Seattle is an exceptional place to spend a weekend. You can stroll Pike Place Market, ascend the Space Needle and be dazzled by the treasures of the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum. If you love the outdoors, this place is especially for you. There’s a wealth of outside-the-city activities to built a trip around, from meandering through Olympic Sculpture Park to taking a boat tour on Pudget Sound to exploring Olympic National Park just beyond the city limits. But with so much to do, where do you refuel?
Everyone knows Seattle is home to some incredible coffee, but its cuisine and cocktail scene should not be overlooked. That being said, here are 10 places to eat, drink and get coffee in Seattle:
1. The name of this place says it all. Good Bar is just that, serving up craft cocktails inside an old Japanese commercial bank complete with its two original safes in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. In addition to killer cocktails (try “Joe’s Drink”), Good Bar also serves up incredible food like fresh steamed mussels, sloppy joes, and deviled ham with house-made mustard and hot sauce.
2. Owned by the renowned, James Beard Award-winning chef Tom Douglas, Lola can be found in the heart of downtown serving fresh Mediterranean fare with a Pacific Northwest slant. It’s also famous for breakfast, at which you can enjoy unique dishes like the “Tom’s Favorite Breakfast,” comprised of octopus and bacon pan-fried into a hash with potatoes, turmeric yogurt and a poached egg. If you’re more of a traditionalist, get the pancakes with house-made pork-maple sausage. Both dishes are the best you’ll ever taste.
3. A traditional Italian deli to its core, Salumi is a local legend among Seattleites and tourists alike. Go for lunch, but be sure to get there when they open at 11am as the best menu items sell out fast. Try one of their famous salami sandwiches, or if you can’t decide, get the sampler plate that includes every one they sell paired with bread and cheese. Saluti!
4. This West Seattle watering hole is legendary among locals for stiff drinks, Chinese take-out and karaoke. A lovable dive bar in every sense of the word, New Lucky Toy has everything you need for a great night out from quirky décor to loud music to boozy slurpees served out of Buddhas.
5. Arguably the best meal I had in Seattle, Stateside is a trendy hotspot serving globally inspired cuisine, incredibly well. It’s been featured in a number of publications since opening in late 2014 including The New York Times, and for good reason. The “Crispy Duck Fresh Rolls” and “Ahi Tuna Credo” were delicious, but the “Curried Pumpkin” is a must-try. As far as cocktails, the “Trinidad Sour” was my go-to and served me quite well.
6. A local favorite since 1981, The Pink Door is a non-touristy restaurant in the heart of Pike Place Market. Here you can find delicious home-style Italian-American dishes made from locally sourced ingredients like the house favorite lasagna, fresh pastas and a fantastic antipasto platter. A full bar with an extensive wine list and solid cocktails round out the menu. The Pink Door also features nightly performances by local bands, adding to its eclectic and friendly character.
7. Words can’t describe how much I love this place, a speakeasy bar located behind a non-descript door in a somewhat sketchy alley. Finding the place can be a bit of a challenge…but that’s part of the allure. Once inside, you’re greeted with a warm ambiance, a vibrant crowd and out-of-this-world cocktails. I had the “Angus the Red” with scotch, chocolate bitters and a few other accoutrements including hand-scorched pine needles to create a tasty concoction that smells like camping (in a good way). Watching the bartenders work their magic is half the experience and worth the visit alone.
8. What would this list be without including some coffee? Famous for being the first espresso cart in the world, Monorail Espresso now has a permanent (although still not much larger than a cart) location downtown serving incredible lattes, cappuccinos and other espresso drinks. Be sure to have a couple bucks on hand, because it’s cash only. It opens at 6am, making it a great place to begin your day exploring the city.
9. A modern café and roastery near Pioneer Square, Elm Coffee Roaster is a relative new kid on the block having opened in 2013, but its friendly service, unique pastries (like “Orange Blossom Donuts”), and unbelievable lattes with house-made hazelnut milk (among other variations) propel this tiny coffee spot to the next level.
10. Last but definitely not least is the legendary oyster house and shellfish market Taylor Shellfish Farms. Serving world-class oysters since the 1890s and the best shellfish in all of Seattle, Taylor is a must-visit for any seafood lover. The attentive staff will tell you all about where the oysters of the day came from, how they’re farmed, and the rich history of oyster farming in the Pacific Northwest.
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