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Aug 2, 2011 05:08 AM

Itinerary Review and suggestions...for my Bf's 35th bday!

Hi Chowhounds,

I'm new to this board, and have not been to Seattle for at least 6 that time, I imagine the food scene has changed dramatically. I have mulled over the boards, read restaurant review after review, and this is what I have planned for this coming weekend. I will be in Seattle from Thursday late night to early Sunday afternoon. It is my boyfriend's 35th birthday so I wanted to throw in a few "nice" restaurants as well as some good cheap eats, to keep costs down.

My questions are:

1. Thursday night, I'm thinking a late night happy hour, I get into Seattle about 10:00pm and we are staying downtown. I'm thinking 1) Purple Cafe & Wine Bar or 2) Toulouse Petit....leaning toward the latter. What do you think, any better happy hours in downtown.

2. Friday morning, I'm planning on strolling around Pike Place market lonesome, while my boyfriend takes care of a work thing; what to eat for breakfast at the market? Looking for something cheap and preferably not too heavy?

Friday afternoon, going to Serious it as good as people make it out to be, or is there better pizza in the area that I should consider?

Friday night we will be staying in Bellevue. We have reservations at Wild Ginger; it appears like the reviews for the Bellevue location vs. downtown are not as good. Has anyone been?

Saturday morning, before going to Theo Chocolate for a tour, planning on stopping at Caffe Ladro for coffee and a pastry. Is there a better coffee joint in Fremont.

Saturday afternoon, I'm thinking about something quick and affordable. Options are Paseo OR Uneeda burger. Leaning toward Paseo, simply because I haven't been exposed to much Carribean fare.

Saturday night, we will be in downtown-again. I wanted to try one of Thomas Douglas restaurants. I was debating between Place Kitchen and Dahlia Lounge. I've heard Dahlia Lounge is overpriced???

Sunday am/lunch at Pike Place Market, again. I wanted to find a lunch spot for awesome fish and chips. I had considered one of Ivar's restaurants, Jack Fish Spot, and Elliot's Oyster House....but I really need help on this one!!! I would also like a fairly casual atmosphere, and a good view would be a perk:)

Thanks in advance:)


Purple Cafe & Wine Bar
1225 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101

Dahlia Lounge
2030 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

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  1. PIKE Place Market. There is no "s".

    Try Seastar rather than Wild Ginger if you really want to stick to Bellevue.
    There's another Purple nearby too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: zippyh

      Seastar sounds perfect. Thanks for the suggestions!

    2. Ally, Serious Pie offers some amazing pizza and is worth seeking out. The Dahlia Lounge is not over priced for the quality of the food and the service. For Sunday fish & chips, I would suggest Emmett Watson's rather than Ivar's or Elliot's. Another option for Sunday lunch is the upstairs bar at Maximillien's at the Market for fresh mussels which you can have prepared several different ways. Hit Jacks' fish spot just for some chowder grazing or a snack. For breakfast at the Market, check out Lowell's--it's a Seattle institution.

      Serious Pie
      316 Virginia St, Seattle, WA 98101

      Dahlia Lounge
      2030 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

      1. The piroshky place in the market is a good place to pick up a pastry for breakfast. I'd skip Wild Ginger. It has gone downhill in recent years. Purple is very inconsistent--sometimes the meal is great; other times mediocre. Toulouse Petit is probably a better bet.

        Toulouse Petit
        601 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98119

        1. Taste, at 1300 first Ave has a late night happy hour, fro 10 to midnight.

          3 Replies
          1. re: mrnelso


            Thank you so much for the feedback. I'm definitely sticking w/ it stays open til 2:00am and my flight gets in at 11:30, and I will need some "good" lighting.
            Instead of Wild Ginger I decided on Seastar in Bellevue, as that's where we will be staying that night and I wanted a place close to our hotel--in case we got a bit tipsy.

            Question about Ivar's: he seems to own a lot of restaurants is the Ivar's with the fish bar, literally named Ivars or something else? I think that will be a safe bet--I'll enjoy a good view along with reasonably priced fish and chips.

