Expert Advice: Where to Eat in Seattle For Any Occasion

Words by Sara Lentz

Thinking of where to eat can be hard. Throw in picky friends, hungover brains, late night necessities and it can be nearly impossible. There are plenty of great places to eat in Seattle, actually almost too many. In order to help narrow it down we turned to our favorite know-it-all, Sara Lentz. We mean this in the best possible way because Sara is more plugged into the going’s-on, hot spots and cool hangs than just about anyone we know. Instead of going by food style or budget, Sara broke down her list by occasion—because that can be the toughest time to think of where to eat.  

 

When You Have a Pretentious Farm-to-Table Friend

I once asked a friend what their favorite type of meal was. I expected a simple response of “Mexican” or “Italian”, but he instead he replied with “farm to table”. Yeah… We all have a friend or two like this, and these are the places to take them so they can feel hipster enough AND know their meal is locally sourced.

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Tallulah’s – The decor here is just where my crush on this place starts. Giant cat painting, fiddle leaf figs, AND brass accents? Count me in. The cocktails are refreshing and strong in the right ways and the menu features many staples, but with their own twists. If you go on a Tuesday, they also offer two different variations of tacos which are both quite tasty. On a non-Tuesday, I go for the sweet potato and black bean bowl. The brunch here is just as good, and if you come on a warm day, they’ll open up the patio which adds to the whole experience.

550 19th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112

Runner Up:

Local 360 – Located in Belltown, Local 360 has a promise that all their menu is sourced within 360 miles of the restaurant. Their menu is expansive and has many different options for anyone dining. I recommend the homemade pappardelle or any of the steaks, but they also offer a seasonal three-course tasting menu for under $40, which seems like a steal.

2234 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

 

When You Want to Play Games

If you want to feel like a kid again, but without having to be around children and with the added bonus of booze, I like to go to these places.

Add-A-Ball – Oh Add-A-Ball. This place is one of my favorite places in Seattle. The way it’s tucked off of one of Fremont’s busiest streets make it almost feel like a speakeasy—even if it’s not quite the secret it once was. However what it lacks in intimacy, it makes up for in quirks. Not only does Add-A-Ball offer MD 20/20 in shot form (yes, and they carry the blue favor), a mix of old school and new school arcade games, and a giant mural of Bodie from Point Break, it also has a full upstairs with additional bar and disco ball. While this place doesn’t technically serve food it makes the list because it’s just that great. Also there’s a taco truck outside that fixes a mean burrito.

315 N 36th St #2b, Seattle, WA 98103

Runner Up:

Jupiter – Newer to the Belltown scene, Jupiter recently came to Seattle and let many local artists put their stamp of approval on the walls. While Jupiter has some of the best pinball games in Seattle, they also offer some of the best grinders in town. I recommend going when they have the live art going down, but it’s good anytime.  

2126 2nd Ave A, Seattle, WA 98121

 

When You’re Over the Rain

Yeah it’s Seattle. It’s overcast here a lot. People say it’s dreary and cannot wait to go on tropical vacations to get away from the cloud cover and rain, but there are a few local spots that can help with the seasonal depression without subjecting you to UV Rays or require you to go through TSA lines and squeeze into a swimsuit. Instead they offer a taste of the tropics in drink and food form.

Hotel Albatross – Over in Ballard, off of Market Street sits a little slice of paradise by the name of Hotel Albatross. This place is awesome—not just because of the Tiki drinks (yes, they have the ones that serve four people and are on fire), but because of the food. If you like nachos, you’ll be delighted to try totchos. These are TATER TOT NACHOS. On top of the totchos, they also serve the most amazing coconut noodles, the perfect companion to any tropical drink. They also have a whole bunch of veggie options in case you have a vegan friend in tow.

2319 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107

Runner Up:

No Bones Beach Club – The last time I went here, they were playing Blue Crush to set the vibes in true beach fashion. I didn’t even care it was about 39 degrees outside and raining heavily, I was in my own little slice of aloha. This place might seem a little experimental for some—they offer a full plant-based menu—but anyone I have taken here does not mind. While my go-to’s are the cauliflower wings (you can do a 50/50 of the buffalo and ginger sesame), their staple is the avocado tacos. So far I have yet to be disappointed by anything on the menu.

5410 17th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

 

When You Need a Fourth Meal

When it’s past 10pm and you’ve drank your fair share of cocktails, there is generally a craving for a second dinner (or third—no judgement). I’ve been there and I’m sure I’ll be there again. When the late night craving hits, here are my suggestions.

Red Star Taco Bar – Situated in Fremont, you just have to look for the red neon star. The menu is straight forward (calling appetizers “pre-tacos”), dim lighting, and serves till 1am, and if you happen to like going out on weekdays, they’ve got you covered with a happy hour from 10pm-1am. If you happen to snag a taco during happy hour, go for “Your Dad’s” taco. It’s a Happy Hour only special and highly sought after.

513 N 36th St, Seattle, WA 98103

Runner Up:

Big Mario’s Pizza – A Seattle staple in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, Marios has since expanded to both Queen Anne and Freelard, and they’ll serve you slices ‘till 2am. I always go for the cheese slices (bigger than my hand) as they ensure I feel less hungover the next day. I do have multiple friends who swear by the slices with potatoes on them. Also Marios is one of the few bars in Seattle that sells Pull-Tabs. You could get a slice and make money!

1009 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122

 

When You’re Hungover AF

Like many people, I receive the occasional hangover or two… Apparently I need to drink more water. But nonetheless, when I wake up in the thick of it, I need a good brunch to bring me back. Thankfully Seattle has a pretty good brunch culture.

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Hattie’s Hat – This place has been around since 1904 and it’s one of the few original establishments left on Ballard Ave. When I walk in, I feel the same warm, happy feelings as when I used to go over to my grandparents, but Hattie’s doesn’t judge me when I show up hungover. In fact, the bartender gladly serves my usual hangover cure to me without any look of concern. My staple is the Austin scramble and subbing in a biscuit instead of toast—each seat is accompanied by some type of jam not to be missed. On top of that I can easily re-hydrate my body with not only water, but coffee and champagne. Their bloody marys are also said to be some of the best in the city. If you go on Sunday I suggest going before heading to the Sunday Market. Get there around opening to beat the crowds for parking!

5231 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

Runner Up:

Oddfellows Cafe – Sometimes you need to class it up for brunch. At Oddfellows you can still be hungover and classy at the same time! While there is generally a line if you get here after 10am, it’s worth the wait. Between the homemade biscuit sandwich or the quinoa and French lentil bowl, you will not leave disappointed. They also have a rotating brunch punch, which is a gamble always worth taking.

1525 10th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

 

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