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Mar 24, 2014 02:50 PM

3 days in Seattle

Hello! My husband and I are leaving the children behind and heading to Seattle for a long weekend. Any must eats? We are staying at the W but are willing to cab or Metro anywhere.

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  1. Here's a recent thread:

    You may want to read some of the Seattle board and narrow down your search. There's loads of great food there so "must eats" is a tough one.

    1. Definitely get a cocktail from Zig Zag. Ask for an Old Cuban, (which is off the menu), their famous bartender Murray Stinson used to make them for me! (He now works up the street at Il Bistro FYI). In fact you could start at Il Bistro at the top of Pike Place and make your way down to Zig Zag down the steps off of Western Ave.

      UMI is a Seattle sushi staple. Trendy, great happy hour, close to downtown...I prefer Shiki sushi in Queen Anne. Total hole in the wall but best sushi in Seattle in my opinion. The guy sitting next to me at the bar last time told me it's better than Jiro's in Japan (The chef of Shiki has the same crazy master sushi certification as Jiro btw)

      Paseos is a MUST, as everyone will agree on. It is a sandwich shack with two locations in Ballard and Fremont. You'll most likely have to stand in a really long line and if you get there too late they might even be out of bread but the Cuban Midnight Press pork sandwich is to die for.

      The Delancy in Ballard has the best pizza and great ambience plus craft cocktails. They do not accept reservations and the wait can sometimes be two hours so I'd suggest getting there early.

      Ivar's Salmon House on the water is a classic Seattle spot with a great bar happy hour where you can just hang out and watch Lake Union.

      Honorable mentions include How to Cook A Wolf in Queen Anne, Il Terrazzo Carmine in Pioneer Square and Canon. If you feel like shelling out the big bucks try Canlis, Book Bindery, or The Herb Farm (way out in Woodinville and you'll have to pay ahead of time for a crazy 10 course meal).

      Good luck!

      5 Replies
      1. re: FoxReindeer

        Just an FYI, Murray is no longer at Il Bistro. I don't think he's landed anywhere yet.

            1. re: Lauren

              Thanks for the info. I hope he'll be settling in at a "compatible" spot soon.

              1. re: Lauren

                Thanks for the heads up, I saw him at the bank the other day...hope he gets back behind the bar soon!

        1. I too hopefully will be visiting Seattle this Summer from Toronto. Planning to meet up with another chowhounder from Singapore and have a 'mini-chowmeet'. If OP does not mind, I would like to tag onto this thread and ask fellow chowhounder for recommendations on the best 'seafood' restaurant in town. Both fine dining as well as casual joints. Thx!!

          16 Replies
          1. re: Charles Yu


            Seafood here is (in my opinion) going to break down into three or four broad categories, and I'm not sure if you are more interested in one or others:

            Grilled Seafood: Unfancy: Grilled Salmon sandwich at Market Grill in the market. Fancy: Matts at the Market, BlueAcre, or SeaStar.

            Shellfish / oysters: Unfancy: Taylor Shellfish. Fancy: Walrus & Carpenter.

            Sushi: This is WIDELY open to debate. Worth searching for the many discussion threads on this board,

            The possible fourth category may just be a subset of "Shellfish". I can't think of a good quantification for it, but it would include Crawfish King, 7 Star Pepper Szechuan, and various other idiosyncratic and often Asian seafood places. Perhaps other hounds can help me out on this line of thought...

            1. re: Booklegger451

              Co-sign on this...Try to go to Walrus & Carpenter for Happy Hour (stand in line before they open...): Oysters 1/2 off 4-5pm, 25% off 5-6pm, $2 off cocktails, $1 off beer and Muscadet

              Agree on doing some major research on sushi, but Shiro's is probably considered "the best" if you were to take a random poll.

              I'm not even going to try and start narrowing down the ID District Asian seafood places.

              1. re: Booklegger451

                I'll second the sandwich from Market Grill (there's halibut if you're not a big salmon fan, like me). With the house-made rosemary mayo and coleslaw, it's one of the best lunches in town. And, the ringside seat you'll have there for the madness that is Pike Place Market in high tourist season is beyond compare. Don't be scared off by the small number of seats at the counter--if you hang out, something will open up sooner than you'd think.

                1. re: MsMaryMc

                  As you sit at the Market Grill counter, you see Uli's right across the aisle with a stunning array of masterfully crafted fresh sausages (grilled to order - get fries and grilled onions and peppers). Right across Pike Place at Jack's, get just a cup of Cioppino. Fifty feet further up Post Alley, is Pike Place Chowder. I'm stuck on seared scallop but am told and believe it's all good. Dauphinoise at Le Panier is partly about a delightful savory pastry and partly about the teeming experience of the Market. Back up Pike Place to the newsstand, Zacanni's will transport you. One meatball slider and now I'm a lifer. Delaurenti offers decent-to-rapturous pizza and a delightful cold-case with fresh salads, sandwiches, and desserts. The hard-core will grab a pint of buttermilk and an order of fried chicken-livers in a cardboard boat. Living large.

