The "little gems" of Seattle.
March 5, 2007 9:20 PM   Subscribe

The "little gems" of Seattle.

So I've been in Seattle 6 amazing months now (seriously, thanks for helping me make the right decision) but I'm still slowly finding out about the places that everybody seems to know about but me. Places like Scarecrow Video or Cupcake Royale.

What are some places of interest that I might be overlooking? Food, shopping, etc, etc, etc.
posted by bamassippi to Society & Culture (34 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
A few of my favorite spots:
The Stumbling Monk for Belgian ales
Bauhaus for coffee
Maximilien for an expensive French restaurant (but check out that Happy Hour)
The 25 for 25 is going on right now (25 restaurants with a $25 prix fixe -- go to Campagne while it's cheap)
I'm a bit of a film buff, and that time is spent mostly at The Northwest Film Forum, the Grand Illusion, and the Central Cinema ($5 movies! Cheap pizza and beer on Wed/Thu/Sun!).
Also check out the Big Picture cinema/bar.
posted by j.edwards at 9:36 PM on March 5, 2007

Archie McPhee!!! The tackiest store on the planet!!! Well worth a Saturday afternoon, and you'll go back.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:37 PM on March 5, 2007

I have a pinball addiction. Every town I visit or live in, I manage to find at least one place to play decently maintained vintage machines, preferably with a cheap beer in my hand.

Naturally, I love Shorty's in Belltown.
posted by toxic at 9:43 PM on March 5, 2007

Like Asian stuff? Asian supermarket superstores come in 3 flavors: China-centric (99 Ranch); Japan-centric (Uwajimaya); and Korea-centric (Pal-Do World). Housewares are available at each, although I like the little Japanese place next to 99 Ranch. You should also really check out Daiso, a 99 Yen shop in Alderwood Mall next to Sears.

I assume you've visited Fremont and Pike Place Market? Ballard?
posted by ilsa at 9:50 PM on March 5, 2007

The Ballard Locks
posted by Good Brain at 9:53 PM on March 5, 2007

$1 Somalian chai at Dur Dur (on Cherry, just west of 23rd, north side of the street).
posted by DawnSimulator at 9:59 PM on March 5, 2007

I just moved here too. Email is in the profile if you would want to try one or more of these gems with a random guy you met on the internets.
posted by |n$eCur3 at 10:13 PM on March 5, 2007

Daiso also just opened a store in Westlake Mall downtown.
posted by xiojason at 10:21 PM on March 5, 2007

Dunno what it's like today, but 3-4 years ago when I was in Seattle the Bamboo Garden served excellent all-vegetarian Chinese dishes. It is the ONLY time I have had fake meat (particularly chicken, in this case) that was nearly indistinguishable from the real thing.

Worth checking out, and if you've got a vegetarian/vegan friend it is an absolute must.
posted by Ryvar at 10:24 PM on March 5, 2007

Bottleworks is worth a mention.
posted by jclovebrew at 10:30 PM on March 5, 2007

The Friends of the Library used book sale is one of those things that's ridiculously popular that you could easily miss. Definitely worth going once just to gawk at a hangar full of people pawing through books, all going for cheap cheap cheap.
posted by xil at 10:33 PM on March 5, 2007


Top Pot Donuts
Tamarind Tree
Portage Bay Cafe

Degenerate Art Ensemble
Clarion West readings
Seattle International Film Festival (A gem, but by no means small)
Live Girls Theater
Kultur Shock
The Bad Things
The Moisture Festival

Le Frock (Especially for guys)

And second everything J.Edwards said.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:13 PM on March 5, 2007

(Sorry about all the extra space.)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:14 PM on March 5, 2007

Ravenna Ravine!
posted by ottereroticist at 11:28 PM on March 5, 2007

If you like shellfish (I don't), I'm told that the thing to do in season is to go down to the waterfront. There are little stands there which will sell you a cardboard bucket full of freshly steamed butter clams that I'm told are superb. (I guess, if you like that kind of thing.)

Apparently it's a local variety not really found anywhere else.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:32 PM on March 5, 2007

Lots of good suggestions.

I like taking a wander through Dusty Strings to admire the instruments I can't afford.

No mention of chocolate? Fran's? Theo? Dilettante? A bunch more I'm forgetting? Seriously, when Dilettante is considered "average," there's a lot of good chocolate to be had.

