My Favorite Places to Eat in Seattle

by Andie Mitchell on September 9, 2012

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Top Pot Doughnuts
Unforgettable, freshly made old fashioned doughnuts. They’ll be the best you’ve had, and if you should find better, email me.

“Savor the nostalgia and taste of a secret 1920s doughnut recipe in a gorgeous vintage environment”

Try a bite of all 40 kinds. Bring friends.

french toast

Portage Bay Café
Excellent breakfast menu and an even better weekend brunch. This is the kind of place you’d make a date to meet friends on Sunday mornings. It’s the kind of place I take my mother when she visits Seattle once a year.
There is almost always a wait at the door, but the freshness of food, the commitment to quality ingredients- it’s worth it. Most notable: the challah French toast with full topping bar and a side of crispy peppered bacon.

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The 5 Spot
an upscale hipster diner in the Queen Anne neighborhood known for: a menu that rotates every few months to feature a new American region’s cuisine (with a handful of menu staples always available), generous portions, consistently great service from friendly, quirky servers, and a special late night menu. Of all Seattle restaurants, I’ve visited and revisited 5Spot most. I adore the funky atmosphere. The food never disappoints.

Order the Longhorn Burger.

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Paseo
This is perhaps the best sandwich I’ve tasted in twenty seven years. In fact, I’d venture to Seattle simply to have one. Paseo is a small Caribbean restaurant(mostly take out) with locations in Fremont and Ballard, famous for their Cuban sandwiches. Order the Cuban Roast for a taste of all-day-long slowly cooked pork, caramelized onions, cilantro, and garlic aioli on a fresh baguette.

From Food & Wine Magazine: The superb Cuban sandwiches here—made with soft, chewy rolls, fresh cilantro, huge chunks of tender slow-roasted pork, and a secret aioli-esque sauce—could alone keep the place in business. The entrée-size platters that come laden with rice and beans, corn on the cob, and a tangy beet salad are also delicious; the oven-roasted half chicken and the prawns in a piquant rojo sauce are standouts. Expect a line, and expect to settle for takeout; the handful of plastic tables is usually full.

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Serious Pie
High quality pizzeria from one of Seattle’s highly renowned restaurateurs. Simple, fresh, a bit frou frou.

”a pizzeria with a bread baker’s soul. Serves up pies with blistered crusts, light texture, with just enough structure and bite…Made in a 600 degree F applewood burning oven.”

Try the Roasted Crimini Mushroom with Truffle Cheese pie

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Delancey
Authentic Italian pizza with a focus on the freshest local ingredients. Toppings are simple and pure. This spot is owned and run by Molly Wizenberg, author of A Homemade Life and the blogger behind Orangette, and her talented husband, Brandon Pettit.

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Molly Moon’s Ice Cream
”creamy dairy from happy, hormone-free Western Washington cows with seasonal, local, and, when available, organic fruits and spices to make combinations that are both familiar and surprising.”

Be sure to get a scoop of the salted caramel in a freshly homemade waffle cone!

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Skillet
This is a favorite food truck of mine, but it’s also now a new diner in Capitol Hill that serves inspired American comfort food made with seasonal ingredients. Definitely order the Skillet Burger: grass fed beef, arugula, bacon jam, cambozola, soft roll. Yes, bacon jam.

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La Carta de Oaxaca
Incredibly flavorful upscale Mexican food. It’s a little frou frou for my taste and the portions can be small, but the food never fails to be outstanding. Everything is freshly made, perfectly seasoned and spiced, and stands its ground as one of the best restaurants in Seattle.

Camille and I recommend the Entomatadas and the Mole Negro, but you cannot go wrong with any menu item you choose.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Emma September 9, 2012 at 8:34 am

Droolworthy. Utterly. Bookmarking this for when I eventually make it out to Seattle. Thanks for sharing!

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renae January 27, 2013 at 9:22 am

Hello!! I recently began following your blog, and I love it! I live in Federal Way, and I must suggest a delicious and local restaurant if you ever catch yourself in my neck of the woods. It’s called Poverty Bay cafe, and it’s right by, you guessed it, Poverty Bay/Redondo Beach!!

