Seattle Party


This party’s a week away but thought I’d give a heads up. Guess where I’m heading next Wednesday? To Seattle to visit Craig and his family for New Year’s. Any tips on where I should go when visiting this very far away city? Any Seattle readers out there who are dying to meet me? Chime in and let’s party, Seattle style.

37 thoughts on “Seattle Party”

  1. Any Tom Douglas restaurant ( and reservations are still available for around new years (as I just made one), I Love Sushi (best sushi ever), Canlis (if you want to spend A LOT and a great view, however reservations may be impossible at this point), and if you want inexpensive food I would suggest Thai in the U-District (especially Thai Toms on University Way and 47th, always good and there is generally a wait unless you go during off hours… and very little sitting room and be wary when ordering how spicey you want it). Also, in U District Trabant Chai… so good and has won some awards… 45th between Univseristy Way and Brooklyn) Also, go to Pike Market and around the bend from the guys that throw fish is a little cart/stand that makes fresh tiny doughnuts with cinnamon and sugar, great in the morning when its cold. Have a Great Time in Seattle!

  2. Welcome to our fair city! You’ll definitely have to check out Salumi, Mario Batali’s dad’s place. It’s in Pioneer Square, and you’ll know it when you see the line snaking out the door and down the block. Lunch will be your best bet, as I believe they just do private dinner parties (although I could be wrong about that). Have fun!

  3. formerWestCoaster

    I agree about Tom Douglas’ places. Specifically, I LOVE Lola, and I LOVE the concept of eating braised octopus for breakfast. With pork belly and a friend egg! LOVE.

  4. Definitely go to Salumi. It’s only open for lunch and pick up a couple of salami’s to go. It’s not really Mario Batali’s dad’s place as much as it is Armandino Batali’s place. If you can’t make it there, make sure that you get his meats at any number of restaurants around Seattle.

    Harvest Vine is a great traditional tapas place in Madison Park. Lark is a great northwestern tapas place in Capitol Hill. Both places are fun to go with a lot of people. Make reservations if you can.

    I just went to Zoe last week and thought it was amazing. It’s located in Belltown with nice modern cuisine in a contemporary setting. I can echo the comment on Macrina. Get there for brunch if you can. Another great breakfast place is Coastal Kitchen on Capitol Hill.

    Le Pichet is one of my favorite places in Seattle. They have around 25-35 affordable French wines by the glass, and a very nice bistro menu. It’s also in Belltown very close to Pike Place Market.

    Pike Place Market is a lot of fun to walk around. There are any number of places to see there:

    * Check out the truffle oil place, La Buona Tavola. Taste the truffle oils and buys several bottles.

    * The Tasting Room is a really cool wine tasting store on Old Post Road; a friend of mine is the manager. It is a coop of several different Washington wineries.

    * I don’t love the cheeses at Beecher’s Cheese, but it is fun to see them make cheese. And their cheddars are very nice, if simple.

    * Get freshly made tiny donuts from the donut shop. (On the top level near Pike Place Fish.) They are very good for snacking on as you walk around.

    * Pike Place Fish is where they throw the fish if you buy one. They were on the Megan Mullally show trying to break the fish throwing record. The local wild salmon is not in season right now. This is a great time of year to buy oysters and other shellfish. Also, the smoked salmon is not like the smoked salmon we get here. It’s worth picking up a few pounds.

    * The Spanish Table is on the lower level on Western Ave. It has one of the best selections of Spanish and Portuguese wines in the country. I have never seen a wider selection of ports.

    * Across the street from The Spanish Table is World Spice Merchants. It’s a great store with any number of spices and teas. They supply many restaurants in Seattle, but their shop is very retail friendly. Each spice has a sample jar with one ounce of spices. You can open the jar to smell the spices.

    * The first Starbucks is in Pike Place market. It is not like every other Starbucks–it feels a lot less corporate. There are better places to get coffee in Seattle, but it is a fun touristy thing to do.


    I could go on and on–I love the food in Seattle. There are definitely many foodie things to check out there.

    You might not realize it, but Seattle is also a great place for cocktails and “mocktails.” The majority of places in Seattle can make a better drink than 90+% of places in New York City. They take a lot of pride in their cocktail abilities, and it is worth drinking there. At the same time, they value non-drinkers and have extensive mocktail menus.

    Enjoy your stay in Seattle!

  5. Oh, I am jealous!

    If you don’t go get a drink from Murray at the Zig-Zag Cafe (whichm, despite the name, is actually a bar), you are missing out on one of Seattle’s true treasures.

    More ideas?

