Food Quest: Seattle
by Marla Norman, TCO Publisher
PIKE PLACE MARKET
1st Ave & Pike Street
THE place for food in Seattle, Pike Place Market dates back to 1907, when farmers parked their wagons next to Elliott Bay and sold fresh produce. Today, the market spreads over 9 acres and features more than 70 eateries. Listed below are a few favorite places. See the TCO map for extra help with directions. The Market is a bit of a labyrinth and it’s easy to get lost.
1509 Pike Street
A tiny spot with BIG flavors, the Market Grill serves delicious blackened salmon, grilled halibut and prawns – all grilled to order while you wait. The chowder is considered some of the best in the city and is an unbelievable bargain at $3.95!
The Pink Door
1919 Post Alley
As cute and whimsical as the name, The Pink Door serves Italian dishes from old fashioned family recipes. The menu is seasonal, but would likely include Butternut Squash-Pine Nut Ravioli, Linguine Alle Vongole, Risotto with Duck Confit, Cioppino and a daily fish served whole. If you’re dining at The Pink Door on the weekend, you can take in the Cabaret show and trapeze artists – an extra treat.
1600 Post Alley
Modeled after a traditional French brasserie, Café Campagne opened in 1994 and has remained hugely popular ever since. The lunch menu offers a variety of salads, pâté, cheese plates, quiches and tartines – open-faced sandwiches. Dinner includes many seasonal selections, such as Mussels, Roasted Chicken, Duck Confit and Cassoulet. Happy Hour brings outstanding small plates: “Petit” Lamb Burgers with Balsamic Onions, Alsatian Tarts with Goat Cheese, and Slow-Cooked Pork with Dijon mustard.
1902 Pike Place
The perfect spot for breakfast – starting daily at 7:00am – Le Panier bakes up perfect Croissants, Brioche and Sables,<accent on e> accompanied by a steaming espresso. If you’re looking for something even sweeter, there are Éclairs, Macarons, Tartelettes and Chocolate Mousse. Lunch consists of traditional sandwiches on crusty Baguettes or Feuilletés – puff-pastry tarts with savory fillings. Bon appétit!
Piroshky Piroshky Bakery
1908 Pike Place
Generously large Piroshkies, available with numerous combinations of meat, vegetable, cheese and sweet fillings are the speciality at Piroshky Piroshky Bakery. In addition to the traditional Eastern European “pies” the bakery also serves locally-influenced Piroshkies with salmon.
The Athenian Seafood Restaurant & Bar
1517 Pike Place
For some of the best views of gorgeous Elliott Bay and knockout sunsets, grab a table at The Athenian Restaurant. Enjoy the views, cocktails and appetizers. If you must, you can even snap a selfie next to the plaque that marks the spot where Tom Hanks and Rob Reiner filmed a scene for Sleepless in Seattle.
Market Atrium Kitchen
1433 First Avenue
If you’d like to take a quick cooking class while on vacation, a feast of culinary offerings are available at the Market Atrium Kitchen. The “At The Table” program brings together hands-on cooking classes, cooking demonstrations by top chefs, tastings and cookbook signings. Many of the events are free.
MORE SEATTLE RESTAURANTS
MATT’S IN THE MARKET
94 Pike Street
Sitting several stories high, with mesmerizing views of Pike Place and Elliott Bay, Matt’s in the Market is the ultimate showcase for the best seafood, meat and produce available from Pike Market. Even the vases of cascading flowers on every table have been procured just across the street – at the Market.
Dinner entrées always include at least one catch of the day – Wild Sockeye Salmon or Alaskan Halibut, most likely. Other offerings might include Bacon Wrapped Rabbit with Red Cabbage & Parsnips, Seafood Stew with Coconut Curry & Eggplant Chips or Grilled Beef Tenderloin. The wine list is a marvelous introduction to the best of Washington State wines.
89 University Street
The atmosphere at Lecōcho is laid back and casual, but the staff there is very serious about their food. The name is derived from the word “pig” in native American Chinook. And pork figures heavily in the menu, beginning with the house-made charcuterie.
