Food Fanatic Road Trip: Seattle

Seattle restaurants are redefining what it means to be a local food scene.

Seattle is redefining what it means to be a local food scene. Small box concepts are the norm, focusing on organic ingredients and scraping up everything nose-to-tail. Its coastal location allows for daily, fresh-off-the-boat seafood while the temperate climate is prime for fresh produce and a growing wine industry.

Make sure your bucket list includes pastries from Dahlia Bakery, fresh oysters at The Walrus and the Carpenter, and a tasting menu experience at Canlis because this 64-year-old temple of fine dining still deserves every accolade. Always save room for a sandwich from Cure and head down to Discovery Park.

Indie coffee shops abound, but it’s still worth a visit to the birthplace of coffee giant Starbucks at the iconic Pike Place Market. You’ll find a year-round farmers market featuring everything from small cider producers to mushroom foragers and niche, organic produce. Best of all, you can check out not one but four seafood markets inside, including Pike Place Fish Market, renowned for its humorous sideshow antics. And don’t go home without trying the ridiculously good mini Daily Dozen Donuts fried right in front of you.

Let’s face it: Food industry people love to eat out. So if you really want an in, just bump fists with your fellow chefs. There is an unspoken camaraderie and graciousness when industry pros visit. 

drawing of Chef Rob JohnsonJohnson’s Picks:

Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse
Amazing beer and amazing food—what more could any human want? If you’re lucky, your visit will land on a Thursday night when a cask-conditioned ale is tapped.

Le Petit Cochon
Chef Derek Ronspies’ six-course “Swine Dining” menu will bring out the pig connoisseur in anyone. Polish it off with a foie gras hot chocolate served with fresh doughnuts and consider yourself officially stuffed.

drawing of Chef Aaron WilliamsWilliams’ Picks:

The Walrus and the Carpenter
In a word, fun. Great fun, from the killer oyster bar to the creative yet simple takes on seafood. Chef Renee Erickson and his team deserve every accolade they’ve received and then some.

Kukai Ramen & Izakaya
Get ramen just the way you want it with customizable bowls, from the texture and firmness of noodles to the level of broth richness.

drawing of Chef Perry CanestraroCanestraro’s Picks:

Wild Ginger
This Southeast Asian landmark restaurant is still kicking among tourists and locals alike. The satay bar is one of the best seats in the house to get a taste of everything from fragrant duck to Vietnamese Hawker-style beef to princess prawns.

Radiator Whiskey
This Pike Place Market spot features everything that is right in this world: a bar dominated by a huge oak barrel and a small-batch bourbon list, smoky meats, lots of pork and slow-cooked beef.

The Food Fanatics

Chefs love nothing more than hitting the road and checking out the local food scene. Aaron Williams of Los Angeles, Perry Canestraro of Baltimore, and Rob Johnson of Oklahoma City are Food Fanatics chefs for US Foods who recently descended upon Seattle. Williams digs the weather (really), Canestraro can’t get enough of the mountains and ocean, and Johnson is smitten with the Freemont Troll.