Restaurant Hopping with Eater Seattle's Julien Perry
Editor, Eater Seattle
I’ve been in Seattle for more than 20 years (geezus), so I am quite familiar with why this city is constantly pulling me in. My favorite memory of Seattle is coming up to the Pike Place Market for a field trip when I was in Jr. High School. It was a pretty big deal.
When it's sunny in Seattle (yes, it happens), you can find me sitting on a patio somewhere drinking bubbles (or red wine or a Pilsner or something soaked in gin). When it’s raining in Seattle, you can usually find me pretty much doing the exact same thing but inside. I'm a sucker for any restaurant where I can sit at the bar and be entertained while imbibing. From the bartenders to the pantry cooks to the chefs, servers and proprietors, the folks who work in the industry here are some of the most awesome, creative people on the planet. For a perfect rainy day in Seattle, hide out in Pike Place Market: Le Pichet, Place Pigalle, White Horse Tavern, Maximilien, Il Bistro (for bartending icon and overall ladies man, Murray Stenson).
Interesting note: everyone in Seattle eats at 7 p.m., so if you come into a restaurant earlier, you’re almost guaranteed a seat, even at the popular spots.
My favorite places to eat
- The Whale Wins: it’s beautiful, the food is the kind I crave, and it’s got a happy persona. Nobody here ever frowns, I’m almost positive.
- Art of the Table: it’s tiny. I’m surprised by how many Seattleites have not been here. No reason for it. Sit at the bar on one of the 6 stools and let chef Dustin Ronspies cook for you. Plus, he’s easy to look at.
- Harvest Vine: the food is always stellar, the cooks behind the counter are always entertaining, and the place is just straight-up charming.
The activities that can't be missed
- Go to Pike Place Market and just get lost. There’s so much to see: some of it fun, some of it super tacky, but it’s a trip! Don’t miss the Gum Wall in Post Alley. But don’t lick it.
- Ride the West Seattle Water Taxi. It’s $8 round-trip and a short 15 minute ride between the downtown waterfront and Alki beach. Amazing views!
- Ride the Great Wheel. It’s only about a year old. Amazing views of the water and city and Alki Beach. It’s a ferris wheel, so you really can’t lose here.
The places you should definitely see
- Go visit the Troll under the Fremont Bridge. Seeing that thing never gets old, even for a 20-year Seattle veteran.
- Kerry Park on top of Queen Anne. You'll never forget the view.
- The Space Needle. It sounds super touristy, but spending $10 to go to the observation deck is a real deal. That 360-degree view is always different.
My hidden gems
- The back bar at E. Smith Mercantile: Seattle’s smallest cocktail bar. A mom and her two daughters own/run the place. So freaking cute!
- White Horse Tavern in Pike Place Market: Hole-in-the-wall English Pub. All the antique books inside are for sale.
- Ballard Locks: It’s so pretty there. You can actually walk from the Locks (in Magnolia) to Ballard – just cross the manicured park. Watch out for the geese!
- Constellation Park in W. Seattle: It’s around the corner from Alki, so you miss the crowds but also get one of the best views in the city.
- Lincoln Park in W. Seattle: Possibly the city’s most beautiful park. It overlooks the Puget Sound and Vashon Island. People miss it because it’s “all the way” on the other side of the bridge, but these people are missing out.