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Aug 5, 2011 09:32 AM

3 Breakfasts, 3 Dinners, and 2 Lunches in Seattle.

Hey everyone, so I'll be visiting Seattle pretty soon and I would like to experience the best cuisines in the region.

I have 3 Breakfasts, 3 Dinners, and 2 Lunches to spend in Seattle.

-I like almost all types of cuisine, so whatever You feel Seattle does best.
-I'm visiting from Calgary, Canada.

-Price isn't a huge issue but I'd like to keep lunches south of $20 and dinners $40 (not including drinks). For dinner if there is a "must try" spot I have room for a splurge meal.

-I'm staying downtown close to South Lake Park, and I plan to spend some time in Capitol Hill, but I don't mind traveling a bit if the food is worth it.

Any recommendations you could make would be great. Thanks in advance!

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  1. OrigamiDuck,
    If you do a search here for 'must try's, or best dinner's or terms like that, you will find many reviews and comments to help narrow down your search.
    Often, it is best to take some time on Chowhound to do some searching, and then come back with specific questions for comparisons of options you have come up with.
    It's nice to do some of your own research, rather than ask us to fill in all the blanks... Seattle does many things well, and you are staying in a central location that will make it easy to get around - so perhaps you could narrow that playing field a bit first:)
    Also helps to say where your from, which can give an idea of expectations.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gingershelley

      Thank You,

      I've been looking around, and as I mentioned below Harvest Vine caught my eye, any opinion on that one?

      Also, I can't believe I forgot to mention, I LOVE seafood of all kinds (fish, shellfish, sushi, etc.) but my city is landlocked so I never get truly fresh stuff where I live. (Though we have some restaurants that do pretty well considering.)

      Really to be honest the best places I've found in my city are all in the "loca-vore" vein, usually with ingredient driven dishes. As far as most traditional styles of cooking go I have found anything REALLY impressive. (So I'm open to just about anything.)

      (Mind You, I'm sure that style of cuisine would be different in Seattle as well give that it's a different locale, and the nature of the style.)

      Harvest Vine
      2701 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112

    2. Where are you visiting from? My usual course of action is to steer people to things they can't get at home.

      4 Replies
      1. re: terrier

        I'm visiting from Calgary, Canada. I was doing some reading, Harvest Vine looks interesting (we don't have much Spanish food that I'm aware of in my city).

        Also, I've yet to find truly good Italian in my city either. We have pretty good Neapolitan Pizza, but as far as authentic stuff like cacciatore etc. I've yet to find much.

        I'm kind of a foodie, if that helps at all.

        Others that look interesting to me:

        -Staple and Fancy
        -Mistral Kitchen

        Any thoughts?

        Harvest Vine
        2701 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112

        1. re: OrigamiDuck

          Dunno about cacciatore, but there are 2 really excellent Italian restaurants that jump quickly to mind. Il Terrazo Carmine is old-school, Spinasse is Piedmontese.

          Harvest Vine has had its ups and downs (family drama) but nobody else in town does Spanish better AFAIK.

          Ethnic-wise, Seattle and the surrounding area has some very good Ethiopian/Eritrean, Vietnamese, and pretty good Szechuan food. Mexican food here is a shadow of what you can find in California, say, but Taqueria La Estacion, the El Camion trailers, and El Asadero (aka the Taco Bus) still get raves from the Canadians I've entertained over the last few years.

          Lots of other recommendations on the board, do search.
          Shellfish-wise, oysters (and only oysters) at Elliott's are a good bet - go for happy hour if you're here during the week. The Walrus & Carpenter is probably better all-around but my does it get crowded.

          Harvest Vine
          2701 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112

          Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

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

          1. re: terrier

            Thank You!

            Any specific recommendations for Szechuan and Ethiopian? He have a sore lack of those in my city. We have maybe 1 passable authentic Chinese place, and 2 Ethiopian places in the whole city.

            More towards the up-scale would be my preference if that helps.

