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Jul 10, 2014 07:05 PM

One Night in Seattle Before a Cruise

Hello Seattle Hounds!

My family and I will be spending an afternoon/night in Seattle before we leave on an Alaskan cruise the next day. We are staying at the Renaissance Hotel on 5th & Madison. Our plan is to hit the Space Needle and Pike Place Market since we have limited time in your city.

Our group will be about 10 people (adults and children). Meals will most likely consist of lunch, dinner, and breakfast the next morning. For lunch, we figure we can all find something at Pike Place. Are there any standouts we shouldn't miss? Conversely, are there any places to avoid there?

What other recommendations can you give us for dinner and breakfast that are in the vicinity of our hotel? Most cuisines should be good, casual places especially.


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  1. Lunch at the market for your group sounds great. Pike Place Chowder, Matt's in the Market, and Market Grill are good choices for that.
    Lowell's is quite popular and has a great view. Food inconsistent IMO. Also a great local sausage producer, Uli's, produces right in the market and will cook one up for you. Very good.
    For dinner a group that big might be hard to accomodate. North of you with many choices is the Belltown neighborhood. Search through this board for ideas there. A non-chow choice but very popular with my kids and close to you would be Benihana. Should be able to seat 10 with a little advance notice.
    As for breakfast, two well regarded downtown choices are Lola's near your hotel or on Lower Queen Anne Hill is Toulouse Petit. Both good food. And if anyone in your group loves donuts there is a local Top Pot Donut shop near your hotel-good coffee too.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bighound

      Another lunch recommendation in Pike Place Market:

      For food-in-hand, and for the kids, you should give Piroshky Piroshky a look. They make some genuinely tasty goodies, both savory and sweet, that are easy to eat while you walk around and explore the market.

      (side note, do not miss the fact that the market extends a couple of floors down, and is full of fun and unusual shops)

      1. re: bighound

        I'm sure the kids would enjoy the show at Benihana, but it is not a restaurant I would choose for a short layover in Seattle (not an "only in Seattle" sort of experience).

        I'd recommend Blueacre Seafood. It is a big space and you should have no trouble reserving for a group of that size (with reasonable notice), there is a lot of fresh local seafood on the menu, and they have plenty of options that should please the younger Chowhounds in your crew. It is an easy walk from the hotel.

        1. re: Gizmo56

          Show, eh? Though entirely dependent on the particularities of the group, Argosy cruise line runs a short boat ride on Puget Sound to a Blake Island salmon dinner, cooked in a native style and served with noisy dances with big wooden clacking masks. It suffers the usual deeply-worn-tourist-trap condition of the ilk, but the history and culture lessons leave a guest better informed than most locals about historic NW tribes.

      2. At 5th and Madison you're not too far from our International District (ID). It might be fun to try that for dinner.

        1. I think you'd be well served to scan this page and the following two pages for recommendations on restos and sight seeing spots. We get tons of requests every summer from folks who think their inquiries are unique.

          1 Reply
          1. Hey, Philly Ray! I will be staying in Philly for one day and night in September....maybe you can give me a few good tips when I post the same on the Philly board ;)

            Seattle, for limited time: Matts in the Market is nice, the Pink Door has a rooftop style patio, there is a nice wine shop at the front of the market to pick up a PNW bottle for your hotel room (I encourage folks to get a nice loaf at the bakery there and some cheeses for your room, if you like that). Taste some micro brews and coffee as well!

            Tourists like to go to the first Starbucks at the market (if only to say they went there) and they also like to visit the first, original Sur la Table store (funky and piled high with kitchen stuff). The tea and spice shop is fun there too (pike place teas and spices are easy, "pack able" little souvenirs to take home).

            Lots of various Asian folks living and working in Seattle (not sure if that is the case in Philly?) so the rec for the international district is a good one. Fun shopping and interesting eating.

            Down by the water, try the " great wheel" for the view. Riding the Ducks (land/ water vehicle) is fun, especially for kids and gives the tourist an overall city experience.

            Pioneer Square, the underground tour, Salumi (Batali family) and the funky, historic sights, lots of quirky places to graze.....

            Of course, you can't do it all in a day, if you want fine dining recs (wonderful places) there are plenty of threads on that, but it takes up a chunk of time too.

            Have fun!

            1 Reply
            1. re: sedimental

              Absolutely! Be sure to ask about cheesesteaks. We love that on the Philly Board ;)

              Yeah, we are definitely giving your fair city short shrift since we are just passing through on the way to the cruise. Would love to come back someday when we have some real time to dive into the food looks excellent.

              While I appreciate all of the suggestions so far, I think I'm leaning towards the International District for dinner. We'll see how the rest of our group feels about that.

            2. How do you feel about French bistro food? My favorite restaurant in Seattle is Le Pichet. Its like home cooked food, not too pricey, very delicious, a nice but not pretentious environment. Its small though so I'm not sure they could accommodate 10 at one table but ask. Their cocktails are all wonderful too.

              Personally I think you should skip the International District. I'm an east coaster and I've found Asian food on the east coast to be much better than the west coast, not sure why that is. With that said Asian food in Vancouver, Canada is awesome! Anyway if you want excellent Chinese food drive out to Malvern and eat at Margaret Kuo's Mandarin restaurant.

              Oh, casual attire is the norm in west coast dining, so jeans are good where ever you go.