My family and I have been visiting Pike Place Market for many years now and have a love of this iconic Seattle spot. And although it’s considered a touristy place to visit, it’s also frequented by locals because its offerings are so incredibly wonderful and the long established businesses are beloved. If you visit, you’ll find a mix of brick and mortar shops and restaurants as well as farmer’s market style vendors that set up shop early each morning in temporary open air market spaces. Visiting the market is such a fun way to spend any time of the day, taking your time to meander the many levels, hidden hallways, and tucked away gems. At first glance, some of the shops look like grab-and-go only, but actually offer luncheonette spaces tucked away to sit and enjoy a bite to eat. Because it can tend to be crowded much of the year, some people speedwalk the main floor of the market, just trying to make it from one side to the other. I recommend mentally gearing up for the crowds, taking your time, and exploring each of the different areas as if you’re out for a happy little sailing and exploring adventure rather than as a barge plowing its way through with nothing but the end in sight. Over the years, I’ve established my favorite spots for many different foods the market has to offer and thought it’d be fun to share them with you.
Le Panier is a French bakery offering beautiful breads, sweets, pastries, and sandwiches. I have fond memories of the period of time Colin was working in Seattle every week, staying at the Inn at the Market, and coming down to read the paper and have a warm croissant each morning while he was at work.
Piroshky Piroshky is a tiny Russian bakery that cranks out the tastiest sweet and savory piroshkies, which are hand pies. I can’t say enough about how delicious these little babies are, and if the constant line outside the door is any indication, I’d say a lot of others agree. My favorite piroshki is the savory style cabbage and onion. Try one of your choosing, warm from the oven, and you’ll have a happy day.
Crab cakes at Etta’s are a must. If you’re a crab cake fan or if you’ve never tried one, make Etta’s your first because it’s really the standard for the best crab cake. Etta’s is one of the restaurants created by the famous Tom Douglas, who I think must be one of Seattle’s most beloved chefs. This is the perfect spot to savor in the fresh seafood that abounds in the area and if you want to truly taste Seattle, this is it.
Bavarian Meats, the self-described “German grandmother’s pantry” is a favorite of mine for great pantry staples like German mustard but its deli is known for its authentic handmade German sausages and sandwiches. It’s definitely worth a stop.
There is so much packed into this tiny Indian grocery store, The Souk, that each visit is like a happy little adventure. The service is so friendly and the selection is wonderful. It’s the perfect little place to dip your toe into trying Indian flavors without breaking the bank.
At Beecher’s Cheese not only can you watch cheese being made, but you can also enjoy free tastings of their many cheese offerings and even order some of their famous macaroni and cheese to eat right on the spot. My favorite cheese here is their classic Flagship. Delish!
Treats at Three Girls Bakery are always a good idea, but good luck trying to decide which one (or two or three) to take away. If coconut and chocolate are your thing, you can’t go wrong with the Coconut Almond Delight! I find it heartwarming and girl empowering that this sweet little bakery was the first business licensed to a woman in Seattle and is the longest continually running business at Pike Place Market, operating since 1912.
Order your fish-n-chips at the counter then grab a stool at the luncheonette at Jack’s Fish Spot and enjoy a birds eye view of the flurry of a fish market and lunch counter combined in one.
Pay a visit to one of the market’s produce stands, known as “highstalls”, offering eye catching displays of produce and try a little berry basket of something new. Not only is the produce incredible, the displays are super special here.
If you’re a shrimp cocktail lover, you can’t go wrong with crazy fresh selection at City Fish.
The Crumpet Shop – Never tried a crumpet? Here’s your chance! (I’d describe them as an English muffin meets a pancake). Although the line can be long here, it doesn’t take much time and there are lots of menu options. I choose to keep mine simple and authentic with fresh butter and orange marmalade. Mmmmm.
DeLaurenti is the perfect Italian market meets lunch counter, filled with delightful Italian grocery items and delicious made to order foods. I especially love their coolers filled with lovely Italian dairy items, their chocolate section, and their deli counter filled with the most amazing meats and cheeses. It seems like every time I visit, there are grand orders being placed by fancy people for dinner parties that I imagine to be super fabulous. It all feels romantic here to me.
