Best bets in Bellevue?
January 27, 2011 6:32 PM   Subscribe

I'll be in Bellevue, WA for a conference over President's Day weekend. What are the best places to eat/ drink/ grab a cup of coffee and sit/ ???? in the area?

I'm staying at the Sheraton and it would be nice to be able to walk someplace, but I will have access to a car if I need it. In addition to mealtimes, I'll have most of two weekdays to use for exploration, so if there's anything awesome I shouldn't miss in the area, please let me know. I have spent a lot of time in the general Seattle area and in Capitol Hill and have hit most of the usual Seattle tourist spots on those previous visits.

I'm a vegetarian, so vegetarian-friendly is important (meaning I'd have at least a couple of decent choices on the menu). Dive-y or fancy, doesn't matter as long as it's interesting. Extra extra points for good Indian food (there's a dearth of it where I live) or for a laid-back happy hour opportunity.
posted by charmedimsure to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
For Indian food, you should go to Spice Route in Bellevue. They have lots of vegetarian options, some of which I haven't seen at other Indian restaurants. I've really enjoyed the Hariyali Kofta Curry (vegetable dumplings in spinach sauce) and the Guttu Venkaya Kura (eggplant in tamarind peanut sauce).

Go for dinner, not the lunch buffet.
posted by creepygirl at 7:31 PM on January 27, 2011

Bellevue is very built up, full to the brim (heh) with coffee shops. But if you feel like fresh air and growing things, get in your car and drive about 5 minutes (okay, at midnight - more minutes depending on the time of day) to the Mercer Slough Nature Park. It's a fresh water wetland preserve (okay, we used to call it a swamp) but it's interesting all year long, even if it's winter and drizzling. Which is almost undoubtedly will be. And then happy hour is even more inviting.
posted by kestralwing at 8:32 PM on January 27, 2011

Chutneys is the best Indian in downtown Bellevue (Spice Route is great but away from downtown). There are a number of Thai restaurants that will have vegetarian entrees, Chantanee is my favorite in that area. The Bellevue Library is a nice place to sit and pass the time, but there are plenty of coffee shops around (this being the Seattle area after all). Head over to the Bellevue Square + Lincoln Square shopping area to check out the shops and the Bellevue Art Museum (small but often interesting modernish exhibits). There's a Starbucks and Tully's with comfy chairs in that area. If you want to go upscale luxury shopping and sitting, head over to the Bravern shopping area. (on preview, +1 on Mercer Slough)
posted by girlhacker at 8:48 PM on January 27, 2011

Also not walking distance, but my favorite coffee shop in the area is Zoka in Kirkland.

Within walking distance, there's Bellevue Square which mostly has chain stores/restaurants. There's a Starbucks there, if that's your thing.
posted by sharding at 8:48 PM on January 27, 2011

+1 for Chutney's.

You might try to head to the Bravern buildings -- there's a John Howie Steak (sorry, I don't know if they have vegetarian fare or not) and a place called Artisanal Something Or Other that are both quite tasty.
posted by Dilligas at 9:34 PM on January 27, 2011

Hey there,

Bellevue's gotten to actually be an actual place over the last couple years, but there's still a large aspect of "fakery" (via chain stores and high end malls) in the downtown core. Outside of that... you're looking at suburbia.

Let me see if these places in Seattle have made your list yet...

For vegetarian/vegan that is amazing (and occasionally Indian inspired), there's this prix fixe place in Wallingford called Sutra that I love. For more of true Indian food direction, see Cedars (and also A Taste of India) in the UW district.

I'm a huge breakfast fan, and the Eastside does have a great breakfast place called Brown Bag Cafe up in Kirkland.

If you'd just like to walk around, there's the section of the Burke-Gillman trail that you can walk/run starting down in Redmond... kind of suburban but in early spring is quite nice.

The aforementioned Mercer Slough is great (definitely walking distance from downtown Bellevue, too.)

There are hidden parks (Chism) around the lower end of the I-90 bridge, but I imagine around President's Day they're just going to be soggy.

A little further afield -- if you haven't taken the ferry across from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, and it's a sunny day, absolutely do it. When I need to work from home, I take the ferry across to Eagle Harbor, get into a coffee shop, then to Hitchcock for dinner. Ferry back to Seattle and hit up Belltown for drinks and late-night sushi, then back to Bellevue late.

Hope this is helpful, and have fun in Seattle/Bellevue/the Eastside!
posted by Exonym at 10:15 PM on January 27, 2011

I'm quite partial to Top Pot myself. Free Wi-Fi and a nice place to sit, get coffee, and eat some really good donuts.

For getting out for a walk, the Downtown Park is nice. I used to take lunch breaks there when I worked at Bellevue Square.

And if you don't feel like driving and parking in Seattle, you're just a few blocks away from the Bellevue Transit Center. The 550 will get you into the Downtown Transit Tunnel.

On a side note, one of my favorite things to do in Seattle was grab a hombow and crab rangoon from Mee Sum in Pike Place Market, go across the street into the market proper, past the fish throwing guys, and down to the Waterfront Viewpoint (self link) area, where I'd sit, eat, and watch the ferries come in and out.
posted by gc at 12:45 AM on January 28, 2011

For a hearty breakfast/brunch, i recommend Brown Bag Cafe in Kirkland.
posted by ramix at 1:55 PM on January 28, 2011

Thank you especially for telling me that there's a Top Pot here; it's a 1/2 block from the conference location and its existence has made my days 50% better. We also walked to Chutney's and Vhantanee and the slough and enjoyed them all.
posted by charmedimsure at 3:10 PM on February 19, 2011

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