This town is lacking for good BBQ, but OK Corral in Greenwood is pretty good.
posted by dw at 11:37 PM on March 5, 2007

I love an afternoon pint at the Virginia Inn, great people watching. Lighthouse Roasters in Fremont does brilliant coffee. Red Mill Burgers in Magnolia and Phinney Ridge for burgers. Ebbet's Field Flannels on Occidental for Old Timey Baseball. Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park for used and bargain coffee table books. The Gob Shoppe in Ballard for your paraphanelia needs. Schultzy's in the U-District for sausage. Maritime Pacific Brewery (and Jolly Roger Taproom) for lunch deals with good beer.

Time for a meetup, eh?
posted by vito90 at 12:11 AM on March 6, 2007

I'm trying to think of things I can recommend without disadvantaging myself with even longer lines at my favorite places:
Baguette Box in Fremont and Capitol Hill, good, unusual sandwiches and fantastic french fries, especially when you pay extra for truffle oil.
University Farmer's Market
Carkeek and Discovery Park. The shore at Golden Gardens.
posted by Good Brain at 12:22 AM on March 6, 2007

I live in Alabama and have never been west of El Paso, but I'll be in the Seattle area in a few months to see some friends. I expect to spend some time at The Wet Spot, which advertises itself as "The Seattle Sex Positive Community Center." It is, I'm told, a central meeting point for bdsm people, the transgendered, and others who find themselves outside the sexual mainstream. Perhaps not your cup of tea, but I thought I'd mention it.
posted by Clay201 at 12:51 AM on March 6, 2007

I hang out on Capitol Hill mostly, and when I do I'm usually at Bauhaus, Caffe Vita, or JoeBar.
Good bars around there are 611 Supreme, the Hideout, and Linda's when it's not packed.

Out in the U District, Magus is a great bookstore and the cafe next to it is nice too. Half Price Books, Ave or Hill is excellent.

Out in Ballard the People's Pub is nice and the Sunset often has cool shows, keep an eye on their listings (along with Neumo's and the Showbox).

I don't know much about anywhere else, but I can say that the best Pho in Seattle is at Pho So 1 at 12th and Jackson. That's a personal guarantee (if you love msg like me). Good teriyaki is Teriyaki Madness on 15th or Teriyaki Bowl on Madison. Via Tribunali is supposed to have incredible pizza, but despite going there all the time I've never had it (go early or call ahead, it's mad usually at dinner time). I'm no connoiseur, but I like the Indian food at Chutney's. Olympia Pizza across the street is fantastic too. For Thai, Sabai Sabai by Greenlake is excellent, but it's pretty good other places too.

It's fun to go on the Marsh Trail (by the Museum of History and Industry) or walk in the Arboretum (just park and start walking). Greenlake is great to go around when it's nice out. Course since it's winter ATM I usually just get some coffee somewhere and read :).
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:24 AM on March 6, 2007

I was going to say Coffee Messiah but it looks like they've closed so I'll have to find something else. How about clubs? There's Contour, Aristocrat's, Bad Juju & the Baltic Room & even Vogue if you're into that sort of thing. My favorite was always Contour, which stayed open after hours & if you had enough energy you could actually witness them reopening the bar at 8AM.
posted by scalefree at 2:47 AM on March 6, 2007

Red Mill Burgers is great. And when Spring really settles in, don't forget to check out the Arboretum! It's free (except the Japanese Garden) and the rhodies and azaleas and other spring blooms are stunning.
posted by Rubber Soul at 7:12 AM on March 6, 2007

If you like small, loud places filled with vigorous cooking, try Thai Tom. It's awful for a group, but go alone and you'll wind up at the counter and can watch all some delicious Thai food get made at a dizzying rate.

Also, there may not be much to do once you get there, but check out the Wedgewood erratic. It's just a big rock, but it's the best big rock in the city.
posted by Schismatic at 7:31 AM on March 6, 2007

I've been to the Comedy Underground once or twice, it's worth a look.

For sushi check out Rain in Wallingford.

I noticed that you're a photographer. You may want to check out Snoqualmie Falls on the East Side.

Don't forget to check out Beth's Cafe on 99 - famous for their 12 egg omelet. It's a great dive and open late.

