Seattle restaurants

Aug 23rd, 2009, 08:58 AM
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Seattle restaurants

In this morning's paper the travel editor was asked to recommend a good restaurant in Seattle. Her first suggestion was Place Pigalle and her second choice was the Pink Door, both in the Pike Place Market area. My immediate reaction was "If the question had been posed in Fodor, the answer would be a selection of Tom Douglas restaurants." Gotta wonder, Seattle experts, why are these two restaurants hardly ever mentioned?
Bobmrg is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2009, 09:09 AM
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My guess - people like celebrity and Tom Douglas is as close as we get to a celebrity chef. IMO his food is good, far from great, but he's a terrific salesman. I suspect that if you asked 100 semi-knowledgeable restaurant-goers in Seattle to name a local chef those that answered would name Douglas by a wide margin. Most couldn't pronounce "Thierry Rautureau" anyway.

Why the Pig and Pink Door? My guess is that both are within the market (big draw and convenient for tourists) and both - under the right circumstances - offer views. Neither is a palace of gastronomy, but both are comfortable, informal, and relatively hidden, all of which are appealing to visitors.
Gardyloo is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2009, 10:59 AM
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I see the Pink Door mentioned often, and I see Place Pigalle mentioned from time to time. However, neither of these places is at the top of my best places list (or the best places list of anybody I know).

Years ago I took visitors to Place Pigalle and they loved it; I didn't. I haven't been to the Pink Door in a decade, because the last time I was there service was neglectful (and there are so many other options that I don't want to risk a potential repeat performance).

I find the travel pages of the Seattle Times a fairly unreliable source of information, and I'm usually disappointed when I make the effort of checking out something mentioned there. Last week I investigated an article about how one could apply to get though US Customs quickly, but the article forgot to mention the $100 fee required when applying (hardly worth while to somebody who leaves the country only about every-other year).
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2009, 01:34 PM
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Place Pigalle is really pretty mediocre,IMHO. I also would not recommend most of Tom Douglas' places.
PamSF is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2009, 01:37 PM
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I absolutely love the deck at the Pink Door and recommend it often. The food is just ok IMO but the deck is among the best places to spend an afternoon or evening in Seattle. So while I love it for that reason, I wouldn't necessarily mention it to someone wanting the "best" restaurants in Seattle.

Place Pigalle is one of those places that's been around forever and has been knocked off the top of my list by newer places in the market that I love such as Matt's and the Steelhead. That doesn't mean it's not still a good place, it's just not top of mind.

And I recommend the Tom Douglas restaurants often because I eat at them often and they are among my favorites. Dahlia Lounge is still the first place I'd personally choose to have a nice dinner out downtown, although I have lots of close 2nd choices.
NWWanderer is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2009, 02:28 PM
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Some reminiscences about Place Pigalle...

My first visit to Seattle as an adult (college football visits notwithstanding) was a business trip during a very hard freeze. (I lived in San Francisco at the time.) A female business colleague/date took me to Place Pigalle after dinner at her place (the lightning wasn't striking either of us) back when Place Pigalle was a truly seedy tavern. It was a haunt of waterfront workers who had seen better days; there were twinkling Christmas lights draped over the bar, year round, smoke-stained pages of models from Collier's Magazine on the walls, and the tables all had Chianti bottles with the remains of hundreds of candles covering the glass.

We sat at a window table and watched the ferries move across the bay - just blobs of light in the fogged-up windows.

One of the denizens got up and walked over to the jukebox and commenced loading several quarters into the machine (3 plays for 25c) and pushed the same two buttons again and again. We feared that this was it - an hour of Ferlin Husky or Merle Haggard was about to ensue.

Instead, we listened to Marlene Dietrich singing Lili Marlene for an hour. Seemed just right for a place named Place Pigalle. I fell in love with Seattle that night in that bar.
Gardyloo is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2009, 02:38 PM
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The Pink Door was the beginning of many a wonderful night in my misspent youth. I recommended it to Payton's Grandma the other day and she came back I guess its charms still hold.
lennyba is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2009, 04:41 PM
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Howdy All,
Your topic is very interesting to me especially because I am planning another visit to Seattle. Any one care to suggest a good seafood restaurant in the downtown area? I've tried Shucker's & Etta's, and am looking for something a little more interesting. BTW, I totally agree with the Tom Douglas thing though I do like Lola.
Any suggestions appreciated!
KnotKneader is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2009, 05:35 PM
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Restaurant Zoe and Flying Fish are two you might want to look at. Zoe usually has a couple nice seafood dishes on the menu (although it's not exclusively seafood), and the salt and pepper Dungeness crab at Flying Fish is great, I think.

The halibut at Matt's in the Market is fabulous, and the Steelhead Diner does a few nice seafood dishes as well.

