2018 Seattle Food Recommendations

2018 Seattle Food Recommendations

Here’s a continuation of all the places I love in Seattle and surrounding areas, started this list for a new friend who was starting out in a leadership role in Seattle and I thought it would be a great way for them to get to know our city through food. Fast forward a few years and I’m constantly sharing this with visiting friends and family.

Updates this year: added my favorite pop-ups, day trip delights, favorite brunch places, noodle soups, pizza (why was there not a section before to this important category?), northern Thai food and ice cream have also been blowing up so added new sections for that. I’ve deleted all my favorite spaces that have sadly closed including the entire dessert and tea sections (RIP Dilletante’s on Broadway and Remedy Teas). The times, they’re achanging in our beautiful and evolving city and so are our restaurant options, some of the categories are alot thinner this year since so many of my favorites have shuttered. Thankfully, some good new ones have opened and I’ve tried to include some of those (hello shrimp ramen)!

These recommendations are completely subjective and are places I love to eat, frequent, and crave — not the places that are always printed in the front cover of magazines, as much as I wish I could, I don’t eat at all the restaurants available in the city, esp. all the new ones that have opened. It would be super challenging to cover all the ground with me traveling a good chunk and eating with incredible home cooks most of this year, so if you have additional suggestions — please add ’em below in the comments section. Enjoy!

$ = Less than $10/entree plate
$$ = Less than $20/entree
$$$ = $30+/entree
$$$$ = High end dining

I could eat this every day of the week — veggie quesadillas from Patty Pan Cooperative. I have no idea how authentic it is and whether the owners are actually Mexican, but I do know I crave it all the darn time and it’s a good thing they’re only available once a week at our neighborhood farmers’ markets. When it feels like we’re losing so much of what makes Seattle, Seattle — I eat a bite of this and it really tastes like home. From their website, “Patty Pan Cooperative is a thoughtful, progressive food business committed to exploring creative approaches to eating well and living well. We’re proud to be Seattle’s oldest farmers’ market concession, having provided hot, ready-to-eat food at outdoor events since 1997, when there were only two neighborhood markets in the city. Patty Pan sources most of our staples from the farmers who are our friends and neighbors at the markets. We currently vend at 15 Seattle-area markets during the summer season, as well as several that run all winter…Our company is a work in progress, and we’re always looking for new ways to bring honest, satisfying food to a greater audience at the least possible cost, without cutting corners.” Preeeeach!

2018 TOP 5
Kedai Makan
Bar Vacilando
Pho Bac Sup Shop
Patty Pan Cooperative

2017 TOP 5
Sushi Kashiba
BaBar/Soi — Tie
Thanh Son Tofu
Upper Bar Ferdinand

2016 TOP 5
Marination Makai

Best Views
Mbar (Night Out)
Maximilien (Romantic dinner)
Westward and Lil Gull Grocery (Summer Sunset)
Salty’s at Alki (Sunday Brunch)

Happy Hour
Matt’s in the Market
Wasabi Bistro
Toulouse Petit

NEW! Pop-Ups
Some of the best eats in Seattle are not actual restaurants but once-in-a-while pop-ups by incredible chefs. While restaurant startup costs are approaching astronomical numbers, our local chefs are getting creative with how they’re expanding our palates. Here’s a couple of my favorites:
A DJ & A Cook by Chef Tarik Abdullah
Musang Seattle by Chef Melissa Miranda

Not To Miss
Banh mi from Thanh Son Deli
Lunch Box from Saigon Vietnam Deli
Salmon three ways (off-menu) at Sushi Kashiba
Banh hoi thap cam from Huong Binh
Crab pasta at Goldfinch
Grilled oysters at Terra Plata
Plantain chips at Marjorie’s
Clam chowder at Ivar’s (Lake Union) or Duke’s (Alki) — both come with a view
Claypot and cast iron Vietnamese deliciousness at District 1 in Redmond
Wings at Nue
Crab pappardelle from Goldfinch
Breakfast sandwich from Dahlia Bakery early in the morning
Wash it down with a Moore Coffee Shop drink with incredible barista art

