Approximately two years ago, the husband and I moved to downtown Seattle from Columbus, Ohio. Somedays, it feels like yesterday and other days, it feels like we’ve been here for years and years. Coming from the midwestern city of Columbus, a lot of folks from the PNW seem to think we lived on a farm. Ha, right. Obviously, these people do not realize Columbus is a thriving city. And with that, it has a great food scene… some of the best, in our opinion…. rustic, unassuming, farm to table goodness that doesn’t shy away from flavor. And man, we sure do miss that food!
However, we have found a few gems that we believe are on par with our beloved hometown restaurants. So, I thought I would share what we’ve found so far to complement the Seattle Wander Guide post I wrote back in June 2014.
I’m breaking it down by neighborhoods, and I’m sure I’ll have more to add in the near future. But for now, this should get you started on a tasty, little food tour if you so desire and definitely without breaking the bank too much. (Don’t even get me started on the abundance of gourmet/fine dining in Seattle. I just want good food without the pretentiousness or triple+ dollar signs. Know what I’m sayin’?)
The Hangar Café ~ This is the place to go for brunch. And really, you should visit Georgetown. It’s one of the oldest neighborhoods in Seattle, if not the oldest. In fact, it existed as an independent city until it was consolidated into Seattle in 1910. But anyway, The Hangar Café… so, so good. The bulk of the menu features crepes and waffles. We got one of each when we stumbled upon this place. The Triple B waffle with bacon, brie, and basil was delicious. The Hangar Crepe is a fantastic amalgamation of ham, cheeses, egg, and spinach topped with housemade poblano basil vinaigrette and creme fraiche. And, the potatoes on the side were the perfect flavor reminiscent of southern fried potatoes.
Sisters & Brothers ~ Oh my goodness. Hot chicken, you guys! In Seattle! Well… sort of. Georgetown is so not Seattle… it’s actually one of my favorite areas. It’s so laidback, so unpretentious, so friendly… you know, ummm… anti-Seattle. ;) And they now have hot chicken! We’ve only been once so far, but we have plans to visit as much as possible. They are open for lunch and dinner with a kitchen shutdown for a couple hours or so in between. The husband and I are not typical wimps when it comes to heat, so we opted for the ‘hot’. If you’ve got a sensitive palate though in regards to spiciness, I suggest going for ‘mild’. And, you must try the smoked gouda mac & cheese with bacon. So much yum in this place.
Aldstadt ~ There are a lot more restaurants we still need to try in Pioneer Square, but I can definitely recommend this one if you’re into German fare at all. They boast an extensive selection of german beer. The sausages are amazing, and the sauerkraut is so good. And, I don’t even like sauerkraut all that much although the housemade stuff I’ve been finding at restaurants has been growing on me lately, and Aldstadt’s is the best.
Pike Place Market Area:
Lovage ~ This place is not only a great lunch spot for the health-conscious eater but also just plain delicious. The produce is so fresh, and I have yet to have a bad thing there. You can choose from bowls, salads, and I believe, sandwiches. My favorite is the Jerk Bowl. *They now make pizza which looks and smells so good, but I have yet to try it!
Uli’s Famous Sausage ~ Uli’s is an awesome, quiet, little spot with its own enclosure (so you can escape the crowds!) in Pike Place Market. So many different types of sausages and so delicious! You can also purchase sausages to go to cook up later or have them shipped home if you’re not from the area. If you look at the map of the market, they’re located in the Main Arcade, and I believe they are open typical market hours. ‘Tis my favorite place to eat by far at the market.
The Alibi Room ~ Good pizza is somewhat of a hard thing to come by here in Seattle. For a pretty good brick oven pizza and some cozy ambiance, I suggest heading to The Alibi Room. It’s tucked away in Post Alley by the Gum Wall, and they have quite a selection of gourmet pizzas to choose from as well as a decent bar. Of course, the real appeal is the location and a space that exudes a speakeasy vibe.
Cupcake Royale ~ When you come from a city known as the hometown of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, it’s extremely difficult to find ice cream that even comes close. Molly Moon? Nope. We’ve tried it. They’re not even in the same ballpark. Their ice cream lacks a substantial amount of flavor… so subtle for anyone but those with the most sensitive of taste buds. The only scoop shop we have found in the PNW that is on par with Jeni’s is Salt & Straw in Portland, Oregon. Seattle, you don’t even know what you’re missing! But for a quick and pretty good fix from a scoop shop (and not a store or national chain) and with a side of cupcake, you really can’t go wrong with Cupcake Royale. And, there are various locations throughout the city so no worries, you’ll be most likely be near one no matter where you are!
Kastoori Grill ~ This is a cool little restaurant in a basement of an old building near the Pike Place Market. And if you love Indian food, you will not be disappointed. The husband and I have actually only dined there once, but we’ve ordered takeout multiple times. Service was a bit lacking to say the least, so be forewarned. Takeout has usually been pretty good with only a couple minor issues such as getting regular naan as opposed to garlic naan. First world problems, amirite? All the dishes we’ve tried are excellent and flavorful. And we’re huge fans of the tibetan kothe – fried momos!
Von’s Gustobistro ~ Like sourdough? Like spirits? Then, this is the place for you! The husband and I have frequented this restaurant quite often in the past couple years, and it is a definite go-to when downtown. The must try dishes are indeed the sourdough pastas. My favorite is the perlina pasta. They make delicious sourdough pizzas and a they have a lot of fun cocktails including a spun sugar cocktail which is like the adult version of cotton candy.
