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Jan 7, 2014 01:29 PM

SEA lunch - w/o parking nightmare

Please help! I work on Mercer Island. Friends work in downtown Seattle. I have about 60-75 min I can take for lunch. MI is a restaurant deadzone. Bellevue/eastside is kind of far for the Seattlites to drive. Where can we meet in Sea without me dealing with a parking nightmare (i.e. not downtown)? I'd like to split my time between the drive and the socializing, and devote a minimum to putting my car somewhere (both time and money wise).

Our first meet was at Columbia City bakery which was ok for pkg, but very limited lunchtime eats and seating...

Thank you!

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  1. International district, and east Cap Hill - parking can be bad in both areas, but at least there should be some free spots, and I think Cap Hill parking gets better the further east of Broadway you are. Monsoon or Ba Bar (same owners, I prefer Monsoon), Vietnamese around 12th & Jackson, Wandering Goose on 15th.

    1 Reply
    1. re: babette feasts

      We've had good success with ID on-street parking.

    2. Doesn't seem like a particularly hard...
      There are at least a few places downtown that validate parking. I've done O'Asian several times.

      Places in the ID, especially as you head East, both up toward 12th (Tamarind Tree, Hue Ky Mi Gia) and toward Rainier (Tea Garden) would be good.

      Parking's a little harder toward Capitol Hill, but there's usually spots to be found around lunchtime. Definitely not as bad as at night. And again there are places like 8 oz Burger (one of my fav. burgers in town) that have their own parking.

      UPDATE: may be a little outdated, but I found this...

      1. Thanks so far! In the little time that I worked in dt SEA, I had paid pkg in my bldg. So I didn't drive anywhere for lunch and don't know much about the parking situation. I was concerned my choices were $25 first hour $30 max for the day, or circle circle circle.

        1. How about Fremont? You can zip across 520, and your friends can come up Eastlake/Westlake. Lots of street parking at The Whale Wins, Revel, or Westward (which has a gorgeous view of downtown). Also, lots of new places at U Village- the wait at Din Tai Fung is pretty minimal during weekday lunch, or you can try the Beecher's Cheese guy's full service place (I haven't been there but I really dig Beecher's/MaximusMinimus).

          3 Replies
          1. re: chococat

            After exiting I-5 It can take a lot of time during mid-day to cross through Wallingford to get in order to reach Fremont or Ballard. I wouldn't try that if the OP has a grand total of 75 minutes to commute both ways from Bellevue, park, and eat. I think that I would tend to still favor downtown, with a little bit of advance planning to get directly to an affordable lot near the restaurant..

            There are some good online tools these days to help put together a parking strategy. Here's one:

            1. re: Gizmo56

              I would agree. The one time I drove to dt, grabbed a pkg spot, bought a turkey sandwich at Bakeman's, and drove back to my office, I was gone for 45 min. Driving and pkg always take longer than one realizes, and there is no time left to actually lunch with someone.

              1. re: sasha1

                Chococat's reference to 520 through me off a bit and it had me thinking you were coming from Bellevue (sorry). Since you are on Mercer Island, you'd be crossing on I-90, and that means it would be an even longer haul up to the north end, so I think (even more than before) that you'd want to focus on downtown, or Pioneer Square, the ID, or SODO.

                There are several lots in a cluster around 4th and Virginia that I often use. They are all very close to the Tom Douglas spots Dahlia Lounge, Serious Pie, Lola, and also to Assagio, if you are in the mood for Italian. And from there you are only about a three block walk from the Market and all the nice spots there, like Le Pichet.

                I find it helps with parking to schedule your lunch on the early or late side, because the cheaper lots tend to fill up during the noon hour.

          2. While "zipping" across 520 sounds good, it will cost you. Tolls troll doncha know?