Have one too many summer guests asked for coffee at the “original” Starbucks and dinner at Sky City?
There’s a certain pleasure in visiting tourist mainstays — it’s fun to see them through a guest’s eyes for the first time, even if it’s the twentieth for yourself. But when you and your guests are making dining plans, don’t forget all the newer places to eat and drink and enjoy Seattle, fresh enough to be local favorites and classic enough to go on future travel-guide lists.
Here are five places to add to the modern tourists must-see eats:
Old: The “original Starbucks” at Pike Place Market (1912 Pike Place) with its mermaid logo and lots of souvenir travel mugs.
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New: Rachel’s Ginger Beer at Pike Place Market (1530 Post Alley) with its fresh, zingy, locally-made soda. Drink it straight, as part of an ice cream float made with Cupcake Royale flavors, or in a cocktail like the Dark & Stormy made with ginger beer and rum. Missing the souvenir cups? Rachel’s sells and ships the copper mugs used for their Moscow Mules.
Old: Ray’s Boathouse and the more casual Ray’s Cafe (6049 Seaview Ave. N.W.), featuring seafood and a picture-perfect view of Puget Sound. The boathouse recently got a sleek remodel and spiffy new bar.
New: Westward & Little Gull Grocery (2501 N. Northlake Way). The Northwest-Mediterranean restaurant features views of Lake Union and the city skyline, with the laid-back oyster bar and grocery next door. Their deck has Adirondack chairs and, for cooler weather, a fire pit. Reality TV fans might recognize chef Zoi Antonitsas’ name from “Top Chef”; locals remember her more for her sublime cooking at Madison Park Conservatory.
Old: Watching the flying fish at Pike Place Market. The theater never gets completely old, but how about …
New: Seeing the super-swift shuckers at area oyster bars. The Seattle area is home to national champions who can speed their way through the local harvests, including Jorge Hernandez at Elliott’s Oyster House (1201 Alaskan Way) and David Leck at The Walrus and the Carpenter (4743 Ballard Ave. NW).
Old: Tillicum Village tour (starting at Pier 55 on the waterfront.) A 4-hour experience ($79/adults, $30/kids ages 4-12) includes an Argosy cruise to Blake Island, steamed clams, a buffet featuring salmon baked on cedar stakes over an alder wood fire, plus performances and stories on Northwest tribal culture. Pioneering Northwest chef Christine Keff recently became the executive chef of the Argosy cruise line, including the Tillicum menu.
New: Theo Chocolate factory tour (3400 Phinney Ave. N.): As a working factory, the Theo tour is a little different depending on the day and time and what equipment might be in use, but the guides have been unfailingly lively and informative on my three (!) recent stops with guests, entertaining every visitor from a 7-year-old (the minimum age recommended) to his grandmother. By the end, you’ll have a basic understanding of the bean-to-bar chocolate-making process, a sense of the company’s ethics and environmental goals, and the opportunity to nibble as many chocolate samples as even a Willy Wonka-loving kid could consume. Cost: $10, now including a wrapped tour-labeled chocolate bar, reservations recommended.
Old: Sky City at The Space Needle. It’s hard to beat the view when drinking and supping from 500 feet in the air in a revolving dining room, but the $35 minimum dinner charge per guest can send you back to earth.
New: Marination Ma Kai (1660 Harbor Ave. S.W.) For a different sort of dining in motion, take the King County water taxi from downtown to Alki Beach, where your group can order a round of kalua sliders and kalbi beef tacos at $2.50 apiece while drinking in specials from the full bar — along with a stunning view of the water and the Seattle skyline, that very Needle included.
Rebekah Denn writes about food at seattletimes.com/allyoucaneat