Trying to pin down words like frugal, value and deal can be exasperating; everyone carries different ideas and expectations for cost savings. One person's "bargain" may be be an unrealistic splurge for another. For 10Best, the range is broad. We include impossibly cheap eateries with amazing menus and dedicated followings, but we also share finer establishments that offer perks like impressive happy hours or affordable prix-fixe menus. If you're looking for Best Value restaurants in Seattle, let us introduce you to a few of our favorites, starting with Salumi and Dick's Drive-In. They're low in expenditures and high in appeal. Who says that a delicious meal has to become a multi-hour ordeal? Other options offer generous portions of delicious food, meaning you can easily split with a dining companion and leave satisfied, or you can take half of your food with you for your next meal. Seattle is home to a bounty of talented chefs who take their ingredients and their craft very seriously, and they also value making their food accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
The Hotel Monaco in downtown Seattle is really heating up, thanks in part to Chef Shawn Applin, the driving force behind Sazerac. The fashionable restaurant serves spicy, Cajun-inspired New American cuisine, including including fried boudin served with hot pepper jelly, fried green tomatoes, brick oven-baked oysters with chili garlic butter and spring lamb shank served with cauliflower puree and asparagus. As the website of this popular downtown eatery suggests, " It's a gathering place for serious fun and damn good American food and drink, with a Southern accent." Enjoy cocktails like the venue's namesake drink of choice–the "Sazerac," featuring Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, Peychaud's Bitters, sugar, lemon peel and an absinthe rinse. Modern, amusing interiors make this a must on your restaurant list. (206-624-7755)
Sometimes, when the mood strikes, nothing else will do. If you have a strong urge for great pizza, head to one of 24 Pagliacci's locations, where you can walk up to the counter and order a pie topped with everything from sun-dried tomatoes to goat cheese and roasted garlic. With more than 30 toppings to choose from, the pizza menu is sure to have something you'll love, whether you're a vegetarian, an omnivore or simply an eater with quirky tastes. In addition to great pies, the impressively extensive menu features fresh salads and calzones. Leave room for the locally made gelato! The eatery deliveries to some locations, too. Make orders online at order.pagliacci.com. (206-726-1717)
Red Mill Burgers
When the original Red Mill closed in 1967 after 30 years of great diner fare and ice cream, Seattle was left with but a few places to get really good burgers, crispy onion rings or butterscotch malts. Fortunately, John and Babe Shepherd saw this need and opened this Interbay gem in 1994. It was an immediate success. In fact, so popular is this burger joint that the lunch line tends to stretch outside, and the likes of Al Bundy and Darth Vader (actors Ed O'Neil and James Earl Jones, respectively) have been seen enjoying a burger or two here. A word to the wise: the Red Mill is not cell phone tolerant, so make sure your ringer is off. An additional location is at Phinney Ridge. A sister restaurant, Red Mill Totem House, has now found a home in Ballard, across the locks. (206-284-6363)
Marination Ma Kai
In West Seattle, Marination Ma Kai brings the delectable flavors and happy vibes of Hawaii to a stunning beachside setting (near Alki). The venue's Hawaiian-Korean cuisine "melts delicate heat and the flavors of aloha together in [diners'] mouths," while the expansive patio offers to-die-for skyline and water views. As the owners put it, "it started with a truck, some exquisite marinades and a lotta love," and now, more than one million tacos and five years later, Marination has expanded to three separate venues and "one big aloha family." Loyal fans rave about the Kimchi Fried Rice Bowl, spicy pork tacos, award-winning Pork Katsu Sandwich, the boozy shave ice bowls, hibiscus-tinged cocktails, the special tangy "NUNYA" sauce and so much more. At Marination, life is good! ((206) 328-8226)
Taste of India
Featuring a vibrant, neon exterior and an intimate, welcoming interior, Taste of India offers a delightful dining experience from start to finish. The food, service and ambience make this a wonderful spot for enjoying Indian and Mediterranean dishes ranging from rich curries and creamy masalas to tasty vindaloos. Other highlights include the chicken tikka masala, spinach naan and homemade mango pistachio ice cream. Vegetarian diners enjoy dishes like the Madras chili masala with crisp-cooked squash and peppers. The large portions (easily shared) make this an affordable option, and the bottomless chai pours will leave you feeling warm, full and satisfied. ((206) 528-1575)
