A Local's Guide to Seattle's Best Restaurants, Cafés & Bars

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Fora Author Fora

The Modern Travel Agency


    We love our global community of advisors, and we especially love when we can take advantage of their local expertise for the best in-the-know recs. (We’re spoiled, obviously.) We recently tapped into three Fora Advisors from Seattle for their tips on where to eat and drink in the Emerald City. 

    Ready to travel? Connect with Fora to plan and book your Seattle escape today.

    Seattle's best coffee spots 

    For those looking for a classic, old-school Seattle coffee shop, pro Fora Advisor Rick Szeto recommends Espresso Vivace, located in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood. He explained that it’s his go-to for beans (sounds like a great souvenir to us). In the café, he said to be sure to check out the "White Velvet" if you like mochas.  

    Rick also loves Milstead & Co., located in the Fremont Neighborhood. The café features a rotation of curated beans from different roasters. You can request from their menu of beans / roasters, or they will select the best one that suits your drink order. 

    Fora Advisor Stephanie Morgan recommends Sidekick Coffee — about 30 minutes outside of Seattle, in Woodinville — an Instagram-worthy café with indoor and outdoor dining and delicious breakfast sandwiches (always a plus). 

    Seattle's best restaurants

    For elevated Italian in a cozy, romantic setting, Rick recommends Spinasse. His menu picks: the butter-and-sage tajarin and the rabbit meatballs. He also notes that rezzies here are a must. Rick told us that Rockcreek is the local go-to for the freshest seafood (and the best beignets). Homer is great for a Mediterranean feast — “You’ll want to order one of everything,” Rick says — while Sushi Kashiba is great for traditional omakase. 

    And if you like Thai food, especially phad see ew, Rick recommends Manao Thai. Another top Thai pick is Fern Thai Eatery & Bar, which, per Fora co-founder Henley Vazquez, is fun, casual and delicious, with a great local crowd to boot. And for excellent Vietnamese, Henley says you must visit Monsoon Seattle. One side of the restaurant is more of a casual café, while the other side (where the bar is located) is ideal for date night, she says. If you’re going for dinner, Henley says to ask for a table on the latter side. 

    Fora Advisor Mary Mays loves Serious Pie for some serious pizza (she loves their crust), and Daniel’s Broiler-Downtown for a hearty steakhouse meal. Speaking of pizza, Henley fell in love with the delightfully dive-y Dino’s Tomato Pie. “I would pass many, many rainy nights in a booth here if I lived in Seattle,” she says.

    Craving more pizza? (Always.) Stephanie recommends heading to Woodinville for Ballard Pizza Company. She says to grab a beer, sit outside and watch the Little League and adult rec sports teams play at the Woodinville Sports Fields. Ballard’s also great for families, she says: there’s a brand new outdoor play space for kids.

    Ballard also happens to be located in the buzzy School House District, a hub of wine tasting rooms and fun restaurants and cafés. Stephanie recommends Walla Walla Steak Co., also in the School House District, for a solid dinner with cocktails.

    For an exquisite nine-course, farm-to-table meal in Woodinville, you can’t go wrong with The Herbfarm, Stephanie says. Her pro tip: don’t miss the nearby wine tasting room Chateau Ste. Michelle, where you can explore the grounds and catch an outdoor concert in the summer.  

    Back in Seattle, for a delicious breakfast that sticks to your bones, head to Henley’s pick, Biscuit Bitch, for the “best sausage and gravy biscuits, served with a side of insults.” Her advice? Put in your order and walk around the market while you wait. (This place gets pretty busy, especially on the weekends.)

    Seattle's best bars

    Rick, Mary and Stephanie all recommend Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi, a sleek and sexy rooftop lounge & restaurant perfect for cocktails (or a stellar meal) with a view. And don’t miss Canon, a cozy, award-winning whiskey bar perfect for a nightcap, Henley says. Although, be prepared to wait, she advises. (The space is tiny.)

    For expertly crafted cocktails right below Pike Place Market, Rick recommends ZigZag Café. Another favorite is Foreign National Bar. "This is the place I tell all my out-of-town cocktail-loving visitors to check out. Try the wasabi martini!" he says. We're already there.

    Where to stay: Kimpton Palladian Hotel

    Image courtesy of Kimpton Palladian Hotel

    Seattle isn’t lacking in hotels. And if you’re a fan of all things Kimpton (duh, we are), there are three to choose from. But Henley’s go-to is the Kimpton Palladian, the most boutique of the bunch. It’s a quick walk from Pike’s Place Market and close to all the city’s sights, sounds and tastes (the alliteration really fell apart here). 

    You can’t go wrong with any of the rooms, either. Even the entry-level kings have desks for remote work (no need to Zoom from bed). However the pick of the litter goes to the Spa Suites, which have separate living areas, partial water views and soaking tubs. 

    Fora Perks:

    • $50 hotel / resort credit.

    • Welcome amenities.

    • Upgrade & late check-out whenever possible.

    Ready to travel? Connect with Fora to plan and book your Seattle escape today. 

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