Heshan and I took a short trip to Seattle over Valentine’s day so he could attend a Child Psychology conference. I tagged along to play moral support + vacation planner, and we planned to spend the first two days doing all things conference-y and the last two days conquering the city by whirling through a long list of things we wanted to see and do. But of course, like all best laid plans it didn’t exactly go down that way. Instead we ended up seeing the most touristy of touristy sights and eating our way through Seattle’s amazing neighborhoods and cuisine and I think we barely scratched the surface. Here are the ten places we’d eat at again in Seattle.
Wild Rye Cafe
806 Pike Street
This was the second place we ate at in Seattle (the first was a Hawaiian restaurant after we landed, but we were so jet lagged we practically slept through our meal), and Heshan still raves about the breakfast burrito. So it’s going on the list. Located right across from the ginormous Seattle conference center, Wild Rye is a breakfast and lunch spot with an oatmeal bar in the morning, breakfast burritos, pastries, and giant salads and sandwiches for lunch. It sounds like your basic bakery and cafe when you say it that way, but we had a good time and it’s great for people staying in downtown Seattle for conferences and events.
Serious Pie & Biscuit
401 Westlake Avenue North
We learned pretty early on in our trip that Tom Douglas is one of Seattle’s best known chefs, and his restaurant Serious Pie & Biscuit made our short list. The biscuits come in the form of huge biscuit sandwiches, with everything from fried chicken (Heshan went for this, naturally) to peanut butter and banana wedged in between. And in the case of Heshan’s sandwich, lots of gravy on top. They had gluten-free biscuits on the menu when we went, and we sat upstairs by the wood fired oven where we could watch the amazing pizzas come out (and where we could peek down into the bakery itself and watch employees knead and roll the dough).
Top Pot Donuts
2124 Fifth Avenue
Top Pot Donuts is a Seattle institution, and probably the bakery behind the gourmet donut craze that took off in our own city a few years ago. They have several locations across the city, but we went out of our way to visit the flagship bakery that Steph and I had visited seven years earlier. It’s worth a trip if you can handle the sugar. We ate breakfast beforehand so that I could just grab an organic juice while Heshan tried the double chocolate for himself.
1401 Third Avenue
Speaking of Tom Douglas, Heshan and I read in a magazine that one of his favorite places to eat in the city is Wild Ginger due to its great menu and reasonable price point. We’re not usually the type to follow celebrity chefs, but when it came time to pick a restaurant for dinner on Valentine’s Day we realized we 1) had no idea where to go, and 2) didn’t have a reservation in a city full of restaurants that were completely booked up. So we snagged two seats on the edge of the bar, where we ordered chicken satay appetizers and curries for dinner. The atmosphere is great and the prices are fantastic given the level of service and the quality of the food.
1908 Pike Place
Heshan read about Piroshky, Piroshky on our plane ride west and became enamored with trying the Russian bakery’s best-selling smoked salmon pate piroshky. Apparently he wasn’t the only one. We had to visit the bakery twice in our time there, because they’d sold out of the salmon pie on our first visit. We got there early the next day and braved the mile long line to get our hands on one. Piroshkies are Russian hand-held pies stuffed with either sweet or savory fillings, and you can smell the rising dough from blocks away.
102 Pike Street
When in Seattle, right? After braving the line at Piroshky, Piroshky we figured what’s the harm in standing in line just to get inside the original Starbucks. It’s worth the visit just to see where it all began and take a few photos.
Chili and Sesame Korean Kitchen
2421 2nd Avenue
Heshan and I couldn’t get over how great the Asian food in Seattle is, so on our last night in the city we decided to grab Korean food at Chili and Sesame and take it back to the hotel for dinner in bed (you only live once!). Best. Korean. Food. Ever. I got the kimchi fried rice, he got short ribs. We may have coupled it with a couple cans of Izze sparkling juice. It was delicious, and we’d do it all over again next time we’re in town.
Portage Bay Cafe
391 Terry Avenue North
One of the food guides that we were reading recommended Portage Bay Cafe for a local, seasonal, and gluten-free friendly brunch, and once I heard that they had three different kinds of gluten-free pancakes to choose from (along with a bunch of other options for people who aren’t gluten-free) my heart was set on it. Their South Lake Union location was only a few blocks from our hotel, so we made reservations to meet my friend Courtney there for breakfast and to guarantee a spot during the morning rush. You guys… pancake topping bar. That’s all I can say. Imagine a table full of real whipped butter, whipped cream, fresh fruit, nuts, and 100% pure maple syrup so you can decorate your pancakes or French toast however you like. There’s a reason breakfast here is in demand.
Since we’re travel fans, tell us where your favorite place to visit is or where you’re going next.