            Yep, I chose 2 TD you have another favorite that's along the lines of contemporary, american cuisine (no French please)? I had considered Joule, Staple and Fancy or Poppy...they all seemed way more pricey than either Dahlia or Palace Kitchen....input? Also, the other chef Ethan Stowell--thoughts on his restaurants?

            Thanks a bunch, I'm sooo looking forward to this trip.

            1. re: Ally123

              Ivar's Acres of Clams is the original restaurant on the waterfront at pier 54. There's a fish bar out front. For that matter, I think there's a fish bar in front of the two sit down restaurants too (Lake Union and Mukulteo).

              Ivar's Acres of Clams
              1001 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98104

              1. re: Ally123

                I was reffering to Acres of Clams on Sea waterfront. There are a whole bunch of fish bars around town, and 2 other 'fancy' ivars restos. But, for your plan, the original outside fish bar next to the fancy sit-down acres of clams was my suggestion.

                I do think that you should eat at an Ethan resto while you are here! My BF n I go to anchovies n olives most, but that is more because he lives on Capitol Hill, so it is our neighborhood (confession - we eat out at least a couple nights a week... and usually very well, we are both foodies, he is French from Paris, and I am a chef and cooking teacher).
                Eating at Staple and Fancy is a great experience - do the chef's menu! It is all planned with what is local and seasonal, and a really great value. When we went, we felt we were just showered with tasty food, and it was a great cohesive meal. I think if you went here and did the chef's menu, you would probably spend less for a full multi course meal than at Palace or Dahlia. But I don't think it is just price... Ethan is just a 'fresher' chef still, and I think his people are working hard to make a reputation still, not just keep one.
                I am not a fan of Poppy; we have gone twice, but the thali thing is off-putting to us - everything comes at once, so if something is hot, you have to eat it first, and that doesn't work well since you have all these different things at varying temps competing for your attention all at once. I wish Jonathan would open another resto with a seperate plate concept, and I would love to eat his food there. Dessert here, however, is great.

            2. Ally123,

              I think you would have more FUN at Toulouse, as well as a wide range of food. Purple is just kind of average. The room at Toulouse is great - and the light will make you look good, which can't hurt after flying all day, and it being reunion with BF it sounds like:)
              Sat. Pike market stroll; piroshky, or head to Le Panier for french pastry (across the street), or Me Sum for a hum bow.
              Serious Pie is really great - but there is lots of great authentic pie in Seattle now. Not sure what your comparison points would be - where are you from?
              For Sat. night, wild ginger will be fine - Certainly better than Purple, but you might consider Monsoon East - Eric Bahn and his sister make incredible french-inflected modern Vietnamese. There place on 19th in Seattle is an institution, and now they have one in Bellevue for those who hate bridges:).
              Caffe Ladro does have amazing coffee. Drink up... For Sat. Lunch, you might try the newer Paseo down on Shilshole, then go for a walk in Golden Gardens park or to the locks, both great Seattle things to do.
              If you have to have more Tom (Serious Pie is Tom, so you have allready done him Friday), then I would do Palace it is a classic, and still visited alot by Seattleit'es (late night at the bar, it is mostly resto folks getting off work!), great food, fairly priced. Dahlia is better at lunch, I think.
              There are many new (since you were here last) resto's in Seattle that might be more exciting than TD Empire places, which are discussed all over this board, but I am sure you have your reason for your choice. If you are open, check out the many discussions of DT dinner options on here...
              Sunday, tho I get the Emmet Watson suggestion, it isn't like it used to be, and if you want a view you can't beat Ivar's - right next to the ferry coming and going. Just don't go inside - you will be paying for the real estate, not the food. Go to the fish bar outside and sit at the picnic tables. If you hate the seagull tho like I do (flying rats!), which really put on a show at Ivar's due to the french fry tossing tourists, then head to Elliott's deck - they have fish and chips, and lot's of other seafood, but the view isn't so hot - just outside, looking at Argosy tour boats - but you can see elliott bay too, of course.
              If you have time, get yourselves down the waterfront to the Olympic Sculpture park for a walk... a really great view and stroll. Finish off with a HH drink on the deck at Waterfront Seafood grill (food is ok, and overpriced, but man - that deck rocks! can't beat the view)!
              Let us know how your weekend was - have fun:)

              Serious Pie
              316 Virginia St, Seattle, WA 98101

              Monsoon East
              10245 Main Street, Bellevue, WA 98004

              2 Replies
              1. re: gingershelley

                Hi gingershelley,

                I wanted to give you an update on my trip to Seattle...the food/restaurants--that we chose...thanks to you and other chowhounds were great!

