We visited Seattle and Vancouver, two lovely cities in the Pacific Northwest in the summer of 2013 and had tons of fun sampling local cuisine and the very best that the cities had to offer. Post my return, I was hit by a tsunami of laziness which explains the sheer delay in posting anything about that trip. Of the million photos that we clicked and the memories that they capture, some of my favorite ones are of the restaurants, hole-in-the-wall to fancy shindigs we visited and the surprising culinary discoveries that we made. In case you are planning a trip there this spring/summer (the tulip festival can be a good excuse), here are some of my suggestions for having a great meal via this Pacific northwest food guide. We tend to eat more meat-free meals on the road, so I will duly point out those options for my vegetarian/vegan friends. Read my Pacific Northwest food guide to learn more and if you want to explore these cities more, here are two excellent 48 hours in Vancouver and Vancouver sightseeing guide to get you started!
PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOOD GUIDE: SEATTLE
1) Food tour
My number one recommendation to kick start this Pacific Northwest food guide would be to not miss a food tour of the Pike Place Market via Savor Seattle, at any cost! The Market is a cosmos of all things food, produce, meat and fish and one can get easily overwhelmed by its size and intricate labyrinthine layout chock full of stalls and eateries. The food tour is amazing,the tour guide is friendly and knowledgeable to the core to give you a sneak peek into the belly of the beast and tells you all the secrets of the market and where to find the best bites. Don’t miss Piroshky Piroshky and the adorable Crumpet shop (psst… read my blog on all our past food tours here). Lots of vegetarian/vegan options via the many eateries and juice shops and who can forget the world famous Washington peaches? Don’t forget to peek into the Original Starbucks store also known as the Pike Place Starbucks store when you are here.
Seriously, just go to the awesome London Plane on Occidental Plaza for a yummy British breakfast with an Indian flair. Part Cafe, part grocery and part florists, this cafe has a smashing interior and great food to match! Don’t miss their avocado toast if its still on the menu. Vegetarian/vegan options available.
Vegan alert: Chaco Canyon cafe (University District) has great vegan food, good enough to even make carnivores smile! check it out for a wholesome lunch that is light on the stomach. Another great find on this Pacific Northwest food guide.
Its a sin to leave Seattle without tasting some of their famous Pacific Northwestern catch that everyone raves about! Fish lovers head straight to the Westward, a restaurant every Seattle swears by for its Mediterranean inspired grub fashioned out of the freshest Pacific Northwest fare. Plus, it has a great view of the water thanks to being perched on one corner of North lake union. Vegetarian options are available although the food is mainly fish-centric.
Another excellent dinner spot recommended on this Pacific Northwest food guide is La Bodega (also known as Manu’s Bodega, named after the owner), a small Dominican cafe tucked away in a corner of downtown. Yummy entrees with rice and beans plus fresh juices here are an instant winner. Vegetarian options available.
A short ferry ride and you end up in Bainbridge island where the crab is the freshest, ever! Stop by some savory tarts and soup in one of their several cute cafes, especially if it is raining and you need something to warm up with!
Finally, and I have no photos for this meal, comes one of the best meals that I’ve had in this continent in the last 14 years, which is none other than what I had at Sutra, Seattle’s best vegan restaurant. Forget the vegan part, just go in to see the amazing creativity the chef unfolds with only plant based products and you will guaranteed relapse in a food coma of pure bliss! Comes with alcoholic/non-alcoholic drink pairing as an option and there is only one dinner time where everybody eats together in that tiny restaurant. A full 7-8 course meal is served, so come in hungry! Unfortunately, Yelp reports this place as closed, which is a great shame, but as per the website another restaurant named Harvest beat is in the works by the former owners, so look out for that one. Here are the latest updates.
PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOOD GUIDE: BRITISH COLUMBIA
Vancouver is an extremely expensive city to visit, so if you are looking to divert more moolah to your dining, here is an excellent guide on cheap hostels in Vancouver to save you some of that precious money and a guide to the best bars in the city where you can get a drink!
I will start off Vancouver’s edition of Pacific Northwest food guide with the number one spot here, which is Cafe Medina, the trendy hot-spot in downtown. Be savvy and line up early for their middle eastern fusion brunch, and don’t you dare pass up on their delectable shakshuka! Vegetarian/vegan options available!
Next comes the Eat, drink Canada pavilion at the Granville Island Public Market, a must visit for the serious gourmand! Don’t forget to sample some reds from Okanagan valley (BC’s wine country) while there. The food is great and meat-free options are available.
If you are in Canada, you my friend need to eat some Poutine! We stumbled upon a small joint selling this delectable french-canadian fare of french fries smothered with cheese curd and got vegetarian gravy instead of the meaty one.
Finally, if you are in the mood for some spicy ethnic eats, then stop by House of Dosas, which specializes in south Indian fare with some Sri Lankan specials. We loved our Biriyani (not vegetarian) and flaky Parottas there! But being a dosa place, several vegetarian options are available!
Vegetarians rejoice since Heirloom vegetarian restaurant is stuff culinary dreams are made of! Hip and trendy in decor and delicious in food, don’t give this place a miss and you will forget your love for meat!
The best eat at Whistler, the famous ski resort near Vancouver, was this wildly popular french crêperie named Crepe Montagne and I cannot rave enough about their buckwheat gallettes. Please, please, pretty please, just go get them! Vegetarian options available!
PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOOD GUIDE: VICTORIA
The capital of British Columbia, this charming town oozes of erstwhile British charm, so much so that their neat and tidy China town hosts one of the best tea houses ever known to any anglophile and is bound to warm the cockles of your prim and proper heart! I am talking about the beautiful Venus Sophia Tearoom and Vegetarian Eatery which is another must visit to take a tea break and enjoy their sweet and savory offerings, cucumber sandwiches and crumpets with clotted cream!
Two more spots where we dined, both being equally fabulous. First is the famous vegetarian/vegan restaurant Rebar with its kitschy decor (a huge vintage Bollywood poster screaming from its wall) and lip smacking vegan salads and bowls. A great place to grab some lunch.
Skinnytato Polish Restaurant was our proud discovery and we loved every morsel of the polish latkes and pierogis served in this family owned restaurant. There were lots of vegetarian options and dessert was yummy too. Unfortunately, this place appears to be closed for good, which is really sad since the food was so comforting and good! Here are some photos from those good times.
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