Seattle is a foodie’s paradise. From the birthplace of Starbucks coffee to local breweries, wineries, and a passion for fresh local produce and seafood, there is no shortage of delicious dining in Seattle.
The city is the birthplace of food companies and brands that made it to national acclaim. Ellenos Yogurt, since opening its first-ever stand at Pike Place Market in 2013, is a Seattle legend. No one can resist the smooth, creamy, perfectly sweet and tart goodness of their Greek yogurt, and the plethora of flavors they come in. When in Seattle, you simply must try the lemon curd and marionberry, their most popular flavors. (You can also ask for samples before making a final selection.)
Beecher’s Cheese, just across from Pike Place Market, is another artisanal store that’s a must-stop for Seattle visitors. You can watch the manual cheese-making process while enjoying an excellent grilled cheese sandwich or a mac n’ cheese at their cafe. Beecher’s gourmet cheeses have been featured on national TV — twice on The Martha Stewart Show and once on Oprah. Their mac n’ cheese was named “World’s Best Mac and Cheese” and was listed as one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things”. Grab some packets of cheese to bring home with you. Their selection of Northwestern cheeses has been described as “the best in the entire region” by Will O’Donnell on Northwest Magazine.
And who hasn’t heard of Starbucks? Their worldwide stardom has been phenomenal, and since you’re here in their birthplace, you may as well visit their original store at Pike Place Market. Or take it up a notch higher at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery on Capitol Hill. They promise a multi-sensory experience: you don’t just get to sip specialty coffee, food, and cocktails, you also learn more about the art of coffee roasting and brewing — browse books, listen to storytelling, and watch baristas demonstrate different brewing techniques right in front of you.
Coffee is practically a religion in Seattle. The city has an intense coffee culture and is regarded as a world center for coffee roasting. According to Wikipedia, people in Seattle consume more coffee than in any other American city — and that’s proven by its numerous coffeehouses. One can barely walk past a single block in the central business district without passing by one.
Not only is it home to Starbucks, but so many other coffee shops proliferate here. Elm Coffee Roasters specializes in light-roasted, single-origin beans and London Plane pastries. La Marcozzo features different coffee roasters seasonally to show the breadth and diversity of specialty coffee from around the world. Seattle Coffee Works has both an express and a slow bar, which allows customers to consult a coffee geek when comparing single-origin beans and deciding on which manual brewing method will be used.
But back to Pike Place Market. This famous market is a foodie haven in itself. You can actually eat your way through it — but watch out for flying fish from the mongers. Start with mini donuts at the Daily Dozen — fresh, hot, crispy on the outside but soft, melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. Try the sprinkles and cinnamon flavors. (Bring cash, they don’t accept cards.)
Then look for Piroshky Piroshky — tasty handcrafted Russian pies that come in varieties from savory meats to vegan options to sweet treats. Next, have some hearty soup at Pike Place Chowder. Their award-winning New England clam chowder served in bread bowls, is well worth any wait.
For more breakfast and brunch options, there’s the irreverent Biscuit Bitch, a funky, casual coffeehouse serving fast Southern-style biscuits and gravy. The Straight-up Bitch is excellent, but try the Smokin’ Hot “Seattle” Bitch for a true Seattle experience. There are vegan options, too.
For waffles, Sweet Iron specializes in yeasted Liège (Belgian) waffles made of crispy brioche dough. They’re served soft and hot on the counter, topped with your choice of sweet or savory fixings. Try the hearty Italian Pro made with prosciutto, mascarpone, and green onions.
Seeking an old-timey American vibe? Ben Paris‘ all-day restaurant is on the ground floor of the State Hotel. They give a creative Pacific Northwest spin on classic American fare, with a menu that includes Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Bone-in Pork Chops, and Ben Paris Cobb Salad. Custom cocktails have names like “Pretty Sultry Lullaby” and “Pulled Over in Italy”.
In the evening, you won’t run out of excellent places to dine in Seattle. Rn 74, a Michael Mina restaurant, serves modern French cuisine with a Northwest flair. They dish out house-aged steaks, local organic vegetables and fresh seafood from Puget Sound, and an extensive, 50-page wine list highlighting the Burgundy region of France and boutique wine producers from Washington and Oregon.
For Italian cuisine, you’ll find awesome pasta at Tavolata. From rigatoni to tonnarelli, casarecce to conchiglie, they serve hand-made pasta along with cocktails, wine, and other upscale, rustic Italian fare. House favorites are the pork chop and smoked fish bruschetta. The carbonara, too, is a killer.
The Pink Door is another crowd favorite — not just for its menu but also for their whimsical evening entertainment: trapeze artists, burlesque shows, a tap-dancing saxophone player, and funky jazz bands. There are quiet, cozy areas for intimate conversations, as well as a rooftop deck with magnificent views of Puget Sound. The lasagne here is out-of-this-world.
Terra Plata, headed by James Beard award-winning chef Tamara Murphy, offers casual American cuisine divided into meat, seafood, and veggie plates, both small and large ones for sharing. People flock here not just for their classic roast pig, shishito peppers, and potato chips with truffled sea salt and pecorino-chive cream Fraiche; but also their rooftop patio with an herb garden, a “fire bar”, and views of Capitol Hill. Note, Mondays are paella nights.
Belltown beer bar No Anchor serves unique craft beer and Pacific Northwest food featuring responsibly sourced meat and seafood as well as a host of vegetarian options. Seattle Weekly voted this “Best New Restaurant in 2017”. The popular dishes to try here are the glazed lamb sweetbreads, Dungeness crab roll, and the fresh radish salad.
For excellent oysters, troop to The Walrus and the Carpenter in Old Ballard. They also serve other seafood, delicious salads, local cheeses, American small plates & specialty cocktails. Expect tallboys and Muscadet in this small, unpretentious and very friendly place. To try fried oysters, grilled sardines, and steak tartare.
Bathtub Gin & Co, located in the basement of the Humphrey Apartments in Belltown, is a cult favorite among Seattle locals. It’s a modern speakeasy that pours cocktails & international gins and tonics in a small Prohibition Era-style lounge.
Rooftop bars are also hot in Seattle, especially during the summer months. With views too fabulous to pass up, you can sit back and enjoy the scenery at places like Fog Room at The Charter Hotel, the Rooftop Brewing Company in the North Queen Ann district, and Frolik downtown.
As an alternative, you can do a walking tour of Seattle’s finest restaurants and hotspots with Viator. They guide tourists on several wines, beer, and gourmet food tastings around Belltown, downtown Seattle, and Pike Place Market. They even let you mix and mingle with chefs, restaurant owners, and artisans.
Ballard is the go-to for hip shops selling indie-style clothes, shoes, and home decor. At Pike Place Market, find locally crafted art, jewelry, and gourmet gifts. For Asian groceries, dishes, and unique gifts, it’s Chinatown.
Featured Image by Tae Fuller