Where To Eat

Seattle is renowned for great food and we love living here in large part because of its fantastic restaurants. We've offered a range of recommendations at many price points below.

If you are looking for something not listed here, don't hesitate to contact us and we'll be happy to help you.

In addition to our restaurant recommendations, there are some food related experiences not to be missed: The Ballard, University and Broadway Farmers Markets are held during the day on Saturday and Sunday (Ballard and Broadway on Sunday, and University on Saturday). Visiting the Pike Place Market where you can eat and shop for gifts is a must. Theo Chocolate is the only chocolate company in the United States to prepare fair trade chocolate from bean to bar, and they offer daily tours of the Chocolate Factory. If you love chocolate, you should find a way to do this.

Breakfast and Brunch

One of the best breakfasts (and brunches) in town is a short walk or trolley ride from the Pan Pacific Hotel.  The Portage Bay Cafe ($$) in South Lake Union consistently receives high marks from restaurant critics, including Hope and Gregory. On the weekends there might be a wait if you get there after 10am.

The Volunteer Park Cafe ($$), located on the northeast side of Capitol Hill, makes some delicious brunch and lunch. We ate Sunday brunch there the morning that Gregory proposed. Oddfellows ($) offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual atmosphere. It is located in the Oddfellows building near Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill (10th Ave E), next door to the Elliot Bay Book Company, a truly wonderful locally owned bookshop that recently moved from Pioneer square where it had been for over 30 years.


This is Seattle, so coffee deserves its own category of recommendations. While we are the home of Starbucks, we suggest you eschew the national chain and check out some more local coffee shops and roasters.

Uptown Espresso has numerous locations around town, including one in South Lake Union, not far from the Pan Pacific Hotel.

Victrola, with two locations on Capitol Hill, one on Pike St just east of I5 (where they actually roast the beans!) and the other on 15th Ave E, a cute little shopping district.

Stumptown Roasters also has two locations on Capitol Hill, one on Pine and Boylston and the other on 12th Ave, south of Madison.

Cafe Vivace is known for its more traditional Italian style coffee and espresso and they are located on Capitol Hill (Broadway) and down on Yale St, across from REI (not too far from the Pan Pacific, but only if you are planning on heading in that direction for a visit to REI). 

Cafe Vita offers a few locations, including one on Capitol Hill, on Pine St. between 10th and 11th Avenue.

Cherry Street Coffee and Pegasus have multiple locations downtown and serve some great coffee.

Top Pot, mentioned below in the section about dessert, is located on 5th Avenue in Belltown.

Fremont Coffee is located in Fremont on 35th Street. They also make great sandwiches and offer a wide selection of specialty sodas.


Pike Place Grill ($) in the Pike Place Market is the perfect place for a fish sandwich if you are downtown checking out the market. Beecher's Cheese ($), also located in the Market, serves grilled cheese and mac and cheese.

Paseo ($) has the best fish (and other) sandwiches in town, and they are made with a Caribbean flair.  They have two locations, one in Fremont, a cute little neighborhood where we first lived together, and another at Golden Gardens in Ballard. Hope took Gregory to the Beach at Golden Gardens when he first moved to Seattle. It had been raining for nearly 40 days, but on that day the sun came out.

For a convenient lunch next door to the Pan Pacific Hotel, Tutta Bella ($) serves good pizza and salads.

Portage Bay Cafe ($$) in South Lake Union (mentioned above) also offers a fine lunch focusing on local and sustainable ingredients.

Matt's In The Market ($$$) prepares fresh northwest food from the Pike Place Market. The view of the market and the Puget Sound beyond is remarkable.

Steelhead Diner ($$) also offers some amazing seafood focusing on northwest and new American cuisine. It is located just east of the Pike Place Market.


Where to begin! There are so many great restaurants for dinner. Many offer happy hour specials between 4 pm and 6 pm or 7 pm.

Downtown and Belltown

Blueacre ($$$) the new restaurant from Kevin Davis of Steelhead Diner (see above) serves seafood with a focus on local and sustainable, but a reach that includes all of America's coastal waters.  Blueacre is near the southern terminus of the South Lake Union Street Car which makes a stop at the Pan Pacific (Westlake and Denny), and it is also not a far walk from the hotel.

Award winning Tutta Bella ($), in the same plaza as the Pan Pacific Hotel, serves good pizza and salads.

