Seattle and Vancouver advice

I’m finally getting a vacation! I’m leaving next Monday for a week split between Seattle and Vancouver. I got an incredibly cheap flight to Seattle, and I’ll be driving up after a day or two there, to visit my sister in Vancouver.

I know there are a few Dopers out in the PNW area who may have some advice for me on places to see, places to eat, things to avoid, things that most tourists don’t know about but are worth the effort. I like to find restaurants that the locals want to show their friends when they visit - not just the ones advertised in guide books.

The only thing we definitely want to do in Seattle (unless* everyone* here yells "Oh God, you DON’T want that) is the Experience Music Project / Sci-fi Museum, and we might also hit the Seattle Aquarium.

Touristy stuff in Vancouver is more or less going to be controlled by my sister who seems to have a whole itinerary set up for us, but if there’s anything I hear about here that I want to add to the trip, she’ll make sure to fit it in. She’s already talking about a day trip to Whistler, a look at Stanley Park, a visit to some beach area she likes, a scary suspended foot bridge. and a ferry over to Vancouver Island.

So what must I see? I turn to your wisdom!

If you post a few things about what type of foods you like, etc that would help.

But even without that–if you like to try a good healthy mexican restaurant I would suggest Gordito’s. It is in the Phinney neighborhood and is one of our favorite mexican restuarants.

Fremont is sort of a fun eclectic neighborhood as well. You can visit the troll under the Aurora Street Bridge while there.

Of course you have to see Pike Place Market. Even though it attracts a lot of tourists, I still think it is worth the visit.

Are you staying downtown or near the airport or ??
That might give me so insight into places to suggest.

We’re staying near the airport but we’ll have a rental car.

Any type of food goes, with a bit of preference towards Italian, Asian, and Greek places.

Take a tour of the Boeing assembly plant in Everett, about 1/2 hour’s drive north of Seattle.

Did you mean to type Victoria Island. Because that would be mine.

On the Seattle front:

The Ballard Locks are very cool. Allow a couple of hours, minimum.

The EMP is overrated and way expensive. I promise, you’ll walk out at the end and say to yourself, well, that was a waste of sixty dollars. But it’s kind of something you need to prove to yourself, I guess.

Italian: The best Italian restaurant in the city is Volterra, in Ballard. (Try their olive oil soup.) Also good are Osteria La Spiga and Cafe Piccolo. Some people swear by Il Fornaio but it strikes me as a little generic. For a real experience, go to Bizzarro.

Greek: Divine, in Maple Leaf. Highly recommended. There’s a place downtown called Lola that offers “Mediterranean” with a Greek influence, but I find the food bland, uninspired, and touristy. Skip it.

Asian: Lots to choose from, as you might expect in a Pacific Rim city. I’ll break it down into subcategories.

Vietnamese: Monsoon (Capitol Hill; hard to find but worth it) and Tamarind Tree (edge of international district). Also, if you like pho, try Than Brothers, Cyclo, or Pho Bac.

Dim sum: Good options, but none is particularly great. New Kowloon has decent food but the service is spotty. Honey Court is usually okay, sometimes great, sometimes bad, very inconsistent. Jade Court is consistently average. My favorite in the area is Jeem’s, but it’s on the Eastside and out of your way. There’s much better dim sum in Vancouver anyway.

Chinese: Generally, Shanghai Garden does everything, and reasonably well, though they don’t have any outstanding specialties. For Szechuan, you can’t beat Chiang’s Gourmet, on Lake City Way just off the freeway (make sure to ask for the non-western menu). For Mandarin, go with Snappy Dragon (the owner makes her own noodles by hand).

Sushi: Chiso, in Fremont. Shiro’s, downtown. Also Umi Sake House downtown, or Osaka in Ravenna.

Japanese: We’re heavy on the sushi, but for another option, try Boom Noodle on Capitol Hill (very much in the vein of Tokyo-style fast-food-soup joints).

Indonesian: Julia’s Kitchen on 65th is great.

Let me know if you want more information on any of these. I’m very happy to live in Seattle and am very proud of our wide variety of restaurant offerings. Any excuse to talk them up… :smiley:

I’ll second this.

[hijack]Cervaise, you just taught this Seattle resident a lot about our restaurants. I’ll be trying some of these. If you ever eat vegetarian dishes at any of your favorite restaurants, I’d welcome your recommendations. [/hijack]

For the OP: I like the Seattle Aquarium. The Underground Tour (in Pioneer Square) is a fun, popular tourist pastime. If you like Asian art, try the Seattle Asian Art Museum (in Volunteer Park).

And while I can’t top Cervaise’s tour of our restaurants, there’s a really good (vegan) Thai place in the University District, Araya Thai. And one of my favorite Italian restaurants is Cafe Lago (in Montlake).

The city is Victoria, but it’s on Vancouver Island. (There’s also a Vancouver, Washington, just across the river from Portland, Oregon; all named for George Vancouver, who commanded an early mapping expedition of the area.)

Cervaise, is Uptown China, near Key Arena, still in business? That was my favorite; haven’t had good Mongolian beef since I moved away 12 years ago.