            1. re: terrier

              Origami Duck,

              Hope you have a wonderful time in Seattle. I agree that Harvest Vine still produces the best Spanish/Basque chow in Seattle. You mentioned three breakfasts and, if your stay involves a weekend, you might consider going to Harvest Vine for their brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm. I think it’s the most interesting breakfast/brunch in Seattle. My favorite seating at Harvest Vine is at the counter, where I can watch the food being prepared and chat with the cooks. Another great spot for breakfast is Café Campagne. I absolutely concur with including Spinasse on your list. All the food I’ve had there is wonderful, and the pasta is absolutely ethereal. You might also consider including Revel for some very interesting, unusal, and tasty Korean-inflected fusion dishes, although the noise level is very high, unless you sit out on the outdoor deck. I’ve become somewhat addicted to the spicy corned lamb salad there. If you like sushi, Shiro’s is first rate, though it is one of most expensive sushi-ya in Seattle. Another first-rate option that includes a greater variety of cooked items is Sushi Kappo Tamura on Eastlake Ave., also on the expensive side, but in my opinion worth it. For excellent sushi at a somewhat more moderate price, I recommend Kisaku. For a locavore experience, I recommend Sitka & Spruce, or for a more expensive, communal experience, Corson Building, as gingershelly suggested. If you like raw oysters, the Pacific Northwest oysters are some of the best in world. I usually satisfy my oyster craving by sitting at the oyster bar at Elliott’s, where I can chat with the oysterman about the differences between the many different oysters available. But there are lots of other places to sample our world-class oysters, including Walrus & Carpenter.

        2. Update:

          So I think I'm starting to get an idea of what my plans will be:

          -Harvest Vine


          For the third dinner I'm having a hard time choosing, but I'm leaning in the direction of Poppy, can anyone advise?

          As for lunch, specific recommendations for either of those cuisines would be nice, and the third option remains ambiguous. I'm thinking maybe Paseo? I've heard the name thrown around a lot.

          9 Replies
          1. re: OrigamiDuck

            Seven Stars Szechuan for their Dungeous crab. Outstanding. At Harvest Vine, make sure your reservations are in the wine cellar for a better dining experience. If you want a true Ethiopian experience, just don't eat at all during your trip.

            Harvest Vine
            2701 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112

            1. re: Leper

              That's a pretty poor response to a real question.
              Seattle has a large Ethiopian and Eritrean population and many restaurants serving food characteristic of their regions, as well as some Italian type dishes due to the history of Italians in the area (for better or worse, I'm not talking about the politics here.) In Seattle restaurants, the food is plentiful and inexpensive in almost all of these restaurants. I have not noticed a huge difference from one to another - I usually like whichever one I am in as enough time occurs between visits to forget the nuances.
              Recent meals that I enjoyed were at Awash in Columbia City, and Dahlak on Rainier (South State Street), just south of I-90. My friend has gone to Dahlak on Sunday nights, a couple of times this summer, to enjoy the music and dancing, as well as the food. She was welcomed graciously. There are many more places, especially in the Central District, but I haven't been to those in years, so I won't comment.

            2. re: OrigamiDuck

              Well, since you mentioned that you love seafood, I'll mention that the seared scallop sandwich from Paseo is the best sandwich I've had in Seattle. Big, yummy, dripping deliciousness.

              1. re: Brunhilde

                Noted, I think this shall be one of my lunch stops. =) Thank You.

                1. re: OrigamiDuck

                  Keep in mind that they're closed Sundays & Mondays, and are cash only!

              2. re: OrigamiDuck

                Poppy is overrated (sometimes I think the Thali thing is a way to have less servers there - they don't have to time courses or bring them - everything ends up kind of lukewarm and some of the options are not very successful) - but GREAT desserts here.
                My BF and I have eaten here twice for full Thali, and once for HH (which was better for price/value for sure).
                I love Jerry's food, but the whole all-at-once thing is just not as successful as I whish. I know other's of course have their opinion:). You can do a 'Poppy' search, and get a whiole range of advice in one sitting on the restaurant.
                For your NW dinner, you wouldn't do badly to consider Matt Dillon - either at Sitka n Spruce in the Melrose Market on Capitol Hill (a fun area, and a short cab or medium walk from SLU where you are staying), or - if you want to splurge and take home a different kind of memory, check out his Corson Building, where there is a prix fix market driven menu and communal seating. It sounds like you might be traveling alone on busniess, and this might be a convivial way to meet some other like-minded dining folks and have a memorable experience. I have been once for an open evening, and arranged a corp. event lunch there, and both were wonderful, seasonal, and a good value( I don't mean price - I mean expectations met or exceeded on whole experience for the cost), plus it is just a special experience. They come out and explain each course and ingredients before serving, which might be fun for you since we are in the heigth of produce season and great fish, etc.. so bound to be some fun things at either of his places on the menus.

