Where Seattle Chefs Eat

The experts tell us where they go when they feel like dining out.

Babe Shepherd
owner of Red Mill

What’s your favorite drink and your favorite place to drink it?
A Manhattan. My rule: “You should never have more than one.” The biggest (12 ounces!) and the best in the city? Canlis.

Best place for dinner?
Cantinetta
. A wonderful Italian spot, and the owner [Randy Quarry] is the consummate bartender. A great place for singles to sit at the bar.

Late-night dining?
Cheeseburger, fries and a small Coke at Dick’s! I hope that nobody recognizes me when I go!

What do you crave when you return home from a trip?
Cedar-planked salmon with red pepper and beurre blanc with little potatoes and focaccia at Chinook’s. The terminal with boats is a quintessential Seattle view.

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Jim Drohman
chef/owner of Le Pichet

What do you think is the best lunch in Seattle?
Formal sit-down lunches at Barolo for Italian hanger steak. They bring out sun-dried tomato and black olive tapenade with homemade focaccia to go with your apéritif, and they’re not surprised when you ask for a wine list on a Wednesday afternoon. Also, Il Terrazzo Carmine, a great business lunch place and one of the few places where casual Seattle still does a formal lunch.

What’s the best thing to eat at Pike Place Market?
Toasted whole wheat bread at The Crumpet Shop with butter and honey. Gelato at the Bottega Italiana. Little green bottles of house white wine at The Pink Door. For a splurge: Chicken Valley’s mixed fried gizzards and liver.

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Jamie Boudreau

owner of the bar Canon

What’s your ideal Sunday-morning breakfast out?
Mistral
has a great brunch.

What’s your favorite drink and your favorite place to drink it?
The cocktail you want to drink at midnight on a snowy day is entirely different from the one you want on a hot summer day. But my fallback is American whiskey and a lager [what kind changes depending on where he is], at someplace close to home—Rob Roy in Belltown or Vessel downtown.

What do you crave when you return home from a trip?
The coffee in Europe doesn’t even come close to the coffee in Seattle, so I crave a high-quality shot of straight espresso: Caffé Vita (caffevita.com), first choice, then Stumptown.

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Shaun McCrain
chef at Book Bindery

Best places for lunch and dinner?
Serious Pie
, especially the clam and house pancetta pizza.

What do you crave when you return home from a trip?
Thai Tom
panang curry.

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Danielle Custer
culinary operator at Monte Cristo grilled cheese food truck

What’s your ideal Sunday-morning breakfast out?
Nobody on the planet has better pastries than Cafe Besalu. In the summer, buy the ginger biscuits to make your own berry shortcake.

What’s your favorite drink and your favorite place to drink it?
For a classic sip on the way home, a Negroni at Il Bistro; in that secluded, hip, Spanish-cave-like bar with sweet bartender David.

What’s the best lunch in Seattle?
Best recent bite/new craving is Dog Japon at Second and Pike (downtown). I didn’t quite know what the fuss was until I tried their numbers one, three and seven hotdogs. Start with the Matsuri with seaweed.

What do you crave when you return home from a trip?
Mixed barbecue pork at Kau Kau BBQ in the I.D.—perfect take-home. I crisp up and render the pork belly a bit, but the barbecue pork and ribs are perfect with their hot mustard and sesame seeds.

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Donna Moodie
owner of Marjorie Restaurant

What’s your ideal Sunday-morning breakfast out?
The brunch at Monsoon for Vietnamese and French influences (my 13-year-old can get French toast, and I can get oxtail). Or Noble Court for classic dim sum in Bellevue.

Late-night dining?
Café Presse
, Ba Bar, Momiji for late-night happy hour; pizza from Big Mario’s.

What’s the best thing to eat at Pike Place Market?
Matt’s in the Market
at the counter with a cocktail, adult tuna melts with high-quality tuna, good cheese, crispy bread.

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Ericka Burke
chef/owner of Volunteer Park Cafe

What is your favorite date-night restaurant?
Canlis
—dark, warm and sexy.

