Foods You Must Try in Seattle

Shoppers pick up fresh produce at Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle
Shoppers pick up fresh produce at Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle | © Bryan Pollard / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Jacklyn Grambush
12 April 2021

Seattle’s cuisine reflects the city’s beautiful natural surroundings and its international population. When in town, check out these Culture Trip recommendations if you want to experience the best food in Seattle.

Seafood

Restaurant, Seafood, Vegan, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, American, $$$
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people wait in a long line to taste at the restaurant Pike Place Chowder which is very well known for their New England Clam Chowder in Seattle, USA.
Be prepared to wait in line at Pike Place Chowder | © Maria S. / Alamy Stock Photo

The port city of Seattle has the freshest seafood around. Either go straight to the docks to buy fish directly from the guys who caught it, or explore the wealth of restaurants that serve locally caught oysters, crab, sushi and chowder. Indeed, Pike Place Chowder is one of the few places outside of New England to win the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport, Rhode Island. Several times. However, if you’re only going to try one type of seafood in Seattle, make sure it’s the salmon.

Pho

Restaurant, Vietnamese
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2016.10.14.133502 Noodle soup beef Pho Bac Vietnamese restaurant Seattle Washington USA
Try the noodle soup beef at Pho Bac | © Historic Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Home to a large Vietnamese community, Seattle is well-stocked with Vietnamese eateries. The most adored dish throughout the city is pho, with restaurants like Pho 99, Pho Bac, and Pho Ba popping up all over the place to meet the demand. A delicious bowl of hot pho is all that the citizens of Rain City really want.

Chocolate

Patisserie, Dessert, Pastries, Coffee, $$$
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Fran's Chocolates in Seattle
© Darryl Brooks / Alamy Stock Photo

Fran’s Chocolates (famous for being one of Obama’s favorite dessert spots) was founded in 1982 in Seattle. The founder, Fran Bigelow, is credited for the renaissance of artisanal chocolate in the US. So, unless you’re part of the small percentage of people who don’t like chocolate, you’ll want to make a stop by one of Fran’s stores in Downtown, Georgetown, Bellevue or U Village.

Produce

Market, Street Food
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Pike Place public farmers Market Seattle
Tour Pike Place Market to stock up on fresh produce | © NiKreative / Alamy Stock Photo
With its temperate weather, fertile valleys and rolling plains, Washington State is an excellent place to grow delicious food. From grapes for wine to the well-known Rainier cherries, produce in Seattle is hard to beat. And, of course, don’t forget the apples. Crunchy, juicy and huge, the apples of Washington State make up 60 percent of the nation’s apple production.

Hom bow

Cafe, Chinese
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Iconic Chinese Restaurant in Seattle's Pike Place Market
© Evil Genius / Alamy Stock Photo

Hom what? Think pork or curry beef wrapped in a soft, toasted pastry. It’s beyond delicious. One of the best-known locations for this Chinese specialty is at Mee Sum Pastry in Pike Place Market, though Jade Garden and Yummy House Bakery in the International District are also great. You won’t want to miss out.

Coffee

Bar, Cafe, Market, American, $$$
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The very first Starbucks which opened in 1971 in Seattle, USA
The first Starbucks opened in Seattle in 1971 | © incamerastock / Alamy Stock Photo
Of course. In the city that brought you Tully’s, Seattle’s Best and Starbucks, you’ll find that coffee is a Seattleite’s main meal of the day. Try one of the independent roasters; you’ll have more options than you’ll know what to do with. The baristas tell you where the beans are from and the differences between them. In Seattle, coffee is an art, so don’t leaving without trying it.

Cupcake Royale

Bakery, Dessert, Pastries, $$$
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Assorted Cupcake Dozen
Courtesy of Cupcake Royale

This community- and sustainability-driven company was the first US cupcake bakery to open outside of New York City. Whether you love cupcakes or are keen to support green businesses, this is the place to check out. And you might as well try a cupcake (or 20) while you’re there.

Dairy

Cheesemonger, American, Vegetarian
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Mac and cheese samples from Beecher's Handmade cheese in Seattle, WA
© Vivian Chen / Alamy Stock Photo

There are tons of peerless dairy products to enjoy in Seattle, but definitely keep your eye out for Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (and their World’s Best Mac & Cheese), Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream and Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt.

Craft beer

Bar, Beer, $$$
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Bartender filling up a pint glass with craft beer
© Sunshine Pics / Alamy Stock Photo

As well as produce, Washington State grows excellent hops. In a city where “cool” means local, independent, small-batch and artisan, you know the craft beer is going to be exceptional. Plus, with the ever-increasing demand comes an ever-growing supply, so you’ll have lots of options to choose from. Or you could just try them all.

Fast food

Restaurant, Fast Food
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Fast-food fans should head to Dick’s Drive-In
Courtesy of Dick’s Drive-In

Yes, Seattleites may be health-conscious hippies who have embraced and expanded the farm-to-table movement, but they still love their fast food. Especially when it comes to Dick’s. This local fast-food-restaurant chain is cheap and open late. Dick’s has been around for so long that it’s become a Seattle staple so, no, locals won’t turn it down. They’ll just have to go to yoga twice tomorrow.

These recommendations were updated on April 12, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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