NEW! Best Noodle Soups
Duck confit noodle soup from Ba Bar
Malatang from A+ Hong Kong Kitchen
Shrimp ramen at Betsutenjin
Mi quang at Quang Da Lat
Dry pho at Pho Bac Sup Shop

NEW! Day Trips
For those of us who’ve lived in Seattle for a really long time, it’s a really good idea to get away from the city and get into nature — going east on I-90 or hopping a ferry to nearby the nearby San Juans is a blissful respite from city-life.
Marche ($$$)— Bainbridge Island
Gravy ($$) — Vashon Island
Sultan Bakery ($) — Sultan off of Highway 2
Good ‘ole American country cooking with inch thick slices of bread and mid-west portions that will give you a good ‘ole hug on the way out to a good hike nearby or rock climb trip to Leavenworth.

Hudson Point Cafe ($)— Port Townsend
Doe Bay Cafe ($$)—Orcas Island
Hanozono Asian Noodle ( $$) — Port Townsend
The ramen is so mind-blowingly good I would travel there for the day just to get it.

NEW! Brunch
My favorite meal of the day unless you get an invite to my own kitchen, here are a few of my favorites to unwind and slow down for a long delightful meal.
Harry’s Fine Foods ($$)
b~side foods ($)
Wandering Goose ($$)
Witness ($$)
Cafe Flora ($$) — incredible vegan/vegetarian brunch
Dahlia’s Bakery ($) — the most profound breakfast sandwich
Salty’s on Alki ($$$$)
Bastille ($$)
Geraldine’s Counter ($)

Oddfellows ($$)
London Plane ($$)
Matt’s in the Market ($$)

NEW! Thai
Soi ($$)
Pestle Rock ($$)
Little Uncle ($)
Racha ($$)
Jamjuree ($)

Maneki ($$) — over 100 years old — historic
Uwajimaya ($) — huge Japanese grocery store with a great gift shop and food court
Sushi Kashiba ($$$$) — trained with Jiro — best sushi you can get, fish flown in daily from Japan.

I’m Vietnamese so this category might be disproportionally represented.
Saigon Vietnam Deli ($)
You have to specifically go to this one, there’s alot of other Viet delis with similar names. Get the lunch plate — $7 for two entrees, chowmein/fried rice.
Quang Da Lat ($) — their mi quang is worth the trip to White Center
Pho Bac Sup Shop ($)
Tamarind Tree ($) — well designed and delicious
Huong Binh ($) — where Vietnamese people go
Moonlight Cafe ($) — where Buddhists go — extensive meat and vegetarian menu
Ba Bar ($$) — good for brunch — fresh noodles on weekendsMonsoon ($$) — good for brunch/dim sum
Rainier BBQ ($)
Monsoon ($$) — good for brunch
Dong Thap Noodles
Anywhere off of the Light Rail Othello stop — explore esp. Tammy’s Bakery, Che

Korean Tofu House ($)
Joule ($$)
Revel ($$)
Marination Makai ($) — Take the water taxi from downtown, great view with Korean/Hawaiian food
Girin ($) — Go for happy hour, eat at the bar. Excellent seafood scallion pancakes and ssam.

Dim Sum & Dumplings
My favorite in this category was Jiaozi but apparently they’d opened and closed in the same year with a highly anticipated reopening in fall of 2019
Jade Garden ($)
Harbor City ($)
House of Hong ($)
Ocean City ($)
Dough Zone Dumpling House ($$)

NEW! Pizza Pizza Pizza
Rocco’s ($$)
Big Mario’s ($)
Hot Mama’s ($)
Proletariat ($)
Humble Pie ($$)
Serious Pie ($$)
Clam pizza…I’ll just leave that there.

A Whole Lot of Asian Food
Ramen at Betsutenjin ($)
Country Dough ($)
Beetle Cafe ($) — Asian fusion that is out of this world
Henry’s Taiwan ($) — amazing Taiwanese food with multiple locations
A+ Hong Kong Kitchen ($) — mind blowing Hong Kong Street Food
X’ian Noodles ($) — Choose your own noodle soup adventure
Boiling Point ($) — incredible Taiwanese hot pot
Hard Wok Cafe ($) — get the honey toast — mind blowing — also excellent Taiwanese food other than the dessert menu.
Anywhere with Cajun/Creole and Asian fusion — it sounds crazy but is delicious

Cafe Selam ($)
Chef Cafe ($)

Chili’s on the Ave ($)
All the best places are also on the other side of I-90 and I-520 in Bellevue i.e. Chaat House — so go explore. The best place I’ve been to is in a strip mall…40 minutes east of Seattle…at a place that I can’t recall.

