Show Me Seattle’s Downtown Restaurant Tour
Ever since I went on my first food tour in Miami Beach back in 2014, they’ve become a requisite activity when traveling to new destinations. So it should come as no surprise that on my recent trip to Seattle I went on another one, although it was slightly different. This one was a restaurant tour which really piqued my interest.
The thing with food tours is that the stops can include anything from a food store to a street stall to even a restaurant. With a restaurant tour, all your stops are at restaurants (naturally, hence the name) and with the case of Show Me Seattle’s Downtown Restaurant Tour, you go to a total of four restaurants for a complete meal. Each restaurant stop comprises a different course, the appetizer, cocktail, main course, and dessert. If your time in a city is more limited, this is a terrific way to sample food from multiple restaurants.
Carlton was our tour guide for the evening and was just an utterly cool and amicable guide. This was definitely the most laidback food tour I had ever been on. However, I say that in a good way since this did have a different feel to it and honestly, when dining at restaurants whether it’s for one course or three, you want a relaxed ambiance, not a rushed feel where you are bound by time constraints. Carlton told us he had moved to Seattle in the late 1990s and was a wealth of information on the city, ranging from its history to local areas to of course, food suggestions.
The Downtown Restaurant Tour takes place in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, the city’s most densely populated area located on the downtown waterfront on land that was artificially flattened as part of a regrading project. While the restaurants we went to were not more than a few blocks from each other so I didn’t see too much, I could tell it was quite a popular area between the numerous businesses and living spaces all around.
Here are the four restaurants in the order that we stopped:
Our tour began here at a spot whose focus is getting all of its ingredients, beer, and wine from within 360 miles. This is where we had our appetizers which consisted of a delicious arugula salad with roasted red beets, goat cheese, and quinoa, as well as raw oysters. As for the latter, I know some people just adore them. And after years of avoiding them, I did finally try “an” oyster but I can safely say I won’t need to try them again…ever. The rawness was just too much on a taste scale. But others in the group said they were terrific and obviously being in Seattle they were quite fresh too.
All I have to say is that this is the coolest name for a bar. It was also cool to learn that it’s been voted one of the top 50 cocktail lounges in America by both Esquire and Food and Wine magazines. This is where we had our craft cocktail. Carlton told us that the selections always vary when he bring groups here (it’s up to whatever the mixologist decides to make) but on our tour we were given a drink with rum, lemon juice, orange juice, raspberry syrup, and topped with sparkling wine. The drink was definitely my type, not to mention this is a place where I would like to have grabbed another drink if I had had more time.
Of course I would be thrilled that one of our stops included a Basque-style tapas place. I had assumed that our main course selection would be just one, but being a tapas place we actually got multiple items, along with house made sangria. My favorites were the bacon-wrapped dates (while I don’t really like dates, clearly bacon does make everything better), a tortilla espanola (Spanish-style omelet), and flat-ironed steak skewers and duck fat potatoes. The steak skewers were probably my least favorite only because I found them to be a bit bland and I’m not really a fan of aioli sauce, which is what they came with.
Bell & Whete:
Our tour concluded with a sweet finish for dessert at Bell and Whete whose premise is offering modern interpretations of old world dishes and staples that everyone knows. It was here that we had dark chocolat pot de crème, a glorified but delectable chocolate pudding. Considering all of the food we had consumed by that point, it was a lighter finish which I appreciated.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Downtown Restaurant Tour. Not only did it offer some terrific and memorable eats, but also a different type of culinary experience, one that was entirely new to me. If you’re like me and are a veteran of numerous food tours and want something different, go on this tour. Or, if you’re visiting Seattle for the first time and are overwhelmed by the number of food options, sign up as well since the work of choosing is done for you.
Disclosure: I was given a complimentary tour in exchange for my review but as always all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.