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Oh the Options

One of the major attractions that the city of Seattle has to offer is delicious food. Not only is the food absolutely scrumptious but there are also so many options! Since arriving, I have tried over 10 different types of cuisine. I came to Seattle favoring Mediterranean food above all else, but now I have a hard time saying what my favorite type of cuisine is. There are just too many to choose from: American, Caribbean, Chinese, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Mexican, Moroccan, Thai, Vietnamese; I’ve had it all these past 6 weeks! Not to mention the seafood is amazing; just thinking about the smoked salmon sitting in my fridge makes my mouth water. However, it was the happy hour culture that surprised me the most. Literally every restaurant has a few hours in the day when certain menu items and drinks are super cheap. As a frugal college student, the thought of getting dinner at a fraction of the normal cost had me sold.

Obviously I cannot mention every restaurant I have visited, but I did want to highlight 8 that were particularly memorable.


This Moroccan restaurant was where our second group dinner was held and my first time having Moroccan cuisine. I would definitely go again just for the experience. We did the 5 course dinner, which included soup, salad, bread, entree, and mint tea. The style of dining was very unique. First of all, we did not have chairs and instead sat on plush cushions. Secondly, we did not use utensils, which was challenging. I ordered the tagine of lamb with eggplant as my entree and stared at it with a puzzled expression when it arrived. How could I eat a stew with just my fingers? Well, I had no problem with it once I dived in. It was delicious, and I was very grateful that I had a warm towel to wipe my hands clean once I was done.

Portage Bay Cafe

Previously, I had never gone to a restaurant and wanted everything on the menu until I went to Portage Bay Cafe. When I opened the menu, I was incredibly overwhelmed by all of the options. I have been to brunch twice and have left stuffed and overjoyed both times. I definitely need to visit again before I leave Seattle. Another brownie point for this establishment is that all of the ingredients are locally sourced (they even have chickens next door where they get their eggs).

Jade Garden

I have been to this dim sum restaurant twice now: once for lunch after visiting the Wing Luke Museum and once for Sunday brunch with 3 other DukeEngagers. I haven’t always been a fan of dim sum, but this place convinced me of otherwise. The selection was impeccable, and the servers spoke Cantonese, Mandarin, and English (yay for no language barrier). We had no trouble leaving with our bellies full and satisfied that we ate at a very reasonable price.

Pike Place Chowder

This is another place that I have been to twice and can’t wait to go again. New England chowder in the Pacific Northwest you say? Well, they have won awards for their chowder at the Rhode Island Chowder Cook-Off. Bread bowl + clam chowder = yes please.


Wow another place I’ve been to twice. Hm, a trend no doubt. This Caribbean sandwich shop is cheap and has amazing sandwiches–so amazing in fact that they sell out some days. But luckily for me, I work within walking distance of this establishment!

Mama Melina

My mentor actually treated me to this Italian restaurant that is located in U District. The restaurant was surprisingly modern but still tasted like home-style Italian cooking. I loved sitting out on the patio, chatting with my mentor, and eating tasty Italian food (the linguine with smoked salmon & crab was amazing!).


Maneki is the famous traditional Japanese restaurant that was mentioned during our I District tour. We made sure to get there before our reservation since the restaurant is extremely popular and for good reason. I don’t think I’ve ever had a traditional Japanese dinner and really enjoyed the different courses that came with each box. Everything was presented so delicately and with care and of course tasted wonderfully.


A group of us were trying to find dinner downtown at 8:30PM on a Sunday, which is a very challenging task since most restaurants close early. We decided to splurge and dine at one of Tom Douglas’s establishments, Lola. The service was the best service I’ve had since arriving in Seattle, and the food was nothing short of spectacular. I absolutely love Greek food, so having yogurt and dill cover my food was perfection.

I feel very fortunate to have had the time to explore so many different restaurants. I wish I could rave about all of them, but I’m sure that would be a bit much for anyone to read. As a last note, I am also amazed by the multitude of healthy local restaurants that cater to vegetarians and even vegans. Coming from The South and from a culture where eating meat was once a sign of wealth, I have not encountered a lot of restaurants that have many vegetarian options. So seeing and dining at eateries that are solely vegetarian is totally new for me. I also love that most if not all of the restaurants in Seattle serve food that is grown locally. This ties back to my placement site, where we strive to provide fresh, nourishing, organic, and healthy food to those who cannot afford it or don’t have access.


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This entry was posted on July 31, 2012 by .
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