This Pacific Northwest city, dubbed the Emerald City for its abundance of greenery, offers one of the most unique and notable culinary experiences in the United States. One of the main reasons for this is Seattle's community of forward-thinking chefs that have an unwavering commitment to sourcing only the finest fresh and locally grown ingredients. From mom-and-pop shops that have been doing business for more than a century to larger establishments that are new to the scene, the culinary community in Seattle is dead set on providing locals and tourists alike with a gastronomic experience you can't get anywhere else.
To celebrate the food and wine of Seattle, the city hosts Taste Washington, the nation’s largest single-region wine and food festival. This year's festival—presented in March 2019 and attended by none other than yours truly—featured more than 240 Washington wineries and more than 70 of the state’s most celebrated restaurants, inspiring Seattle chefs and culinary luminaries from around the nation.
The four-day festival features multiple events, including not one but two grand tasting events. At these grand tasting events, thousands of national and international visitors come together in a harmonious balance that can almost certainly be attributed to the copious amounts of delectable food that has been prepared by some of the nation’s most talented chefs and the endless flow of wine. (Don't worry; next year's Taste Washington dates have already been released. The four-day festival will take place from March 19–22, 2020. Visit TasteWashington.org for more information.)
In the meantime, start planning your trip—and most importantly, where you're going to eat!
Stop 1: Bacco Cafe
86 Pine St., Seattle
Bacco Cafe is a true gem that is conveniently located in the heart of it all. It's tightly nestled into a cozy space neighboring the beautiful Seattle waterfront and Pike Place Market, making it a great spot to enjoy a light brunch before exploring the city. The menu is smattered with breakfast classics that have a Pacific Northwest twist.
My recommendations: the avocado toast (if available), the salmon hash and the Dungeness crab omelet.
Stop 2: Pike Place Market
85 Pike St., Seattle
Pro tip: Dedicate an entire day to Pike Place Market. Although it's one of Seattle's most popular tourist attractions, the market was never intended to be that way. In fact, it was built in 1907 so that farmers could sell their products directly to the public, removing the middleman that often took part in less-than-satisfactory business practices and ultimately left the farmers with little to no profit for years. Over more than a century, the market has grown from about 10 farmers to 85 farmers, 240 small businesses and 225 local artists.
My recommendations: Watch the fish fly at the world-famous Pike Place Fish Market; take the VIP Early Access Food Tour of Pike Place Market with Savor Seattle to meet some of the local vendors and taste some of the market's best bites; buy tulips from one of the local flower stalls; venture beneath the main arcade; and discover the unique shops, specializing in collectibles, comics, jewelry, books, original art and more.
Stop 3: Miner's Landing at Pier 57
1301 Alaskan Way, Seattle
Miner's Landing at Pier 57 is undoubtedly the most recognizable pier along the Seattle waterfront because it's home to the iconic Seattle Great Wheel. While the wheel attracts many, it's the array of restaurants, shopping and activities that will make you want to stay. Miner's Landing is home to four restaurants and a food court, multiple gift shops, a carousel and their newest attraction, Wings Over Washington.
My recommendations: Start at Wings Over Washington for a flying theater ride over the state of Washington. Then head to The Fisherman's Restaurant & Bar for dinner right on the water and surprisingly beautiful and close view of the wheel. Finally, indulge your inner child and ride The Seattle Great Wheel—you won't regret it.
Stop 4: Rock Creek Seafood & Spirits
4300 Fremont Ave. N, Seattle
For some of the best seafood in Seattle, head to the Fremont neighborhood. (And while you're there, looking for the famous Fremont Troll is a must-do.) Rock Creek Seafood & Spirits, a full-service restaurant and bar, emphasizes fresh ingredients and seafood from well-managed fisheries located across the globe. They are open daily from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and offer brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
My recommendations: Make a reservation in advance, especially if you plan to visit during the weekend. Begin your meal with the Seared Norwegian Mackerel Salad and end it on a sweet note with the RockCreek S’mores.
Take your time to experience the culinary delights that Seattle has to offer. But in between meals, it's worthwhile to visit the area's local attractions such as the Space Needle, the Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden and Glass and Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour—all of which can be accessed if you buy the Seattle CityPass, a huge money saver if you want to experience Seattle's best attractions.