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Where To Eat In Seattle

Amber Gibson

Contributor

Foodies visiting Seattle should start their journey at Pike Place Market to see the bounty of fresh produce and seafood that the city's best chefs are working with. Snack on Beecher's Cheese, chocolate-covered cherries and roasted hazelnuts as you browse the delicacies, but don't ruin your appetite. The city is home to so many great restaurants and cafes, excelling in a wide array of foods from sushi to bean-to-bar chocolate.

BREAKFAST/BRUNCH

Everything from ricotta and yoghurt to pastries is homemade at The Fat Hen, a neighbourhood favourite in Ballard. The cosy 25-seat spot doesn't take reservations, but if you visit on Sunday, you can browse the Ballard Farmers Market while you wait for a table. New Mexican specialities like roasted hatch chilli pepper breakfast burritos take centerstage at Bang Bang Cafe and Morsel is the spot if you like sweet or savoury biscuits with great coffee.

Baked eggs alla Boscaiola at the Fat Hen

Credit: Kassie Leung

JAPANESE FOOD

Seattle has quite a few excellent sushi counters, but Shiro's Sushi is the best if you're looking for an authentic edomae sushi experience. The counter doesn't take reservations, but this is where you want to sit for an interactive dinner with the friendly sushi chefs. Less common fish like kamasu (barracuda), kohada (gizzard shad) and engawa (fluke fin) are available seasonally along with incredibly luscious local uni served in its shell.

For a modern and approachable interpretation of Japanese kaiseki, visit Adana. Japanese-American chef Shota Nakajima is a Seattle native who worked in Osaka before opening his own restaurant back home, blending local ingredients with Japanese technique in three, five and seven-course menus that change monthly. Coming soon to Capitol Hill is Nakajima's second restaurant, Taku, specialising in kushikatsu fried skewers. This casual but authentic Japanese street food is perfect for late nights out on the town.

Ramen Wednesdays at Adana

Credit: Adana

CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN

Much more than a typical hotel restaurant, Rider is a favourite among locals for business lunches of spicy cioppino, grilled locally caught fish with chimichurri and fried chicken sandwiches. To fully appreciate chef Daniel Mallahan's cooking, you'll want to come for dinner and opt for the five-course tasting menu. Even side dishes like pull-apart rolls with crab fat butter and roasted cauliflower with turmeric dukkah are anything but afterthoughts.

Eric Rivera serves a multitude of different cuisines each week, from hearty family-style Puerto Rican meals to 20-course tasting menus. Rivera cooks everything himself, and the interactive and off-the-cuff experience falls somewhere between a pop-up diner and traditional restaurant.

Seafood platter at Rider

Credit: Provenance Hotels

FINE DINING

Although it's 30 minutes outside downtown Seattle in quaint Woodinville, The Herbfarm is absolutely worth the drive. Begin the evening with a garden tour, then step into a Victorian-era fairytale. Husband-and-wife co-owners Carrie Van Dyck and Ron Zimmerman greet guests warmly with herbal tea and their pride and passion for food is tangible. Themes for the nine-course tasting menu change every few weeks, spotlighting local ingredients at the peak of their season like native Oregon truffles shaved generously over heirloom Abenaki flint-corn polenta in winter.

The wine pairing highlights unique gems from the Pacific Northwest, including a rare traditional method sparkling Nebbiolo rosé and non-alcoholic pairings are equally beguiling. You'll be here for hours, but like Rip Van Winkle, it feels as if no time has passed at all.

Canlis was the first fine dining restaurant in Seattle, and the family-run institution is still hitting every note 70 years later with artful service and flawless Pacific Northwest flavours. Last year, Canlis won two James Beard Awards honouring the best restaurants in the United States. Executive chef Brady Williams took home the Best Chef: Northwest award and Canlis was also recognised with the Design Icon Award.

In Bellevue, Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi is a glamorous venue for contemporary Asian food, lavish cuts of meat and seafood served with showmanship. Seasonal specials might include a whole 10-lb giant king crab from the Barents Sea presented with shaved truffles and truffle butter for $1,000.

Views from Ascend's luxurious dining room

Credit: Ascend

CHOCOLATE

Seattle hosts the Northwest Chocolate Festival each year and is home to several bean-to-bar chocolate makers. Theo Chocolate was the first organic, fair trade, farm-to-bar chocolate company in the country with daily factory tours that include plenty of samples. Theo's dedication to their farmers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is admirable, and they're always coming up with inventive new bar inclusions like coffee toffee and grapefruit ginger.

Indi Chocolate is a hidden gem in the new Pike Place MarketFront for small-batch chocolate bars and the best drinking chocolate in the city. Sign up for a class to learn how to pair coffee and chocolate or roll your own truffles.

Seleušs Chocolates makes the richest and most intensely flavoured chocolate ganache truffles in town, including boozy truffles to pair with wine and scotch, honey-sweetened truffles and rose petal-infused truffles that will sweep you off your feet.

Chocolate flapjack at Theo

Credit: Theo

VEGAN/PLANT-BASED

From fun and funky tiki-themed vegan bar food at No Bones Beach Club to the ambitious five-course vegan tasting menu at Harvest Beat, with roasted pumpkin bisque and romanesco cashew cheese soufflés, there is no shortage of dining options for plant-based eaters.

Cafe Flora is another standout, a Seattle institution, sourcing the freshest produce directly from Washington farms for nearly 30 years. The all-day cafe turns up the heat at dinner with Oaxaca tacos filled with cheesy mashed potatoes and smoky braised greens and portobello mushroom Wellington. Their sister restaurant, Floret at Sea-Tac Airport, makes it easy to eat delicious and nutritious food on the go with vibrant salads and harvest bowls.

For what's arguably the best vegan ice cream in the country, visit Frankie & Jo's. Flavours like gingered golden milk and jamocha chaga fudge sound almost healthy and a blend of cashew and coconut milk creates such a rich, creamy texture that you'd never guess that there's no dairy. If you have a nut allergy, there are also sorbets and coconut milk and date flavours.

Plant-based tacos at Cafe Flora

Credit: Lucas Anderson

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