In Seattle, KeyArena at Seattle Center serves as a hub of activity (think concerts, sporting events plus annual festivals of music, food and culture). In fact, some say that if you visit only one spot in Seattle, the Seattle Center should top your list. Here visitors find 74 acres of parks, sculptures, fountains, cultural venues, restaurants and entertainment for all ages.
This venue, the site of the Seattle World's Fair in 1962 also known as Century 21 Exhibition, features an exciting. eclectic mix of 1960's 'futuristic' structures next to public art objects such as a Native American Totem pole, Modernist art mural, gigantesque Calder abstract Eagle sculpture and extreme architecture by renowned Frank Gehry. In warmer months, music lovers flock here for alfresco concerts under the Space Needle, which is a popular attraction any time of year. (An on-site food court offers casual, quick eats.)
After a long day of getting one's fix of art, music, sports and culture, however, folks leave here hungry. Lucky for foodies of all degrees, countless dining options exist in the streets and neighborhood surrounding Seattle Center. While Lower Queen Anne offers several options, some of the city's most popular eateries can be found in the nearby Belltown and downtown zones. Culinary stars like Tom Douglas have set of many downtown outposts (like Lola, for example), meaning good eating is never hard to find.
Morton's, The Steakhouse
Tuxedo-clad waiters set the tone for a Midwest classic that's staked a claim in the Northwest. Known for beautiful tableside presentations (yes, that's a live lobster on the cart), this steak house is famous for its 24-ounce porterhouse and its generous, hearty portions. Sides must be ordered separately at an additional cost, and the menu offers seafood, chicken, and veal for those who don't relish red meat. More than 175 wine complements are available as well--the perfect complement to a delicious meal. Expectedly, the atmosphere is plush, and Sinatra croons romantically in the background to add to the whole experience. (206-223-0550)
The Pink Door
Funky and hip, this Italian eatery features rustic food and boasts live entertainment in the adjacent lounge. The interior has a certain bohemian charm, but the best area to dine is on the rooftop deck, which affords a magnificent view of Puget Sound. To start a meal, begin with bruschetta or the antipasto plate of savory morsels. Entrees, then, include Tuscan grilled chicken, gnocchi with wild mushrooms, roasted pork loin, and Muscovy duck. You'll find, in fact, a range of pastas and, also, a daily risotto special that's usually a great bet! Comforting desserts include such fare as bread pudding and apple crisp. (206-443-3241)
Intimate, romantic and adorned with Renaissance artwork, Assaggio brings you the best of Italy without your ever having to leave Seattle! Owned and managed by Mauro Golmarvi, the restaurant guarantees diners the best Italian fare. The menu offers a range of pasta, chicken, veal and seafood entrees (among other options), but must-try dishes include pappardella bosciaola (pasta flavored with mushrooms, Marsala and Barolo wine) and agnello osso buco, the traditional favorite made with lamb instead of veal. Marco's frequent trips to Italy also ensure that a wealth of Italian wines are available to complement any dish, so be prepared to get wined and dined. (206-441-1399)
In the mood for Italian? This large enterprise boasts a number of venues within its boundaries which will undoubtedly serve all tastes. One station offers bread and sandwiches, another vends pastas and pizzas, and there's also a small cafe and a sit-down restaurant that adds a note of sophistication to the whole complex. Depending on which area you choose, you'll find a masterful selection of antipasti, pizzas, sandwiches, soups, and risottos. Plus, the lobster ravioli is superb, as is the seashell pasta with chicken, cheese, and broccoli. The venue's Festa Regionale program features different regions of Italy each month; find the rotating info online. (206-264-0994)
Owned by football player-turned-restauranteur Tom Douglas (who reigns over a culinary empire of sorts in this city), this hip downtown dandy is a favorite of everybody from the happy hour crowd to night owl diners. Entrees include pan-roasted quail, sheep's milk ricotta ravioli, and Sara Joe's organic pork loin, served with sauteed greens and mustard fruits. If you're so inclined, opt for something straight off of Douglas's famous apple wood grill menu; you can't go wrong with the Copper River sockeye salmon, Idaho trout or rib-eye steak, served with Walla Walla onion. Reservations accepted for parties of six or more. (206-448-2001)
Daniel's Broiler - Lake Union
Daniel's Broiler is an attractive restaurant with wonderful food and great views of Lake Union, located near the brand-new MOHAI museum and the wooden-boat dock. (Find the restaurant between the bustling South Lake Union zone and residential Eastlake.) Daniel's serves only USDA prime steaks, and the venue won the OpenTable Diner's Choice award in 2012. Their amazing selection of steaks is complemented by seafood choices, fresh vegetable sides, appetizers as well as memorable desserts and after-dinner drinks. Patrons enjoy live piano music Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 11 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 8 p.m. until midnight. (2066218262)
If zesty food, full-flavored and rich, constantly tempts you, Cactus stands poised to satisfy the craving. You should be prepared to wait a bit when you go, especially during the week at lunchtime when the Amazon employees descend, but the food is worth it! Offerings are consistently good and inventive. The menu is full of well-prepared delights, such as carnitas, tamales, fajitas, and pork steak adobo. You'll also find a great selection of tapas items, which could satiate your appetite on their own. The festive atmosphere adds to the good mood, and the staff is helpful and friendly too. While you wait, try a mojito! (206-324-4140)
In Belltown, Ethan Stowell has done it once again by wowing diners at his Italian gem Tavolta. Here, pasta reigns--from rigatoni to casarecce, conchiglie to linguini. A restaurant whose name means "to gather around a table," Tavol?ta is an ideal space for large parties and private events. Monthly Sunday Feast dinners mean four-course family meals served at the communal table (that seats up to 26 diners), perfectly embodying the venue's philosophy. Enjoy nightly happy hours (from 5 to 7 p.m.) as well as dishes like brushcetta and salumi boards to start, rigatoni and potato gnocchi for pasta dishes, salmon and beef short ribs as entrees and grilled carrots as a side. (206-838-8008)
Sophisticated yet unpretentious, this popular destination in downtown Seattle envelops diners with soft jazz and rich, muted surroundings. Asian inspiration and fresh ingredients from the Northwest collaborate on a menu where everything sounds tempting. The restaurant's signature goat cheese, which figures into several dishes, is made on-site. Look, too, for Thai wood-smoked duck salad, crostini with white Spanish anchovies and olives, Asian shrimp dumplings, salmon, and crab cakes. Save room after the meal; you'll also find a range of fabulous desserts, including pear tart with dark caramel and white chocolate coconut cream pie. Dahlia also offers an impressive wine list. (206-682-4142)
This upscale dining room downtown serves inventive Greek cuisine. Making an excellent starter, pita bread is served with your choice of spread, like roasted sweet red pepper, barrel-aged minty feta or skordalia. Meze, such as grilled octopus and dolmades with rice, and a variety of kabobs appear on the menu, and Lola doesn't skimp on main courses either. Offerings vary but may include a tagine of stuffed artichokes, avgolemono and saffron couscous or a whole fish with pickled green garlic and herbs. Happy hour happens Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.; find specials on beer, cocktails and snacks like spicy smoked oysters. (206-441-1430)
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