A travel journal
to Seattle by Scubabartek
Quote: Seattle's dining scene has truly grown in the last 10 years. Influx of foreign cultures into the city has brought along a variety of cuisines from all over the world. Some stand out on their own, and some have undergone fusion, creating a truly unique flavor of Seattle.
Now, back to the restaurant. The settings are very ad hoc, the wait staff made up of volunteers, but all of that adds the uniqueness of this place. The food is excellent. People of all nationalities come here to eat, and leave impressed with the quality of food as well as full stomachs. "Pavarotti", as the cook is nicknamed (it's got to be the beard), takes home cooking to the next level. Tripe Warsaw-style (Flaki po Warszawsku) is phenomenal (if you're willing to try it). Pierogi are delicious and come in a selection of three fillings: meat, cabbage or cheese. Polish-style apple pie (Szarlotka) is absolutely superb. Some of the fare tends to be heavy and not for the faint hearted. Pork Hocks (Golonka) is a very rich piece of a pig, but it's savory in every bite. Entrees cost in the range of $6 to $10, soups and desserts $2-$5.
To wash down these Polish delicacies there is a selection of Eastern European (mostly Polish) beers available at the bar located in the restaurant hall for about $4 per bottle. You're not likely to find these beers anywhere else in Seattle (except some specialty stores). More potent liquors are also available if you so desire.
If you're interested in learning more about Polish Home check out their web-site at www.polishhome.org.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 7, 2001
1714 18th Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98122
Located right off the Ave (University Avenue), in a basement of an obscure building, this place offers some of the best Thai food in Seattle. All dishes on the menu can be prepared with either tofu, chicken, shrimp or squid, and can be made spicy to your taste: from one star (baby formula) to five stars (sensory overload). Phud Thai, Big Noodles in Thai Sauce and Garlic Basil Rice are all exceptional and worth mentioning.
Catering mostly to masses of students and underpaid university employees during lunch time, the restaurant falls into the category of very cheap: everything on the menu is between $4 and $6. Each lunch is preceded with a cup of aromatic broth with vegetables, or salad with peanut sauce (this seems to be the crowd favorite). And if you happen to order a five-star dish and the skin coming off of your tongue says you've made a mistake, you can put out the fire with Thailand's original 'Singha' beer or a selection of cheap, but decent wines.
The setting is very simple, not really rustic. Few ethnic decorations adorn the walls, and a couple fish swim in the aquarium wondering if they'll end up on somebody's plate. However as mentioned above, this is a place to come in and get some cheap food, not to indulge in a unique or romantic atmosphere.
Little Thai Restaurant
4142 Brooklyn Ave. NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
It's quite plush and posh inside with dark surroundings and sharply dressed wait staff. If your table isn't ready, you can wait by the bar and enjoy some of Seattle's best martinis. Dress code is casual (as almost every restaurant in this city), but this place is worth dressing up for (even for the guys… Especially for the guys!). In here you will see all kinds of people: suits taking their clients to dinners, overdressed boyfriends trying to impress their dates, groups of computer geeks showing off their carnivorous nature and flannel wearing grungy Northwest typicals (actually… no one here dresses up like this anymore, but I thought I'd throw it in for the effect).
Food? You cannot say anything bad about if even if you tried. Appetizers are fantastic: fried calamari topping the chart. Entrees? Meat, meat and more meat. This ain't your whiny, little vegetarian joint (vegetarians beware: you might be served on a plate here). This is carnivore city to the extreme. Any steak, any size, any way you want it. There is even a 50 ounce (or 60, or 70…) porterhouse entree which could feed a T-Rex! Side dishes at the Met (Metropolitan's nickname here) leave nothing to be desired either. Mashed potatoes are smooth and rich (and raise your cholesterol twofold: it's butter and heavy cream here, not fat-free milk). Fries are hot and crunchy. Asparagus is fresh, green and covered in delicious butter sauce (are you starting to see a pattern yet?). Food here is awesome, there is simply no other words to describe it. Met has an excellent wine list as well, in fact their house selections are better than most other restaurants' top choices.
Restaurant is expensive, but is worth every penny. Entrees range from $15 to $40, and a dinner for two with dessert and drinks will easily top $120. Once a year the Met offers a spectacular deal as a way of thanking its patrons: coupon in Seattle Times which is good for a gift certificate (to the Metropolitan Grill or any other of its sister restaurants) equal in value to the dinner entrees ordered during your visit. Can we all say: "Free Steak"?
Restaurant is located in downtown. Parking is very difficult on your own, so there is valet parking available.
820 Second Ave
Seattle, Washington 98104
+1 206 624 3287
Beer selection is not bad. CI has two rotating taps: import & porter of the month and usually they are good choices. Regular taps are your usual imports (Pilsner Urquell and Guinness Stout) as well as a selection of underwhelming or over-hoppy Pacific Northwest favorites (Red Hook, Alaskan, Pyramid, Elysian, Mirror Pond) and some other microbrews (out of which Fat Tire from New Belgium brewery deserves an honorable mention).