I still like Ray's Boathouse an awful lot--I just went there about a month ago after not going for a while. Their kasu sablefish is delicious. It's outside of downtown however--not sure if you'll have a car.
NWWanderer is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2009, 06:34 PM
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I second both Matt's and Ray's. I just ate at Ray's last night with a friend who was visiting Seattle for the first time. Ate upstairs in the cafe and enjoyed a fabulous blackened rockfish for the 20th time. He loved it...and the view!
beanweb24 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2009, 06:54 PM
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Geez, I dunno, because they aren't that good? ;-)

I do mention the Pink Door for happy hour and for the patio if the weather's good. I'm not crazy about their food or their service, is why I don't recommend them more often.

Place Pigalle is just not all that popular, though I haven't been in years so probably I shouldn't say. I don't know of anyone who goes there.

There's LOADS of places I recommend all the time (just check in on the Trip Advisor Seattle forum) that are not Tom Douglas' restaurants. Let's see now:

For Italian - Assagio's, Il Bistro, Terazzo Carmine.
In the Market - Maximillien's, Matts in the Market, Chez Shea Steelhead Diner, 94 Stewart, and Campagne.
Seafood - Ponti's Grill, Ray's Boathouse, Anthony's Pier 66.
Tex Mex - Cactus in Madison Park.
Belltown - Wann's Japanese, Flying Fish, Restaurant Zoe.
suze is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2009, 09:30 PM
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I just read the article in question and she also recommended Matt's and Chez Shea. She also made it clear she was focusing on restaurants in the Pike Place Market since the reader had asked for a uniquely Seattle experience.
NWWanderer is offline  
Aug 24th, 2009, 07:21 AM
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Were I sending visitors for a uniquely Seattle dining experience it would be any place other than the wonderful but touristy Pike Place Market: Ballard, West Seattle, Capitol Hill, Wallingford, Madison Park, etc.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Aug 24th, 2009, 10:38 AM
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Well, if the focus of the article was only restaurants in the Pike Place Market of course that's a bit different list, that simply interesting restaurants downtown. And if it was about atmosphere & overall Seattle "experience" that's different criteria than who has the best food.
suze is offline  
Aug 24th, 2009, 11:22 AM
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Hmmm, I think Pink Door is okay, not great. Campagne is good however. I used to like the Flying Fish and went often but I think the service is really slipping. I agree with Zoe and Lola but I love Daniel's on Lake Union and Boka is good in Hotel 1000. Still like the Wild Ginger's lettuce cups and Shuckers. I think Rays is awful, sorry.
lenlu is offline  
Aug 24th, 2009, 01:36 PM
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Exactly, suze, that's the point I was trying to make by posting more about the article in question.
NWWanderer is offline  
Aug 24th, 2009, 05:47 PM
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Yes yes, I'm agreeing with you NWWanderer
and appreciate the information about the focus of the article the OP was referring to. My top 10 downtown Seattle restaurants list, is not the same as my top 10 restaurants within the Pike Place Market, and neither would be exactly the same as my top 10 in the greater Seattle area.
suze is offline  
Aug 24th, 2009, 08:28 PM
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On a slightly related note, we just got home from a quite delicious meal at... the Space Needle. Go. Figure.

Our nephew's summer job is selling tickets at the Space Needle so he gets an employee discount at the restaurant, which takes the prices down from cosmic to merely astronomical.

There were five of us; 2 had prime rib with a slight cedar smoke finish, one had King salmon baked in a paper-thin cedar envelope, one had a whole rock fish (head and all) marinated in some ginger-y melange then deep fried - it was great but immediately was named "scary fish" by the table. My spouse had a Caesar salad and a side dish used as an entree - a very good (albeit quite rich) mac and cheese with (lots of) Dungeness crab mixed in then baked. All eaters pronounced their meals very good - all perfectly cooked, ample portions (half the mac is in the fridge) and very nicely presented. The wine list was good and surprisingly well priced, as were several local artisan beers on tap. Service was first rate, although having an employee at the table always improves things.

Desserts were an overly-thick chocolate mousse and a very respectable Tiramisu, shared. Entrees averaged around $40; the crabby Mac was $17. Minimum spend amount must be $35 p.p.; our tab came to around $50 a head (after discount.) So pretty pricey, but if you were planning to visit the Space Needle anyway, the elevator cost is $16, so you could rationalize that the "net" cost of the meal was around $30 or $40 - not out of the question for the food.

The view tonight was fabulous: the mountain was out and we stayed until sunset behind the Olympics, with ferries and freighters out on the bay, and Lake Union full of sailboats and small craft being dodged by float planes getting on the step or landing.

Like most locals, when someone says they ate at the Space Needle, we've been conditioned to utter something like "Oh you poor dear." Well, no more. Definitely only a special-occasion place, but NOT the tourist trap of yore.

x 5.
Gardyloo is offline  
Aug 25th, 2009, 06:44 AM
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My best friend just got back from Seattle and RAVED about her dinner/experience at Steelhead. She's not one to even talk about restaurants or food so this really stood out to her.
ncounty is offline  
Aug 25th, 2009, 07:07 AM
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I think Steelhead is quite unique, without being too precious. If someone is looking for something more cutting-edge and non-Douglas that's a good choice.

Gardyloo~ Thanks for posting about the Space Needle. I love the view from up there, so this is good information to have. Thanks.
suze is offline  

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