Seattle may be widely known as a coffee town, but it also has an awesome and sophisticated local food scene. The combination of abundant natural resources, a well-attuned population’s emphasis on locally produced and sustainable ingredients, and the city’s cultural and geographic intersection on the Pacific Rim make Seattle a delicious destination.
I recently took a quick, three-day weekend visit to Seattle, where my appetite and taste buds were treated to a variety of Seattle and Pacific Northwest specialties.
Since I hadn’t visited Seattle in years, I booked a local food tour through Savor Seattle, a company that offered a bunch of themed food tours: one for chocolate freaks, a coffee-centric one, another focusing on the famous Pike Place Market. I chose the “Gourmet Seattle” tour, which lasted about four hours – all the better to help burn off some calories. Unlike similar tours I’ve taken before, our guide, Nick, not only had extensive food knowledge, but knew a ton about Seattle history, and was able to weave the two together into a really fascinating overall narrative to show the big picture.
These are just a few places where I indulged my appetite while in Seattle, and there are tons more. If you love to eat, Seattle is definitely worth checking out.
Andaluca – Andaluca is a fine dining restaurant with a Spanish-centric Mediterranean menu, where we sampled duck cakes and fried potato balls, along with the best sangria ever; I liked it so much I went back the next night for dinner.
Beecher’s Handmade Cheese – Another Pike Place denizen, Beecher’s makes its own cheese and sells artisanal cheese from the Pacific Northwest. Oh, and if you like Mac and Cheese, they make the very best on the planet.
Gelatiamo – A gelateria serving gelato in tons of flavors – pear, coconut, pumpkin to name a few – managed to convert me from regular ice cream, which is a huge achievement. To get it any more real than this, you’d have to go to Italy.
Il Bistro – A delightfully cozy – and romantic – little Italian restaurant located in Pike Place where I tried one of the best risottos I’ve ever had with garlic and local shellfish, which was paired with a delicious Washington State red wine.
Pike Brewing Company – Pike Brewing is a working craft brewery right in the market, making authentic British-style brews which I sampled in a flight paired with English cheeses and the brewery’s own spent grain bread.
Serious Pie – It’s the pizza outpost in the restaurant empire of Tom Douglas, Seattle’s world-renown self-trained chef and restaurateur. The pizza here is traditional but is taken to a whole new level. I absolutely loved their take on a traditional Roman potato and Romano cheese pizza, a concept I hitherto had found yucky, but which won me over.
Thoa’s Restaurant – A local treasure, Thoa has been serving dishes from her native Vietnam, and I had the authentic Vietnamese noodles pho xao, which nearly melted in my mouth, and was dressed with an addictive fish sauce.