Saturday, May 22, 2010

Eating the Town: Ethical Dining in Seattle

Recently, my father has been handing out my blog to unsuspecting acquaintances. From one of these referrals I received a recommendation to look into regional restaurants serving healthy and sustainable options. Now, I don’t profess to eat out terribly often, but I do have a list of restaurants on my list, and have patronized a few in the area.

Slow Food Seattle has a more comprehensive list of recommended eateries. My list highlights veggie-friendly restaurants, both those at which I have already eater and my to-eat-at list. So, whether you are visiting the area for a few days or you have lived here for years and want to try something new, I hope I can whet your appetite with some of my selection.

Restaurants I’ve Experienced:

Café Flora

My first real vegetarian dining experience in Seattle. This cute cafe on East Madison Ave. abuts the neighborhoods of Capital Hill and those surrounding the Arboretum. Although their menu has changed little since I first ate there 8 or 9 years ago, they have been pioneers in local, seasonal, and organic ingredients - usually most prominent in the special items on the dinner menu. I enjoy taking lunch in the greenhouse-like atrium, munching a cheese-free pizza or some sweet potato fries.


This applauded restaurant in the heart of the Wallingford neighborhood made an appearance on my blog before. It features a set four-course meal served at one seating on weeknights or the two on the weekend. The food is tasty, local, seasonal, and creative. However, the price of a meal makes excursions to Sutra a rare treat when the menu is particularly tantalizing (it is posted ahead of time for your perusal).


Restaurant week in Seattle is quite an affair, with $25 three-course meals at over 100 restaurants in the area. This year my friends and I experimented with Poppy, which dishes up regional cuisine modeled after the Indian thalis. With 7-10 items, the disappointing dishes didn't mar the overall experience. The atmosphere is fun and retro, the eggplant fries are divine, and dessert consisted of chocolate heaven. Definitely want to pay a return visit.

Serious Pie

If you enjoy crispy, salt-crusted, golden focaccia, Serious Pie is the pizza parlour for you! One of the famous Tom Douglas restaurants in the city, SP takes its pizza seriously - imported Italian cheese, a 600F wood-fire oven, and plenty of olive oil. My parents recently had the seasonal specialty with morels and nettle cream...mmm.

Portage Bay Café

Any brunch lover should pay Portage Bay Cafe a visit. With several noted vegan and gluten-free options, and the "eat like you give a damn" philosophy, this is a restaurant after my own heart. They reach out to local farmers, bakeries, and coffee producers to ensure sustainable, ethical, and community-supportive meals. Plus the food is fantastic (and the pancake bar is ever so enticing)!

Chaco Canyon Café

So close to a major university you would expect to find some alternative dining, and University of Washington is no exception. Chaco Canyon offers some great lunch bites, from quinoa bowls and soups to vegan sandwiches and raw desserts. All organic, vegan, and only blocks from the U, Chaco Canyon is a fun and quirky spot for tasty and healthful food. They even have happy hour from 4-6pm on weekdays!

Plum Bistro

My mother and I tried out this posh spot after work one night. Serving up organic and vegan down-home creole fare, Plum can present a perfect quiet evening. A lot of the food is heavy, but I really enjoyed the cajun fried okra appetizer.

To-Eat List:


This vegetarian restaurant embraces seasonal delicacies in the Puget Sound region, changing the menu frequently.

Eats Market Cafe

Owned and operated by foodies turned chefs. Notes vegetarian options on the menu.

Emmer and Rye

On Queen Anne Hill sits this relatively new addition to the Seattle restaurant scene. It emphasizes local partnerships and seasonal ingredients.

Fresh Bistro

Another farm-to-table restaurant with vegetarian options that sounds scrumptious!


Small plates, big goals. Draws on the talents of "local artisans, farmers, and foragers." Chocolate madeleines featured in Seattle Metropolitan magazine. Yum!

Oddfellows Café

Mediterranean-ish fare on Capital Hill!

The Pink Door

Italian with a flair - cabaret, happy hour, and roof-top dining. Yes, please. We Italians do appreciate good, SLOW, food :)

Hillside Quickie

Vegan lunch fare that supposedly could turn hard-core carnivores' heads.


Seattle's own vegan, (mostly) raw cafe and juice bar ... a little pricey, but seems like too much fun to miss!

Georgetown Liquor Company

Vegetarian and vegan pub, with arcade games and weekday happy hour from 4-7pm!


Your typical vegetarian hippy food, that draws inspiration from Indian mediation practices.

Wild Ginger

Asian-pacific cuisine with an excellent reputation and an entire vegetarian menu.


An organic-certified restaurant, which sources its ingredients as locally as possible. Has a whole vegan menu!

Restaurant Zoe

Definitely not vegan, but serves up local and seasonal fare in the heart of Belltown.

Are you a Seattle area local with a favorite restaurant? Please share!


Marissa said...

If you haven't checked out Flying Apron and Healeo I highly recommend them!!! 2 of my favorite places in town.

Caley said...

Carmelitas is wonderful. It is also on the pricier end, so not an every week kind of place, but whenever you're back you must go! And I will happily go with you. :)