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A New Orleans native visits Seattle for the first time

  • m

I won't have a car and will be staying at the Sheraton on 6th street in I guess what is considered downtown. Anything noteworthy within walking distance? And, what is the best Thai/Asian restaurant. Chinese food in my city is pretty horrid. I am assuming it is infinitely better in Seattle. As for the best high end places nearby what would that be? Also, good lunch spots with REAL sandwiches rather than Jimmy Johns or some chain. If I were to take a taxi within 15 minutes, what would be your top two dressy places and top two casual but food dominated places? Thanks. These are a lot of questions so please don't feel obligated to answer them all. Many thanks to all the Chowhound readers.

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  1. Hi, Mikey:

    Alas, we have nothing like Antoine's, Gallatoire's or Commander's Palace.

    Sandwiches nearby: Tat's Deli or Salumi.

    Noteworthy within walking: Loulay, Matt's in the Market, Maxmillien, Il Bistro. For Seafood, McCormick & Schmick's, Seatown.

    Chinese (in Chinatown): Honey Court, Seven Seas.

    Dressy: The closest we have is Canlis or El Gaucho.

    Casual Food Domination: Maybe Dahlia Lounge, Luc, Sitka & Spruce.


    1. Look into Revel for Korean, Paseo for sandwiches and Book Bindery for dressy in addition to a +1 to everything kaleo said.

      15 during rush hour won't get you many blocks much less into another neighborhood so plan accordingly.

      6 Replies
      1. re: venice4504

        I agree with venice's recs, except that you'd be pushing your 15-minute radius.

        We have no streetcar to drop you to our Jacques Imos...

        1. re: kaleokahu

          These are great. Okay, I think I am used to being just 15 to 20 minutes away from everything. I live in a bubble where nothing is too far. I know that a lot of the day I will be in a conference but there is nothing more depressing than a Sheraton turkey sandwich from some coffee bar that tastes like cardboard. I appreciate the recommendations. This is fantastic. That gives me a lot to go by. One last question. Since you know New Orleans Kaleokahu, what would be the equivalent of Galatoire's in Seattle. That place where people might dress up but it's not formal. It's packed with people and not quiet. Food is great and the people watching is even better. I need to impress one client who loves a good cocktail or two, gets a little loud, chats with other tables, dresses quite smartly, wants really high end food and wine yet nothing too formal. I am going to write down all of those other choices. I am so glad I posted this message. Thanks to you both.

          1. re: mikey

            Hi, Mikie:

            As I wrote before, we have no place like Gallatoire's. Canlis is sure to impress, and is the oldest fine dining establishment around. But it is sedate compared with Gallatoire's.

            If you want a rollicky good time to go with a see-and-be-seen and upscale food, I would suggest Dahlia Lounge, or perhaps Metropolitan Grill, or maybe even RN74.


            1. re: mikey

              I think I'd throw Aragona into the mix. Comes across as more upscale than a lot of Seattle restaurants designwise, is definitely not quiet, food & drink is high end but the place still isn't "formal" though smartly dressed would fit in quite well. Same chef/owner as Spinasse which has also been mentioned.

              1. re: mikey

                The Brooklyn would be the place to get loud, get cocktails, get oysters.... The finance crowd *loves* that place.

            2. re: venice4504

              i'd suggest joule over revel; i used to LOVE revel, but last time i ate there my dish was honestly so bad i sent it back. joule is also slightly more "high-end" in my mind...

            3. Sandwiches
              1. Closest (and the best IMO): Salumni - Cured meats/Italian. Check the website or call for hours to make sure they aren't on holiday.

              2. Paseo (Also very good) - Pressed sandwiches

              1. For sandwiches I really like the sandwiches at Rain Shadow Meats. Paseos, and Salumi are both excellent choices as well, but Paseos isn't close to you're hotel.