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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh September 9, 2012 at 8:46 am

Bookmarked for a future trip!

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Andrea September 9, 2012 at 8:59 am

I LOVE Top Pot! We usually got to the one in Bellevue, but the ones in Seattle (I love the one on Queen Anne) are super fun. I haven’t been to the 5 Spot, but I love any restaurant by CHOW FOODS. Our favorite of their restaurants is the Hi-Life in Ballard. Bliss!

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Deanna September 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm

This post is prompting me to make a request for a future post. Can i do that? :P

The thing that i find inspiring about you and your blog is that you seem to have a pretty healthy and balanced approach to eating and treating yourself in moderation. But the ‘treating yourself in moderation’ bit is pretty tricky for me, and i’d love to get more insight into your approach. When you go to these restaurants, where they serve indulgent delicious food you love (burgers, french toast, pizza), what do you do? Do you eat the full meal and balance it out with eating extra-well during your other meals of the day? Do you eat lower calorie on subsequent days? Or do you order these meals and then only it a small proportion? (And if so… do you take the rest home, or is that too tempting? Or do you just leave the rest on your plate? Or do you share the meal with a friend?)

Would love to get your insight into how to work favourites like this into healthy balanced eating!

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Cynthia September 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I’m with you, Deanna. Most of the foods shown above are in the many hundreds of calories range. The Longhorn Burger and fries as shown undoubtedly has more calories than I (an active 50 yr old woman) consume over a typical two day period. Furthermore, many items would be trigger foods for many (I KNOW I could not eat just one of those donuts). For people who can eat these foods without dire consequences, I’d love to know how they do it.

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Katy September 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm

As someone who visits most places for the food, I think there are a few strategies that can help. I’m currently on a 6 month rtw trip, so am having to watch myself so I don’t accidentally gain weight on the road! I’m about 120lbs and 5’2″, so I don’t have to gain much to feel it.

1) Do as Andie did in Italy :) Walk everywhere when you’re sightseeing. I also lost weight in Italy despite eating everything in sight, because I walked for at least 4 hours a day. I run 3-4 times a week even on holiday, mostly so I can eat more…

2) Don’t eat everything on your plate. Eat till you’re just full (Paul McKenna’s I Can Make You Thin hypnosis tape really helped me with this) then get it boxed up or, if you can’t be trusted, throw salt all over it. Credit to Jillian Michaels for that one.

3) Split fries or dessert with a friend.

4) Do just as Deanna pointed out and eat light the rest of the day so you can splash out calories on one meal. Watch the snacks, too.

5) Choose the healthiest version of whatever’s on offer – get the burger without cheese and bacon, the parma ham and melon instead of the deep fried brie, sorbet over cheesecake.

I’d be interested if anyone has any other tips. So far I’ve been in north america a month and not gotten any chubbier…

Kx

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Shawna September 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm

I’ll have to try some of these spots now! Been doing 5 Spot for about 15 years, but never tried the others. Worth the ferry ride from Bainbridge! Thanks!!

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Kate September 9, 2012 at 9:32 pm

I live in New Zealand… looking at those donuts and knowing how far away they are from me just feels like cruel cruel torture.

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Charlotte September 9, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Mighty-O donuts by Green Lake are AMAZING! I’m looking forward to checking out Portage Bay this weekend.

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Camille September 9, 2012 at 11:39 pm

I love your blog! Seriously! Starting weight watchers sometimes I think that you have to “give up” an appreciation for good food and just live off of rice crackers and vegetables.. but I love how your blog shows that you can have a healthy relationship with food, and can love and appreciate it.. and still lose weight and keep it off. Thank you again! Keep up the great blogging! I love it!

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Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy September 10, 2012 at 4:27 am

I wish I had seen this post a few years ago before I went to Seattle. Even more reason to go back now :)

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Maureen September 10, 2012 at 5:20 am

Oh man! Where was this post before my summer road trip to WA?? Yummy food!

