When some 500 food bloggers descended on Seattle for a conference last week, the biggest question was “Where should we eat?” It’s been echoed by a seasonal flood in my inbox from tourists visiting town for the first time.
We’re a coffee city, so I always tell people to start at Vivace or Victrola, or to try out the lesser-known but super-quality beans from Fonte. For a sugary snack, there’s Top Pot (or Crumble & Flake, Besalu, Honore, Bakery Nouveau, or Columbia City Bakery, depending on your neighborhood.) For a full sit-down breakfast, Skillet Diner does us proud. (Geraldine’s Counter has a similar vibe, on a smaller scale.) For weekend brunch, head to Ma’ano (formerly Spring Hill) in West Seattle.
Ready for lunch? Sitka and Spruce is still one of the places in town that best exemplifies Northwest food, and lunch will hit your wallet less than dinner (although I think dinner’s well worth it too.) Visitors to Pike Place Market should detour for pasta at Il Corvo, a cash-only hidden treasure. Again, depending on your neighborhood, grab a bite from a newfangled food truck like Marination Mobile or Where Ya At, Matt, or go old-school and brave the line at Salumi. If that line’s too long, and your taste buds don’t mind Vietnamese when they were expecting Italian, walk up the hill to Tamarind Tree. Sandwich heaven can also be found at Paseo (bring cash!) and at Dot’s Deli across the street from Paseo, and I’m also still rather partial to the drunken chicken at Baguette Box. If you don’t mind a mostly street-food setup, head to Little Uncle, as we did when my own sister-in-law was in town last month.
For dinner, I always recommend the place where I joined a group of writers myself this week, Jerry Traunfeld’s Poppy. If it looks like too much of a splurge, go for the $5 “happy thalis” at happy hour. For on-fire creativity, don’t miss Revel (good for either lunch or dinner.) If pizza’s on the menu, try Delancey or Serious Pie. For guests who want a more traditional, lower-key, family-friendly sort of Seattle dinner, I head to Chinook’s at Salmon Bay. The friend who planned the Poppy dinner had also looked into Skelly and the Bean as a true taste of Seattle, but the timing didn’t work out.
Dessert? After joining friends for a meal at Golden Beetle after the conference, we intended to wander over to D’Ambrosio for their unbeatable gelato, but got terrifically sidetracked instead at Autumn Martin’s new Hot Cakes.
My favorite way to showcase Seattle, though, might have come at a potluck picnic this week. Take advantage of Pike Place and our farmers markets, and feast on ripe cherries or fresh snap peas. Get some bread from The Corson Building if you can score a loaf (I think it’s beaten out Columbia City Bakery for the title of best in town) and bring it along with a sample of Northwest cheeses. For drinks, there’s Rachel’s Ginger Beer, and great chocolates for dessert. Welcome to our city.
What are your favorite places to bring guests to eat?
Photo: The Northwest at its best, at Poppy. Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times