The Urbanist’s Seattle: Where to Eat

CanlisPhoto: Courtesy of Canlis

The High-Low Staples
Quintessential Seattle grub, selected by local food bloggers.

Coffee pairings
By Molly Wizenberg,

Buttermilk doughnuts at Family Donut Shop
2100 N. Northgate Way; 206-368-9107
“This is a little family-owned doughnut shop in a strip mall. They’re well known for their apple fritter, but they also do this buttermilk doughnut that’s quite dense and sconelike and has this incredible buttermilk tang.”

Croissants at Cafe Besalu
5909 24th Ave. N.W.; 206-789-1463
“The last time I was in Paris, I couldn’t find anything as good as the croissants here. You can see owner James Miller behind the counter with the dough-sheeter; there’s often a line out the door. They do all kinds of pastries, but the croissant is really wonderful.”

By Naomi Bishop,

81 Pike St.; 206-682-7270
“This French bistro’s mussels go for $4 during happy hour. They’re steamed in wine, a really traditional, basic preparation that highlights the [Whidbey Island] Penn Cove mussels. You can also get a Lillet, a French aperitif. It’s the color of sunshine, and it’s light, so you’re not getting wasted.”

Staple & Fancy
4739 Ballard Ave. N.W.; 206-789-1200
“Ethan Stowell’s flagship is big and beautifully designed. You can order from the ‘staple’ menu or the ‘fancy’ menu [chef’s choice, $45, four courses]. I’ve seen mussels in broth with sausage, and I’ve had spaghetti with mussels. The salty, seawater undertone is just amazing.”

By Jay Friedman,

Toshi’s Teriyaki Grill
509 S. 3rd St., Renton; 425-687-5938
“Teriyaki restaurants are ubiquitous in Seattle. Toshi’s is the original. His sauce is simple—just sugar, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic—and he’s best known for his chicken, though you can also do beef. A mound of white rice comes with it, plus a shredded-cabbage salad.”

2576 Aurora Ave. N.; 206-283-3313
“The chef here came from Eleven Madison Park, so he’s into molecular gastronomy, and his plating is stunningly beautiful. Imagine broccoli florets and chive tips, and underneath the teriyaki—which is beef tenderloin—is a broccoli purée.”

Bivalves and Booze
In a city surrounded by water, oysters are everywhere. Here’s where to slurp them down.

Home to a half-dozen salt tanks of live oysters, Taylor Shellfish Farms (1521 Melrose Ave.; 206-501-4321) offers rare varieties like Olympias, plus geoduck clams and housemade chowder.

Flying Fish (300 West Lake Ave. N.; 206-728-8595) serves local oysters at the unbelievable happy-hour price of $6 a dozen during oyster season. Its annual all-you-can-eat Oyster Frenzy is slated for October 27.

The Walrus and the Carpenter (4743 Ballard Ave. N.W.; 206-395-9227) gets packed on Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m., when the bar’s ever-changing selection of Pacific Northwest oysters are 50 percent off for the first hour.

Brain Food
Where Seattle’s tech tribes eat, drink, and play.

Google’s campus cafeterias are world-renowned (to wit: the Kirland establishment is helmed by James Beard winner Jason Wilson), but many Googlers still line up for Korean street food at the Marination food truck ( and “sustainable” sandwiches at Homegrown ( After work, they descend on Brouwer’s Café ( for one of the best beer selections in the city, take a ride on the twenty-mile Burke-Gilman Trail, or borrow one of the company kayaks and paddle around Lake Union.

Amazon’s $700 million, eleven-building campus has grown faster than the restaurant scene in its formerly industrial South Lake Union neighborhood. Among the early arrivals, though, are three Tom Douglas restaurants, including Tibetan dumpling house Ting Momo ( Food trucks are picking up the slack. New Orleans–style Creole truck Where Ya At Matt ( is one of the most popular. Also rumored to be opening in the coming months: the country’s first brick-and-mortar Amazon store.

Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters has eleven takeout options and a laundered-towel service for bike-commuting employees, who regularly lunch at Din Tai Fung ( and the Tex-Mex Matador ( To escape the suburbs, they head to the city for speakeasy drinks at Belltown’s Bathtub Gin & Co. ( In Ballard, the burgers and bourbon at King’s Hardware ( draw both Microsofties and the crew from The Deadliest Catch.

The Urbanist’s Seattle: Where to Eat