Casual lunch places in downtown Seattle
July 14, 2017 7:51 AM   Subscribe

I work in downtown Seattle near 5th and Pike, and my parents like to come downtown a couple times a month to have lunch with me. I'm running out of places to take them!

We'll go to the same place a handful of times and then they usually want to try somewhere else. I mostly take my lunch from home so I'm running out of ideas for where to go next. Places we have been, to give you an idea of what kind of places I'm looking for:
-Mod Pizza (cheap but loud, plus I don't actually like their pizza that much)
-the weird basement Vietnamese place on 6th (New Saigon?)
-Specialty's (this is my favorite and we've been there several times but my dad apparently is tired of it because he is now requesting somewhere new)
-Sushi Kudasai

Where to next? I think they would enjoy Blue C Sushi but a meal for three there is probably more than they want to spend. Thanks!
posted by skycrashesdown to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Haha, I know the feeling of not knowing restaurants because you mostly bring your own food.

Maybe Johnny Rockets, in the top floor of Pacific Place? There are lots of restaurants in Pacific Place, but I'm inferring that you want something on the side of quick-service and <$15 a person. Similarly, there is a food court at the top floor of Westlake Center.
posted by batter_my_heart at 7:57 AM on July 14, 2017

You could try Yard House for lunch. I've been there during a lunch rush and usually the loudest areas are by the bar. Sit towards the back and request the television be turned down a bit and you should be able to escape from there for under $50.

Mayyyyybe Palomino has a lunch special? I've lived here for 15 years and this is the first time I had to consider a casual lunch spot in downtown Seattle. It seems they're vanishing.
posted by Tardis_Spin at 8:02 AM on July 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

if you're going to Pacific Place, then Din Tai Fung is the place.
Down on Pine and 1st is the Steelhead diner which is also nice for lunch.
posted by alchemist at 8:19 AM on July 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

-Palomino - not sure of the prices but I know they have a lunch menu
-Veggie Grill
-Harried & Hungry Cafe - not the greatest atmosphere but similar offerings and price point to Specialty's, when it comes to savory items
-that salad place on the main floor of Pacific Place
I haven't eaten here but it might fit the bill Fonte Coffee down by the SAM--they have sandwiches and salads and I think it often is overlooked so it's quieter

This time of year, you could try any number of food trucks and then try to find a seat in Westlake Plaza, Freeway Park or similar.

Similarly, you could go down to Pike Place Market if they don't mind wandering a bit. The piroshky place, the hum bao place (Mee Sum Pastry) and the crumpets place are all highly recommended. There's also a Russian deli deep within that's fantastic, the crepe place (always busy) and the place that just serves blackened salmon sandwiches. There's seating at these last three, so you could try those in winter if the tourists are a turnoff.
posted by purple_bird at 9:02 AM on July 14, 2017

Nordstrom Cafe!
posted by matildaben at 9:17 AM on July 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Red Bowls
The Lodge
posted by erst at 9:44 AM on July 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Some quick, relatively inexpensive favorites...
- De Laurenti on the very edge of Pike Place Market has a small cafe with sandwiches, salads, pizza, and tasty coffee. You can sit at a counter and watch life roll by on the street outside.
- Umma's serves Korean food in a basement on 5th.
- Sweetgrass on Westlake and 7th is more hippie frou frou than the places you have listed and would add some variety into the rotation. Plus extra entertainment if your parents enjoy exclaiming over chia and/or the price of freshly pressed juices.
- Veggie Grill has bowls, salads, and sandwiches that don't include chick'n i.e. fake meat, perpetual confuser of non-veg*ns ("how is thrice-processed soy healthier than meat???").
posted by esoterrica at 9:45 AM on July 14, 2017

Seconding Red Bowls and Harried&Hungry. Also Seattle's lone Steak and Shake is right there too on 3rd and Pike. Potbelly can safely be ignored, there are many better options for sandwiches.

Perhaps a bit too far of a walk for you but Ferry Noodle House is fast and fun. Closer and also good for fast Thai is Mae Phim just off 3rd and Pike.