Goodness gracious sakes alive, Colin and I discovered Elleno’s Yogurt while on a food tour a few years ago. We’d overlooked it on all previous gazillion visits even though it’s served out of one of the busiest corners of the market. It was our favorite food on the whole tour. I’ve always sort of enjoyed yogurt but it’s not something I’d regularly buy. Until now. There are many flavor options, with some being on the more decadent end of things, but many that are more classic which I enjoy. The great thing is, samples are free!
Daily Dozen Donuts are served by the bagful, nice, warm, and straight out of the fryer and are the perfect treat on a cold and rainy Seattle day.
Honest Biscuits is located in the newest and lesser known section of Pike Place Market and although the biscuits here are not what I’d describe as the flakey homemade version I adore, there’s a place in my heart for their version as well. I’d describe them as having a really crunchy exterior and a dense, yet fluffy interior. Sounds strange, but it works. Colin’s favorite is the classic Biscuits with Sausage Gravy and on a recent visit, I enjoyed my biscuit topped with crab dip. Oh my! I LOVE that they use ingredients from many of the other businesses located in the market like Beecher’s cheese and Bavarian Meats. Raise each other up I say!
Old Stove Brewing Co. is a great spot for those who enjoy locally made craft beers (Colin) and those who enjoy Pacific Northwest style brewpub food (me!). Located on Western Avenue, in the newest area of the market, it’s easily found by following the throng of people headed here. Luckily its indoor seating area is huge and there’s lots of outside seating as well. The view is stunning and is seriously such a great place to visit if you want to feel the Seattle vibe.
El Mercado Latino is a great source for Latin grocery supplies and a tasty spot for empanadas.
Adjacent to the famous flying fish market stand, you’ll find Market Spice, quietly holding its own, having been established in the market in 1911. Here you’ll find delicious tea and an extensive assortment of pretty much any spice you can dream of. I don’t drink caffeine so I love that they offer their signature amazing Cinnamon Orange tea in decaf. Hooray!
Oriental Mart – The Filipino food is what draws me here. Try the “Trust Me” plate for a sampling of several of the tastiest items on the menu.
Steelhead Diner – Colin and I first found this restaurant when we were brought here by John Granen, the photographer for both of my books, a short time after wrapping on our last book project together. If you can get here during Copper River Salmon season, you’ll be so glad you did but any time of year is a treat.
Matts in the Market – After hearing the buzz from a bunch of friends over the years, I finally paid a visit. It was really tricky to find the first time around, but once I did, I’ve been back several times. I love the Catfish Sandwich served at lunchtime.
Sushi Kashiba – The best sushi I’ve ever had. It can be hard to get in here but it’s worth it.
Bacco Cafe – The tiniest little breakfast spot with yummy food. The fresh squeezed juices are heavenly. My favorite order is for the Quiche Lorraine with a green salad.
Pike Place Chowder – Pretty much the perfect chowder. Visit as early as possible to avoid long lines.
The Pink Door – I really enjoy the ambience here and the Italian American offerings. I have special memories of a mother/son trip here with Micah one weekend and a dinner to always remember.
Chan – A Korean gastropub. Simply put, it’s scrumptious.
Do you have any favorite spots at Pike Place market? I’d love to hear about them. And if you visit and try any of my favorite spots, I’d love to hear about your experience.
IT'S ME, SERENA!
In 2002, I was dreaming of creating a fun and happy little event to sell my vintage and handmade goods. In 2002, I held my first event in my neighbor's barn along with a handful of friends. The sale became wildly popular and began attracting visitors from across the country and recognition in national magazines. Today The Farm Chicks Vintage & Handmade Fair fills the Spokane County Fairgrounds and features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces packed with vintage and handmade goods. Many describe it as a bucket list event, magical, inspirational, and the best event of its kind in the USA. I describe it as the best weekend of the year!