A Food Lover's Guide To Seattle
It might be the home of a certain global chain of coffee shops, but the independent spirit Seattle is known for is still alive and well. From oysters and negronis on tap, to wine and pizza, there’s enough excellent food and drink to be experienced here to render you sleepless.
The Walrus and The Carpenter
You can’t talk about dining in Seattle without mentioning Renee Erickson. Named Best Chef Northwest by the James Beard Awards in 2016, she’s one of the city’s most prolific restaurateurs, so it’s not surprising that most of her restaurants serve the Pacific Northwest’s famed seafood. The oyster selection at The Walrus and The Carpenter changes daily, with novel varieties that you’d be hard pressed to find outside the region. Look beyond oysters to find more seafood-heavy shared plates, with hearty, moreish combinations, and kick back with a cocktail or three in the chilled out, marine-inspired space. Despite being almost a decade old, the crowds won’t stop coming to the no-reservations restaurant, so go early or be prepared to queue.
4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, +1 206 395 9227, thewalrusbar.com
Not only are these Erickson (see above) alums turning out bright, fresh plates of local seafood ceviche, crudo and oysters, the wood-fired grill, which takes pride of place in the open kitchen for all to see, is constantly fed logs throughout the night and masterfully tended to, producing beautifully charred meats, fish and even rice. Opened in 2015 and quickly named one of Bon Appetit’s hottest restaurants, the city’s love of Manolin sees no sign of subsiding. There are no reservations, so come early to nab one of the coveted kitchen counter seats, or be prepared to wait in a seat on the terrace with a cocktail which, in clement weather, isn’t a bad idea anyway.
3621 Stone Way N, Seattle, +1 206 294 3331, manolinseattle.com
Sitka & Spruce
Tucked away at the back of petite Melrose Market, Sitka and Spruce feels like a country cottage, with an abundance of natural light and an open kitchen, anchored by a hearth and a long kitchen table. The menu is just as inviting, featuring highly seasonal and local ingredients that showcase the best of the Pacific Northwest. Expect plenty of regional seafood, such as albacore and salmon, presented in dishes that have a slight French accent, and a Euro-centric wine list to match.
1531 Melrose Ave, Seattle, +1 206 324 0662, sitkaandspruce.com
Salumi Artisan Cured Meats
At this hole-in-the-wall salumeria, queues form quickly even before opening time. Hungry hoards are here to tuck into delicious Italian sandwiches filled with cured meats, roasts, meatballs and more, all made lovingly in-house. It’s open weekday lunchtimes only, with Mondays being only for take-out, but the scheduling effort is worth it. Seattle gourmands make sure they have notifications turned on to their Twitter account (@salumiseattle) so they don’t miss out on the seasonal specials like gnocchi and slow-cooked pork butt with cinnamon.
309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, +1 206 621 8772, salumicuredmeats.com
Dino's Tomato Pie
Thanks to Brandon Pettit and Molly Wizenberg, founders of Dino’s, you can get a late night slice of New York-style pizza on the West Coast. After opening their upmarket Neapolitan style wood-fired pizza bar Delancey, the pair decided to tackle the North American genre of pizzas, in a place that feels like it’s been there forever, and to great effect (check out the throwback website). Forget the greasy, floppy dollar slices, this is a food-lover’s version of “junk” food. Beautifully baked out of their brick ovens, choose from a regular round base or a thick, square Sicilian, and wash it down with a negroni, which is on tap, unless you’ve already had enough to drink before arriving—it’s that kind of place.
1524 E Olive Way, Seattle, +1 206 403 1742, dinostomatopie.com
La Marzocco Café
There’s no mentioning of the contemporary history of coffee and cafes without talking about Seattle. Like it or not, it's the birthplace of one of the most powerful cafe chains in the world. Thankfully, the city’s coffee scene is far from generic—in fact, it’s home to plenty of fantastic independent cafes and roasters. One stop that coffee geeks must make is the world’s first (and so far, only) cafe by storied espresso machine manufacturers La Marzocco. Housed in the expansive architecturally-aware warehouse-like space of community radio station KEXP, the cafe is not only a showcase of their machinery, but a place that celebrates the industry by inviting one roaster or coffee brand to take residence in the cafe each month. So far, they’ve brought in both cult and renowned names around the globe, from Oregon’s well-loved Stumptown to New Zealand’s Coffee Supreme.
KEXP, 472 1st Ave N, Seattle, +1 206-388-3500, lamarzoccousa.com
Fairmont Olympic Hotel
The Olympic, as it was known upon its opening in 1924, was built with the distinct directive of being Seattle’s first world-class hotel. Almost a century later, it remains a stately icon, conveniently located in downtown Seattle. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, duck into Shuckers Oyster Bar—not only is it a great way to experience a slice of history (it’s housed in a dapper ex-haberdashery, with details like changing rooms still intact) you’ll also find one of the most impressive arrays of oysters (freshly shucked, as its moniker suggests) in a city crazy about oysters, which is saying something. You can even wash it down with a beer or a cocktail made using the hotel’s own rooftop honey.
411 University St, Seattle, +1 206 621 1700, fairmont.com/seattle