This is a great place to wind down after a hard week of work. You can follow Mariners on TV, or if you have an aspiring musician in your group: take over the piano in the dark back room.
CI offers several happy hour deals: $1 off pitchers if you come before 5PM, and half-price nachos on Mondays. Street parking: free after 6pm and on Sundays
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 7, 2001
College Inn Pub
4006 University Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
Restaurant | "La Cocina & Cantina"
The locale has white, plastered walls, colorful tablecloths, and tacky, odd-looking statues. On warm days, the foldout windows are removed and La Cocina takes on an atmosphere of a stuffy patio in a Mexican hacienda.
Food is good here, and there is lots of it. All dishes are a good value, but some are simply ridiculously large: eating a Grande Burrito ($10) is indeed a challenge worthy of Conan the Barbarian. Everyone’s favorites on the menu are the Fajitas (about $11 and come in a steak, pork or chicken variety) that come to the table on a sizzling platter served on a bed of grilled peppers and onions. You get a separate plate full of rice and refried beans and another one with salsa and guacamole.
Of course the restaurant’s specialty is of the liquid and potent variety: its margaritas are nothing short of extraordinary. From a 12-ounce glass to a 27-ounce bucket, the selections seem almost endless. Blended fruit margaritas come in all the standard as well as the unusual flavors, and for the connoisseurs there is a list of a couple dozen or so tequila choices. Quite frankly, the standard house margaritas are so delicious though, that it’s difficult to even consider spending more money on a better tequila choice. House and blended margaritas range from $5 to $8 depending on size, and ones from the tequila list go up to $15 or so (tequila sure has gotten expensive in the last few years).
La Cocina & Cantina is moderately priced. Most things on the menu are below $20 (with the exception of Fajitas for Two, but after all… they are for two). You’ll have a difficult time spending more than $20 per person for a dinner and a drink, although a fair warning: it is rather difficult to have a single drink here, they’re simply too delicious. Beware of ordering too much food: chips and salsa will arrive on the table as soon as you sit down (courtesy of the house), and the dishes are so large that filling up on appetizers can be a recipe for disaster.
Like with any other restaurant on Broadway, parking situation is a disaster. Metered parking is available, but almost a miracle to get. Nearby parking lots are expensive. Best advice: get there 30 minutes early, and drive around looking for an empty space in front of the meter, or on the nearby streets (free parking in residential areas).
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 13, 2001
La Cocina -Santiago
432 Broadway E
Seattle, Washington 98102
Restaurant | "I Love Sushi"
A no-nonsense interior, fast and friendly service and a great selection of delicious sushi and sashimi: the main draws of this restaurant. Some of the best bits are Hotate (scallop), Anago (sea eel) and Shake (salmon). Look for daily specials made with geoduck (pronounced goo’eeduck). This Pacific Northwest specialty is a giant clam that buries itself deep in the ground (geoduck means "dig deep" in the native tongue).
Seattle harvests more than 3/4 of the world’s annual production, and happens to be the best place in the world to buy cheap and fresh geoduck (plate of geoduck can fetch up to 100 USD in a restaurant in Tokyo or Hong Kong).
There is a small selection of Japanese and imported beers (Kirin Ichiban Shibori on tap is a great choice) and sake (although not on the menu: Mu, which means "nothing" and comes in a beautiful blue bottle is your best bet). You can also ask for something stronger as a limited bar is available.
I Love Sushi is also home to one of Seattle’s most unusual desserts: Tempura Ice Cream. Perfectly shaped sphere of ice cream is dipped in sweet tempura batter and deep-fried for several seconds. What comes to your table is dessert that’s ice cold on the inside, yet steaming hot on the outside.
Restaurant is moderately priced: a dinner for two with appetizer and drinks might cost between $50 and $100 total. I Love Sushi offers great lunch specials: from $7.75 to $10.50 you can get a sushi or sashimi selection with miso soup, that leaves you full and satisfied. Free valet parking is available during rush hours. For more information check out their web-site.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 20, 2001
I Love Sushi, Seattle
1001 Fairview Ave North
Seattle, Washington 98109
+1 206 625 9604
Restaurant | "Anthony's Homeport"
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on November 5, 2001
Anthony’s HomePort Shilshole Bay
6135 Seaview Avenue Northwest
Seattle, Washington 98107
Restaurant | "Independent Espresso Stands"
First, there are plenty more coffee chains around that are worth paying attention to. Torrefazione, the famous "Italian" coffee chain, is actually based in... Seattle (where else?). It's coffee tends to be milder and less bitter than that of Starbucks or Seattle's Best, which can be a lovely change. Caffé D'arte, another "Italian" coffee chain from... Seattle, serves up similar style coffees to Torrefazione, with a slightly fuller taste.