                  1. re: mrnelso

                    Thank you all for your prompt and interesting responses and suggestions! :)
                    Since we are regular visitors of Japan, Hong Kong and China. I think we will give all food 'Asian', especially sushi, a pass.
                    One last question if I may:
                    Are there any Western food 'fine dining' establishments that are seafood focus or with seafood preparation as their forte? As examples, I am thinking of say New York's - Le Bernadin or the Italian but seafood specialist - Marea?! A couple of ideas would be great.
                    Thanks again!

                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      The most obvious choice is Seastar by John Howie, a local semi-famous chef with a string of great restaurants.

                      Also AQUA by El Gaucho is definitely "fine dining" with a great view right on the Pier. My swordfish there was...just fine. Haven't gone back to give it another chance yet.

                      I have heard a lot of good things about Art for Food in Pike Place where they primarily serve food from the vendors there (i.e. seafood).

                      If you really want to go for "American cliché" you could go to Salty's on Alki for brunch. They have every kind of breakfast, lunch and dessert item available. They have a giant chocolate AND caramel fountain for Christ's sake. That being said...they DO have (unlimited) Taylor Shellfish oysters, crab, black tiger prawns, clams, mussels, salmon, lox...You should really go just to see the sheer over the top-ness of it all.

                      One last thing, if you like pasta you MUST go to Il Corvo. They are only open for lunch and you will have to wait in line but it is totally worth it. I thought it was better than any pasta I had in Italy (not that I was seeking out a lot of "foodie" establishments as a broke high school and college student).

                      1. re: FoxReindeer

                        Wow!! Thank you for your input, FoxReindeer!
                        I hope Il Corvo offers pasta dishes with fresh Alaskan King Crab or Dungenerss crab meat and Sea Urchins?!!

                        PS: Thanks to you, Brunhilde as well!

                        Cannot wait to visit your gorgeous city! Fly in on a Boeing jet, sip a Starbuck coffee and may be bump into Bill Gates?! Ha!!

                        1. re: Charles Yu

                          Il Corvo only serves 3 pastas a day, all handmade, until they run out. Check out their website to get a better idea about what they make:

                          For seafood + pasta: Anchovies and Olives

                          1. re: Charles Yu


                            Unlikely but not impossible that you'll find seafood influenced pasta at Il Corvo. Worth going for a non-seafood meal, though... they are fantastic.

                            For fine dining with seafood, you might also consider the tasting menu at Canlis. Canlis is the local fine dining allstar, offering an old-school fine dining experience. Their spring tasting menu has several seafood elements.

                            1. re: Booklegger451

                              Thank you for bringing 'Canlis' to my attention, Bookleggar451!
                              Checked their website. Exactly, what I am looking for!
                              I think for our two days stay and mini-chowmeet, we'll be going to 'Walrus & Carpenter', 'Seastar', 'Il Corvo' and 'Canlis'.
                              If have time, we'll try to squeeze in 'Art for Food'. Sounded like seafood experience one would find in places like Hong Kong.
                              Thank you all again!!

                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                Hi, Charles:

                                Be forewarned: Il Corvo is essentially a dive. The pasta is exquisite, but it's not fine dining at all. Rough neighborhood.

                                For seafood, I suggest McCormick & Schmick's. It's a regional chain, but their fresh sheet is always the best in Seattle, IMO.


                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                  Thank you Kaleo!
                                  I manage to locate some great pasta here in Toronto recently. So actually, I'm considering using the slot for more seafood. May be I'll just stick with fresh seafood every meal! Afterall, its harder and more expensive to find exotic seafood here and its 'healthier'!

                                  Just out of curiosity, how is Seattle Sushi standard compare to Vancouver up north?

                2. re: Charles Yu

                  Rock Creek has done seafood right by me both times I've been. They have a pretty wide variety and all the dishes I've tried there have been good to great.

                  1. re: Brunhilde

                    We were there tonight and had four dishes (aside from raw oysters). I only really liked one of them.

                    1. re: sweetpotater

                      We have been twice, and would be there much more often if we were not coming from the Anacortes area. Most dynamic and interesting seafood dishes we have enjoyed in Seattle in a long time.

                  2. re: Charles Yu

                    If you can make it to Il Corvo, get there at 11:00 when they open and avoid the line. Also, their portion sizes are decent for one. If you can bring a friend, I'd highly recommend getting all three of their daily pasta offerings and sharing.

                  3. This has all been fantastic, thank you! Feel free to keep the conversation going as we don't leave for a few more weeks. At the moment we have reservations at Lark, SeaStar and Ray's Boathouse.... and plan on Shorty's for after dinner drinks.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jmischna

                      So tell us - where did you eat, what did you have, was it good, etc?!?!? Inquiring minds want to know :)

                    2. One question if I may!
                      Rather than going to a Japanese restaurant, does any of the seafood restaurants, with raw bar, serve ' Geoduck Clams' raw, Sashimi style?
                      If I manage to get a live one from the market, will any place prepare it for me at a surcharge? ( just like restaurants in some of Hong Kong's Fishing village ).
                      Thanks again!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        Taylor shellfish in Melrose Market will do that for you.