Seattle’s Food Scene Is at Your Fingertips

This month's Editor's Note from Rachel Hart

By Rachel Hart


February 5, 2019

This article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of Seattle Magazine.

This article appears in print in the February 2019 issue. Click here to subscribe.

One of my favorite foodie movie scenes is in Ratatouille, when a revered (and feared) restaurant critic takes a first bite of the titular dish. It transports him back to his childhood and his mother’s cooking, memories that reduce him to a puddle of emotions.

Sure, we’ve all had good food. But memorable food is transformative, drawing up memories from deep in the well, or, in the modern age, compelling us to share on our Instagram feeds.

In this issue, we introduce a new feature to our recurring lineup of expertly vetted and reported dining stories (Best Restaurants, Best Bakeries, etc.): 100 Best Things to Eat. Dining and lifestyle editor Chelsea Lin and frequent contributor Naomi Tomky, with the help of our food-savvy editorial team, have compiled the ultimate bucket list for diners in the Seattle area. The dishes on the list—organized by mealtimes (including happy hour!) and including the 16 essential Seattle dishes—are the ones we keep coming back to. These are the types of dishes that, when you first taste them, make you feel like you’ve uncovered a best-kept secret. Many of the dishes have put their restaurants on the map. And, lucky for us, they are almost always on the menu in Seattle’s rotating world of seasonal eating.

This month, the food on these pages will come to life at our 11th annual Seattle Wine and Food Experience (SWFE), where you can taste bites of many of them. Our stellar events team has expanded the experiences offered during this long weekend since we acquired SWFE three years ago from its founder and food and wine promoter extraordinaire, Jamie Peha. It’s now a multiday experience, with a different focus for each event. SWFE kicks off with a celebration of feel-good food and craft brews at Comfort on Thursday, February 21; Friday is Pop! (one of my favorites), which, as the name suggests, is all about bubbles (of the sparkling wine and Champagne variety) and seafood. The Grand Tasting on Saturday requires a road map to help you cover the vast amount of food experiences you can have here. I’m especially excited about the new Seattle magazine lounge at the Grand Tasting this year, where you can taste a selection of dishes from the story in this issue, including bites from Ba Bar, Copine, No Anchor, Off the Rez and Raised Doughnuts (oh, those tangy sweet raspberry doughnut holes!).

New to the SWFE weekend is Sunday Supper, on February 24. You’ll want to secure your tickets early as it will be a smaller, more intimate evening that brings together a handful of some of the hottest restaurants for a sit-down dinner; each chef will create a course that tells a story about that person’s journey as a chef. After dinner, you will be able to meet and mingle with the chefs at the after-party, with—you guessed it—more food. Late-night snacks and music into the night will wrap up the festivities. See more about this event here and visit for tickets and information on how you can win tickets to some of these events.

There are so many dishes I’m obsessed with in town (many of which ended up in this inaugural edition of the story), but the one that I always come back to is so simple yet impossible for me to re-create at home: the giant slab of bread at Brimmer & Heeltap. Butter, salt, pepper on a hearty rustic slab (and I mean a 3-inch slice) comes grilled to perfection and served with a serrated knife (you will need it). It will seriously tempt the most disciplined eater to stray from their no-carbs rule.

What’s on your list? Share it with us on Instagram and tag it #seattlemagbestthingstoeat.

Hope to see you in February!

Photography by Peachy Juban-Notter

Pastry: An Affair to Remember

Chef Ewald Notter of Dote Coffee Bar makes it easy to fall in love with pastry and chocolate

Most romances unfold in predictable ways. An invitation for lunch, where you share sandwiches in a loud café, silently wishing your bread was crisper, but never giving up on the idea that one day it might be. An awkward laugh as your fingers touch while you both reach across the table for sugar in that…

TRU2814675 homepage-min

Mix It Up. Try old-school cocktails this holiday season

These 10 drinks may not be on the menu at your local bar, but all pack a punch as well as some colorful history

Editor’s note: A version of this story previously appeared in “Seattle” magazine. Impress your guests this holiday season with these 10 concoctions from a vintage bar guide from Glenn Shaw Creations – supposedly from the 1950s – found in an antique shop in Olympia a few years back. Keep in mind that these drinks may…

image0 square-min

Sip, Slurp, Celebrate at Frank’s Oyster House

Let’s be Frank about Champagne

The best bubbles in Washington state may very well be found at an East Coast-style restaurant in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood. That, at least, is the opinion of The Champagne Bureau, USA, which has named Frank’s Oyster House and Champagne Parlor as one of the top 10 bars and restaurants in the nation for the quality…

The apiary at The Lodge at St. Edward State Park.

Seattle Buildings Just Let It Bee

There’s a buzz happening throughout the region

You know the Smith Tower as Seattle’s original skyscraper. You know that the 108-year-old, 38-floor tower was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi.   You may not be aware that the 22nd floor is now home to an apiary containing a thriving colony of thousands of honeybees. It is one of several apiaries located…

Diners have several outdoor options on Ballard Avenue Northwest, including at The Ballard Cut.

Dining In, Dining Outdoors in Ballard

Ballard restaurateur Tommy Patrick helped reimagine Ballard’s outdoor dining scene at the start of the pandemic, sparking a trend that’s likely here to stay

In a past reality that seems almost like a dream, Seattle’s outdoor dining existed only in the summer months, when we were all just happy to be in actual sunshine, even if it disappeared as quickly as the tables and umbrellas. Then, during the early days of the pandemic, dining stopped. Everything stopped. From a…

Cake_BlueberryChiffon_Whole copy Cropped-min

First Paris Baguette in Washington set to open in 2023

The quick-service restaurant is coming the the Pacific Northwest

Washington state’s first Paris Baguette quick-service restaurant is set to open in early 2023, courtesy of a local businessman and restaurateur hoping to recapture some of his past. Paul Liu, who immigrated to the Seattle area with his family from South Korea when he was 10, developed a fondness for the internationally recognized neighborhood bakery-café…