Sports fans won't want to miss this site: Husky Stadium, an outdoor football stadium on the campus of Seattle's University of Washington. Few sporting venues have been dropped smack dab in the middle of such stunning beauty; the stadium's located at the southeastern corner of campus, between Montlake Boulevard N.E. and Union Bay (just north of the Montlake Cut, an area that bustles with boats, kayakers and paddleboarders).
The stadium recently completed a $280 million renovation (begun in 2011), and now the structure's U-shaped design cleverly minimizes the glare from the early afternoon sun in athletes' eyes. The open end of the stadium overlooks scenic Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains (Mount Rainier included). Prior to the recent renovation, its total capacity of 72,500 made it the largest stadium in the Pacific Northwest (and the 23rd largest in college football).
Since 1920, the venue has hosted football games as the home of the Washington Huskies of the Pacific-12 Conference. The university also holds its annual commencement at the stadium every June.
Loyal spots fans work up an appetite during games; thankfully, nearby eating options abound. The closest restaurant choices can be found in the University District, while others extend across the bridge (in Eastlake) and a bit farther west in neighborhoods like Fremont. Whether it's good ole' pub grub or more exotic fare you're after, Seattle's dining scene never disappoints.
Westward & Little Gull
One of the city's thriving "hot spots," especially on sunny days, Westward is a water-inspired, full-service restaurant and bar that first opened its sails in the fall of 2013 on the north shore of Lake Union. Chef Zoi Antonitsas sends out delectable, innovative dishes that balance contemporary Northwest and Mediterranean flavors with an approach called "natural and continually evolving, reflecting the simplicity of great products, fresh ingredients and the changing seasons. A wood-burning oven anchors the kitchen, and each seat in the restaurant boasts stunning views of the lake and cityscape. Outside, a large deck, fire pit and beach area provide the ideal vantage point for sipping cocktails in the warmer month or to snuggle under wool blankets (provided by the venue) in the winter. A 150-foot dock provides boat parking or a place to tie up kayaks while enjoying plates of oysters or creative cocktails. ((206) 552-8215)
Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung was founded in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1958 as a cooking oil retail shop, before transitioning in 1972 into a full-fledged restaurant. It has since become world-renowned for its soup dumplings and noodles, and Seattleites are thrilled to have two outposts of this delectable, raved-about restaurant here in their fair city. (The tradition of Din Tai Fung continues in global locations like Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Thailand.) Guests laud the shrimp and pork shao mai dumplings, as well as other, noodle and rice dishes. ((206) 525-0958)
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. (206-323-1300, 206-634-0300)
Serafina Osteria & Enoteca
Comfortable and unpretentious, Serafina has been a Seattle favorite for years. This charming outpost has become one of the main culinary draws of the Eastlake neighborhood, and the adjoining Cicchetti Kitchen and Bar is an excellent place for happy hour cocktails as a pre-cursor to your dinner. Serafina's cuisine draws on rustic traditions of the Italian countryside and is eminently satisfying. Representative dishes include buckwheat pasta, slow-cooked lamb shanks, braised rabbit, homemade veal meatballs, pumpkin-leek ravioli and a ragu of duck, veal, and pork. You'll also find steamed mussels, rich sausages and wild-mushroom risotto. Dessert options include a luscious chocolate-hazelnut torte, sweet profiteroles and a homey rhubarb crisp. (206-323-0807)
Chaco Canyon Cafe
These vibrant cafes in the U District and also West Seattle are set in a warm Southwestern decor; their mission is "to provide delicious organic sustenance for a wide variety of needs and individual tastes." The venue is proudly certified organic--and are 90-97% organic throughout the entire year. They feature a daily raw foods menu, composed of fresh organic produce, organic nuts, seeds, spices and oils the menu changes often and with the seasons. They also offer vegan sandwiches, several daily hot vegan soups, rice and quinoa bowls and a daily selection of vegan and wheat/gluten-free baked goods. Loyal customers also return for the "living juice," wheatgrass and smoothies. (206) 522-6966)
Ivar's Salmon House
On the north shore of Lake Union, not far from Husky Stadium, Ivar's Salmon House features a stunning cedar replica of a Northwest Native American Longhouse, complete with an open-pit Native American-style barbecue for preparing alder-smoked dishes. Highlightsgere include a welcoming, waterside setting filled with Northwest native art, décor and historical photographs, plus an outdoors patio and spectacular views of boats cruising Lake Union and Seattle's skyline. Fare served includes alder-smoked salmon, prawns, alder-smoked chicken and seasonal seafood specials, and folks love the great happy hour steals and well-loved family tradition of Sunday brunches. The outdoor Fish Bar offers casual lakeside dining or quick take-out food. (2066320767)
The Whale Wins
The Whale Wins is the latest restaurant from award-winning chef Renee Erickson and partners Jeremy Price and Chad Dale (renowned throughout Seattle, thanks to their other masterpiece, Ballard's acclaimed The Walrus and the Carpenter). At this welcoming Fremont venue, the culinary team draws inspiration from the cuisine of some of Erickson's favorite places in southern Europe and England, and they promise their "wood-fired, vegetable focused menu will feature the very best foods from local beaches, gardens and farms prepared simply and served casually in a lively, light filled, cottage-like space." Diners should expect ripe, seasonal vegetables, wood-oven fired meats and fish, and pickled treats in a bright, beautiful setting. ((206) 632-9425)
Taste of India
Slightly northwest of the University District, sports fans can sate their appetites at one of the city's best Indian eateries (arrive hungry, and you will not be disappointed!). 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. ((206) 528-1575)
Loyal patrons come to this intimate space in the University District for a unique dining experience (the venue is tiny!) and for the delicious food, cooked before diners' eyes in an open kitchen. Grab a seat at the counter to watch the enthralling action, as a chef or two juggle countless sizzles pans. Enjoy fried and fresh rolls, house special salads, spicy noodles, pad Thai, curries, cashew dishes and more. Thai Tom goes heavy on the spice; if you order more than a couple stars on the "hot" spectrum, be forewarned that you might soon be to breathing some fire. ((206) 548-9548)
Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club
This colorful waterside facility has widespread appeal. Focusing on organic ingredients, the cafe concocts flavorful Mexican eats like quesadillas, enchiladas and burritos, and it's also a popular happy hour spot. One of the specialties of the house is a spicy mole sauce served with various chicken and pork preparations, all of which are delectable. Live Latin music draws a crowd on Monday nights, when a $5 food / drink minimum is required. The adjoining paddle club offers the rental of single or two-person kayaks plus paddleboards for scenic excursions on Lake Union or Lake Washington. Come for the tacos and the margaritas, and stay for a whole lot more. (206-545-8570)
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.
Connect with Corinne via: Blog | Instagram