                I'd recommend the following places for a more upscale environment (Though nothing in Seattle besides Canlis is really dressy ie. requires a jacket), and would impress a client:

                Altura: Nice space, great refined food, great service, I think they have a great wine list as well, but I'm not qualified to really determine that, somebody else could chime in on that. Note: you can choose 3 or 5 courses, or a tasting menu, if that's not what you're looking for, avoid.

                Lloyd Martin: Had an excellent meal here recently, had a short rib pasta dish that was perhaps the best pasta dish I've had in Seattle, everything else was on point as well, but that dish was a true 10/10. Well thought out space, and a really well designed menu. Plates are small so it can get pricey sorta fast but the food and portion control is on point. I would find this restaurant impressive as a client.

                Spinasse: Simple somewhat rustic Italian food, but they only use the best ingredients, Spinasse is probably my favorite Seattle restaurant. Small simple menu but everything is so well thought out and executed flawlessly.

                A unique place I'd recommend is Spur. They have some of the best cocktails in the city and their food is very impressive. It's fun, and interesting. Though they do utilize a lot of modern techniques so if that's not your cup of tea steer clear, it's not for everyone; but if you're on the fence I'd give it a shot.

                Another unique place is Harvest Vine, it looks like its about 10-15 minutes from you but it never fails to please. Also a good option for a weekend breakfast. This place gets a ton of love on chowhound, that's where I first heard about it. I've recommended this place to 3-4 people and all of them have come back with big smiles.

                I'm not as well versed in eastern cuisine as others but I do like the following Asian restaurants. These places are far from a hole in the wall, and will be pricier than a lot of places but the ingredient quality is simply better:

                Chan: Korean food, fun atmosphere, good prices, and its downtown. I've had only 1 meal here but I enjoyed it and would not hesitate to go back. Definitely a somewhat "trendy," place but the food is good. I'd say this is similar to Revel but with a different approach to what I call "urban Korean," food.

                Monsoon: Vietnamese food, a little out of town but not more than 10 minutes from you. Upscale for Vietnamese, they pride themselves on using high quality and local ingredients.

                1 more thing I think you should definitely consider is:

                The Whale Wins, I understand it doesn't get much love on chowhound but the place is amazing. Great food, great preparations, great cocktails, great space etc. It is one of my favorite place in Seattle, though it is definitely a little outside the downtown area, but really not too far. If they have the eton mess on the dessert menu, do yourself a favor and order 500 of them.

                Sounds like you're client may like RN 74. I was overall underimpressed by a recent meal here, while some dishes were truly amazing, most were forgettable. It's hip, happening, loud, lots of people. People watching here is an absolute riot. If anyone has been there multiple times please post, I've only been once so take what I say with a grain of salt.

                5 Replies
                1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                  Thanks. WOW! Leave it to Seattleites to come up with some great suggestions. As it turns out, lunch is included in this conference but tomorrow I will hit one of the good spots. SO….how depressing is this? When I arrived, I followed a group to Pike St. Market. The choices were overwhelming. I adore Greek food and saw some place called Athenian Grill or something like that. HORRIBLE FOOD! Ugh. I was so dejected. Then, I had dinner at Sitka and Spruce which I desperately wanted to love. It was very good needless to say. Fantastic wines too. Last night all conferences. So tonight is the client night but tomorrow night I will be solo. What is the best place for bar dining? I want LIVELY! Thanks again to you all. Cannot wait to try these places out.

                  1. re: mikey

                    The Athenian at least has pretty views :) Weekend breakfast bartender pours some stiff bloody marys too.

                    Lively? Take a ride up the hill to Quinn's, maybe?

                    1. re: mikey

                      Athenian is an institution among Seattle dive bars, replete with resident historic clientele. Take a "Happy Hour with a view" attitude and skirt the menu.

                      1. re: mikey

                        Go sit in the bar at Matt's in the Market, or the sister bar to it 'lloyd Martin down in the sanitary market bldg. across from main Pike place market arcade!
                        Then walk down to Il Bistro for a cocktail, then on down to Zigzag for a nightcap - that should be a great food crawl.