    – Union, for a higher-end taste of local ingredients

    – Top Pot Doughnuts

    – Daily Dozen doughnuts (they’re the tiny ones Laura and Sam talk about above)

    – Palace Kitchen (late night, esp.) — our favorite of the Tom Douglas empire

    – Cafe Lago, for homey Italian

    – Salumi, as everyone says

    – La Carta de Oaxaca — Seattle’s best (and arguably only) authentic Mexican

    I’m 99% sure that we’ve written about all of these places on our blog, if you’d like more details. And drop a line if there’s something specific you’re looking for.

  6. Adam,

    Oh there’s so much to do here in Seattle, at least food wise. As everyone else has and will mention, Pike Place market is the first and last place to go. There are many great vendors, restaurants and of course, food.

    Personally, I’d make sure to have brunch at Cafe Campagne if your in town on Saturday. I highly recommend the Oeufs en Meurette.

    I’ll echo the Salumi recommendation. They are close to becoming an institution here.

    Meanwhile to get an idea on Pac NW food, I’d recommend Lark, as also previously mentioned. I’ve been to several events with chef/owner Johnathan Sundstrom and he really cares about the Seattle area and the local farmers and food producers.

    For a decent desert, head to Tango and get the ‘El Diablo’. It’s one of my favorite desserts – ‘though last time I had one, it seemed less than it could have been. That could have been an aberration. Typically the dessert is top notch.

    Word of note…Although Seattle’s a great food city, the restaurants overall are fairly straightforward. Don’t expect latest trends (a la Molecular Gastronomy). There are places doing very good and interesting work (Decent meals can be had at Union, Canlis, Flying Fish, etc) but nothing that can said to be ‘cutting edge’. Personally I like it that way.

    However, I’d put our Food shopping up against anyones. Being a port town, one can find nearly any ingredient and any food product. Sur La Table is big here and worth visiting, if only to gawk. Many decent supermarkets abound, and I recommend heading to Owajimaya to see a full scale Asian Supermarket, where one can buy a fair amount of products from the Pacific Rim.

    Street food-wise, the International District is worth a tour. It’s no Chinatown, but there are decent finds.

    I’m off for Christmas break. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to get together.


  7. You’re going to love Seattle. I personally love Volterra which is in Ballard. A fun little neighborhood about 10 minutes by cab from downtown. A Seattle get together would be a lot of fun if you have the time.

  8. Lombardi’s. There’s a couple of branches, in and around the Seattle Area. I’m going to be meeting up with about 18 of my closest friends at the one in downtown on Jan. 7th for brunch… so, erm, don’t show up then. We’re rowdy.

  9. Yes — You should definitely come visit Ballard! La Carta de Oaxaca is worth the wait. I’ve heard great things about Volterra, and been wanting to try it. Plus, there are so many fun things to do in Ballard (Archie McPhee’s, the library, golden gardens park)!

    The best croissant in Seattle is in Ballard at Cafe Besalu, but they are closed next week. If you are staying through the following week, they are open on Wednesday-Sunday. They have other pastries that are great too, but I can never resist the croissant.

    Outside of Ballard, Salumi is great. However, I think they are closed next week (I thought I saw that on the sign when I went yesterday). If you are around still on the following Tuesday, they should be open. Their daily specials are usually good, and either a mole with provolone or coppa (or lomo) with mozz are my favorite sandwiches — I advise asking for them on a baguette as well (much easier to eat and nice crust).

    Have a great trip to our city!

  10. You will love Seattle AG! These comments are great – I definitely agree with many of the places listed above. And, as someone mentioned, check out the ZigZag (near Pike Place Market) and get a cocktail from Murray – he is a national treasure.

  11. I’ve always liked Ray’s Cafe above Ray’s Boathouse on Seaview Ave., especially for lunch. It’s got great views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, an outdoor deck, and a good selection of food and drink. I try to go there everytime I’m up in Seattle. Have fun! It’s a great city.

  12. Everyone’s already given great tips, so I don’t have much more to add. I will say that you definitely must go to Le Pichet, particularly for breakfast. Order the brandade de morue nîmoise, “Warm salt cod, garlic and olive oil purée, marinated olives, grilled bread.” It’s probably unlike anything you’ve ever tasted, and it’s delicious.

    Enjoy your trip!

  13. I moved to Seattle from Chicago 4 months ago and have been REALLY happy with the food! A few nominations for your eating pleasure:

    1) Zoe – Every dish (and I’ve tried about 6 of each course) is amazing. Highly recommended!!

    2) Shiro’s – sit at the sushi bar! have Shiro feed you the freshest and best and you will NOT be disappointed! The best sushi meal I’ve had and I’m picky!