Small plates are inventive and surprising – in the best way imaginable. A juicy grilled sausage is served with lentils and a soft boiled egg – rich and satisfying. Steamed mussels come with mustard and caperberries. Luscious grilled sardines melt in your mouth.
Large plate favorites are Pan Seared Scallops with Pumpkin Puree, Chorizo & Brussels Sprouts. Braised Pheasant Ragu & Strozzapreti is fragrant with sage and buttery roasted vegetables. A Late Night Menu features, not surprisingly, a Porchetta Sandwich with a Pork Belly-wrapped Pork Tenderloin and Onion Jam.
86 Pine Street
Dine at Cha:n and you’ll understand why this tiny Korean restaurant was recently listed by the Seattle Times as one of the top-12 dining spots in the city. Tucked into the atrium of the Inn at the Market (See more about this property in TCO HOTEL FINDS.) you might almost walk by. But devoted patrons lined up by the door will help you locate the entrance.
The menu at Cha:n is an innovative blend of Pacific Northwest flavors and Korean cuisine. The palate numbing heat and spice – typical of traditional Korean dishes – has been dialed back considerably and local seafood and vegetables have been seamlessly incorporated into the menu.
Bulgogi Beef and Pork Sliders with house-made Cucumber Kimchi and fresh Brioche Buns are good enough to make an entire meal. But there are many more deliciously delicate bites! Calamari Salad with Snow Peas and Bok Choy is fresh and tangy. Savory Korean Chicken Soup with thick Udon Noodles was meant to be slurped. You say you don’t like tofu? You’ll beg for more of the Kimchi Pork Belly with Poached Tofu. It’s that incredibly good.
2000 4th Avenue
James Beard Award-winning chef Tom Douglas is a culinary tour de force in Seattle. His restaurant Lola is one of 17 of his restaurants, along with a cooking school and organic farm.
An anchor for Hotel Andra, (See more about this property in TCO HOTEL FINDS.) Lola is poshly designed, with dark leather booths and artful neon light fixtures. The food is a seemingly incongruous mix of Pacific Northwest, Greek and Moroccan cuisines. But under Douglas’ deft hand, it works perfectly – and for three meals daily, from 6:00am to midnight, later on weekends.
Kebabs for lunch and dinner are especially appealing: Washington Sockeye Salmon, Berkshire Pork with Honey-Harissa and Halloumi Cheese Kalamata Figs. A Tajine of Goat Meat with Mustard & Rosemary is spicy and flavorful. Grilled Short Ribs with Pomegranate & Tabbouleh or Wood-Grilled Silver Salmon with Lentils and Chanterelles are perfect examples of Douglas’ creative blending of world cuisines.
SITKA & SPRUCE
1531 Melrose Avenue
Yet another James Beard Award-winning chef is at the helm of Sitka & Spruce. Chef Matt Dillion was also named “Best New Chef” by Food & Wine magazine.
Located in the trendy Melrose Market (between Pike & Pine) Sitka & Spruce is cozy and inviting. Try to reserve a spot at the butcher block bar, next to the open kitchen. Then try not to swoon over the seductive aromas and beautifully plated dishes.
Be sure to sample the Purple Carrots with Sumac & Basil; Speck & Shishito Peppers, Apples & Mint; Black Cod, Dukkah & Lobster Mushrooms; Rabbit Loin, Peppercress, Einkorn & Pears.
And for dessert…..
THEO CHOCOLATE FACTORY
3400 Phinney Avenue
Joe Whinney spent over 12 years working to arrange a supply of organic cocoa beans before opening his chocolate factory. Finally, in 2006, Theo Chocolate became the first organic chocolate company in the U.S.
Today Theo’s offers dozens of different chocolate bars: Sea Salt, Ginger, Orange, Chili, Salted Almond, Mint, and many more. You can sample the various chocolates during a tour that’s offered daily. Friendly staff will entertain you with the story of cocoa, including the extraordinary transformation of the cacao fruit into what we know and love as chocolate and the social and environmental issues relating to cocoa and cocoa farmers. All sweet fun!
For more on the Pacific Northwest culinary scene, travel with us to Lummi Island to meet Blaine Wentzel, one of the most revolutionary young chefs in the area.