Elysian Bar ~ First of all, Elysian Brewing has great beer. They have several restaurants in Seattle, but we have only ever dined at the one downtown. A lot of the food is pretty good albeit a bit pricey for what you receive. I’m really only recommending the place because of the poutine which is a delicious bounty of fries and cheese curds. Also, every soup I’ve had there has been downright yummy. I guess what I’m saying is go for the beer and the poutine.
206 Burger Company ~ Do you ever crave a burger and fries similar to what you’d get at Five Guys except better, bigger, and juicier? Well, 206 Burger Co. is the spot for you. Of course, it’s in the downtown business district so they’re only open lunch hours during the week. We also tried the peanut butter milkshake which was super thick, super peanut buttery, and super, super tasty.
Biscuit Bitch ~ Like biscuits? Like bitches? Well… ha. I kid, of course. I’ve never come across any bitches here. This is a great stick to your ribs brunch spot or a late night/I’m a little tipsy and hungry kind of spot. Nothing super fancy here but plain goodness. Just biscuits, gravy, and various toppings. You’ll want to up your exercise for the day after indulging.
Local 360 ~ I have an intense love/hate relationship with this place. The service has never been good at all. The cocktails are delicious although pricey.. that’s Seattle though. However, the food is usually pretty damn good to downright delicious, and all of their ingredients are locally sourced. We even had Thanksgiving dinner there one year which was a great dining experience and for the most part, the best service we have had there. Pro-tip: reservations are highly recommended at any time and be prepared to wait for service.
Witness ~ We have not eaten there, so I can’t comment on the food. I did have a cocktail when we visited, so I do know this place is a must visit if you’re into cocktails because they make fantastic ones. Definitely in my top five cocktail places in Seattle. Also, be sure to stop by on Saturday nights around 10pm for the “sermon”. Fun times. :)
Quinn’s Pub ~ I love the space. I love the ambiance. They have a pretty good beer selection and a full bar. But, the food… oh my goodness. This is some of the best food I’ve had in Seattle. The fish & chips? Fried goodness. The burger? Absolutely scrumptious. The wild boar sloppy joe? So flavorful. You must eat here.
The Sexton ~ Would you like a mean cocktail and some mac & cheese, hush puppies, or pot pies? Then, you’re in luck! This place has got all of that and then some. In my mind at this moment, they tie with Witness for the best cocktails in the city.
Percy’s & Co. ~ Choose any cocktail… they have all been tasty. And then I must strongly advise you to get the popcorn with chili butter & cajun spices (yes!) and the fried chicken board with a side of cornbread. You’re welcome.
8oz Burger & Co. ~ Boozy milkshakes, substantial burgers, and fries!? Enough said. Oh wait, no… garlic truffle fries. Alright, now you can go.
Billy Beach Sushi & Bar ~ This place has more hours that are happy hour than not, so you can’t go wrong there. The sushi is so fresh and satisfying, and I highly recommend the chicken karaage and the gyoza.
The Boar’s Nest ~ Another thing that Seattle is not so adept at is BBQ. And that’s fine. We’re in the Pacific Northwest where Asia and Scandinavia influences our food in this area. This isn’t the south with its butter-laden, artery-cloggin’ comfort food. Which so happens to be the food I crave most of the time. It’s the food of half of my people. ;) So far, the best BBQ I’ve had has been at this little hole in the wall in Ballard. There are no frills here, just food. A big ol’ pile of it if you so please. Get a plate of pulled pork, bbq chicken, and smoked sausage. And bring a friend. You’ll need help.
Sweet Mickey’s ~ You gotta save room for candy! Oh, and some damn delicious fudge. This is a fun little shop with bulk candy, homemade fudge, and ice cream!
Burgundian ~ So much beer. So much liquor. So much money! But on Thursday evenings, you can delight yourself by stuffing your face with some delicious chicken & waffles for $5 off! And if you prefer biscuits, then I must suggest you try their biscuit & gravy dish. You won’t be disappointed. Pro-tip: Elysian Beer Tangletown is right around the corner if you want more beer.
The Harbour Public House ~ Probably one of our favorite things to do is to hop the ferry over to Bainbridge Island, which wasn’t much of an excursion when we lived downtown. So sadly, we don’t do this as often now that we live a bit farther away. However, when we do make the trip, we usually head over to The Harbour Public House nestled on the water away from Bainbridge Island’s little hustle and bustle of shops and other restaurants. It’s about a mile walk from the ferry, and it gets pretty busy especially during peak tourist season. But if you happen to be lucky enough to snag a table, grab yourself a beer, some fish tacos, and enjoy the laid-back, relaxing vibe of the island.
Finding Yourself A Bit North?
Dumpling Generation ~ Everyone in Seattle says to go to Din Tai Fung for dumplings. I say meh. The husband and I tried it. The dumplings were not good, and the atmosphere is loud and annoying. No thanks. Travel a few miles to a cozy and quiet place in Edmonds for the best dumplings! And the fried rice is pretty delish. We have yet to try their noodle bowls, so I can’t vouch for those as we haven’t been able to get past dumplings and fried rice. To make the trip worthwhile, you can hop a couple miles over to Cinebarre in Mountlake for a movie, a beer, and some truffle popcorn or… popcorn with real butter!
Well, that should do it for now. Happy Dining!
xoxo ~ Frani
*Last updated 10/6/2016. I will update periodically as I discover new and/or noteworthy places to stuff yo’ faces.