    3) Greek Taverna – cozy little Queen Anne eatery. Not fancy but very very tasty. Even the pita bread is stand-out – great local place!!

  14. oh and – I’d totally meet up for a drink or whatever. I’ve been reading your blog since the Janet cupcake days so I guess that makes us old friends. Or me a stalker :)

  15. One of Tom Douglas’s Places is a must. My favorite is the Dahlia Lounge. The decor is stunning and the food is divine.

  16. Adam-

    You must email Orangette. She is my other favorite food blogger and Seattle is her stomping ground. I have never been there, but her writing about it makes me want to go. Happy travels.

  17. Adam,

    Here’s one Seattle-ite (I’m raising my hand) who would love to meet you–you have a little cadre of fans out here!

    If you’re in Seattle, I suppose you really should seek out the great cups of coffee in town: Caffe Vita in Lower Queen Anne, Uptown Espresso (same), Vivace and Victrola in Capitol Hill. B&O Espresso for desserts, and lots more. We’ll meet you!

  18. Adam! I won’t echo everyone else’s food recommendations (Salumi, Zoe, Top Pot Doughnuts, Victrola), because they’re spot-on, but I will say that if you and Craig are looking for a super low-key New Year’s Eve (house party!), you should let me know! (Uh, because I’m having one. A house party.)

    And, I am not a *total* stranger, because I’m friends with both Kristen (of givemesomefood fame) and her husband, and I am sure they can attest that I am (mostly) normal.

    Oh! My one additional food suggestion: Black Bottle in Belltown (downtown Seattle). It’s a cool small-plates place (everything is $8 or $9), and they have the most delicious broccoli dish imaginable. A whole plate of broccoli – it sounds weird, but it’s amazing.

  19. I want to meet you! I won’t chime in on the recommendations because all have been so good that there’s no need to repeat. Except — wait — did I see Sitka and Spruce on that list? If not, you really must go. I’ll take you! Me and whatever other foodies I can gather on short notice — there are many of us and we’re all a great deal of fun and somewhat sane. Almost, almost, sane.

  20. Hmm, I still have yet to try some of these places that people have commented on.

    I would recommend Portage Bay for brunch… I heard Pesos in Queen Anne is really good too. Nishino Sushi is on the expensive side but it’s quality (around Madison). I also enjoy decently priced Italian food at Mamma Melina’s in the U-district (there’s good wine and some singing in there). Oh, try Pair too. I have no idea what to define it but they have really good cheese fondue.

    Hope you enjoy your stay!

  21. I went to Seattle a few months ago (just from Portland, though), and emailed Orangette first to get dining recommendations, and her recommendations were insanely awesome. So be sure to do that!

    Here are some of mine, that she recommended to me originally:

    baguette box – they have a wine braised pork shoulder sandwich that I still think about daily. If I had a car, I’d drive there twice a month just for that. They also have killer fries.

    Vivace for coffee. Bauhaus is also good, and right across the street from Baguette box.

    and then Le Pichet – The service at this little french place is wonderful, and the food is even better. Get the roasted chicken, and a salad. You’ll be insanely happy.

    or you could come down to Portland and go on a drinking chocolate tour…

    Have a great time, Seattle is gorgeous, and I hope you can go in the summer sometime!

  22. For good Vietnamese, try Tamarind Tree, in and around the Chinatown area. For coffee, I second Victrola but also recommend Zoka over in either the University District or Greenlake. Do either of those, as they are the heavy hitters in the coffee roaster/espresso world; if you’re looking to take some beans home, do it at these two.

  23. The French fries at the Baguette Box are just about the best I’ve ever had…if not the best. I love them.

    And Fran’s chocolate are a must. Her caramels with smoked Irish salt are terrific (they’re best enjoyed eaten upside down.)

    And for some reason, whenever I go to Seattle, a lot of people always try to sell me drugs on the street. I don’t know why, but that’s another option in case you’re looking for other things to try in Seattle.

    But I don’t think it is.

  24. No one has mentioned Dicks! Dicks is a small chain of burger joints that make your typical “I’ve had a few too many and its 3am, I need a greasy burger and some greasy fries” place. Oh yeah, don’t miss Dick’s.

  25. I agree with the choices and the suggestion to go and play in Ballard. (Sigh – I used to live there…. and now I am literally thousands and thousands of miles away) I miss the food! I miss the stores! For fun, eat at Dicks. I always loved the Library Cafe for breakfast and there is a Thai restaurant (imagine that) in Ballard that is great fun (Thai Ku?… or something along those lines). Go to Chopstix one evening on the weekend for dueling pianos and fun. Now hopefully in the months that I have been away, nothing has closed.