Not sure if you've had a chance to explore Ballard but there's tons out there. Make sure you grab a sandwich at the Other Coast Cafe, among other places. While we're talking about Ballard, The Matador (also in Tacoma and West Seattle) has an amazing happy hour from 10PM to midnight.

If you're looking for amazing cocktails (the martinis kick ass), good food and great service check out the Zig Zag Cafe behind Pike's Place. The owner was named best bartender in Washington not long ago.
posted by ASM at 8:10 AM on March 6, 2007

Woops, the Matador's happy hour is from 10PM to 1AM, not midnight.
posted by ASM at 8:12 AM on March 6, 2007

The sandwiches at Grinder's are ohmygodfantastic. My ten-month-old baby demands their meatballs, and I'm craving the shrimp po' boy as I write this. Yeah, it's Shoreline, not Seattle, but it's not that bad up here in the Puget Sound Convergence Zone...
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:11 AM on March 6, 2007

Cupcake Royale? What is with people and that place? The few cupcakes I've had there have been dry and gross.

I'll second OK Corral for bbq, though as others have said, eating in is like visiting a David Lynch movie. Smokin' Pete's in Ballard is pretty good. And, there's a new place on Stone Way and about 39th--Rowdy Cowgirl. It's also not bad, but they put hard boiled eggs in the potato salad (blasphemy.) A friend of mine swears by the Frontier Room in Belltown, but I've never been.

Also you don't have to go to Shoreline. There's the Other Coast Cafe as has been suggested in Ballard and the Brooklyn Grinder (no relation I think) in the U-district. (It's on University Way now. They had to move from Brooklyn Ave.) It's approximately due east of Scarecrow Video.

Since there are so many other Ballard suggestions. I'd check out the Sunday Market (on Ballard Ave.) It's mostly farmers and is better than the Fremont one I think, but that one's not bad either. Also the U-District farmer's market on Saturdays is really good.
posted by sevenless at 11:39 AM on March 6, 2007

The Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union. Of course Lake Union itself is a gem, though not so little.
posted by Prawn at 11:57 AM on March 6, 2007

Maekawa Bar and Pink Godzilla are carefully tucked away in an unassuming building. Farestart is a good place to eat a yummy lunch and feel good about it. The Seattle Museum of the Mysteries is a fun find if you can manage to keep a straight face in light of the earnest staff. Boeing Surplus has a geek following, but Re-PC was pretty awesome and has a free makeshift computer museum. Vashon Island might make a good daytrip and their earth day is coming up, which is hippy-a-rific!

Also, Twice Sold Tales is full of books and kitties. Awesome.
posted by Skwirl at 11:59 AM on March 6, 2007

Maybe this is too obvious, but if you haven't been already, Salumi is definitely worth a visit. During the lunch rush there's a crazy-long line out the door, but at other times you won't have to wait so long.

Theo, has already been mentioned. They actually make their own chocolate and they do daily tours for $5 (well worth it, check their site for hours).

I'm a fan of Frites by Neumo's. They do belgian-style frites and make a variety of sauces. It's great for late-night food, but you could almost make a meal out of the medium.
posted by timelord at 12:13 PM on March 6, 2007

A not so little gem if you're into antiques: Seattle Pacific Galleries.

Not just auctions: an enormous, factory-sized building crammed to the gills with *stuff,* open regular hours throughout the week. If you don't want to dispute prices, the people who tend the floor can sell you things from any booth immediately. Bliss!
posted by macinchik at 12:21 PM on March 6, 2007

To be clear, Frites is adjacent to Neumo's. I don't think they're actually owned by the same people.

If you're lucky, someday they might decide to screen 2001 again in the Cinerama. It's a cool theater anyways, wikipedia has more.
posted by timelord at 12:22 PM on March 6, 2007

A minor update to scalefree's comment... the Vogue closed as of New Year's, and has now been replaced by Blacklight at the Capitol Hill Arts Center...

And I'm a huge fan of Cedar's on Brooklyn for Indian food - the bottomless chai is wonderful, and I and up consuming enough every time that I'm extremely wired when I leave from all the caffeine.
posted by evilangela at 1:31 PM on March 6, 2007

Queen Sheba, an Ethiopian restaurant on Capitol Hill introduced to me by MetaFilter's Own mwhybark. Freaking. Awesome.
posted by Danelope at 10:22 PM on March 12, 2007

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