033
The Walrus and The Carpenter. What a seriously great suggestion! We went tonight and it was sublime. The oysters were so fresh that I swear they reached out the window and pulled them out of the Sound. And the MUSIC! I'd go just to hear the tunes (I Shazammed every song! Everything from the food, to the service, to the vibe -- it was all sensational. Thanks for the heads up klsalas! I have out of town guests coming next week and we're heading to The Walrus.
I really enjoy the lunch menu at Maritime Pacific's Jolly Roger Taproom. They had a great pastrami sandwich on pretzel roll the last time I was there, and I repeatedly beg the chef to bring back the french dip that was on their menu a while back. I also really enjoy their beer. Perhaps too much, as I always end up taking a cab home.
I have to agree with this. As klsalas mentions, many of the good restaurants are dinner destinations. Lunch is a difficult proposition beyond the sandwich destinations (Take 5 being at the top for me). The lunch menu at the Jolly Roger is my go to spot when I can actually do it (3 yr old not allowed). They always have 2-3 sandwiches that I would like to try and the smoked jalapeno caesar is great.
If you haven't gotten to Ballard yet the excellent farmer's market is today. It is late in the season but it is still a very well attended market with produce, foraged mushrooms, baked goods, meat, seafood and much more. There are typically also buskers around the market and as mentioned in my last post a couple better restaurants such as Bastille and Volterra have brunch. The market starts in about 45 minutes.
5411 Ballard Avenue NW, Seattle, WA 98107