Oh, The Places You’ll Want to Eat At: Seattle Edition

After our last post sharing the wonderful places you can visit in Seattle, we wanted to do a special edition focusing on the incredible food in Seattle.

The food scene in Seattle was incredible (and truthfully, was just amazing throughout the PNW and West Coast), with flavors of all kinds, from all cuisines, imaginable.

Whether you’re looking for dessert, for a quick bite, a sit-down meal or a seafood galore, we’ve highlighted some of our favorites from our trip (and of course, this is just a small list of the many, many awesome places to eat at in Seattle). Finally, if you’ve noticed the lack of coffee shops on this post, fret not–we’ve dedicated an entire blog post to (attempt to) cover the truly high-quality coffee shops in Seattle.

Click on any of the buttons to find what you’d like to try, or scroll through to read them all.

pike place market shops

First off, as how most tourist vacations of Seattle begin, we start around the Pike Place Market. Pike Place is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets, and is home to a number of restaurants, food and craft stalls, collectible and antique shops, and many many more. It’s a great way to spend some time walking around, grabbing a bite here and there, and creating your own “tasting-flight” of sorts. (Of course, then you’ve got to balance whether you want to get more of the incredible food you just ate, or save room to try another item…)

Piroshky Piroshky: Keep your eyes on the big sign hanging above, or else you might walk straight past this unassuming little Russian bakery that fits about only two customers at a time. Check out the menu in advance so you know what to get, or else you might be hypnotized by the beauty of all the baked goods. We tried the Smoked Salmon Pate, which you can get for about $6, and it shocked us with its simple yet flavorsome profile: the crisp and buttery bread encases a delicious blend of smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill and onion. This was one of those items that you’ll probably never forget, and dream about forever (or at least until the next time you back, hopefully).

Biscuit Bitch: For some “Southern Inspired Fixin’s and Kickass Espresso” and the opportunity to willingly get called “bitch” multiple times, you’ve got to stop at this iconic spot for biscuits. As Texans, we give these Bitchwitches are Southern Stamp of Approval: buttery hot biscuits that are flaky on the outside and fluffy and crumbly inside, with perfectly melted cheese, a just-right egg and a sausage link. It would be an absolute pity to miss out on these. They’ve got a huge variety of biscuits and gravy too, so…

Pike Place Chowder: This place has probably received every award for chowder imaginable, and for good reason: it’s got every type of chowder you could possibly want, and they’re GOOD. Get a flight to try four, or even eight, different chowders; each is unique in its own right, some more sweet, others with a touch of lime, but all are creamy and undeniably great chowders. Lines are long on the weekend, but it does go by fairly quick. We ordered the classic New England clam chowder, a crab and oyster chowder, a smoked salmon chowder, a seared scallop chowder, and the market chowder, which updates almost every day.

Ellenos Greek Yogurt: Yep, you’ve probably (definitely) seen this greek yogurt brand in the grocery stores, but their first yogurt bar actually opened here in Pike Place Market. Stop by for a quick, refreshing dessert that’s both flavorful and healthy. Like an ice cream bar, you can test out and choose from so many different flavors, like the sweet and tart marionberry, a fun brownie batter, spunky pineapple and ginger, or just a plain greek yogurt. Regardless of what you pick, there’s certainly an option for you here.

Jack’s Fish Spot: If you’re visiting on a busy day and want to find a quick place for lunch, Jack’s Fish Spot is for you. The lines here move by really fast, and you’ll be able to order fresh seafood directly from their seafood bar. They’ve also got a fresh seafood counter if you’re looking to buy any to take home to cook yourself. Their fish tacos pair perfectly with a bowl of the warm and creamy classic clam chowder. Otherwise, an order of the fish and chips, where you can choose from a number of different types of fish, are amazing dipped in their tartar sauce. Seating is limited, although you can grab it to go and eat elsewhere less crowded.

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The Pink Door (Italian)

The Pink Door was a recommendation from a friend who we went with on our trip; apparently, it was on her list the last time she visited Seattle, but couldn’t get a reservation even a month out in advance. So this time, we put in our reservation three months prior to our visit to make sure we could stop by this iconic place.

Nestled in Post Alley in Pike Place Market, you’d otherwise pass this unassuming spot if it weren’t for the baby pink door (hence, the name) and windows against the grey wall. As you enter, you’ll find yourself literally entering a new world: the staircases lead down to an eclectic and quite large dining area, with more seating outside that overlooks Elliot Bay. We sat outside and ordered the following for appetizers:

  • Arancini: rice balls fried and stuffed with lamb ragout and fontina cheese ~ heirloom tomato purée, Calabrian chili, basil
  • Antipasto: prosciutto, tuscan bean salad, fresh mozzarella, tapanada, grilled vegetables, salumi and more
  • Fresh Northwest oysters

These provided the perfect introduction to what would be coming. Personal favorite was the arancini: they were huge and tasted absolutely amazing with the slightly sweet tomato purée. For our entrées, we ordered:

  • Spring Green Risotto: with asparagus, green garlic, lemon and young leeks
  • Ravioli al Piselli: hand dipped ricotta, peas, mint with butter, grana padano cheese
  • Penn Cove Mussels and Clams: white vermouth, garlic, and a touch of cream with garlic toast

The ravioli was my personal favorite here—the buttery sauce paired so perfectly with the ravioli that encompassed a mouthful of flavors, and my only problem was that I wanted the dish to never end. The spring risotto was surprisingly light but still packed a powerful punch, and the clams and mussels were a bit overpowered by the garlic butter sauce.

