Phenomenal sports teams. A buzzing music scene. Dense forests and snowcapped mountains. Seattle has it all! And “all” most certainly includes its cuisine. From your first cup of coffee in the morning to the last bite of dessert at night, a trip to The Emerald City more than delivers in both quality and variety of culinary offerings.

Whether you’re looking to indulge at a James Beard Award-winning restaurant or simply want to slurp down a great bowl of ramen, Seattle’s got a spot to fit the bill. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with a handy sample itinerary to guide your gastronomic adventures through the city. Dig in!

Day 1

8:30 p.m. – Zig Zag Cafe

Sip on a fragrant Ginger’s Snap from nearby Zig Zag Cafe to celebrate your border crossing. Made with vodka, honey, lemon and, you guessed it, ginger, it’s the perfect choice for a nightcap before you check into your hotel. Cheers!

Zig Zag Cafe offers up carefully crafted cocktails in a candle-lit atmosphere. Credit: Flickr user Anita

Day 2

8:00 a.m. – Elm Coffee Roasters

Known for their impeccably brewed, light-roast single origin beans (can you tell we’re coffee nerds?), Elm Coffee Roasters is an A+ choice for your morning coffee run. Duck into their sun-soaked downtown cafe for a steaming cup of joe laced with a splash of their house-made hazelnut milk. You’ll feel like a bona fide local!

Treat yourself to a truly great cup of coffee at Elm Coffee Roasters. Credit: Rouel Soberano

9:00 a.m. – Volunteer Park Café

Nestled among Boren, Interlaken and Volunteer Parks – three of the city’s most picturesque green spaces – Volunteer Park Cafe serves up outstanding comfort food. Munch on banana brioche French toast, a bevy of breakfast sandwiches or their daily quiche special alongside a crisp Pomegranate Bellini. Follow your feast with a stroll through its namesake Volunteer Park. (Pro tip: if the weather isn’t quite cooperating, opt for the glass-encased Volunteer Park Conservatory!)

Tuck into a savory rosemary scone at Volunteer Park Cafe. Credit: Flickr user Cakespy

12:45 p.m. – Pasta Casalinga

A visit to Seattle is not complete without a visit to the city’s cherished Pike Place Market. However, don’t make the mistake of embarking on this expedition with an empty stomach!

Fuel up with a satisfying bowl of handmade pasta at the lauded lunch-only haunt, Pasta Casalinga. Friends and lifelong bucatini buffs Michela Tartaglia and Nathan Gottlieb helm this promising new addition to Pike Place’s first-rate roster of eateries. With an impressive menu that offers a new seafood, meat and vegetarian dish, alongside their sausage lasagna mainstay each week, expect to find something unique and tasty every time you visit.

Be sure to carve out plenty of time for a visit to Pike Place on your visit to Seattle! Credit: KaLisa Veer

2:00 p.m. – Honest Biscuits & Piroshky Piroshky

Rest your feet and grab a treat from one of the market’s delicious bakeshops. Dig into a fluffy buttermilk biscuit smothered in jam from Honest Biscuits or go savory with a cheddar and garlic roll from Pike Place favorite Piroshky Piroshky.

Opt for a hearty biscuit sandwich or keep it simple with a classic buttermilk at Honest Biscuit. Credit: William Zain

5:30 p.m. – Re:public

For a seriously impressive happy hour selection, stop by the laid-back Re:Public in South Lake Union. Grab a plate of Cuban Jerk Chicken Wings or Prime Filet Bites, each for less than $15 a pop. Wash them down with a frosty pint of local beer or a classic cocktail. The perfect way to treat yourself without breaking the bank!

Enjoy a budget- and palate-friendly happy hour at Re:public. Credit: Adam Jaime

7:15 p.m. – Sizzling Pot King

Aromatic steam rises from the tables around you. The crackle and hiss of pork and beef browning to perfection can be heard as soon as you step through the door. All before the fiery chilis even hit your tongue! One thing’s for certain, dining on Hunan hot pot is a multi-sensory experience. With its recent expansion from Bellevue into Seattle, Sizzling Pot King brings the heat to the city’s Chinatown-International District.