Il Corvo ($) — amazing fresh handmade pasta for cheap, all posted on their blog daily
Spinasse ($$$$)
Salumi ($) — Mario Batali’s dad’s salumeria — get in line before 10:30 a.m. — it goes quick — and so worth it. Can pack some up for the road.

Cafe Presse ($) — cheap, good, quality — a standard for Seattle, open 7 a.m. — 2 a.m.
Maximilien ($) — go here for Happy Hour
Le Pichet ($$)
Bastille ($$) — go for brunch on Sundays and stroll through the Ballard farmer’s market

Middle Eastern
Turkish Delight — get the chicken wrap
Cafe Paloma

It doesn’t get more Seattle than bespoke coffee (almond milk cortado in this case), bicycles, and journaling emo thoughts while wearing a beanie, black rimmed glasses on a rainy day…

Moore Coffee Shop ($)
Caffe D’arte ($) — A pound of coffee comes with a free drink of your choice — my favorite is the cappuccino
Cafe Ladro ($)
Victrola ($)
Solstice ($) — the three shot mocha, berry mazurka and sticky brownie got me through college and now with more than one location and very consistent quality.
Moore Coffeeshop ($) — the most amazing latte art
Ada’s Technical Books & Cafe ($)
Indi Chocolate ($) — what better place to have a mocha than a shop that specializes in chocolate. Don’t miss the chocolate fountain or single origin chocolate bars.
Joe Bar ($) — go for the coffee, stay for the smoked salmon crepe.

Cocktail Bars
Radiator Whiskey ($$)
Canon ($$)
Bathtub Gin ($$)

Crumble & Flake Patisserie ($) — incredible crumbly French deliciousness — choose your own filling cream puffs, favorites are caneles and their kouign amann
The Wandering Goose — just order everything ($$)
Bakery Nouveau ($) — beat the French in the World Baking Cup — make sure to get the twice baked almond croissant
Eltana ($) — Montreal style wood fired bagels
Le Panier ($) — easy to get to — at Pike Place Market — profound croissants, tarts and sandwichesSeattle Deli ($) — Vietnamese sandwiches, pastries, lunch plates

Chuck’s Hop Shop ($)— 1,000 beers available…how could you go wrong?
Optimism Brewery
Red Hook Brewery ($) — Day trip — $2 gets you 7 samples of beer
Fremont Brewing Company ($ — Love you Sarah)
There’s tons of local distilleries in Downtown and Cap Hill: Pyramid, Elysian, Sun Liquor

Be like that kid — may eating and craving bring you that level of delight.

NEW! Ice Cream You Scream!
Frankie & Joe’s seasonal flavors esp. Tarot & Seafoam
Stumbling Goat
Sugar Plum’s French Vanilla vegan ice cream
Molly Moon’s 19th Ave Location
The Tropical Sundae at Foreign National
Salt & Straw’s Birthday Cake Flavor
Bottega Italiana’s peach gelato available in the summer

in closing

this is my love and mourning letter to the Seattle that was and what’s become of us. so much has gone, there’s so much to adjust to, and there’s so much to experience and savor. it can be overwhelming and unpalatable and what made me feel most alive, nurtured, and well fed were some of the above moments — friends running their small businesses, the immense work it takes behind the scenes to produce our local food system, eating the perfect grilled oyster on Willapa Bay from a wife and husband team, community coming together to fundraise in a parking lot in Chinatown/ID after tragedy, a baker gingerly slicing the perfect piece of quiche on a Sunday morning so it doesn’t crumble, dear friends welcoming an entire city into their restaurant to taste the cuisine of a lesser known cuisine. this is my Seattle, thank you to all of you for making this continue to feel like home.

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