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Capitol Hill Rec, please

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Have an old friend visiting from out of town. They are just passing through and wanted to show them a lively part of Seattle on their one evening. I was thinking the Capitol Hill Pike/Pine area. Here'st he thing, I'm an Eastsider and have only been in Caffe Vita up there in the past 5 years.

We're looking for a place that
-Takes reservations (party of 8 on a Saturday night)
-Is lively, but not so loud you can't have a conversation
-Good food (doesn't need to a gourmet experience, but something solid)
-Has drinks (variety of local/microbrew beers might be good)

I was thinking perhaps Barrio or Elysian. I've been to different locations of both of these restaurants, but not the Capitol Hill ones. Thoughts or other recommendations?

Also, what pubs nearby are good for just drinks?

Friend is coming from Colorado, if that matters.

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  1. Quinns, Artusi, Restaurant Zoe?, Skillet, Cafe presse, Ba Bar.

    7 Replies
    1. re: dagrassroots

      Second those, but if you do Quinn's - which I HIGHLY reccomend, don't let them sit you upstairs, or you won't be able to hear. All the noise in the open resto floats upstairs.

      Oh, just noticed your reservations requirement; that changes things a bit. I think on that list only Ba Bar, Zoe, and Cafe Presse will reserve for you.

      1. re: gingershelley

        Quinn's takes one large party reservation per night, could be worth calling about if they really want to go there.

        1. re: babette feasts

          I heard that Quinn's has a new chef and that the food has gone downhill. Any experiences there?

          I was at Cafe Presse last night and reminded just how much I love it. We started with drinks at Canon before, which is also fantastic, but it would be cocktails only.

          1. re: Lauren

            The current chef at Quinn's has been there about four months. Granted, there is a good portion of the menu that never changes (burger, sloppy joe, fish & chips), which I think is part of why they have been through a lot of chefs. Hard to find someone who can deal with pumping out dozens and dozens of burgers a night and also be inspired and creative with the rest of the menu.

            I actually ate there last night, and our party of 4 was happy with everything. We had two specials, a pork knuckle (lower part of the shank, maybe?) that was tender and tasty, and a squab stuffed with duck confit and foie gras and wrapped in puff pastry that was delicious but over the top. I was happy to see an entree salad (which of course involved ham as well) because with all that meat I needed a little veg. We also shared oysters, seared foie, and pork belly, well executed and seasoned.

            1. re: babette feasts

              Thanks for the update!

              1. re: Lauren

                Lauren did you read the Chowhound Teams comments on the Resto Board going away? Apparently these discussion boards stay!

                1. re: firecracker

                  I did - thanks!

    2. If northern Italian sounds like a good option, add La Spiga to the list. There should be no problem with a party that size, and they take reservations. I too love Presse, but you do have to be in the mood for French.

      I'd probably skip Barrio because Mexican is the one thing you can find done reasonably well in CO. I'm not a fan of the Elysian's food but you could go there for beer first, then eat elsewhere.

      4 Replies
      1. re: christy319

        But Presse is barely french right? I mean, you don't have to be in a mood for French to enjoy a croque madame and a glass of wine, or that awesome half chicken they do. (actually, I'm not even sure what's on their menu besides those two items. Pretty sure I've never gotten anything else...) That'd be my call, except I don't know that they do reservations, and 8 on a weekend night will be tough.

        1. re: GreenYoshi

          Presse and its sister Le Pichet are the only restaurants in Seattle that actually remind me of France. Check out the menus online.

          1. re: GreenYoshi

            Presse is all-French, all the time:) - in a good way! Love me the rillette's and that pert little salad verte, and, well, most anything on the menu but the steak/frites. I find the onglette they serve to be too tough.... but my Frenchman swears by it.

          2. re: christy319

            +1 on Chrsty's suggestions. La Spiga is a good choice for the hill and a large group.

          3. You might consider Anchovies & Olives (Pine/15th), I haven't been but everyone else seems to like it. Marjorie (14/Union) is also very good, but small so a party of 8 might be a challenge for them. Quinn's and Oddfellows are my go-tos in the neighborhood, but neither takes reservations that I know of. I used to do Presse a lot, but I find it's gone downhill...maybe I've just had bad luck. If you are willing to walk a bit, Lark on 12th is great, and also next to very trendy Cannon cocktail bar. You also might want to check out Momiji for great Japanese in a beautiful setting (12th/Pine).

            You'll have no problem finding places to drink, although finding a place with space might be a problem on a Saturday. In upper Pike/Pine I like Cannon for cocktails, Elysian for beer, or Moe Bar as a good all-around choice.

            1. La Spiga, Quinn, and Lark are great choices (though Lark is small, so make reservations early). I also really like Poquitos, which doesn't seem to be mentioned yet. But it's Mexican & as several people pointed out, you may get plenty of good Mex in Colorado.

              1. I would like to piggyback on this posting in that I will be going to the Capitol Hill area in my visit to the area in a few weeks. I have never been to that area and the restaurant suggestions sound appealing. My issue is how to get there. I will be arriving on the ferry from Bainbridge Island. Is it walkable to this area from the ferry (Google maps says 2 miles which I could to if necessary) or is there a public transportation option? I am willing to take a cab but wonder if you can hail a cab on the street like in NYC? Thanks,J.

                5 Replies
                1. re: singlemalt

                  There are usually cabs around the ferry terminal, or you could walk up to Madison and 1st and take the #12 bus.

                  1. re: singlemalt

                    All of the 2 miles is uphill, so you could do it if you have the energy, but walking down is much more pleasant.

                    1. re: babette feasts

                      Thank all of you very much, bus up, walk down.

                      1. re: singlemalt

                        Ideally, eat and drink too much and roll/stumble down :)

                    2. re: singlemalt

                      About half-way between the ferry terminal and the upper Pike/Pine places mentioned in this discussion is the Melrose Market...if you will arrive dayish, worth breaking your trip there. You could cab from the terminal to Pike/Melrose for very cheap (only about a mile); it isn't close to the Madison buses, but it would probably be just as easy to cut through the Market to Pike and walk up Pike. From Melrose Market to upper Pike Pine (say, Spinasse on 14th) is 3/4 mile, but a very nice walk...I'd suggest up Pike and back down Pine.