Food writer Jay Friedman advises, “Must-order dishes at SPK include any of the smoked meats, “magic tofu,” and mortar and pestle-pounded eggplant. Get a dry pot that you can customize by ingredients, spice level and flavor profile, and order some smoky plum juice to counter the sour and salty spiciness of the food!”

Indulge in a feast for all the senses with some Hunan hot pot. Credit: Stu Spivack

9:00 p.m. – goPoké

Pop around the corner to cool down your chili-numbed mouth with a frozen confection from goPoké. Whether you opt for a colorful mini mochi cake or a cup of the tropical treat known as Dole Whip, this spot is sure to end your night on a sweet note.

One cup of Dole Whip and you’ll feel like you’re on a tropical getaway! Credit: Amanda Urquiza

Day 3

8:45 a.m. – Side Hustle Doughnuts

Head down to Georgetown for a truly unique doughnut experience to kick off your third day in Seattle. Tucked among the neighborhood’s handsome brick buildings, Side Hustle Doughnuts offers up petite pastry rounds made of the spent-grain from nearby Lowercase Brewing.

Pair an assortment of these diminutive doughnuts with a glass of cold brew coffee, which features notes of dark chocolate, butter and cedar. After that, a good day is just about guaranteed!

Food lover and doughnut aficionado Steven Ducky adds, “Side Hustle Doughnuts is my favorite spot for sweets. Their doughnuts are light and fluffy in a brioche-style for a reasonable price. Grab a dozen and pair them with a cold brew horchata latte or even some Lowercase beer. You won’t be disappointed!”

Don’t hold back. Get the full variety pack at Side Hustle Doughnuts. You won’t regret it! Credit: Steven Ducky

12:00 p.m. – University Village

Hop on the Light Rail and glide up to University Village for an afternoon of retail therapy and really good eats. Recharge with some authentic Vietnamese street food at Ba Bar, slurp down some soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung, or grab a white peach ginger beer with a side of spicy fried chicken at Rachel’s Ginger Beer. Any notion of “mall food” will be permanently stricken from your mind!

Feast on flavorsome Vietnamese street food at U Village’s Ba Bar. Credit: David Nguyen

6:30 p.m. – Sawyer  

Just north of the city, Seattle’s charming Ballard neighborhood has a ton to offer when it comes to food, brews and boutique shopping. While there’s no wrong choice of restaurants in the area, new kid on the block Sawyer is an excellent option for a memorable meal.

Adria Saracino of The Emerald Palate suggests, “Make sure to get the oxtail nachos. They somehow taste as if they’re made with Doritos (they aren’t). Also, the wood-fired artichokes with anchovy hazelnut remoulade are a revelation. Lastly, order the Instagram-worthy choco tacos or dilly bar to end your meal. It’s likely one of the most sophisticated takes on carnival food you’ll ever have!”

Nosh on charred artichokes from Ballard hot spot, Sawyer. Credit: Brooke Fitts

8:00 p.m. – Cupcake Royale

Stroll up to Ballard’s bustling Market Street for a sweet treat at Cupcake Royale. Choose from one of their classic mainstays like the chocolaty Peppermint Party or the tangy Lemon Drop. Or opt for one of their inventive seasonal creations. (Not in the mood for a cupcake? They have ice cream, too!)

Jewel-toned buttercream beckons you to the display case at Cupcake Royale. Credit: Flickr user Doniree

10:00 p.m. – Linda’s Tavern

Wind down the day with a low-key drink at beloved local watering hole, Linda’s Tavern. Settle into a cozy booth to snack on some chili cheese fries or venture out onto the back patio for cocktails al fresco.

Enter into a staring contest with the resident buffalo at Linda’s Tavern. Credit: Flickr user Rembklyn

Day 4

6:30 a.m. – Clipper Café

After checking in at our Pier 69 ticket counter, swing by the Clipper Café for a bite to eat before boarding the Victoria Clipper! Tuck into a melty breakfast burrito or grab an Ellenos Yogurt parfait to fill you up before your ride back to Victoria.

Keep the local flavor going through your ride home with a cup of Seattle-made Ellenos yogurt. Credit: Nick Bentley

Whether you’re a foodie with a sophisticated palate or a casual diner just looking to grab a bite somewhere new, Seattle has something to fit the bill. From international eats to local fare, you’re bound to leave the city with a few new culinary discoveries to wow your friends back home!



Feature photo: Brooke Fitts