                The Corson Building
                5609 Corson Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108

                1. re: gingershelley

                  Thank You Gingershelly,

                  I was looking into the Prix Fix at Corson Building, and unfortunately I won't be there on a Saturday. I will however, be there on a Sunday and I was wondering if their "Sunday Supper" would be a good option?

                  Also, how would Staple and Fancy compare?

                  The Corson Building
                  5609 Corson Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108

                  1. re: OrigamiDuck

                    I laugh, in the best posible way... these options are both SO lovely, that if you can go to either, you will be delighted. Only u can say if Corson Sunday supper, or Staple n Fancy is your thing... I would get more practical, and ask - can I get a reservation for either? Sometimes for me, whether in BC, France, or Spain or the NW, it's not where I want to go, but can I go when I want? If I have an idea of the lovely options open to me, I check on what's possible, then what comes to me, kind of tells me what I should know about for this particular trip.
                    You can fret all you like about where you should go, but then you just have to go, and have a meal.
                    Let us know how it is! Welcome to Seattle...

              3. Hey OrigamiDuck - I've been spending the last week in Oregon and Washington, and will be going back to Calgary in the next day or two. I've done lots of touristy & non-touristy places the last few times I've been here. There are lots of options to try that Calgary doesn't have, especially for seafood, but there are a lot of touristy places that you can spend a lot of money on.

                As one of the posters already said, Elliot Bay for oysters only. Everything else is a tourist trap. And although the Ivars chain does in a pinch, there are better options out there.

                Asian is well represented, and some of the good-to-average places here are simply way better then Calgary's offerings, such as Thai. I had a terrific (and cheap) meal at Noodle Nation in the University District of UofW. Kisaku for sushi is also nearby the University area and is a bit cheaper than Shiro's, but Shiro's is probably closer for you. I thought the sushi was excellent at Kisaku, but you have to get there early for any of the Otoro or Chutoro, or else it runs out - its happened to me...

                I also like Pike Place - there are tons of posts here on that. I have had excellent lunches and a brunch at Steelhead Diner. I like Tom Douglas' Dahlia Lounge as well for dinner - nice ambience and people watching. Menu may not seem like much looking at it, but I found the execution terrific and above expectations. And I still really like his doughnuts for dessert!

                And, to be honest, I haven't really given Chinese food much of a effort here since Vancouver is so close (although I have to say that Calgary has decent Chinese places - definitely more than one!) I really wanted to try Din Tai Fung in Bellevue for xiao long bao, but I was thwarted by traffic (and ultimately my kids). Uwajimaya is a neat place to go in the International District and get a cheap lunch - and Beard Papa cream puffs for dessert. I've always wanted to try Seven Star Szechuan, but I got out-voted (I've yet to come to Seatle by myself or with just my wife).

                And sandwiches are good here - Salumi, Paseo, Baguette Box - lots of post here.

                Out of town, in Shelton (about 20 minutes from Olympia) I really like Xinh's Clam & Oyster House, if you are going anywhere out that direction.

                This is just a Calgarian's take on it, and no where near exhaustive or as informative as the posters that live here. Hope you have a good stay here - I always do!

                600 5th Ave S, Seattle, WA

                Steelhead Diner
                95 Pine Street, Suite 17, Seattle, WA 98101

                2401 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA

                Baguette Box
                1203 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101

                Oyster House
                320 4th Ave W, Olympia, WA 98501

                309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                Dahlia Lounge
                2030 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

                Din Tai Fung
                700 Bellevue Way NE #280, Bellevue, WA 98004

                1. Thank You Very Much Everyone!

                  So I have just concluded my trip and this ended up being my list:

                  Staple and Fancy (Dinner)
                  Dahlak (Lunch)
                  Spinasse (Dinner)
                  Paseo (Lunch)
                  Harvest Vine (Dinner)
                  Cafe Besalu (Breakfast)
                  Monsoon (Lunch)

                  Due to other engagements I had to relegate most breakfasts to grab and go unfortuneatly.

