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How did I do with my dinner plans? (and a couple other questions.)

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I am heading to Seattle the end of next week -- yippee! I will be there for 4 nights, staying downtown -- right near the Washington Convention Center and I won't have a car. I will be in town on business and I have a per diem of $60 a day (mostly spent on dinner.) I have made reservation at the following places:

Etta’s Seafood
Staple and Fancy
Spinasse
Book Bindery

My original list of choices also contained the following:
Hitchcock
The Coterie room
Blind pig
Joule
Mistral Kitchen
Local360 -- fried chicken
Walrus and the carpenter
Spur
Artusi
Elemental
Pasta freska
altura

What do you think of my choices?

Also, I won't have a ton of free time - a few hours on Friday, a few hours on Saturday (more than Friday), some time on Monday and a little time on Tuesday before I head to the airport. I know I want to go the Pike Market. I'm trying to figure it out -- I gather that there are places within the market and then in the surrounding neighbor. Is it easy to find your way around? I know there are threads on the market but if you have any "must do" places please let me know.

Also, are there any good bakeries near the convention center?

Thanks for all your help! I can't wait to visit Seattle.

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  1. I personally love the fruit piroshki (apple, rhubarb, etc.) at Piroshki, Piroshki, and the baklava at Turkish Delight in the market. Downtown is reasonably well laid out. North-south streets (parallel to the water) tend to be numbered as avenues: 1st Ave., 2d Ave., etc., except when you get down by the water where there is Western, Alaskan Way, etc. East-west streets have names, are streets instead of avenues, and tend to come in alphabetical pairs, at least in the downtown core. Going south to north: Jefferson, James, Cherry, Columbia, Marion, Madison, Spring, Seneca, University, Union, Pike, Pine. The Market (call it "the Market") is at the western foot of Pike, downtown. If you don't mind hills, Seattle is a walking town. When you're in downtown, the water is WEST. Mount Rainier is south (if you can see it).

    1. Head down 1st (downtown) take a left on Pine and there you are....in the Market where I find my favorites. At the bottom, right-hand-side you'll find Beecher's Cheese on the corner. You MUST try this place. They have some of the best handmade cheese I've ever tasted and their tomato soup is delicious. The next stop is Le Panier bakery. Go in...you can't miss the aroma. Try their savory pastries....nothing like it in LA. Next stop a few doors down....Piroshky. You choose, they're all divine. When you've tried whatever you see that suits you, turn around and go back the direction you came from. Go directly to Pike Place Chowder stuck inside one of the aisles along the way...on the left side of the street. I guarantee you will not taste chowder like this in LA...anywhere. Next stop De Laurenti's Italian Grocer. Regional wines, imported cheeses, meats, etc...the place has been in Seattle for many, many decades and it's iconic.
      The Market is one of those places you have to see for yourself....and experience for yourself. It's packed full of wonder and amazement and just plain fabulous food and finds.
      Enjoy!!

      1. I think those are some pretty solid choices. You'll be able to walk to Etta's and to Spinasse, but Book Bindery and Staple and Fancy will require a cab or bus. If you wanted to stay closer to the downtown area, I'd reconsider Mistral Kitchen. It's close by and when it's good, it's very good (although it can be a bit hit-or-miss). And if you're interested in sushi, Shiro's is close-by in the Belltown area. For oysters, you could hit-up Taylor Shellfish, just on the other side of I-5, especially if you can get there during happy hour.

        Macrina is in the Belltown area. It's a solid Seattle bakery, if you're looking for ideas outside of the market that are fairly close-by. Up on Capitol Hill (within walking distance), Crumble and Flake may also be open when you come visit, I'd consider that as an option as well.

        1. IMO, Etta's is the least "bang for the buck" of the TD restaurants. Everything seems to be a good $5 more than it needs to be. I would switch it out for Joule. It's not downtown but it will give good diversity to your dinner choices.

          1. Just came from Staple and Fancy, which is great but I only recommend it for four or more people, where you can do family-style and get a great deal. Instead I'd do Walrus & Carpenter and sit at the bar.

            1. It's not big or fancy, but Jack's Fish Spot is a go-to spot for us.

              http://www.jacksfishspot.com/

              1. I've lived and worked in the Seattle area as a line cook for 5 years now. Here's my breakdown of your choices:

                Etta's is good for brunch and lunch, used to work there, but not the best Tom Douglas restaurant. All of his places are good, not great. You may want to try something not so tourist heavy like a Tom Douglas place.

                Staple and Fancy, Spinasse, and Book Bindary are all great Seattle restaurants. Great choices.

                Hitchcock is good!, on Bainbridge Island, which is a 35 minute ferry ride away, but if you are going to make that adventure, I recommend the Four Swallows restaurant. It's been around for years and is always delicious.

                The Coterie room is really good and so is Spur, They are owned by the same people

                The Blind Pig is also a good choice, a little out of the way of downtown, but worth the travel

                I recently ate at Joule at is was good, not great, and is pretty far away considering you have no car and cabs can get pricey.

                Mistral Kitchen is a great meal and within walking distance from the convention center.

                I've never had a good experience at Local360 Service is mediocre at best and the food is not worth the price.

                The Walrus and the Carpenter is great. Oysters on the half shell are the best in the city. Ballard is pretty far away as well, but well worth it!

                Artusi is also great, get the squid ink pasta and the tripe!!

                I've never eaten at Elemental, it's closing soon so go there while you can.

                Pasta Freska is ok,

                Altura is great. Creative and delicious.

                I recommend heading to the market on an empty stomach and just walk through it. Grab small bites here and there and see what you like. I've been doing it for years and have come up with my favorite spots, Mee Sum Pastry, Three Girls Bakery, and Uli's Sausages.

                A few good restaurants close to the convention are RN74, Michael Mina's new Seattle hotspot (Downtown) Tavern Law, great for cocktails and small bites, it's owned by the same guys as Spur and Coterie Room (Capitol Hill) Smith is great for breakfast (Capitol Hill) or Palace Kitchen (Downtwon/Belltown) Good late night food and drinks.

                Hope this helps and have a good time in Seattle!

                1 Reply
                1. re: SpencerC

                  For the record, Smith only does breakfast on the weekends.

                  The burger is the only thing I've eaten at Local 360 and most of the time it has been TERRIFIC, but last time I was there it was overcooked and just ok. Service there is almost always terrible, sad to say.