Let’s discuss the best food in Seattle. In Seattle, we like our food — a lot — and we have some very tasty dishes in our corner of the US. Unless you’re a competitive eater, you probably can’t taste everything worth eating here in one visit, but Totally Seattle Tours would like to help you choose at least a few 10/10 meals during your next Seattle visit.
Please note that we may have to be a little general at times, talking about Seattle cuisine as a whole as we don’t want to offer too many personal recommendations, choosing favorites, etc. We also simply can’t cover everything the city has to offer; this list is not exhaustive and there are many other tasty treats to be found.
Seattle is a Coffee Lover’s Paradise
Depending on who you ask, the fact that Seattle is the birthplace of Starbucks either raises or lowers the city in the eyes of coffee fanatics. But there is so much more to Seattle’s coffee culture than the international coffee brand that started out here…
Moving far beyond Starbucks, you’ll find independent coffee shops on nearly every street in downtown Seattle. Some are better than others, but we’ll leave you to experiment. Our advice: choose the coffee shops with a small line out the door. If you don’t mind the wait, this is the best way to almost guarantee a delicious mug of joe.
And if you do want to sample Starbucks in its hometown, we recommend taking a tour of the Starbucks Roastery Reserve. Here, you can learn about Starbucks while also trying all kinds of different bean blends and even some coffee cocktails!
Sample Seattle’s Seafood
Any city with a good food culture draws from the land — and sea — around it. Seattle’s history as a big port city has resulted in some of the best seafood in the US. While some of you might be headed to New England for lobster rolls or New Orleans for shrimp, the Emerald City also deserves to be on your seafood bucket list!
If you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, you could head to Seattle’s docks to buy the seafood fresh, taking in the noisy, bustling atmosphere. But if that sounds intimidating, you can choose one of the many seafood restaurants nearby. As everyone knows: seafood tastes better the closer you get to the water, so choose your seafood restaurants in Seattle accordingly…
Look out for locally sourced oysters in some of the specialist oyster bars, but more general seafood restaurants will also serve fresh oysters. Seattle’s locally caught salmon is also especially good, as are local versions of chowder, including Pike Place Chowder, which is one of the only places outside of New England to win the Great Chowder Cook-off.
Sushi in Seattle
We know that sushi is also seafood, but it’s so special that it deserves its own spot on this blog. Due to decades of connections with Japan and Japanese settlers, Seattle is one of the best places in the US for Japanese food — and our penchant for seafood means that the Emerald City has some of the best sushi around!
There are too many incredible sushi restaurants to mention them all, so let’s just focus on Sushi Kashiba, the favorite spot of Totally Seattle’s CEO Colin Perceful:
“In my opinion, it is the best restaurant in Seattle and definitely has the best chef in Seattle, Shiro Kashiba.”
Pike Place Market
As Pike Place Chowder was mentioned above, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also include Pike Place Market in a travel blog about Seattle’s foodie scene.
Pike Place Market is packed with lots of great restaurants, making it perhaps the best place to visit if you don’t quite know what you want to eat yet. You can just shop around until you find the best-looking place — or the best-smelling place.
As we mentioned earlier: salmon is the fish that is often most associated with Seattle, and it’s for good reason. When in Pike Place Market, look out for some top seafood restaurants that champion salmon dishes. Then, with your hunger satisfied, explore this historic market. If you’d like the complete local experience, choose our Pike Place Market Tour!
Vietnamese Food in Seattle
Seattle has a well-established Vietnamese community. And you know what this means, don’t you? Pho!
For the initiated, proper pho is a delicious soup that is an almost weekly occurrence for anyone with the financial means and a good pho joint nearby. Pho is a way of life. And Seattle has some of the best pho in North America. We could list some of our favorite spots but we also haven’t had bad Vietnamese food in Seattle, so we reckon you can’t go wrong wherever you go.
Try a Seattle Dog
This recommendation is a little at odds with the rest of this guide as we’re not sure that Seattle dogs are really for everyone. But if you like eating a city’s junk food to get a sense of the REAL city, then a Seattle dog is probably the best dish to try.
“What is a Seattle dog,” you ask while raising an eyebrow quizzically. Well, it’s pretty much just a normal hotdog smothered in cream cheese and caramelized onions. Some vendors also offer Seattle dogs with peppers and sriracha. However you have it, a Seattle dog is a dish that is much more than the sum of its parts.
A Seattle dog is the perfect evening snack when you’re out exploring the city. It’s even better if you’ve been out in some of the city’s great bars and you’re in need of a little midnight snack to line your stomach…
That’s all we have time for today. We hope we’ve whetted your appetite for Seattle and that you’re eagerly waiting for your next visit. Seattle probably isn’t very well-known for its cuisine, but we think that’s likely to change as more and more people discover that it has incredible food.
If we’ve helped inspire your next trip to Seattle, we hope you’ll consider taking one of our 5-star-reviewed tours. If you’re interested, we can even design a custom food tour for you. Sound good? Check out our Custom Seattle Tour Service.