                  Details on my experience coming soon.

                  Harvest Vine
                  2701 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112

                  Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

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

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: OrigamiDuck

                    Staple and Fancy

                    The Order:
                    (The Fancy Prix Fix)

                    -Calamari with calabrian chili aioli
                    -Cured Sea-bass and aioli salad on crostini
                    -Tomato Salad with fresh mozzarella
                    -Raw Salmon with avocado puree and sliced chilies
                    -Sweetcorn Soup
                    -Anchovy Fillet on soft-cooked egg with anchovy aioli

                    -Ricotta+Prosciutto+Spinach Agnolotti w/ Sage Brown Butter

                    -Grilled Pork with herbed olive oil, Grilled Zucchini and Heirloom Tomatoes

                    -Lemon Cake with Fresh Berries

                    The Impressive:
                    -Presentation, dishes were well presented.

                    -Sweet Corn Soup, it was on par with some of the best soups I've eaten.

                    -Grilled Pork, it was well seasoned and skillfully cooked, as were the sides. A minor quip would be the excessive amount of oil on the serving dish.

                    The Unimpressive:
                    -Calamari, not too greasy and had a good texture. But was under-seasoned and lacked flavor, and the aioli was generally tasteless and despite it having some color and flecks I could not detect any chili flavor.

                    -Cured Sea-bass, **I do not have a great deal of experience with cured fish.** That said, I found the curing process completely robbed the sea-bass of any flavor unique to it and it tasted only like “fish”, which dominated everything else and it was all I could taste.

                    -Tomato Salad, the entire dish was almost devoid of flavor. The tomatoes seemed akin to out of season supermarket tomatoes, watery and bland. The cheese was of good quality, but by nature fresh mozzarella is quite mild. The result was a dish begging for some acid, or at least some salt.

                    -Salmon, this dish was probably the one I had the biggest issue with. The puree tasted like the avocado was not ripe, and it was drowned in lemon juice which completely drowned out the flavor of the salmon.

                    The Unremarkable:

                    -Anchovy and Egg, it was alright but not particularly good the dish had a nice anchovy flavor and the classic egg pairing worked as well as it normally does, the aioli was extremely mild again. (Though this time I was able to detect the infused flavor).

                    -Agnolotti, these had good texture and the sauce was decently tasty (but then, when is butter not?), but I found the filling to be quite bland, especially given that it contained prosciutto. When I'm enjoying the crisped up sage leaves more than stuffed pasta, I believe something went wrong. Don't get me wrong it wasn't bad, just underwhelming.

                    -Lemon Cake, decent but not spectacular. Strawberries were the highlight as they were ripe and sweet, and paired perfectly with the lemon sauce sadly they were sparse. The blueberries on the other hand were on the sour side and did not contribute much.

                    The Verdict:

                    Overall, I found my visit to be incredibly disappointing, not because the food was terrible, but because there was so much potential that wasn't realized. The presentation is there, the creativity is there, and on paper all of the dishes sound delicious. But when it came to actually creating the dishes, under seasoning and poor ingredients lead to a rather dull meal.

                    The grilled pork was great and the sweet corn soup was fantastic, I've seen that Staple and Fancy can put out fantastic food, unfortunately most of what I was served was not.

                    1. re: OrigamiDuck

                      Thanks for the detailed review, looking forward to your impressions of the other places you visited!

                    2. re: OrigamiDuck

                      Cascina Spinasse

                      The Order:

                      Appetizer: Bruschetta with caramelized peppers and sheep's cheese.
                      Pasta: Tajarin with sage butter sauce.
                      Entree: Polpette di coniglio (Rabbit Meatballs) wraped in caul fat, with braised greens, pickled horseradish and polenta.

                      The Impressive:

                      -Bruschetta, all the bruschetta I've tried thus far has had a tomato based-topping, so I was a little surprised by this rendition which contained no tomato, but plenty of caramelized peppers. The bread was perfectly toasted crisp on the outside, and pillowy on the inside. The sheep's cheese was the perfect amount, it imparted smoothness and rich mouthfeel without stealing the spotlight from the peppers. The peppers were sweet and delicious and contrasted well with the cheese, and the juices were reduced to a syrup-like consistency which protected the bread from going soggy.

