Where To Stuff Your Face in Seattle | A Seattle Food Guide04 May 2016
Like any city, there's an abundance of things to see, do, and eat in Seattle. But let's start with the most important: the grub. Being that we're in the Pacific Northwest, most of my guests arrive with an appetite for freshly caught seafood. While salmon and oysters may be a big draw to visitors, there are so many other great flavors and fares in this city—I urge you to look beyond the most obvious.
Now, keep in mind, my recommendations may not be the restaurants a world-class chef would recommend to you but, as a non-native local, these are the places I frequent the most and/or top the list when friends come to town. And I have to admit, it was really really hard narrowing down this list to just these spots. There are so many places I like stuffing my face in this city. So many.
WHERE TO EAT | Breakfast
Portage Bay Cafe is an all-time favorite brunch spot. Don't be fooled, it has a lot of competition in this brunch-loving city. But I have a hard time saying "no" to a French toast bar and an entire menu teeming with organic, local, and mindfully-made breakfast favorites.
Serious Biscuit, founded by none other than Seattle's famous chef, Tom Douglas, is a true treat for biscuit lovers. Imagine a buttery biscuit, perfectly fried egg, creamy remoulade, and a fried green tomato topped with a fine slice of cheddar. Ugh, I want one right now.
Dish You know when Dad would be whistling away in the kitchen, cooking up a big ol' breakfast for the family? And from the smell of bacon frying, the whole house would wake and make their way to the breakfast table to be greeted by a giant buffet? You'd load up your plate and devour your breakfast scrabble, smothered in salsa or gravy or whatever you fancy, only to feel so spent from the meal that you'd head right back to bed... Long story short, it's like that. The full-day-meal kind-of brunch.
Easy Street Records, when you want to eat a champagne breakfast on a beer budget. Yes, please! Located in West Seattle Junction, this dive diner is a late addition to a 1988 record store (and Seattle gem). You'll save so much on breakfast that you may or may not be tempted to head down the street and splurge on the most decadent pastries and treats at Bakery Nouveau. That is, if you have room for breakfast dessert (trust me, it's a thing).
For other breakfast and brunch considerations from me and my frands: Oddfellows | Tallulah's | Linda's | Pete's Eggnest | The Fat Hen | Americana | Wandering Goose | Hangar Cafe | Biscuit Bitch
WHERE TO EAT | Lunch or Dinner
Agua Verde serves up one helluva lunch, especially after an afternoon kayak session with their paddle club. Located in Portage Bay (the actual bay), book a rental on the water and return for margs, BBQ carnitas tacos, and unlimited visits to the salsa bar.
Japonessa is, hands down, our favorite sushi happy hour in the city... because it's all day, every day except from 5-7 p.m. Their sushi rolls are massive, always fresh, and so damn good. Plus, they have tempura fried brie. Uh yeah, we'll take two, thanks.
Witness I'm having a really hard time narrowing down my favorite dinner spots in Capitol Hill. So, I'm listing my top two: Witness and Smith. Both offer new American fare: traditional comfort foods with a bit of a twist. If you can find a seat at Witness on Saturday night, you'll get an earful from the owner during his 10 p.m. not-to-miss weekly sermon. It's the best part of this restaurant's southern church flair. He preaches a humorous take on the week's happenings in politics, pop culture, and whatever else meets the agenda. Go for the food, stay for the sermon.
Smith I require that you do not leave this restaurant without ordering the poutine. YOU MUST ORDER THE POUTINE. YOU MUST. It is the best poutine in the history of poutine. Now, I'm not Canadian, so consider that. But I am from Wisconsin and you better bet I know good curds and fries.
Maneki, one of the oldest restaurants in Seattle at 112 years old, is another must-do for dinner. Enter and be greeted by dozens of waving cats (aka Maneki Nekos) before you're taken to your tatami room. Originally the first sushi bar in the city, Maneki serves a traditional Japanese menu family style. So, belly up to that tatami table and stay a little while. It's gonna be a feast.
Marination Station Two words: kalua pork. After bacon, it's my favorite way to eat pork. Marination Station, a Hawaiian-Korean fusion hot spot in Seattle, hosts four locations across the city, so this place is not to be missed. Things I like here: the spicy pork and miso ginger chicken tacos, aloha sliders, Korean cheesesteak, and the mac salad. OMG, the mac salad.
Other noteworthy recommendations: Matador ($5 nachos, people) | Little Oddfellows | Ernest Loves Agnes | Westward | Tacos Chukis | Fonda La Catrina | Stoneburner | Il Corvo or Travolata | Local Pho | Pestle Rock | Salumi | Pho Than Brothers
Don't worry. You can hike it all off.
WHERE TO EAT | Lite Fare & Snacks
Piroshky Piroshky You'll see a loooong line of people outside its tiny storefront downtown, and you may question whether or not these piroshki are really worth the wait. I can assure you: yes, they are worth it and yes, you should wait. The line is quick. And the beef and cheese piroshki are the snack gods' greatest gifts to Earth. So, order five. JK. But not really.
Stateside Thai iced tea Creamsicles. Need I say more? There may be other foods on the menu, but this is the only one that will ever matter, in my eyes.
Pel'Meni Dumpling Tzar I. Love. Dumplings. I love them, I love them, I love them so much. Pel'Meni is a tiny dumpling shop hidden in an alleyway of Seattle's self-proclaimed center of the universe, Fremont. Their cheese and potato dumplings are the kind of snack food you dream about.
Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar I've managed to make it through this entire list of recommendations before making this final confession: I don't actually eat shellfish, or most seafood, really. But! I have to mention Taylor's because of my seafood-addicted sisters. Each time they visit, they require at least two daily visits to Taylor's. Yes, daily. It's that good. If you're an oyster fan, this place won't disappoint. It's pretty much all they serve--and it's as fresh as fresh shellfish can get. For an even better experience, drive up to their farm on Samish Bay, where they'll teach you how to select, shuck, and smoke their oysters fresh from the sea. Pack a tent, because you may not want to leave.
Other seafood recommendations in the city include the Walrus and the Carpenter or Barnacle in Ballard, RockCreek in Fremont and, for a more upscale seafood dinner, maybe consider Six Seven in Interbay (those views...). I can't say I've eaten seafood at any of these places, but I can confidently say that seafood eaters of Seattle would attest that these restaurants are some of the most loved seafood spots in Seattle.