Updated: Jun 15, 2019
My husband turned the big 4-0 last Saturday, and we celebrated in Seattle over what was a fabulous food and fun filled weekend. To be honest, when Tobin suggested Seattle as a birthday destination, I was a little underwhelmed. I was hoping he would want to try Lisbon, Argentina, Mexico City, Paris, etc.- but Seattle? Really? I had always (wrongly) thought that Seattle was cold, wet, depressing, and grungy. But since he’s an architect and Seattle is an architectural goldmine, that’s the spot he chose- it was HIS birthday after all! So off we went, and man was I surprised by how much I fell in love with Seattle! It was the perfect fit for both of us- the architecture is amazing, but the food is EVEN BETTER. It’s a gastronomic paradise! I don’t think I have had fresher, more delicious seafood before- the fish come straight from the docks to your plate! In some instances, they were still alive (hello 👋🏻wiggling shrimp head at Sushi Kappo Tamura). The weather was surprisingly beautiful, the people were friendly and interesting, and the natural beauty of the city was intoxicating. I wish we had stayed longer- but we will definitely be back! Here are a few of our food favorites from the trip:
Sitka and Spruce
This was a charming spot for a dinner- it’s located inside of the Melrose Market in an airy, light filled space. They specialize in “foraged food” so everything is very seasonal and local. The halibut was our favorite- closely followed by the gnocchi and an asparagus salad with lemon sabayon. Our wine was delicious as well! Beautiful spot for an intimate date night.
Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
Right across the street from Pike’s Market, this was our first dining experience when we got to town. It was cold and rainy when we arrived, and we needed a hearty snack after a day of bad snacks in the airport. The grated cheddar and crouton topped soups (ginger carrot for me and creamy tomato for Tobin), and the kimchi grilled cheese HIT THE SPOT! Not a sit down place, but great for food on the go. And it was so fun to watch them making their cheese through the window next door- they sell artisan cheeses at the shop as well. Mmmm.
The London Plane
This was probably my favorite food experience of the whole trip- the ambiance alone was swoon inducing, and the food was unbelievably good. Located in the hip and historic pioneer square neighborhood, there is so much to see and do around this modern, double height gem of a cafe. Inside the inviting space there is also a flower shop, bakery, and a mini-store selling cookbooks and cooking wares- all of my favorite things rolled into one! We went for lunch- the menu was very “farm to table.” I started with a killer bloody mary and paired it with the best toast I’ve ever had- mushrooms, green goddess dressing, ricotta, and herbs. This place is so Seattle- a lovely hipster haven in the best of ways.
Sushi Kappo Tamura
Seattle is a seafood mecca that shares a latitude with Japan, so obviously I was going to try some sushi while in the city. Sushi Kappo Tamura did not disappoint! This small, elegant Eastlake establishment serves up Japanese fare that is extremely fresh, authentic, and simple. We loved sitting at the sushi counter and watching the skilled chefs at work- they are true artists. It was also eye opening to see what our dining neighbors were requesting- I’m not kidding when I said that someone next to us ordered a prawn that was still half alive and wiggling on the plate. It made me feel like a sushi coward, but we loved everything that we chose from the menu (especially the seared cod belly nigiri pictured above). This wasn’t the trendiest spot in town, but I could tell that it’s patrons were devoted and knowledgeable regulars. Great sushi and good prices!
Several friends recommended this joint- we went for Tobin’s birthday breakfast and had a delicious meal! The vibe is funky, collegiate, and hip, and the modernized fare is inspired by French and American classics. The space (located in a historic building in Capitol Hill) is distinguished by exposed brick walls hung with a mix of vintage photos set beneath high beamed ceilings.
Our breakfast began with frothy lattes (we were in the coffee capitol of the US, after all) followed by hearty egg dishes- I got the baked eggs with ham and spinach. They were amazing but really rich, so I could only manage to eat half- Tobin helped me clean my plate (as usual)! The biscuits were my favorite part of the meal- flaky, buttery, and light. Who knew Seattle was such a biscuit-obsessed city? We saw them on menus everywhere, but they’re especially good at Oddfellows. Although it was a little early for cocktails when we went, I’ve heard the bar scene is great there too!
I didn’t get a great photo, but this was a delightful little cafe near Seattle University. My cousin Brooks (also an architect) lived in Seattle for a few years and recommended this as his favorite. It’s not fancy, but the food is tres delicious and scene is TRES French. We popped in for a quick lunch and a glass of wine- the Croque Monsieur is the thing to get here! We also enjoyed a salad of beets, escarole, and blue cheese. This place is wonderful for breakfast, brunch, or lunch! So unassuming and so tasty- just the basics at their best.
This little wine bar hidden at the end of a magical alley designed by Olson-Kundig Architects was another trip favorite. The space was quaint yet industrial and the small bites we had were delicious! I started with a crisp, refreshing Riesling plus some local oysters and house made potato chips.
Next we ordered the sorpressata- it came sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts and partnered with a whipped herb butter and sourdough bread. This combo or butter, nuts, and charcuterie was unexpected, but we could not get over how perfect each bite was! I’ll definitely be attempting to recreate this at home.
Matt’s in the Market
I was a little apprehensive about eating here at first- although the reviews were great, I worried that it would be dated and touristy (It’s been located above the market for years). Thankfully, I learned quickly upon arrival that my worries were in vain. The space, perforated by giant arched windows overlooking the sound, was romantic and unique. An eclectic mix of diners happily chattered and feasted inside (not one of them looked like they had come straight off a cruise ship, not that there is anything wrong with cruisers-I’ve been there). And the food was so good! We started with hamachi crudo with serrano and corn- the fish had probably only briefly traveled up a flight of stairs to get to our table. Next, we enjoyed a salad of charred carrots with pickled cherries and ricotta- interesting and delicious! I wasn’t going to leave Washington without sampling some local cherries.
Tobin ordered the halibut with peas- just look that that crispy crust! The fish was flaky and tender inside- again, it probably came straight off the boat.
I couldn’t pass up the salmon since we were in the middle of the salmon season- we had an Uber driver telling us all about salmon fishing (his day job), and it was fascinating! This salmon entree was superb- I also loved the lemony asparagus studded fregola that came with it. We finished dinner with an incredible caramel creme brûlée and sang happy bday to my happy hubby.
Those were a few of the highlights!! Of course we explored Pike’s Market- which is amazing but to be honest, I was a little overwhelmed. It was perpetually packed and bustling- a buzzing hive! I want to go back with an insider next time to find all of the hidden shops that the locals frequent. The seafood, of course, was gorgeous- but the flowers y’all, OMG! I’ve never seen so many giant peonies! I could have stayed an additional month in Seattle to sample all of the food on my list , but my airplane probably wouldn’t have been able to take off had I indulged myself anymore! If you are interested in other Seattle activities, DM or email me for more tips. We mainly ate and walked around looking at buildings, but that’s what we love to do most! I can’t wait to go back!