                        Or, head up to Capitol Hill and sit at the bar at Quinn's; bone marrow, wild boar sloppy joe's. Probably something with nettles on the menu right now. Many, many great places for dessert or a nightcap and people watching from that pike/pine spot... stroll in any direction for a good time!

                    2. mikey, here is 2 more cents worth of opinions.
                      RN74 sounds like the best fit for the description of your client. a couple of other downtown dress up type places but without the atmosphere are the Hunt Club and the Georgian Room.
                      depending on how you like to walk and your time, there are 2 other great choices for sandwiches near your hotel-
                      HoneyHole sandwiches and the Other Coast Café
                      another place I love within walking distance is Tango, spanish tapas and one of the highly regarded desserts in town called El Diablo.
                      other ideas for the 15 min ride-Quinn's Gastropub,
                      La Spiga, Terra Plata, Miller's Guild, Bar Sajor, Wild Ginger, and Local 360.
                      Depending on how you feel about seafood, you could do a little oyster comparison at either the Brooklyn or Elliot's, try Blueacre Seafood or if you enjoy sushi Shiro's is very good.
                      Hope you enjoy your dining in our fair city.

                      1. Of the places mentioned so far, I'd say Canlis, Altura and The Georgian are the only dressy upscale places in town. Canlis requires a dinner jacket; The Georgian is very refined and their price point would imply dressy; I've worn a suit there for dinner but I doubt they'd make a fuss if you dressed down. Altura is the least dressy of the three. All three are favorites of mine and you can't really go wrong with any of those when it comes to food. Canlis only does prix fixe and a tasting menu in the main dining room (rez required); they offer a la carte in their salon. Altura does prix-fixe but will offer a la carte sized-portions for any of their menu items if you request it. The Georgian does both a la carte and prix fixe.

                        If you're going for more casual, I really like Spinasse (pasta, refined menu), La Bete (eclectic), Quinn's (gastropub), Sitka & Spruce (NW), and Mamnoon (Lebanese/Mediterranean) -- those are all on Capitol Hill and would require a short cab ride.

                        As for sandwiches, you have great options in Downtown proper. Just at the Pike Place Market, you have Market Grill doing amazing sandwiches with either salmon or halibut. Matt's in the Market has several stellar sandwich options; they're more of a sit-down spot but grabbing a seat at the bar is always a treat. Piroshky Piroshky is more novel and also quite popular; they make Russian turnovers filled with both sweet and savory ingredients.

                        In Pioneer Square, Salumi is king, but if the line is too long, Rain Shadow Meats, Delicatus and La Bodega are mere blocks away.

                        1. I second the recs for Spur and Salumi and Altura.

                          For vietnamese, try Long Provincial.

                          1. For Chinese food, an option that's comfort food and simple..

                            Szechuan Noodle Bowl
                            Mike's Noodle House

                            1. A lot of good information already. As for "what is the best Thai/Asian restaurant," Little Uncle is probably the best Thai restaurant in the area, and certainly the best anywhere near the Sheraton. It's weekday lunch only from 11AM-3PM, but well worth a stop. Thai Curry Simple has usually one authentic special dish each day plus pad thai and some rotating curries with pop appeal.

                              Vietnamese is the leading Southeast Asian cuisine in town and you have already heard about Long Provincial and Monsoon, Tamarind Tree and Green Leaf. For more no-frills stuff in the ID/Little Saigon try Pho Bac or Huong Binh.

                              Other solid SE Asian joints are Kedai Mekan (Malay), Malay Satay Hut (Malay/Singapore), Phnom Penh Noodle House (Cambodian). There are couple good Lao places but these are outside your 15-min. range.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: equinoise

                                Seconding Little Uncle as one of the best Thai restaurants in Seattle, and the best one close to the Sheraton.