Barolo ($$$) serves upscale Italian food and is located just a few blocks south of the Pan Pacific Hotel, also accessible via the Street Car.

Palace Kitchen, Lola & Dahlia are three of Tom Douglas' restaurants located on 5th and 4th Avenues (respectively), and offer wonderful northwest inspired cuisine. It is almost a commandment that you experience the food at one of Tom Douglas' restaurants while in town. These three are closest to the Pan Pacific and the Ramada, either on foot, or by the Street Car.

Taste ($$$): The restaurant in the Seattle Art Museum features contemporary northwest food that is local and sustainable. 

You could venture to the International District on the south end of downtown for some excellent Vietnamese food at the Tamarind Tree ($$) or some specialty Chinese hand shaved noodles at Shanghi Garden ($).

Capitol Hill

For the utmost Seattle foodie experience, famous chef Jerry Traunfeld (formerly at the Herbfarm for many years) opened up an Indian restaurant with a northwest flair, right in our neighborhood.  It'd called Poppy ($$$) and it's worth the $32 price of a thali.

A French chef with a Spanish inspired menu can be found at Olivar ($$),  where the atmosphere is perfectly intimate and enchanted.

Lark ($$) offers a range of small plates of northwest cuisine from local farmers, artisans and foragers.

An outpost of rising restauranteur, Ethan Stowell, Anchovies and Olives ($$$) offers Italian inspired pastas and seafood in a contemporary setting.

Hipsters and yuppies alike love Cafe Presse ($$).  On a rainy Seattle evening, it feels like casual dining in a French cafe far from home. 

Currently, we think the best Thai restaurant on the hill is Rom Mai Thai ($) on Broadway.  Their curries and pad thai are among our favorites.

Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford

These three neighborhoods stretch from Golden Gardens (the beach on the Puget Sound), east to the University District (north of the ship canal and Lake Union). We already mentioned Paseo for lunch in Fremont, and you can also go there for dinner.

Excellent Thai restaurants abound in Seattle.  It is, perhaps, our specialty.  The Fremont neighborhood has two on every block, and our favorite is Tawon Thai ($).

Ray's Boat House ($$$) is a classic Seattle restaurant on the Pier at Shillshole Marina with spectacular views and great seafood.

Tilth ($$$) is located on 45th Street in Wallingford, and it is one of Hope's favorites. James Beard award chef Maria Hines' restaurant is one of the best in Seattle. Be sure to make a reservation.

Joule ($$) is a few blocks further east on 45th and is a truly unique NW/Asian fusion restaurant featuring fresh local ingredients with French-Vietnamese influenced preparations.

Queen Anne

One of Seattle's hill neighborhoods, Queen Anne is located northwest of Downtown.

Emmer & Rye ($$) is one of Seattle's newest restaurants. Opened in January 2010 by chef Seth Caswell, this restaurant offers half and full portions of appetizers and entrees, allowing you to sample a wide variety of dishes featuring local, sustainable and seasonal ingredients. The name refers to two ancient grains. If you make the trek up the hill, you will not be disappointed.  Emmer & Rye also offers a weekend bunch.

West Seattle

A few miles south of downtown, there are some nice restaurants in this neighborhood, but one of the only ones that is really and truly worth the trip if you are visiting for just a few days is Spring Hill ($$$).


We've had something of a sweet revolution in Seattle over the last few years. Satisfy your sweet tooth at one of these places:

Molly Moon's Ice Cream, on Capitol Hill and in Wallingford, has interesting flavors, such as Salted Caramel and Honey Lavender.

Cupcake Royale with 3 locations, Capitol Hill (Pike Street between 11th and 12th), Ballard (NW Market Street near 22nd Ave NW) and West Seattle (California Ave S), makes delicious cupcakes.

Theo Chocolate Tasting Room (see above) makes bars (both single origin dark chocolate, dark chocolate blends and milk chocolate)  as well as wonderful truffles and caramels. It's located in Fremont at 34th Street and Phinney Ave.

Top Pot Donuts, now carried in select Starbucks around the country, is a locally owned donut company with 3 locations--Capitol Hill, 5th Ave in Belltown, and Wedgewood. Gregory lived in 3 different apartments within 3 blocks of Top Pot, and visited a little too often.  We now we live a magic 6 blocks away, which has broken his donut addiction.