Antigen, be sure to ask if your car rental company will allow you to drive into Canada. (Or don’t ask, do it anyway, and plead ignorance later.)

I’d skip the EMP, but would be sure to see the aquarium and take the Underground tour. The Museum of Flight is cool too, if that’s your sort of thing.

Italian: Tavolata, How to Cook a Wolf, Cafe Lago

Sushi: Nishino. Also, Nishino (I feel strongly about this one)

Noodles: Boom Noodle or Samurai Noodle (better noodles, worse atmosphere)

Greek: Panos Kleftiko, Vio’s, and, well, I liked Lola

Vietnamese: I’ll echo the recommendations for Monsoon and Tamarind Tree

Chinese: Seven Stars Pepper

Korean: I guess all the good Korean places are up in Lynwood. I could use some help myself.

Just because: Lark and/or it’s bar, Licorous.

The EMP prices haven’t been $60 in ages. Now it’s $15 for admission to both the EMP and SFM. If you like to read a lot and see some atrifacts it’s not bad. And I’d say $15 is about right.

I also reccomend Pike Place Market (and the shops in Post Alley) lots of fun to be had there.

For food, if you’ve ever had good mexican or tex-mex, don’t bothere here. There really is no good mexican here in my experience. However you will find a lot of great Indian, Thai, Chinese and Japanese around town.

The Seattle Art Museum has some good shows now and again so you may want to check them out.

Pioneer Square has a lot of funky galaries, good bars and some fun shops.

The aquarium is nice, not huge but has some cool stuff, especially during Salmon season and you can watch them spawn. In fact you can probably see that at the locks as well.

If you like live music, check out, there are always a lot of live acts playing in town.

I’d argue that you just haven’t found the right truck yet. El Asadero is awesome. And for actual restaurants, I still think El Puerco Lloron is good, as is the Chile Pepper in Wallingford.

If you’re driving up to Whistler you’ll probably be taking the Upper Levels Highway and it would be a quick turn-off to head up Cypress Bowl Road to the observation area. If it’s a clear day, the views of Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and into Washington State will really, really, impress. It’s a quick trip and it’s free!

Here’s a link

Yes, they’re still there. I’ve only been in a couple of times; “Americanized” Chinese isn’t really my taste. But for what they do, I’ll agree, they do it very well.

Tavolata and Cafe Lago are both pretty good. Cafe Lago in particular has some of the best gnocchi in town. How to Cook a Wolf, I think, is a little bit “high concept,” oriented more to the serious foodie than the casual diner. If you recognize where the title comes from, you will have an advantage here. If you’ve actually read the source of the title, better yet. :slight_smile:

I’m a big fan of Korean food, but you’re right, the best places are up north. There are a couple of good options in Shoreline but I don’t remember the names offhand. Stilla, the BBQ stall at Uwajimaya, is decent, but not worth going out of one’s way for.

Lark is absolutely one of my favorites in Seattle, probably top five (along with Sitka & Spruce, Tilth, Zoe, and either Stumbling Goat or Rover’s depending on my mood, or maybe Campagne). It came to mind, as it always does ;), but I chose not to mention it because it’s not covered by the ethnic categories requested.

Hey, in the same neighborhood, have you been to Cafe Presse? French style, not quite a bistro but a small friendly feeling, and great food. The pear-and-mushroom soup is to die for.

OK, then lemme ask. Been to the Corson Building yet? I’ve been a Matt Dillon groupie since he was at Stumbling Goat and of course love Sitka and Spruce. I’ve been trying to organize a group to try it out, but haven’t gotten it done yet.

Cafe Presse is great. I’m fortunate enough to work next to Le Pichet, so it’s comfortingly familiar to me.

Oooh, you are fortunate. I love both those places. I have a lunch date at Presse next week and I’m already counting the hours.

No, but I’m absolutely itching.

The other new place that’s a high priority is Traunfeld’s long-planned and recently-opened joint, Poppy. Can’t wait to try it out. I love the concept and his recipes are always impeccably executed.

Hey, Antigen, sorry for hijacking your thread… :wink:

Drive by it every day. Friends went this past weekend, but I haven’t gotten a report yet.

Yeah, sorry about that.

If you like airplanes, visit the Museum of Flight. It’s about a ten-minute drive north from the airport. First-class operation.

Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Museum up in Everett is fantastic too.

The Boeing Plant tour is cool, as is the Future of Flight Museum at Paine field in Everett, however I would peg it at an hour from SEA-TAC and the Plant Tour is closed while the Machinists are striking, however I think now in lieu of the plant tour they are running the bus from the vistor center/future of flight over to Paul Allens Flying Heritage Hangar.

If planes are you thing The Museum of Flight in Seattle at Boeing Field (King Co. Airport) is first class.

If you like art one other stop is the Museum of Glass in Tacoma that features a whole bunch of Dale Chuhuly’s work.

For more natural beauty there is the drive up to Snoqualmie Falls, although depending on weather this time of year you might not be that pleasing.