But perhaps the most memorable experiences and the greatest tasting coffees can be found in the side-of-the-road espresso stalls, run by Joe and/or Mary. Using blends from a variety of roasters, they put love into the drink that the big chains cannot. They can also provide those personal touches, like knowing your "usual" or giving you that special discount while you're a buck short. So stop by the side of the road, and have a cup of joe, Joe!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 8, 2001
This charming farmers market was built in 1907, when local residents and farmers decided they had enough of high-priced produce and decided to buy directly from the farmers. No middlemen markups, no transportation costs, just fresh produce directly from the people who grew it. As the Market’s popularity grew, it expanded into new buildings that housed stalls of produce sellers as well as arts and crafts. The Market we know and love today almost didn’t make it into the present though. During World War II, Japanese stall owners, who constituted a large portion of the market, were shipped off to internment camps, therefore significantly reducing the number of produce sellers. After the war, the popularity of the market decreased dramatically, as the era of supermarkets begun: people simply did not want to bother visiting a nearby market. In the 60’s, the city wanted to tear down the Market completely, but Seattle’s residents were able to pass an initiative to keep the Market where it is, and it continues to flourish ever since. Today, there are a plethora of stalls in the Market, selling everything from produce and flowers, fresh fish or honey to arts and crafts, just like in the old times. Rachel the Pig (Pike Place’s bronze mascot, as well as a piggy bank) would have been very proud!
If you would like to learn more about the Market’s history stop at Market Heritage Center (1531 Western Avenue).
You could easily spend an entire day at the market and never once be bored. Watch out for flying fish at Pike Place Fish (maybe you remember it being featured in an episode of "Frasier"), where you can also pick up some of the freshest seafood in Seattle. Produce and flowers sellers predominate in the main building, but you can also find souvenir shops, little grocery stores, coffee houses (this is Seattle after all), bakeries (there is a French bakery here La Panier, which sells the most incredible breads, as well as a Russian Piroshky Piroshky with their incredible pastries) and everything else your heart desires.
Pike Place Market and the surrounding area is also a great place for food. Check out Athenian Inn, made famous by the movie "Sleepless in Seattle" (it is in here that Tom Hanks had the famous "Tiramisu" conversation). The two bakeries mentioned before are great places to grab a snack in between meals. There is Etta’s Seafood around here, serving up great… seafood, what else. For diners who enjoy fine cuisine, check out Café Campagne or Chez Shea. Nearby the Market you can find Wild Ginger, Seattle’s favorite satay restaurants (this one falls into the "fusion" or Pan-Asian category).
For more information on the Market go to
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 9, 2001
Pike Place Market
85 Pike Street
Seattle, Washington 98101
Sushi, which originates from Japan, is a serving of seafood (but sometimes other ingredients) with vinegared rice. It can be either wrapped in a roll with rice and seaweed (Maki), or be a sliver of fish neatly placed upon a bed of rice (Nigiri). Due to it’s maritime location, Seattle is home to a variety of seafood, therefore Sushi tends to be fresher and cheaper here than in other parts of the country (and when it comes to Sushi, freshness is the most important factor of all). Several types of Sushi deserve a special recognition: Shake (salmon), is raw, pink and delectable (and the most popular fish served around Pacific Northwest); Hotate (scallop), is a rich, soft morsel that melts in your mouth; Mirugai (geoduck), a giant clam native to Pacific Northwest, chewy and delicious (even more so if sautéed with ginger).
There are several notable places for Sushi in or around Seattle. Toyoda Sushi (12543 Lake City Way NE, (206) 367-7972) is a great bet, drawing loyal crowds everyday. Shiro’s Sushi (2401 2nd Ave, (206) 443-9844) is a great Belltown location with the freshest (according to its chef Shiro) fish available in town. Two other places of distinction are: I Love Sushi (1001 Fairview Ave N, (206) 625-9604) with their wonderful lakeside location, and great lunch specials ($10.50 for a salad, miso soup, 8 piece Nigiri and a California Roll); and Nikko (1900 Fifth Ave, (206) 322-4641), located in the Westin Hotel with one of the most spectacular dining rooms in town and the largest and fishiest roll around (Nikko Roll, containing seven types of fish).
Another popular type of Asian cuisine you will run into in Seattle is Dim Sum. This Cantonese style brunch is served between 9AM and 2PM (although some restaurants serve it as late as 5PM or even late nights). You can pick the dishes that look appetizing to you, as they fly past you, being pushed around on carts by waitresses. Most of the dishes are of a dumpling variety (Shu Mai: pork and shrimp dumplings are fantastic), but you can also get rice, seafood or vegetable dishes. Some noteworthy bites are Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli, served with oyster sauce); Sweet Tofu, which can be either almond or coconut flavored, or warm, bland and served with delicious ginger sauce; and for those not adventurous, there are plenty of "safe dishes" like Char Siu Bow: steamed buns with barbeque pork inside.
The heaviest concentration of Dim Sum restaurants can be found in Seattle’s International District. Top Gun (668 S King Street, (206) 623-6606) and House of Hong (409 8th Ave S, (206) 622-7875) are the favorites of the local Chinese, but the most distinguished and universally accepted Dim Sum restaurant is The Noble Court (1644 140th Ave NE Bellevue, (425) 641-6011). This place gets so busy on weekends that you cannot find parking if you arrive after 11AM (keep in mind also that cars may get double parked).
So dive in and be adventurous!