Finally for dessert, we ordered:

  • Basil Cake: layered with rhubarb jam with vanilla buttercream frosting
  • Gianduja Coffee Pie: with candied hazelnuts

Of course, both were incredible. The basil cake is certainly one-of-a-kind, and the option to go for if you’re craving something lighter. The Coffee Pie was much denser and sweeter, but if that’s what you need, it does the job and surely goes above and beyond.

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Aqua by el gaucho (featured on Buzzfeed’s worth it)

After seeing Steven and Andrew from Worth It fall in love with this waterside restaurant filled with amazing food and even better views, we figured we’d have to make a stop here ourselves too.

[Since our basic economy Delta flight meant no suitcase for this trip, we were slightly under-dressed, so if this is a place you want to try out, would recommend a business causal outfit of sorts.]

We sat outside to get a lovely view of the water and because it was so beautiful outside. For starters, we ordered half a dozen of the local fresh oysters. As good as they were, I will say that for $27, you could get a larger (and just as good) quantity elsewhere in the city. Our entrées and shared sides were:

  • Grilled Sea Bass: braised radishes, turnips, kale, curried carrot butter
  • King Salmon: chile spiced broccoli rabe, pork belly, mushroom glace
  • Crab Mac ‘n Cheese: dungeness au gratin, strozzapreti, white cheddar and parmigiano reggiano, garlic butter, cream
  • Sweet Roasted Yellow Corn: mesquite and chipotle lime butter, local honey 

The entrées tasted absolutely magical: the sea bass basically melted in your mouth, and the purée paired so well with the, dare I say, juicy and succulent, salmon. The sweet yellow corn is an incredible side, particularly with all the seafood, and acts as a good palate cleanser to some degree. As for the mac ‘n cheese, I’d say you could probably pass this for some of the other options they have: I’m huge on the cheesiness of mac ‘n cheese, the decadence of it all, and this one felt more like a generic pasta with some cheese and crab.

All that said, I think Aqua is a great place to go to for a fancy and beautiful dinner with your special others. But if you’re not willing to spend an exorbitant amount of money and would rather eat good food elsewhere, there are certainly other options elsewhere.

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Dessert/Bakery

Fuji Bakery: You’ll definitely want to stop by here for some of the BEST desserts and baked goods. There are two locations, and we stopped by the one in Chinatown to grab breakfast and snacks before we headed out for a day of hiking in Discovery Park. Fuji is located on a corner of a street, with windows filled with awesome-looking items before you round the corner to see a window for ordering. We ordered both the chicken katsu sando and the egg salad sando. The chicken one is certainly more flavorful with the katsu sauce and filling, but the egg salad is a classic, filled with soft and yummy Japanese-styled egg salad. Among other items that we ordered were the Ube Malasada (soft and airy malasada filled with our house made ube custard — a must get!), a lemon-curd-esque Malasada, the Milk Stick (Fuji Bakery’s signature milk buttercream filled soft Japanese Milk Bread), and a chocolate croissant with caramelized bananas on top. Sounds good? They were.

Salt & Straw: Now, this one isn’t a Seattle local (it’s a Portland-based, West-coast chain store), but you really can’t go wrong with Salt & Straw, whether you’re in Portland, Seattle or somewhere in Cali. We stopped by here after a long day of hiking and got some of our favorite flavors, including the Olive Oil and Honey Lavender. If you can’t decide which flavor to go with, choose a flight of four like we did!

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The Walrus and the carpenter

THE OYSTERS. That’s really all I have to say–if you’re an oyster lover, you absolutely absolutely have to come here. You can try a variety of the oyster options that they offer, and the flavors can range from sweeter and buttery to more sharper, salty and briny. If you want to have that experience, The Walrus and The Carpenter offers you a chance to expand your oyster consumption experience.

We paired our oysters with some of their house-made bread and butter. The rest of our order were:

  • scallop crudo, salsa tinta, picholine olives, sunchoke, chervil
  • steak tartare, egg yolk, rye crisp
  • grilled sardines, walnut, parsley, shallot
  • fried halibut collar

The scallop crudo absolutely took the cake here: the plump scallop with the cream provided the perfect combination, with some texture from the radishes. Steak tartare maybe was a little too much raw items for us, but still tasted absolutely incredible. The fried halibut collar surprisingly had more meat on it than we had envisioned, and was a great way to round up the meal.

The featured cocktails here are also a must try, if cocktails are your thing. Their cocktails are creative and fun and are the perfect way to end your evening on a sweet note.

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