                                For Chinese, Henry's Taiwan (Taiwanese) and Seven Stars Pepper (Szechwan) in the International District are pretty good. Unfortunately, the best Chinese places are mostly in Bellevue, which is across the bridge and well outside of your 15 minute range.

                                1. re: equinoise

                                  Late to this thread but equinoise's quote: " There are couple good Lao places but these are outside your 15-min. range" caught my eye. Would you be so kind as to mention the Lao places? We've been to Savatdee three times and Viet Thong twice but would love to hear about others...

                                2. If you wanted to combine your lust for REAL sandwiches with your search for good Asian, you should seek out Bahn Mi (Vietnamese sandwich). The downtown Pho Cyclo makes a good one and would be within walking distance.

                                  Another good walking-distance lunch option would be to head down to the Market and grab a sandwich from Zaccagni’s, or DeLaurenti, or Market Grill, there are a ton of choices!

                                  1. i'd avoid dahlia (honestly any tom douglas restaurant other than serious pie/serious biscuit). in my recent experience they are overpriced and underwhelming. i'd skip maximilien, too; pricey and doesn't deliver food-wise in my personal experience. mccormick & schmick's is a national chain, so while they do a fine job are far from seattle-specific.

                                    my advice?

                                    don't overlook the westlake center food court. le pichet on 1st makes a solid lunch/brunch (try for the quiche if you can get a slice, it sells out by 12pm usually) and a KILLER dinner. macrina bakery is fantastic for breakfast or lunch (sandwiches, salads, quiches, soups, pastries). japonessa (also on 1st) has happy hour almost all day in the bar, which makes for a criminally good sushi meal. your client might enjoy list, tavolata, or local 360 (both in belltown). the price points are modest, but the atmosphere matches what you described (boisterous, friendly, reasonably swanky). it's generally quiet and not too busy, but the lost pelican on 1st also serves amazing food (it's southern/cajun/creole inspired, though, so may not be of interest to you!).

                                    back to lunches... pear delicatessen is an often overlooked gem in pike place market - they have sandwiches, great soups, and some deli meats/pasta salad type deals and offer the best selection of craft/unusual sodas in the area (also sell a range of gourmet groceries).

                                    there's a solid korean fusion place in pike place market too (right by the fish-throwing guys), as well as standbys such as turkish delight, le panier (pastries and cold french sandwiches), michou, mee sum pastry (humbao, potstickers, cha siu skewers, and treats like sesame balls), or mr d's greek delicacies for a greek pita sandwich. you're also close to fare start ( a great, GREAT cause!), barolo, and mistral. happy hour or lunch at said places is a good bargain, albeit sit down. i have many more ideas (two bells, il bistro, harbor city, triumph bar, red papaya, obasan, racha, pagliacci, and more) but don't want to clog the thread.

                                    though one last thing? it's neither loud nor rowdy, but rock creek in fremont is probably the best meal i've had in years. plus, AMAZING service, and an upscale, dressy vibe. moderate noise level. don't discount it, and haven't noticed it getting much love here on CH. worth checking out.

                                    enjoy your stay! feel free to ask me further questions or PM me.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: chartreauxx

                                      Oh, my. The Westlake mall food court?

                                      I wouldn't send my worst enemy there. I think the Columbia Tower food court is terrible, but the one at Westlake makes it look good, IMO.

                                      Different strokes, I guess...

                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        Yeah, this warrants follow-up...

                                        Chartreauxx, genuinely curious, is there some secret place up there we should be hitting up?

                                        1. re: GreenYoshi

                                          i've always had good luck with noodle zone. try the duck noodle soup. fast, affordable, tasty. their pad see ew is also fabulous. i used to work in the westlake tower and noodle zone was my go-to spot. the thai place also does a decent job; just make sure to ask that they cook your order fresh, not take it from the steam table; they're happy to oblige.