Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Seattle >
Aug 12, 2011 09:57 AM

Looking for quintessential Seattle eateries


In every city, there are eateries that are beloved for aura, stability/longevity, etc. by its citizens, and are equally well-known outside its borders.

For example, in LA, everyone knows about Spago (on the high-end) and the delicious french dip sandwiches of Philippe's (on the modest end). In Philadelphia, it was places like Bookbinder's [now closed] and the ever-thriving Pat's and Geno's Steaks. NY...Peter Luger, Nobu, Katz's Deli, etc.

In Seattle, are there any quintessential dining experiences...especially on the moderate end?
In my limited research and experience, the only two I can come up with are
Salumi [which unfortunately I will miss since this is a Friday night-Monday night visit] and
13 Coins.

Visiting Aug. 19-22. Based downtown near the Pike Place Market but willing to travel.
NYC native now in Southern California.

Thanks for your help.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. if, by "quintessential", you mean "of long duration", you may choose from lowell's or 3 girls bakery (both in the market) or the overhyped canlis (perched astride queen anne hill) or even 13 coins (near south lake union) - but none serve food worth the effort. if "quintessential" means uniquely seattlish, then any of tom douglas' empire (dahlia, etta's, palace kitchen, lola, serious pie, etc. scattered through belltown and south lake union) may suit; if the stars align, you will be served an excellent meal but i've been disappointed nearly as often as i've been pleased. i suggest you try matt's in the market (whose newest incarnation serves wonderfully unique food in a setting only seattle offers) or sitka and spruce (in the melrose market) whose cuisine is amazingly original and set in a charming space.

    1. Not quintessential but iconic, this is a thread from last year that may offer some suggestions.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bethwick

        Is there anyway to do a search by frequency of mention, like a "wordle" on Chowhound? I can guess that at least in this group, the coming from out of town / quintessential Seattle seems to always include some combination of Ivar's, El Paseo, Salumi, [insert Tom Douglas restaurant], Canlis, the crab at Seven Stars, and maybe Sitka & Spruce (though they seem to have fallen off lately, maybe replaced by Staple & Fancy). 13 Coins, 3 Girls and Lowell's all have longevity, but I'm not sure any of them particularly represent the food scene in Seattle today.

        Canlis Restaurant
        2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

        Sitka & Spruce
        2238 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102

        13 Coins
        505 5th Ave S Ste 160, Seattle, WA 98104

        309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

      2. Per your request for iconic, I would certainly recommend Lowell's for breakfast; lunch the fish & chips at Emmett Watson's oyster house. Matt's at the Market or the Palace Kitchen for dinner. If you have time, the Szechuan crab at Seven Stars should be on your short list for one great Seattle meal.

        Palace Kitchen
        2030 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

        3 Replies
        1. re: Leper

          Leper, when's the last time you had the crab?

          1. re: christy319

            Christy, I always order the Szechuan version, not the black bean version. I had it about a month ago and it was outstanding. (For the black bean version, I go to Ho Ho Seafood restaurant.)

            Ho Ho Seafood Restaurant
            653 S Weller St, Seattle, WA 98104

            1. re: Leper

              I'm asking about the Szechuan. I've just had such disappointing dishes there my last couple of times (including a crab with NO flavor--no spice, no ma la, no nothing) that even though I was regular there for years (visiting weekly) I no longer recommend it. I complained about the crab to the waitress and she told me, sometimes Americans don't like it spicy. So, I'm done sending anyone there, lest they make bland crabs for anyone else.