There's a Vietnamese place in the Marion plaza, Cafe Pho, that has fantastic short ribs and good Pho. There are a few other places of various quality in that plaza -- the occasional dish at Cafe Zum Zum can be good too.

If you're in the mood for vegetarian, Veggie Grill is REALLY tasty. I'm a meat eater and found their dishes inventive and satisfying (and not too pricey).

Finally, I really like the Great Northwest Soup Company. It doesn't have any seating of its own but there are tables in the atrium of the building it adjoins as well as a couple just outside. Try their grilled cheese!
posted by rouftop at 10:05 AM on July 14, 2017

If you end up needing a happy hour option, Japonessa is delicious. Get the brie.
posted by TomFoolery at 11:36 AM on July 14, 2017

Mae Phim on Pike
Saley has more than crepes
Belle Epicurean

Also, I memailed you
posted by Gorgik at 12:22 PM on July 14, 2017

Elephant and Castle pub ($$)
Country Dough (Delicious Chinese street-vendor-style food near Pike Place Market - go on a sunny day and eat outside) ($)
Umma's Kitchen (Amazing Korean buffet in the underground tunnel between Rainier Square and that financial building. To get there, go to the Fifth Avenue Theater's entrance and take the stairs that go underground.) ($)
Din Tai Fung is tasty, as others have said, but the wait can be long and it is $$$
Pike Place Chowder if you're in Pacific Place, I'd skip Johnny Rocket's and go for the chowder / fish and chips instead. ($$)

If you're up for more of a walk, Market House Corned Beef is a venerable institution that makes fantastic sandwiches ($). Pho Bac ($) is next door, and has some of the best Banh Mi sandwiches I've found in Seattle.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:32 PM on July 14, 2017

I think Saley doesn't have crepes any more :( But the sandwiches, burgers, and salads are delicious. It's a tiny place, so do not expect to get a table during the normal lunch rush.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:33 PM on July 14, 2017

Harbor Cafe
There's a Delicatus at Benaroya Hall
The West Edge Market on Harbor Steps has pretty good sandwiches
Baguette Box is not far from you, and while it's not what it used to be, it's still a good value.
posted by Gorgik at 12:43 PM on July 14, 2017

When I meet my dad downtown for a movie, we sometimes go fast-food:

Fast food:
Jimmy Johns (close to the Mod Pizza)
Potbelly Sandwich Shop (4th & Pike)
The deli that's between Blue C Sushi and Starbucks

Elephant & Castle
Gordon Biersch (Pac Place)

Somehow we've never been to the Yard House here, though I've been to one in another city nad liked it.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:57 PM on July 14, 2017

I can't recommend Il Corvo enough. It's truly fantastic. Small place, handmade pasta, and so very delicious. I plan my visits to Seattle, so that I can arrive in time to have lunch there.
posted by jennstra at 3:50 PM on July 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Seconding Il Corvo, such amazing pastas! I think they open their doors at 11am; if you get there 10-15 minutes before then, you can get into the line forming outside the door and be a part of the first diners (in my very limited experience). It is a very small place!
posted by sweetpotato at 7:37 PM on July 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Harried and Hungry is good. Next door at 3rd & Union is Shake & Steak, a decent burger joint.

Sweet Iron Waffles in the 1200 3rd Ave. building has a wide variety of waffle concoctions, both sweet and savory. The dining space is tiny. There's also a Jimmy Johns and a World Market salad/buffet on that block.

In Benaroya Hall, there's a Davids & Co. barbecue place on the 3rd Ave. level, and Delicatus deli on the 2nd Ave level.

Across the street in the 1201 3rd Ave building is Melange, which has a variety of entrees as well as sandwiches. No dining in the establishment, but there's outdoor seating and the building atrium with couches, tables, etc.

Mel's Market has sandwiches, soups and salads at on the 3rd Ave. level of Safeco Plaza, and the smaller, soup-centered Joelle's Cafe is on the 4th Ave level.
posted by lhauser at 10:30 PM on July 14, 2017

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