Seattleites tasked with entertaining out-of-town guests bear the massive responsibility of planning a well-rounded Tour de Northwest – a challenging feat considering the area’s countless activities. Between sightseeing and outdoor marveling, local food tourism remains at the top of any visitor to-do list. Whether you’re hosting the in-laws over the holidays or expecting a long-distance friend for the weekend, make sure to pull out all the stops and hit all these must-see (or must-taste) spots.
Brunch at Portage Bay Cafe | Multiple locations
Start the day by making an advance reservation at Portage Bay Cafe. With four locations to choose from, you and your guests are covered no matter which corner of the city you’re in. Do note: menus and brunch hours vary by location (round-the-clock at the Ballard and 65th Street cafes, plus all day on Saturdays and Sundays and until 11:30 a.m. on weekdays in the U-District and South Lake Union). Satisfy your morning sweet tooth at the infamous breakfast bar or choose from a full menu of fresh, organic, hyper-local brunch favorites. Portage Bay also offers a kids’ menu for any youngins’ in tow, and adults can sip mimosas, handcrafted Bloody Marys, or a custom-roasted cup of local Fonte Coffee.
Northwest fresh at Matt’s in the Market | 94 Pike St | 206-467-7909
When you’re inevitably parading your guests through the Emerald City’s legendary Pike Place Market, rows upon rows of fresh seafood, produce, and pastry vendors are bound to tease your tastebuds. When hunger strikes, Matt’s in the Market is conveniently located (you guessed it) in the market, and it just so happens to be a hotspot for seasonal Pacific Northwestern fare. This means copious amounts of seafood, and of course as many mouthfuls of Market-sourced ingredients as possible. The unrivaled views of Elliott Bay and the giant Pike Place clock are the Rainier Cherry on top.
Family-friendly comfort at Cucina Americana | 9400 Roosevelt Way NE | 206-957-1333
North Seattle’s residential Maple Leaf neighborhood provides a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the greater downtown area. A hop, skip, and jump up I-5, Cucina Americana offers a cozy, peaceful, family-friendly refuge at lunch or dinnertime – the perfect atmosphere to unwind and enjoy intimate conversation without the urban white noise that engulfs other spots. The sister restaurant to Americana in Capitol Hill dishes out rustic Italian comfort food including hearty pastas and fresh focaccia to whet the whole gang’s appetites.
Slurp oysters at Taylor Shellfish | Multiple locations
No trip to Seattle is complete without heaps of fresh Puget Sound seafood, and Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar is sure to deliver on that front. Choose from three locations: Lower Queen Anne, Pioneer Square, or Capitol Hill, and sample oyster varieties exclusive to the Pacific Northwest. For groups with spare time for a day trip, a scenic drive to either Taylor Shellfish farm location near Olympia or Bellingham is another must.
Tequila flight at Agave Cocina & Tequilas | 100 Republican St | 206-420-8195
Look no further than Lower Queen Anne for the self-proclaimed largest selection of 100% agave tequilas in the Pacific Northwest. The best way to experience the jam-packed list of 150 tequila varieties is with any of eight curated tasting flights that touch on classics from crisp blancos to barrel-aged reposados. Celebrate into the night, because doors stay open late all week (and until 1 a.m. on weekends). Sop up the spirits with chips and housemade guacamole, or choose from a large selection of traditional Mexican favorites (including many gluten-free plates). For those venturing across Lake Washington, hit up the Issaquah Highlands location for more.