Before we got to Seattle I quickly googled ‘good places to eat in Seattle’ and ‘good places to eat in Ballard’. The reviews and recommendations were a little overwhelming, so I jotted down a few names but decided to rely on word of mouth once we arrived and also for some of that satisfying stumble upon good luck. So here is my very brief, no photo review of some of the places we went. (By no means a list of where to go… just a list of where we did go.)
Lunch & Dinner
Mama’s Mexican Kitchen, Belltown
So we have just travelled for 16 hours away from Mexico and our first stop when we’re hungry, tired and in need of some cheap good filling food fast? Mama’s Mexican Kitchen. I’d been here twice before and I knew that it was good and cheap. But I hadn’t remembered how good and cheap. I ordered the Tofu Fajitas which were beyond amazing. Sizzling platter, mixed vegetables, generous amounts of firm tofu, beans, rice, the works. (To make it vegan, ask for no cheese on the beans and get guacamole instead of sour cream). Ivan ordered a huge burrito, and Mika nibbled on everything we gave her from our plates. The atmosphere here is like fun-house meets crazy relative’s living room meets bar meets mexico. It’s spot on awesome and the staff are fun and relaxed. Very baby friendly.
Jhanjay, Vegetarian Thai, Ballard
Since living in Mexico I’ve been missing Thai food and Indian food. Sometimes I just want to order some takeaways and watch a movie! We’d heard good things about this place and so one evening we decided to pop in. So glad we did! The staff were so sweet with Mika, cooing and talking to her plenty. We ordered a mild vegetable soup for her which she loved and Ivan and I shared a pad thai and vegetable stir fry. We polished everything off, it was everything I’d hoped for and more. My only regret is that we didn’t go back again!
India Bistro, Ballard
We met some friends here for dinner so I could get my Indian fix. The place looks pretty awful from the outside, but we walked past it everyday and it was always packed – definitely a sign of some good authentic indian food. The dinner was great – we ordered the Aloo Gobhi, the Saag Paneer and the Eggplant Bharta, the latter being my favourite. We actually came back here for their $7 buffet lunch special which I was nervous would be a real meat-fest. However I was pleasantly surprised to see that the majority of the buffet dishes were vegetarian! The only complaint here was that the waitress was a real bitch. We brought Mika along (obviously) and they had a highchair for her, but as Mika proceeded to drop broccoli pieces on the floor the waitress became uber bitch and couldn’t help expressing her disgust. Whatever. Good food though.
This place was described to us as ‘kind of a twist on korean food’, which to be honest, after a hot yoga class, was the last thing I felt like. My only experience of Korean food was definitely not something I felt like reliving. But wow. I am so glad that we trusted this particular recommendation and didn’t back out at the last second. This place was by far our favourite meal of the trip. We ate dishes with descriptions like ‘Hearts of palm, spinach, smoked peanut, miso vinaigrette’ and ‘Chick pea, roasted cauliflower, mustard yogurt’ and ‘Blackened tofu, king oyster mushroom confit, Chinese broccoli’ and Ivan drank a cocktail called ‘Ginger’s Revenge’ with Jim Bean, St. Germain, Canton Ginger, Lemon and Angostura Bitters. The atmosphere was funky and a bit loud, (say the people with the 1 year old mind you), and no-one batted an eyelid as I breastfed Mika in my chair. We even met a foursome from Vancouver who claimed to have come to Seattle just for the night to dine at this place. Go now!
Shiku Sushi, Ballard
Where do you go on a Friday night with your 1 year old baby in tow? To a bustling sushi restaurant and bar of course! (I kid). But seriously these guys were amazing to us. Mika was being fussy and a little destructive, our table was tiny and the place was packed. But still, the staff were cheerful and friendly, the atmosphere was jovial and the food was in.cred.ible. If it hadn’t been for Mika being quite exhausted we would probably have stayed and stuffed our tummies to the point of painful. We shared 1) Green Sea Monster Roll – Tofu and tempurad green onions topped with chopped tomatoes, jalapenos and seaweed salad. and 2) Veggie Delux Roll – Tempurad sweet potato, carrots, succhini, green beans, & asparagus w/ Kill sauce on side. The second one sounds better, but the first was SO much better. So, so good.
