There is nothing a native Californian living in Seattle likes to bemoan—besides, perhaps, our omnipresent gray skies—as much as the so-called lack of Mexican food. Ditto for New Yorkers and their bagels. And it’s pretty much the same for most people who grew up with a favorite hoagie or slice of deep dish or rib platter who now find themselves in the land of pho and smoked salmon.
It’s something Seattleites have long laughed off. Who needs all that stuff when we have chanterelles to forage in our backyards and oysters to pull from Puget Sound? Well, now that more than 60 percent of the city’s population is made up of transplants from elsewhere…we do.
As our population diversifies, so, too, do our tastes. But food memories are tricky. A favorite dish gets mixed up with nostalgia and sentimentality; it’s improved by our remembered experiences of another place and another time. Even Seattle’s amazing food scene can’t compete with that. In these pages, we celebrate the regional dishes—from Hawaiian plate lunches to New England lobster rolls—that may remind you of home. (Never mind that we still, inexplicably, don’t have a Tater Tot casserole or Kentucky hot brown or Boston cream pie to speak of.) You’ll find a common thread among many of the restaurateurs mentioned here: They, like you, missed the flavors they grew up with. Now, you can have a taste of your old home without having to leave your new one.
Plus: If you missed our March 2017 issue on the 45 Best Global Dishes in our increasingly international city, you can read the whole issue here.
Bookmark it: Find our dining coverage all year round here.