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Seattle/Tacoma--college dining

My daughter is considering college in Seattle or Tacoma and we will be visiting in a few weeks from the Midwest. Any suggestions for good restaurants near the University of Puget Sound and the University of Washington (Seattle)? I'm not looking for the highest-tier fine-dining type of place, but someplace fun, with personality, ethnic food of almost any kind would be great, that would showcase what's special about this area. Thanks!

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  1. Sue, Near the UPS campus is the Southern Kitchen open for breakfast, lunch & dinner serving very tasty Soul food. (Great catfish.) Also recommended in the Tacoma area is Matador (Tex-Mex), Indochine (Asian Fusion), Vuelve A La Vida (authentic Mexican including excellent oysters) and Asado for steaks and bargain Happy Hour food. You may also try a UPS student favorite: The Red Hot which just serves hot dogs and beer; while that not sound like much, there is an aura to the Red Hot that cannot be explained--just experienced. (Don't be surprised if you suddenly crave having a new tattoo.) Scan the Seattle Chowhound board and you'll see visitor recommendations for a wide range of cuisine.

    1. Near UW you might try Agua Verde down on Montlake Cut; great Modern mexican cuisine; a very 'UW spot... nice deck for sunny days, and they rent kayaks down below. A local favorite. Great fish tacos, and interesting salsas.
      Another UW fave is Northlake Pizza, an old-school pizza and beer joint bustling with families and students. Not deep dish, and certainly not NY style - it is it's own style!
      There are also LOADS of inexpensive ethnic eateries of all kinds on 'the Ave" as University Way is called in the area that runs parallel to campus. Just 2 blocks off Campus, you can stroll up and down the street and see what smells good. I am sure there are actual reco's if you do a search here; I just don't eat in that neighborhood myself often, so will leave specific's to others.

      Have fun exploring!

      1. The best Greek food I've ever had, consistently, is at the Continental Greek Pastry Shop on the Ave. And they treat you like family. I think the address is 4549 University Way.

        Continental Restaurant and Pastry Shop
        4549 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

        1. In Seattle I strongly recommend Pam's Kitchen at the corner of University Ave and 50th St. for rotis. The menu is small, the prices modest, the food great. It is Caribbean, not Pacific NW, but part of the fun of Seattle is the cultural variety.

          1. Thai Thom is the best Thai food in Seattle.

            If you don't mind driving out a bit futher down, The Harvest serves really good Spanish tapas. It can hold up and maybe win against a good tapas bar in New York. The atmosphere is definitely one of a kind, as the food is served in the bar and you get to watch the two chefs cook! Very interesting..

            Another place near UWa is Joule, an Asian Fusion restaurant. It was the highlight of my 2 months stay in Seattle.

            1. There's whole lot of selection of ethnic food on University Ave near UW (or "the Ave" in local parlance). Most of it is pretty unexciting and uninspired (with a few exceptions such as the Greek place, Pam's, and the new U-don), but at least you can sample many things for under $10 there. Stay away from the mostly substandard Indian, Vietnamese, and Thai (even the much puzzlingly-lauded Thai Tom, Cedars, and Taste of India).

              I would suggest bussing to Wallingford or downtown for better quality stuff. Fine places like Joule and La Casa Azul in Wallingford are 5min away on the #44 bus. And the taco truck next to Winchell's is not too shabby. Or slightly south of the UW for Hiroshi's and Kappa Tamura - they're not the cheapest but are very high quality Japanese.

              4 Replies
              1. re: HungWeiLo

                I agree with Hung's insights. I've heard good things about Shwarma King and Chili's Deli too, but have not tried either.

                Somehow Hiroshi's has avoided my radar despite its longevity. Looks good. What do you recommend there?

                1. re: equinoise

                  Oh I sure did miss Shwarma King - that place tastes a lot better than its looks suggest.

                  I enjoy many items at Hiroshi's - I need to go check them out again as I've not been in a while. One thing I haven't tried there are their noodles...I should do that.

                2. re: HungWeiLo

                  I have to part ways with Hung on Rancho Bravo (the taco truck next to Winchell's), blech, but I agree you should expand your circle to include Wallingford - Joule is a mid-priced restaurant with really, really great food and very unique to Seattle. I also like the Japanese place on 45th a couple of block further west, across from Tilth (though I can't recall the name), and of course Fainting Goat for great gelato (45th at maybe Wallingford Ave).

                  Otherwise, you will be spoilt for choice along the Ave, but as many here say, quality varies widely. FWIW, by Seattle standards, I think Cedars is pretty good for Indian and I like Samurai for ramen, but others here may disagree.

                  1. re: pusherman

                    Now that you mention it, Rancho Bravo is very highly inconsistent. It can seem like it was owned by 2 sets of people depending on which day you go. I usually go south to Taqueria el asadero anyways, but if you have to find quick taco truck fare in Wallingford / U-District, that's pretty much your own choice, and it's not terrible most of the time...

                3. The Proctor District is just blocks from UPS - turn on any of the numbered streets 21st - 30th and drive a couple of blocks to Proctor. There are several small restaurants - East West Cafe, Europa, La Fondita and Old House Cafe to name a few.

                  1. The 6th ave district is close to UPS. There are many good restaurants along this street. Farellis pizza near Union and 6th ave. is popular with the college crowd. Further east you have Old Milwaukee for breakfast, and then near 6th and Pine you have a big selection. Asados, Argentinian steakhouse, Masa, Mexican breakfast on weekends, and great happy hour prices, and the Primo Grill. Asados and Primo Grill are a little more pricey, but since this is Tacoma, a much better value than you'd get in Seattle.

                    1. We just tried Temporo do Brasil for the first time and really enjoyed it. I had the Feijoada which was served with rice and collards sauteed with bacon. My wife had the chicken simmered in coconut with peppers. Both dishes were quite good. They also have live music on Saturday which might be fun. This was one of our favorite meals near UW.

                      It's been a while since I have tried it but Kabul for Afghan food was another favorite for that area. I've liked all the dishes I have tried there with Qorma-i-sabzi being a favorite and also Ashak.

                      Both of these places are fun and unique.