|Illustration by Michael Byers|
Pike Place Market is one of my favorite spots in Seattle to take out of town guests, for the mere density of restaurants in one location. It's a great place to see the water, the Olympic Mountain range, locals, tourists, buskers, arts and crafts, flowers, produce, and so much food. With so many nooks and crannies, it is pretty easy to get lost or sidetracked in the market, so it's important to just go with it. It's the best way to explore and find all those hidden gems. Eventually you will pop out on the right side. Just follow the sounds of the yelling fish mongers.
Beecher's Handmade Cheese - is THE spot for mac and cheese, and we've even got options people - regular or mariachi (anaheim chillies and veggies). You can order it in an 8 oz or 12 oz cup, but I would suggest the 8 oz so you have room to sample their other cheesy options including their tomato flagship soup (make sure to ask for curds and croutons), breadzel (savory, cheesy, herby bread stick), and their Dungenese crab grilled cheese sandwich. Grab a seat on one of the stools and eat your lunch watching the cheese masters do their work in the on-site cheese factory. If you're looking for some cheese to take with you, this is the best spot!
Piroshky Piroshky - be prepared to wait in line for at least 20 minutes at this little gem. It is one of the most popular spots in the market. Piroshky Piroshky is small Russian bakery, specializing in piroshkies - hand held savory pies. My favorites include the mushroom/potato and the cheese/potato, but an absolute must try is the cinnamon cardamon braid, warm, fresh out of the oven. You can smell them baking for miles away, and it's definitely worth the wait.
City Fish Co - if you can squeeze past the large group of tourists milling about in front of Pike Place Fish Co. (the famous fish throwing spot) head on down to the far end of the market to City Fish Co. They are my favorite spot in the market for single serving crab cocktail, crab legs, oysters, and prawns. The fisherman are extremely friendly, and in my opinion, the best way to experience fresh local seafood. If you're lucky, they may even throw in a homemade spicy seafood cioppino with your order.
The Crumpet Shop - a cute little British style tea room serving warm crumpets, made fresh daily. The crumpets are then toasted and topped with either a sweet, savory, or egg topping. My favorite is the Walrus (walnuts, ricotta, and honey).
Seatown Seabar - one of Tom Douglas's more recent endeavors, the Seatown Seabar is a great spot to sit down, rest your legs, and sample some Seattle's local seafood. The fish mongers stew and the coho salmon are incredible, and if you like cider, this is a great spot to try The Seattle Co. semi-sweet hard apple cider.
Etta's - another one of Tom Douglas's restaurants, situated beside Seatown Seabar, it is a little more formal and slightly higher priced. They have a great brunch menu, generous mimosas, and the best crab cakes and cornbread I have ever tasted. If you're into raw fish, the sashimi tuna salad is great. Also, they make all their desserts at Dahlia (which is incredible). I highly encourage you to try the chocolate ice cream served with a caramel rice Krispie treat.
Le Panier - is a great spot to grab a French pastry. The line can be long during the tourist season, but if you can get your hands on an almond croissant, palmier, or chocolate croissant, you will not regret it, especially the almond croissant - mind blowing. Grab a loaf of bread to enjoy later with the cheese you purchased from Beecher's.
Michou Deli - a cute little deli, famous with the locals. They offer a wide variety of panini sandwiches (tuna melt and portabello are my favorites), hot and cold salads, and sweets. If you get a chance, try the orange blossom zeppole (Italian doughnut hole).
Lowell's - offers the best view of the Puget Sound. Place your order on the first floor, and then head on up to either the second or third floor to grab a seat by the window with a breathtaking view of the Olympic mountain range. I almost always order either the fish and chips or the fish tacos, which are incredible. Even if you're not feeling that hungry, grab a drink and rest your feat while taking in the view.
|Beecher's Handmade Cheese|
DeLaurenti Specialty Food and Wine - I will often walk to the market just to visit this shop. They have an incredible selection of some of the best staples I've ever seen. I go particularly for their olive oil, balsamic, salt selection, chocolate selection, and mustards. They have a pretty tasty deli where you can grab cold salads, cheese, or a loaf of bread for snacking. The pizza from the deli in the front of the store is tasty. Head upstairs to partake in a wine tasting. Peruse their amazing selection of beer and spirits. Heaven.
World Spice Merchants - This place is a little tricky to get to. You will need to take the stairwell down to Western Ave, cross the street, and then its on the left hand side. They have the most incredible selection of spices and teas, and the staff are very knowledgeable. They also have an incredible salt selection. Pick up some salt, zatar, sumac, and tea to bring back home.
El Mercado Latino - The best place in the city for hot sauce. I go their specifically for the Marie Sharp's habanero pepper sauce, that I fell in love with in Belize a few years back. Not that spicy, very flavorful. We go through a bottle a month.
Pike Place Nuts - warm, salty, savory cashews. Do it.
|Pike Place Nuts|
|El Mercado Latino|
Daily Dozen Doughnut Co - the most amazingly delicious tiny doughnuts, ever. They come in three flavors, cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, and chocolate with sprinkles. Skip the powdered sugar and sprinkles and go right for the cinnamon sugar. No regrets.
Chukar Cherries - chocolate covered local cherries. They offer many different flavor options, but I adore the pinot noir cherries, cabernet cherries, and the bings. They used to have a dispenser at REI where you could mix and match and pay by the pound, but unfortunately it's gone, so now I walk down to the market just for a bag. I also like to give them as gifts. So good.
Cupcake Royale - across the market on Pike Street is Cupcake Royal - a local favorite. I used to live beside Cupcake Royale, and I would eat their at least twice a week. My weaknesses are the royale with cheese and the kate. If you have a particularly strong sweet tooth, try the Molly Moon's Ice Cream. Another local favorite.
Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt - OMG. The world's best yogurt. It's a staple in my fridge. They usually offer around 10 or so flavors, and will let you try them all if you ask. You can order an individual serving, served in a little cup with a spoon, or grab a large tub for later. You need to try the marion berry pie. It is the best.
|Daily Dozen Doughnut Co|
Rachel's Ginger Beer - is a Seattle favorite. With their newly opened location in Pike Place Market, Rachel's offer a wide selection of ginger beer to sample. My favorite is the white peach.
The Pike Brewing Company - a great spot to try some of Seattle's local beers.
White Horse Trading Co. - a quite little spot, lined with antique velvet chairs, old British charm, dim lighting and pretty fantastic selection of ale. Pop into this shop to unwind from the hustle and bustle of the market.
The Tasting Room - with a fantastic wine selection, stop by the Tasting Room, bring some snacks, and enjoy a flight of delicious wine.
Seattle Coffee Works - often over looked, this place is one of the best coffee shops in Seattle. Grab a seat at the slow bar, and be wowed with the barista's exceptional knowledge. Try a pour over or a chemex.
Zig Zag Café - follow the stairs down to Western Ave where you'll find this sophisticated bar offering the most incredible selection of liquors and cocktails. If you don't see anything on the menu that interests you, let the bar tender know what you are looking for in a drink, and he will make you something special. Order the cheese gougéres to snack on with your drinks.
|Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt|
|Rachel's Ginger Beer|
|The Pike Brewing Company|
|Zig Zag Café|
|Zig Zag Café|