Choose one of Dick's five locations and return to the days of the '50s when you drive up to this fast food establishment. Burgers, fries and shakes are ordered and eaten in the very same spot – your car or standing nearby among the masses of customers. Burgers are always prepared the same way (no special orders accepted), and fries are consistently hot (no kidding). Plus, prices are pleasantly affordable, and the place stays open late. Sure, this Seattle staple has been known to attract the post-bar crowd who have perhaps had a few too many potent Northwest brews, but it also serves as a quick day-time treat for everyone from young families to long-returning fans. (Dick's recently enjoyed time in the limelight in a Macklemore video.) (206-323-1300, 206-634-0300)
Opened in June of 2013, Stoneburner made waves as the latest project from local restaurateurs James Weimann and Deming Maclise. The warm and inviting 120-seat venue, named for Bastille's executive chef Jason Stoneburner and located at street level in the posh Hotel Ballard, honors "the varied cooking styles of the Mediterranean and the natural bounty of the Pacific Northwest with a focus on stone hearth cooking." Guests can inquire about private dining options in the restaurant, and the Olympic Rooftop Pavilion provides a stunning event space atop the hotel that you won't want to miss. Chefs here dedicate themselves to using farm fresh and artisan foods, "showcasing the best of the Northwest with local fish, shellfish, meats and seasonal vegetables." Think pizza, pasta, small plates and brunch dishes you won't soon forget! ((206) 695-2051)
What was formerly known as Bimbo's Bitchin' Burrito Kitchen has toned down its name, gained a little more space and become a 21+ only establishment. What hasn't changed, however, are well-proportioned tacos and quesadillas, not to mention unbeatable guacamole and a famous herb-roasted chicken burrito plus, cumin-lime sour cream makes everything even tastier. The eatery also features an array of hot sauces for you burrito (from mild to smoking' hot), and the funky hangings on the wall will keep you entertained while you await your food. Add a house-made margarita or a Negra Modelo, and you've got a great meal. However, if you get a little grief from the servers, don't be put off. It's part of the restaurant's signature attitude. (206-322-9950)
It won't take much time here in Seattle before you hear about this popular Pioneer Square outpost. For great Italian sausages, salamis, meatballs, or pork, try Salumi, whose name means "dry-cured meat" in Italian. Meats can be purchased individually as an entree or by the pound as deli take-away. If you prefer a lighter, less meat-intensive meal, order a salad, vegetable dish or one of their pastas. A comfortable interior with tin ceilings and wooden floors makes guests feel at home, as does a large communal table where guests can share conversation with their meals. Wine is available by the glass or bottle. (206-621-8772)
Located in the heart of Seattle's Belltown, Pintxo (pronounced peen-cho) proves the perfect place to begin a night on the town or to spend an entire evening indulging in delicious fare in a welcoming, intimate space. (The Crocodile is located directly across the street, making this hidden gem an ideal spot for a pre-show bite and glass of housemade, fruit-infused sangria.) This modern tapas bar features Spanish-inspired plates and an amazing selection of hand-crafted specialty cocktails as well as Spanish wine, liquor, beer and cider. Working in Pintxo's food truck-sized kitchen, and without a gas grill, Chef de Cuisine David Haight and Sous Emelio Sansone magically concoct flavorful dishes that place an emphasis on the region's bounty–especially taking advantage of local seafood finds. Try tasty dishes like bacon-wrapped dates, patatas bravas, lamb kefta sliders, octopus skewers, pan-roasted pork tenderloin and house-cured King Salmon. While most food is sourced locally, some ingredients like the Spanish cheeses and Jamon Iberico de Bellota help create traditional dishes coveted for centuries by diners in Spain and Pais Vasco (Basque Country). (2064414042)
About Corinne Whiting
Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's backpacked around Australia, taught English in Argentina and explored (so far!) countries from Cambodia and Egypt to Turkey and China.
Corinne served as associate editor at Where magazine for five years; as a freelancer, she now writes for publications like National Geographic Traveler and Amtrak's OnTrak. Here in the lovely Northwest, she's attempting to debunk the rain myths, up her coffee and live music quotient and find her Zen near/on the water.
Read more about Corinne Whiting here.
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