From San Francisco; I want to eat good food, and have been hugely disappointed
Hi there Seattle folks, I know you have all kinds of amazing food here so why have I eaten so badly in the last two days? The restaurants I used to love have gone way downhill. Wild Ginger served me a seafood wrap that was ineatable, as was their dumpling soup. I had to send back the trout at Le Pichet because it tasted old and was swimming in butter grease. The butter lettuce salad had a watery dressing because they didnt dry the lettuce properly. I have only a few days here and I want delicious (healthy) food, high or low, prefer casual, love all kinds: American, Italian, Asian, French. I want to eat in or within a short taxi ride from downtown, and breakfast, lunch and dinner. I just want to eat food that is really delicious, is that too much to ask? Thank you!
Cafe Campagne is pretty good - on par with what Le Pichet usually is (I've never been disappointed with either place). Portage is also worth trying if you're willing to cab a few minutes, and How to Cook A Wolf is just next door too.
Wild Ginger is a tourist trap for people coming off the cruise ships. Culinarily a higher-end equivalent to The Crab Pot down by the piers, or an expensive PF Chang's.
Don't worry, you'll get over it eventually. If not, you can always move back. Meanwhile, all that money you're saving on rent can go to exploring the food scene here.
If you are looking for Tartine, it will always be in the Mission and not here. But we have great bakeries in the forms of Cafe Besalu, Bakery Nouveau, Tallgrass, Honore, and Columbia City Bakery.
If you are looking for Pizzaiolo, it will always be in Oakland and not here. But we have great pizza in the forms of Via Tribunali, Flying Squirrel, Bar del Corso, etc.
If you are looking for a high-end fine dining tasting menu, you're probably better off taking a long weekend to a city that cares more about it and can still support that sort of consumption. NYC and Chicago are nice for that.
I'd stay away from Mistral Kitchen, which has been my worst dining experience in Seattle to date. The food was okay if uninspired and significantly overpriced, but the service was a disaster. Our server told us that he wasn't familiar with the menu, called over the chef when we asked about wine, came very close to spilling the cocktails, and eventually disappeared from sight completely. I'd gone there on the basis of positive reviews here and elsewhere expecting a fine dining experience yet entered a space that looked so much like part of the bar area that I needed to confirm with the person who seated us that we were indeed in the dining room. Not recommended!
I moved to Seattle a few months ago after eating in SF for nine years, and it's a surprisingly huge step down. If you stick to downtown, you'll have a hard time staying happy for your meals. I did enjoy dinner at Lecosho at Harbor Steps (1st Ave) awhile ago. For a light breakfast focused on baked goods, I'd recommend the crumpets at the Crumpet Shop at Pike Place Market or Macrina Bakery in Belltown. getting back to dinner, Spur can be tasty, but it's also pricey. Like others here, I'd suggest heading to Capitol Hill and Spinasse; its more casual offshoot, Artusi; Poppy; or possibly Olivar. If you're willing to travel a bit further, Revel in Fremont is consistently flavorful and fun, Bookbindery was excellent for a higher-end meal, and I liked Bar Del Corso in the Beacon Hill neighborhood for Seattle's best and most heartfelt pizza and well-done antipasti.
Seattle isn't San Francisco by a long shot, but if you choose carefully, you should do better.
Wild ginger unfirtunately has been disappointing for some time and i, personally, havent always had great luck at le pichet.
See if you can get a rez for altura - excellent food. If you like Vietnamese, try Ba Bar. If you like gastropub food, Quinn's is great. I love the wild board sloppy joe and the bone marrow.
Well, sorry your having no love so far for food here in SEA, but if you use the search function to look up recommended resto's, you would find that Wild Ginger doesn't get a whole lotta love from the local CH crowd... pretty pedestrian these days (that they are serving a wrap at all should tell you something!).
Le Pichet is usually consistently good, so I would say you had an off experience. Love me the salad, and have eaten it at least a dozen times, and it is not usually watery. I frequent sister cafe Presse on capitol hill tho.
You might use the search for some ideas, but off the top of my head, would say Spinasse, Quinn's, Terra Plata (and the neighboring Taylor Shellfish for a dozen fresher than fresh oysters, next door down is Melrose Market for snacks, cheese, a drink).
Head to the Market for breakfast and grazing. Mac & Cheese at Beecher's, chowder at PP Chowder. Piroshki, Piroshki, for well... you know. :)
i will let others extoll the gems of the ID, since I don't get there enough.
Hope your luck improves!