  26. Small world! I too will be celebrating New Year’s in Seattle. I’ve never been and though I’m staying with a local who will surely be taking me to all his favorite places, it’s been fun reading these great recommendations! Happy holidays everyone.

  27. Agree with many, but not all recos (Dick’s is NOT GOOD; if you want a burger, try Red Mill; Top Pot’s donuts are too greasy and sweet, yes I know that’s the idea but it’s too much of a good thing, plus they have sold out to Starbucks, which sells chilled donuts, ick!)

    My faves:

    Pichet, not to be missed, for b’fast their signature dish is ouefs plat w/ham and cheese, sizzling hot; their brioche with home made preserves is also stellar

    Baguette Box, agree with all the kudos above, those fries are made in truffle oil, by the way

    Victrola is fine; but I’d suggest Cafe Umbria in Pioneer Square for a great cappucino, cool decor and 50’s Italian movies on the big screen. Umbria was started by the same family and in the same spot as the late-lamented Torrefazione, which was, you guessed it, bought out by Starbucks

    No one has mentioned Wild Ginger, which I still like despite the rather corporate “new” location. I had seared sushi-grade tuna there that was literally the best fish I’ve ever had (and I eat a lot of fish)

    Uwajimaya is well-worth a visit, you can get some bubble tea while you are there

    Zoe’s is great, wonderful food, good service, not pretentious, nice if you want to have a special meal, just you and your honey. Have the octopus!

    For a real treat, tour Theo Chocolate in Fremont. Wonderful choclates made with care, free tours with samples, all organic and absolutely delicious

    Then head north up Fremont Avenue about half a mile and visit Paseo’s for a Cuban sandwich. Don’t let the decor put you off, it looks like an unfinished building but it’s been there quite a while and the food is soooo good

    Carta de Oaxaca is good if you are a Seattlite yearning for at least a decent approximation of Mexican food, which is very hard to find around these parts. But if I were an out of town visitor I wouldn’t bother with Mexican food in this town. Eat something that we do well!

  28. That’s funny, I was going to type “go to any of Tom Douglas’s restaurants” and then so many other commenters already did. I LOVE Seattle for food. There are so many good choices. I’ve written about several on my blog. One of them is Anthony’s at 66 (Pier 66 down on Alaskan Way, waterfront) UPSTAIRS. (Downstairs is more casual). You will NOT be disappointed. It is wonderful – fresh seafood is specialty, of course. Views of water are great too. Preparations are light and creative. Mussels, clams, and other shellfish good. For casual, I also like Cutter’s right at the north end of Pike’s Place Market overlooking the water as well. I’ve been going there for 30 years but they are still fresh and interesting. They have a good bar and appetizers. Enjoy!

  29. I have to agree, unfortunately,with other posts regarding Seattle’s general lack of good Mexican food. One place though, that I think is great is Malen’as Taco Shop on Queene Anne Hill at 620 W McGraw St. Great place for tacos and burritos – excellent salsa and carne asada as well. Just my tow cents. Carta de Oaxaca is awesome, but is in a whole different strata in terms of cusine – it’s often very crowded, but so it goes.

    Dicks burgers? Great if you are craving cheap, greasy food after a long night of drinking. Otherwise, yeah, Red Mill is sublime IMHO (great onion rings/shakes too).

    It’s fun ranting about Seattle dines.

  30. Hoping to meet and greet at Victrola. In the meantime, check out Asteroid Cafe in Fremont for Italian and more. Good menu. Great perfect seasonings.

    Seafood? Hard to go wrong. Chinooks at at Fisherman’s terminal has a great selection and fabulous desserts, too — and a nice view.

    Best sushi is in Tangletown.

    Best Pastrami (better than New York, I swear) is at Roxy’s in Fremont.

    The Sea Garden in the International district is great Chinese. The place for Jews to gather Christmas eve.

    Flying fish in Belltown, you can’t go wrong (but you could go broke).

    I’m friends with Lisa Gilbert’s dad, Jay (his writing partner, too). Hoping we can improvise something together.

  31. After all this eating, the coolest bar in seattle is Sambar, next to Le Gourmand in Ballard. The bartender is amazing, the vibe great…I would definitely spend my new years there if I weren’t home with babies!

  32. AG, you MUST go to Coastal Kitchen for a delectable meal in colorful surroundings….and then go into the bathroom! You will absolutely love the “language lessons” on the sound system, and you can buy a CD to take home with you. Enjoy!

    My other Seattle recs are Kingfish Cafe for incredible southern food, and Impromptu Wine Bar, home of Gluten Free Girl Shauna’s sweetie, The Chef!

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