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Megan September 10, 2012 at 9:04 am

I can’t even believe how amazing all of these spots sound (and look!) I think I need to plan a road trip up to Seattle and maybe spend a week just so I can eat at all these places. Holy cannoli they are drool inspiring! Thanks for sharing your love of incredible food and your inspiring story! I can’t wait to buy your book!

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Colleen September 10, 2012 at 9:08 am

Im glad you posted this! We are going to Seattle next
month. Saves me from some research
Thank you!

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Shannon Boggs September 10, 2012 at 10:24 am

We JUST got back from the Great Pacific Northwest!! But at least from your post ‘Ultimate Day of Eating’ we did get Portage Bay and 5spot. We ate at Portage Bay twice, we were going to go three days in a row, but were a bit embarrased by the pigs we made of ourselves! However, you did not adequately warn your readers of all of the delicious, mind blowing options for breakfast available at Portage Bay. But I can see why for one of you last meals, you would choose that one! Went to 5Spot for lunch, no Longhorn burger available at that time but chose other yummy options, loved the area its located in and love the ‘themes’, this time it was Politics. Thanks for the good eats!

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Sarah W September 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Thanks for this! I just moved to the Seattle area this summer and while my husband is from here, it’s been 10 years since he lived here so it’s nice to have a fresh batch of places to try. Well, Top Pot I have already tried. Yummm! But the rest I haven’t. Looking forward to doing so sometime.

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Angela G. September 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Hello! I’m a new follower and wanted to let you know that you have now tempted me to find a way to travel to Seattle! I also wanted to tell you that over the last week I have tried the Petite Lasagna recipe and the Chicken Parmesan Wrap recipe and made a double batch of Pj’s Special Sauce (which was used in both of the aforementioned recipes AND had some extra for the family to use with various pasta dishes for lunch last week). All of these have been a HUGE hit for my family of four. Thank you so much for sharing! I love your blog!

~Angela

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Liesl Ayers September 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Man!! You listed almost every single one of my favorite places!! Mmmmmmm and you made me drool thinking of Paseo!! A few others for you to check out “Tempero Do Brasil” Very athentic Brazilian food. Graca and Antonio are the amazing and wonderful owners!! Located on University Way in the U District. Also, for donuts, though I would never pass a Top Pot on the street without entering…. If you ever decide to putz around Pikes market, look for a little doughnut stand around the corner from the flying fish….. Its this silly little machine that makes these child size little doughnuts right there in front of you… They throw a handfull into a brown paper sack with your choice of cinnamon and sugar or powdered sugar and they shake it up. Warm, doughy, light, messy…. You cant go wrong!!!

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Paige September 10, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Just read this list to my husband. We’ve been to 7/9, LOVE 6/9 (I’ve never been wowed by anything at 5 Spot, but I know I’m in the minority). So we definitely trust your guidance in checking out the other 2 – both of the pizza places, somehow! We actually planned to go to Delancey and then got in a fight outside so didn’t go in – hah! And we’ve loved other Tom Douglas places so I’m sure Serious Pie won’t disappoint. Oh Seattle. I still miss some Portland places but Seattle is holding its own.

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alex September 10, 2012 at 9:18 pm

just get a margarita at Carta and you’ll forget the things you dislike! LOVE their margaritas!

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Sonal September 11, 2012 at 7:30 am

This list means I need to get to Seattle soon! :) I remember going years ago and loving it but at that time my favourite restaurant in Seattle was the Cheesecake factory! haha

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The Brides' Maid September 12, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I live on the top of Queen Anne so I am right in the middle of most of these awesome places. They rock my world! But, Paseo. Paseo!!!! That place has changed my life. Have you had the shrimp sandwich? You will die!!!!!!!!!

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Lu @ 365 Clouds September 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I’m going to need a list like this for Boston please. I recently moved here and I trust your opinion.

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Deborah Edwards May 7, 2013 at 9:48 am

I have each of these noted – I am coming in June and intend to try all of them! Let me know if you have any more to add to the list! Italian?? I love your blog – I appreciate the time, effort and passion you put into it. ;-)

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Andie Mitchell May 7, 2013 at 10:48 am

Thanks Deborah! Spinasse has fantastic Italian. Check it out!

Andie

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