                The trip panned out like this:

                I got in at 11:30pm on Thursday- we hit Toulouse Petit for late night happy hour: it was a loud, young scene--with great food. I ordered the beef sliders and pomme frites, my bf the caprese salad. Very impressed with my 5 buck sliders and fries---juicy burgers and garlicy, crisp fries--and what's not better than aioli to dip them in..yummmm.

                For breakfast, I went solo--as my bf was doing his work thing. I headed to the Perogy shop in Pike Place and decided on the apple cinnamon roll. Not quite what I expected in a cinnamon roll--very light on the sugar content--minimal moisture--but huge chunks of tart green apples. Probably should have went with one of the signature Perogies--but oh well. Also had a cup of coffee from a pastry shop--superb, but I forget the name of the shop.

                Lunch was at Serious Pie. it was "seriously" good pizza, yet accompanied with a lackluster salad (a radish salad with romaine lettuce and parmesan, I had to ask for more dressing and pile on the black pepper) The pie was sausage and supposed to be red pepper--we got green, but we didn't complain as we devoured the entire pie.

                Monsoon East in Bellevue was our dinner spot. I never have been a fan of Asian/Vietnamese...or so I thought. OMG--this was, really good food! We started with these spring rolls--sort of, made of ground pork and shrimp that were grilled on sugar cane and served with lettuce, rice noodles, and pickled vegetables--maybe the best part of the meal. Then we ordered a side of roasted zucchini and egg plant (pic), and split a salmon entree--undercooked, but still good. For dessert, we had the chocolate-peanut butter ganache cake. Yep, it was just as rich and decadent as it sounds (pic)

                The following day (Saturday) we did a chocolate tour at Theo in Fremont, and stopped at Caffe Ladro before to get coffee. After our sugar expedition--well worth the $6.00 fee, we went to Paseo for lunch. We both ordered their signature sandwich: roasted pork on a baguette, served with lettuce, tomato, pickled jalepenos and aioli...yummy:) At first bite, I wasn't impressed (i think i had a piece of dryish pork), but the last 3/4 was moist and very flavorful

                Because we were so impressed with TD's serious pie, I kept my res at Dahlia Lounge on Saturday night. Everything about it was great--but what I actually remember most was the wine...Whispering Tree Syrah, 2007, Columbia Valley---seems to be sold out everywhere online..does anyone know where I can acquire this vino! I loved every sip.
                For dinner I went light, I got goat cheese ravolini with shelled peas and shaved trufffles (an appetizer) and small plate of smoked salmon. My bf got a salmon dish (yep, we like fish), and it was equally as good as my dish. We held off on dessert, but the table next to us had ordered the donuts with mascarpone dipping sauce and jam--Ohhh my...!...they smelled awesome.

                Our last 2 meals in Seattle were breakfast--not impressed, forgot the name of the place, and then fish and chips at Ivars. Ivar's was a great pick--very casual atmosphere and the food was just what I had hoped for.

                Thank you everyone for ALL of your recc's ....we had a marvelous time, and hope to return soon.


                Serious Pie
                316 Virginia St, Seattle, WA 98101

                Dahlia Lounge
                2030 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

                Monsoon East
                10245 Main Street, Bellevue, WA 98004

                Toulouse Petit
                601 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98119

                1. re: Ally123


                  Glad you had a great visit, and some great food! Thanks for posting your reply/review. Pleased especially that you tried Monsoon - it is a special place!

                  Come back and visit us again! BTW... where are you located, in case I travel there and need rec's from you!