                      -Tajarin, wow. I have to say this is the first time I have ever been truly amazed by a pasta, and amaze me it did. The strands were perfectly cooked (which to me is a feat in itself given their microscopic diameter), and despite the sauce being so simple, I can honestly say that it was more than the sum of it's parts. This dish blew me away.

                      -Rabbit Meatballs, the meatballs themselves were very tasty, the caul fat was genius preventing the meatballs from falling apart even after I cut into them, and the combination of the rabbit and the pickled horseradish took the flavor over the top. The polenta was also delicious, it managed to be creamy without seeming rich, which allowed the rabbit to really shine. My only complaint about this dish would be that the braised greens were slightly overdone, but the other components of the dish more than compensated for that tiny hiccup.

                      -Service, the service here deserves a special mention, the staff were all very friendly and attentive, more-so than many places where I've dined recently.

                      The Verdict:

                      This is easily one of the best meals I've ever eaten, I was impressed by everything from the food to the service. Presentation was good, ingredients were fresh, and flavor was incredible. As great as everything else was the tajarin really stood out for me, and when a kitchen can blow you away with a plate of plain pasta dressed in a two ingredient sauce, you know they're something special.

                      Cascina Spinasse
                      1531 14th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

                      1. re: OrigamiDuck

                        So glad you enjoyed Spinasse! My BF and I have it as one of our favorites and love to walk there for dinner.
                        They are famous for the Tajarin, and ssooo glad you ordered it, and it lived up to it's rep for you:)

                        Look forward to hearing how Harvest Vine was for you...

                        Harvest Vine
                        2701 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112

                        Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

                        1. re: gingershelley

                          Thank You for the suggestion! As I said, it's defintately up there not only for my best meals in Seattle, but quite possibly of all time so far! It was that good.

                          Sorry I'm being a little slow to get all the reviews up, I'm jus trying to write proper reviews for you rather than passing thoughts. =)

                      2. re: OrigamiDuck

                        Harvest Vine

                        The Order:

                        -Roasted Eggplant with tomato frito & idiazábal sheep cheese.
                        -Grilled Whole Sardines.
                        -Sauteed Shrimp with Spanish rice.
                        -Goat's Cheese (Given to me by the kitchen)

                        -Goat's Cheesecake with rhubarb compote.

                        The Impressive:

                        -Roasted Eggplant, was delicious the sheep cheese stood up well to the heat and complemented the eggplant nicely. The tomato sauce was tasty but I feel like it could have played a bigger part than it did (either by intensifying the flavor or by adding more sauce, as it was I felt it's presence was understated).

                        -Grilled Sardines, these tasted relatively fresh and were well seasoned and cooked properly, I don't have a ton of reference for comparison as it was my first time eating sardines prepared in this manner, but I enjoyed them in any case.

                        -Goat's Cheese, was very tasty and coincidentally paired very well with the house bread I received. It was a slightly firmer goat's cheese than I'm typically used to (it was served in slices opposed the the softer chevre style I'm used to, and was a little on the sweeter side but maintained that unmistakable tang that one associates with goat cheese.

                        -Service, the man who seated me (who appeared to be the owner) and took my order was pleasant enough but not overly engaging. The cooks however (I sat at the kitchen bar) were extremely friendly, so much so that I ended up talking with them well past the end of my meal.

                        The Unremarkable:

                        -Goat's Cheesecake, it was decent I suppose, but I was expecting better after the delicious sample of cheese I was given. The cheesecake diluted the goat's cheese too much in my opinion and it's flavor was more like a background element. Likewise the rhubarb compote was fine, but I've had better.

                        The Unimpressive:

                        -Sauteed Shrimp, the shrimp were slightly overcooked and additionally tasted like mass produced shrimp one finds in gargantuan chain restaurants. Additionally the rice was seasoned properly but was overly greasy and didn't really carry any flavor other than the salt. I regretted ordering this dish.

                        The Verdict:

                        The eggplant was definitely the highlight of the food for me, I would definitely order it again. The shrimp were a total letdown, but the service was great. I suppose my overall impression of Harvest Vine was similar to the buzz surrounding the restaurant. It has it's great moments, it has it's low points, but overall it warrants a visit.

                        Harvest Vine
                        2701 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112