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Best bets around U district, Ballard, Wallingford & Fremont?

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I'm what you may call a Seattle ex-pat. I grew up in greater area and lived in Fremont as recently as fifteen years ago so I'm not exactly up-to-date on my knowledge. Can I get some guidance for wonderful restaurants in these areas? I'm looking for places that are not too expensive and conducive to long chats. I also would love to hear about some good watering holes in these neighborhoods. Thanks in advance!

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  1. You won't recognize Ballard. It's one of the happening places for food. Good restaurants there include Mexican (La Carta de Oaxaca, Senor Moose) and Eastern Mediterranean (Golden Beetle). There are many more that I haven't even tried yet. The old stand by, Le Gourmand, is still there but may be beyond your price range. They have a place next door for drinks and light meals, Sambar, which has the best french fries I've ever had. A little on the pricey side though.

    Senor Moose Cafe
    5242 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

    1. Bizzarro Cafe and Joule are my favorites in Wallingford, though neither is particularly cheap. My boyfriend and I eat at Kate's every week or two-- food is half-priced at Happy Hour, nothing exciting but the burgers are edible and it's a nice place to spend time.

      Fremont-- obviously Paseo, but get your sandwich to go and take it to Gasworks or something. Uneeda Burger is nice too.

      In the U District, there's a weird little cafe behind the movie theater on University Ave & 50th-- they have BOMB vegan chili, and it's a cozy spot to have long conversations. (Hope this place hasn't closed in the last few years...) Taste of India is my favorite Indian place in town, on 52nd and Roosevelt. Great value, lovely for conversation.

      I don't really know Ballard as well as I should, but I've been into La Isla for happy hour dates-- good empanadillas and mojitos at ridiculously low prices.

      Taste of India
      5517 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

      La Isla
      2320 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107

      1. When I lived in Fremont, we went to Brouwer's all the time for great Belgian food, but a recent visit showed a shorter menu...not sure if that's permanant or just the day we went.

        2nd Paseo in Fremont and Ballard (Shilshole), Joule in W'ford. I like Tutta Bella for Italian salads and pizza on Stoneway in Wallimont, but some people on this board disagree. There's another good pizza place on the big hill of Market between Ballard & Fremont -- Veracci, I think?

        The U District remains a great place for cheap food. There's a block of good international restaurants on the Ave between 50th and 51st (across from the Farmer's Market) and I also really like the Korean place off Brooklyn -- Tofu House or something similar.

        Tutta Bella
        4918 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118

        1 Reply
        1. re: pusherman

          The "Pizza Insalata" (salad on a baked pizza-dough round), is a favorite, cooling, summer meal. We especially like the Caprese (or close enough: tomato, mozzarella, fennel, romaine).

        2. Some newer asian recommendations...

          Revel in Fremont is by the same team as Joule and has a nice patio and setting.

          Showa in Fremont for an 80s music playing izakaya. small menu but affordable and delicious and they have some comfortable lounge seats to sit and have drinks and they open late.

          Satay in Wallingford is also a nice place that is affordable if you want to try some Malaysian food.

          1. My Ballard favorites:
            La Isla
            Bastille (happy hour is terrific)
            Walrus and the Carpenter

            Shiku Sushi (for izakaya) and Thaiku are pretty good too.

            Haven't tried Staple and Fancy--it's one of the hardest reservations to get. Haven't tried Golden Beetle yet either but I've no doubt it's worthwhile.

            The Sunday farmer's market on Ballard Ave is my favorite in the city.

            2325 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107

            La Isla
            2320 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107

            1 Reply
            1. re: christy319

              Just went to Ocho yesterday when we couldn't get a table at Walrus. Loved every (small) bite!

              2325 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107

            2. and while you're in Ballard, try out the two wonderful bakeries: Honore and Cafe Besalu!

              Honore Artisan Bakery
              1413 NW 70th St, Seattle, WA

              Cafe Besalu
              5909 24th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

              1. Smash is a nice little wine bar in Wallingford - great place for long chats. A more traditional cocktail bar suggestion would be Oliver's Twist on Phinney Ridge. Another Wallingford suggestion is dim sum at the new-ish Bamboo Village. Franks Oyster Bar, by U Village, is not expensive, has good cocktails, and is conducive to long chats.

                PAO is right, you won't recognize Ballard. Go to Staple and Fancy and order the Fancy menu. $45 for four amazing courses.