Want to fall in love with Seattle? Here's how to do it, according to two very respectable chefs.

February 14, 2019


Want to fall in love with Seattle? Here's how to do it, according to two very respectable chefs.

February 14, 2019
By Cassandra Landry | illustration iStock/beastfromeast

Ah, Seattle. Land of incredible seafood, occasional crushing grayness, and artfully-honed ~Spheres~ side-eye. Also: intense natural beauty and enough caffeine to keep our hearts fluttering forever. Hungry? Here's where to go and who to see. 

Meet Your Experts

To help us navigate the real Emerald City, we turned to Jeffrey Vance, steadfast chef of No Anchor and Navy Strength, and Melissa Miranda,  unflappable sous chef of Bar Del Corso and more recently, the creative force behind Musang, a bangin' Filipino pop-up. They've got decades of Seattle living between them, a dash or two or worldly perspective backing up their flawless palates, and a soft spot for the underbelly of Pike Place Market. You can trust 'em.


Melissa: I got introduced to Café Red through a friend of mine who’s a single-origin coffee producer in the Philippines. They work with a lot of Southeast Asian beans, and they were one of the only places you could get my friend's coffee here in Seattle. They have really great baked goods, too.

For pastries, my friends own this tiny bakery in Ballard called Hood Famous Bake Shop, and they specialize in Filipino cheesecakes and cookies and dessert. They do specialty flavors like durian and calamansi, and they have this ube cookie that’s one of the best cookies I’ve ever had. Around the holidays, they do buko pie, which just reminds me of my childhood. 

If you’ve had a rough night and you just want something to soak it up,  Ludi's is a super unassuming old-school diner downtown, which is hard to find in Seattle because it’s not really part of the culture here. They have a full diner menu, but they also have Filipino breakfast. (It’s not really a secret, but it’s more like if you know, you know.)

Jeffrey: I’m not really into going out for traditional breakfast, so one of the spots I love is called Café Presse. It feels like a local neighborhood spot in Paris: They have soccer on the TV and you can pick up a Kinfolk from a stand out front and take it to your table. We usually get a croque-madame, french fries with mayonnaise, chicken liver pate, and French onion soup. 

Outside of that, we typically want pho. There's this place called Pho Bac, which is the original pho spot that opened back in the 70s. Their kids have now opened a spot called Pho Bac Sup Shop right across the parking lot, that does really cool modern takes. There’s one with a giant bone-in short rib sticking out of the bowl of pho. It looks like something Fred Flintstone would eat. 

Since I don’t drink anymore, coffee is my thing. I love vinyl, baseball, and delicious coffee, so I’ll usually get a drip of whatever they’re roasting at Porchlight Coffee and Records, a hole in the wall that has kind of a baseball theme. Elm Coffee Roasters is like something you’d find on Abbot Kinney—bright, light wood, macrame hanging plants—but their coffee is delicious. Espresso Vivace, is the Seattle espresso spot. When I originally moved to Seattle, my apartment was directly over their street café, so it's a nostalgic thing for me. Get a Cafe Nico: It’s a small macchiato, but it’s got a little bit of cinnamon and it's garnished with an orange twist.

Café Presse
Hot Spot
Downtown, Seattle
$$, French, Breakfast, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Coffee Shop, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Bar
4 Recommendations

Lunch Is A Big Thing In This Town

Melissa: My friend has a place in Capitol Hill called By Tae that does four hand rolls for $25 that change every day. It’s only open Monday through Friday from 11-230pm, has ten seats and is inside a complex where there are multiple restaurants tucked in by the elevators. When you sit there, you become part of this whole community; everyone gets introduced to each other and there’s this culture of talking and not being on your phone. I eat there once a week if I can.

Jeffrey: Lunch is probably the meal I eat out the most. There’s a $4 New York slice shop called Big Mario’s that’s five minutes from my apartment, so that’s a go-to. If you’re talking about lunch in Seattle and don’t mention Il Corvo, you're doing it wrong. It’s a counter-service handmade pasta spot that opens at 11 am, but if you don’t show up at 1030 am, you’re waiting 40 minutes just to get in the door. Sit down with a Pellegrino and pasta and it’s the best lunch in the city, hand’s down.

Also, Mean Sandwich is awesome. Their namesake sandwich is a take on a traditional corned beef, but it has pickled red cabbage and I think it comes on a sesame seed roll? They have a beef tartare Reuben that’s amazing. It’s perfect. [We checked: It's also got mint and maple syrup (!)]

Displaying items 1 - 3 of 8 total