Visited Seattle last weekend in Nov. Had a nice time, wanted to report back considering how much research I did on here!
Cliff's notes – best things I ate:
Revel's korean short rib over rice, chimichurri (brunch)
Walrus & Carpenter's fried oysters
Besalu's ham/cheese croissant and plain croissant
Salumi (lunch): Flew in at 11am and was able to catch a late lunch at Salumi. Waited in line for about 15 minutes and they “insisted” that we take our food to go even though I spotted a table for two that was open. Tried the porchetta sandwich which was huge and filling, meat was very flavorful, bread was tasty. Also shared salumi + cheese + olive plate for 2 which was really REALLY tasty. Overall worth probably no more than a 15 min wait and quite expensive for what you get.
Walrus & Carpenter (pre-dinner snack): We got there at 4:45pm on a Friday and waited 10 mins for a table... I think we got there just in time because I noticed several parties waiting when we left. Conveniently, there is a cute bike shop nearly attached which serves wine, beer, coffee if you'd rather wait there. Because it was a pre-dinner snack, we ate lightly. Tried each raw oyster available, very fresh, a great accompanying minionette. Also tried the fried oysters which were AMAZING, hit of the meal! Batter was perfectly salty and a great alternative to the raw-aversed, although why would you come here? Lastly tried the fried anchovies which were accompanied by a very tasty pesto topping. Overall I would say a good spot for after dinner drinks and snack, menu was small. Space was very lovely.
Book Bindery (dinner): Space is very open, great for a quiet dinner out. Sat in the green house extension room which was nice to see the rain fall but not be in it! Overall, I felt dinner her was good, but coming from chicago, the level of execution and uniqueness was overall subpar to consider it a great dining experience. There were moments that had a lot of potential. Amuse bouche was a seasonal cider/squash soup, a bit too sweet but inviting. Tried the heirloom tomato salad which I felt was my favorite thing (aside from dessert), mainly because I felt there was something daring to be different on the plate. The tomatoes were def from some garden just that day but the horseradish panna cotta on the plate was really amazing! I was afraid it would be too strong but it successfully brought the flavor of horseradish without the burn. For dinner I had a rack of lamb which was cooked well but accompaniments were forgettable. The rest of the table tried items I felt were good but again nothing really great of new or different to literally write home about. For dessert, we tried the pumpkin cheesecake which was simple but really tasty, I ate every bite. I would not return and not sure I would recommend to other visitors because I feel I've eaten at this restaurant in any other great food city.
Pike Place Market (breakfast): Not sure if I came too early or maybe I didn't find anything appetizing enough.. but just slim pickings. I really wanted to try Pike Place Chowder but they don't open until noon, so I opted for 1) BBQ pork bun from Mee Sum which was just okay. 2) Everything bagel from Seattle Bagel which had really amazing whipped cream cheese. 3) mixed bag of donuts from daily dozen which I wouldn't return for.
Revel in Fremont (Brunch): Showed up at 12:45 and waited 5 mins for a table. Space is awesome, open kitchen and smells delish! Best thing I ate in Seattle was the korean marinated short rib over rice, with chimichurri and a fried egg. The meat was just amazing! Tender, perfectly cooked and garnished with some light salt on top. The chimichurri which I believe is house made was just icing on a cake – tasted amazing, I was trying to break down the ingredients to see if I could recreate this. And throw an egg on top and everything is what it should be :) We also tried the crab egg foo young which had nice chunks of likely blue crab, a bit on the salty side. Lastly tried the ramen which was a bit forgettable but not bad. Would def recommend this spot, takes korean food and takes it up a notch.
Theo's Chocolate factory tour: luckily, Theo's was around the corner from Revel and we had made reservations on line ahead of time. Definitely a fun experience!! Tons of tasters throughout, learned a lot about chocolate and seems like they are trying to really do well with the organic/free trade chocolate movement. Would definitely try to go if you're in the neighborhood.
Spinasse (dinner): So I totally expected a fine dining experience but probably should have noticed from the casual menu.. such a homey feeling restaurant, very rustic. Overall I think chowhounder's really talk this restaurant up.. I would say I get it, but perhaps this is the type of cuisine that really defines Seattle cuisine, very homey and very approachable. Amuse bouche was chicken liver mousse on toast which was delish. Our table ordered the tasting of appetizers which I think is a great way to try it all! The proscuitto was aged and saltily amazing. The anchovies were spot on. For dinner I couldn't get away from trying the well talked about Tajarin with ragu. Very delicate pasta coupled with very rich and complex ragu made it a great dish. Also tried a bit of the sage/butter preparation which I liked but glad I didn't get because a whole plate of it would have been too much. We ordered a side of the beets which I felt were just okay. Desserts were very light, order them!
Besalu (breakfast): amazing amazing, AMAZING! Hands down best croissant in the US for sure, almost like they baked them in Paris and shipped them over fresh :) Short line at 1030am. Fav was the ham and cheese croissant, but the plain with jam/butter was also delightful. Also tried the onion/gruyere quiche, apple galette and chocolate croissant – YOU CAN'T GO WRONG.
Although not a Seattle food experience, would like to give a shoutout to Seattle visitors to consider driving up 2 hrs north of seattle for dinner on Lummi Island at the Willows Inn – a truly exceptional dining experience and favorite of our trip (which I'll divulge upon in another forum.)
Thanks Chowhounders as always for the great recs!