Root Table, Ballard
Another ‘fusion’ place, this place was cosy and earthy and quite romantic really. We ordered the root fries to keep Mika entertained, she loved them. The staff were so helpful and lovely to Mika. They helped us choose some amazing vegetarian dishes and they didn’t so much mind when most of Mika’s root fries ended up on the floor. Ivan indulged in some incredible cocktails (I know cause I sipped them) and the meals were huge.
Coffee, Tea & Snacks
Ballard Coffee Works
The coffee here is by far the best I tasted in Seattle. I don’t even know what coffee they used, I just know that my morning 8oz americano, enjoyed whilst watching Mika play around in the kids play-area, made me feel like everything in the world was joyous and wonderful. Mika and I came here most mornings for a quick coffee and a play – it was especially awesome when other wee kiddos were playing too!
Fresh Flours, Ballard & Phinney Ridge
French? Or asian? I dunno – but it’s beautiful. Croissants, yam wraps, macarons, green tea and adzuki bean muffins, Stumptown Coffee… Hence another place we visited often. No highchairs, but Mika was content with scrambling around the comfy bench seats.
The Dutch Bike Shop Cafe, Ballard
On the ground floor of the building Ivan spent 2 weeks in, this little cafe is so perfect. Their tag line is: beer, bicycles and wine and they’re actually a bike shop with a little cafe and bar. Perfection much?
Anchored Ship Coffee Bar, Ballard
Across the road from Fresh Flours in Ballard, this place is smaller and cuter and the guy who made our coffee was a sweet musician who’d spent some time in New Zealand and was hoping to make it to New Orleans. Good coffee, not Stumptown, but still good. They also serve little tiny chocolate espresso beans by the handful which delighted me. Not so much baby and pram friendly, although we sat outside a couple times and it was AOK.
Firehouse Coffee, Ballard
This place looked much too big and American to me at first. But it was just down the road from us and I had read online that it had an awesome kid’s play area. Woah baby, I’m glad we checked it out. They take their play area seriously, in an entirely separate room for the little ones, equipped with couches and tables for parents to sip coffee whilst keeping one eye on their bebes. Mika was in play heaven. The coffee was cafe Vita, which was good, not amazing, but good. Go here if you have kids. It’s actually cosy, despite how it may seem from the outside.
Bouteloua Bakery, Ballard
It was raining and we stumbled upon a vegan bakery of all places. A vegan bakery with a play area for Mika and a high chair and free wifi. They serve nice coffee with a huge variety of vegan milk choices (i didn’t sample any) and heaps of vegan baked treats. I actually shared the vegan Moroccan lentil soup with Mika and I had a chocolate croissant for dessert. Tasty. The soup was incredible and the coffee was just OK. Very cute place though.
Bluebird Microcreamery, Fremont
We finished our meal at Revel with an ice cream from Bluebird. The place is cute and dark and quiet. They serve vegan icecream which I sampled and Ivan had the snickerdoodle icecream in a waffle cone which tasted like christmas. Highly recommended.
Miro Tea, Ballard
They don’t serve coffee. I came here after I was seriously coffee’d out and Mika was well asleep in the stroller. I sat and drank a 20oz pot of herbal tea whilst reading my Walking Dead comic book. I wish I’d been hungry cause their treats looked delish. I also wish I’d come back cause their selection of teas was pretty impressive.
Local Color, Pike Place Market
Black bean and yam wrap with a black 8oz americano. Couches. Friendly and warm. Good coffee (especially Ivan’s soy latte…woah) and pretty tasty food. Mika loved the couches at the back. Lots of nice art on the walls.
Java Bean Coffee, Ballard
For real we weren’t even going to go in here. It looked…lame. But then we asked a dude on the street where the best place to get a coffee would be and he said ‘Java Bean’ and we squinted our eyes and looked at him good and hard and asked again ‘the best place?’ we asked, trying to determine if this guy knew good coffee or not. And he squinted right back at us and looked at us good and hard and said ‘oh wait, you don’t want a starbucks do you?’ and we relaxed and laughed and said ‘no!’ and he relaxed and laughed and said ‘oh good! so yeah, go to Java Bean’. So we did. And it was good. Reminded me a lot of ‘bean around the world’ in Vancouver. They sell eggel bagels and lots of slices and muffins and sweet breakfast type breads. Nice couches and nice staff.
If you have any recommendations or agreements or objections for Seattle dining or coffee, leave a comment!