What’s the best thing to eat at Pike Place Market?
Piroshky Piroshky, the pierogi place.

What’s your favorite restaurant for going out with the kids?
Vios.

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Gordon Wishard
owner/chef of La Medusa

What’s your ideal Sunday-morning breakfast out?
The Harvest Vine
for a glass of Cava, some Spanish tortilla, chorizo. For bakeries, the Columbia City Bakery tops my list; a ham and Gruyère croissant and some Herkimer espresso—perfect way to start the day. Maybe a blondie, too.

What’s your favorite drink and your favorite place to drink it?
The Skylark and the Beveridge Place. I gravitate toward a great beer or a glass of wine. Both of these places are comfortable and welcoming. The beer selection at the Beveridge Place is amazing.

What’s the best lunch in Seattle?

The Wandering Goose. The biscuit sandwiches are wonderful.

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Tyler Palagi
co-chef at Radiator Whiskey

Where’s your ideal Sunday-morning breakfast out?
The burger or eggs Benedict or the Kassler ham at Ma‘ono—and at least two Bloodies...it’s rare that I get out to brunch so I turn it into an event.

What’s your favorite drink and your favorite place to drink it?
I am a Manhattan drinker...but I crave a margarita at Poquitos. Manny [Arce] purchased some ridiculous high-pressure juicer, so all the drinks are made with super-fresh-squeezed fruit.

What’s the best lunch spot in Seattle?
Dot’s
! I usually get the Reuben, but any of the house sausages and frites are the sh**.

Where do you dine with kids/your family?
I have a 2-year-old son, so dining out is always an adventure! We keep in our ’hood and go for pizza and beers at Proletariat Pizza.

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Tam Nguyen

owner of Tamarind Tree

What’s your ideal Sunday-morning breakfast out?
New Hong Kong on Jackson Street for dim sum. They make their own dim sum. Soft tofu with shrimp on top, garlic spare rib, steamed sticky rice in lotus leave, and their egg tart with tea is the best.

What’s your favorite drink and your favorite place to drink it?
My favorite drink is white tea at the Panama Hotel, where you can find peace and reflect on everything around you.

Late-night dining?
Sea Garden in Chinatown; they are quick and have loads of comfort food until 3 a.m. Salted fish fried rice is best [he asks for extra fish]—so salty and so good for late-night craving!

What is your favorite date-night restaurant?
Serafina
on Eastlake Avenue, because it is so intimate and has wonderful food, especially their cozze affumicate and their pancia di maiale—to die for!

What’s your favorite restaurant for going out with the kids/family?
I love to take my nieces and nephews to B&O on Capitol Hill [which has relocated to Ballard] for their homemade cakes. They are so sinful, but the kids love it!

What’s the best lunch in Seattle?
Djan’s in Wallingford, right on 45th Avenue. Their pad thai is so flavorful, just like in Bangkok.

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Theo Martin

owner of Island Soul

Where’s your ideal Sunday-morning breakfast out?
Judkins [Street] Café.

What’s your favorite drink and your favorite place to drink it?
The Car Jammer (ginger beer, ginger vodka, grapefruit) at Lottie’s Lounge in Columbia City.

Where’s the best place to eat at Pike Place Market?
Steelhead Diner

What’s your favorite restaurant for going out with the kids/family?
Bent Burgers for the Superman Burger.

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Tom Douglas

owner of Tom Douglas Restaurants

What’s your ideal Sunday-morning breakfast out?
A sausage patty, sautéed spinach and nine-grain toast at Vera’s in Ballard with my daughter.

What’s the best lunch in Seattle?
Szechuan Noodle Bowl (Chinatown–I.D.) for pork and chai dumpling with spicy sauce and green onion pancake. Le Pichet “to get lucky.” The Pink Door for dates.

What is your favorite date-night restaurant?
Luc
in Madison Park for a more casual date night; Dinette at Denny and Olive—stuffed cabbage rolls and the chicken liver toast; Monsoon—anything.

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