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A waterfront statue with the Washington State Capitol in the background.
A waterfront statue with the Washington State Capitol in the background.
Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

Eat Well in Olympia, Washington's Capital City

A bipartisan guide to dining while chewing out your state rep

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A waterfront statue with the Washington State Capitol in the background.
| Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

There's no question that this election cycle has been crazy, even surreal. And while uncertainty hangs in the air in the nation's capital, there is plenty to be certain about in Washington's own capital city of Olympia — at least when it comes to having a great meal before you dash off to chew out your state representative.

For years, the Olympia Farmers Market near the waterfront has been the bipartisan place that locals gather to shop, eat, and enjoy life outside of the capital — nothing divisive about it. From there, it's an easy walk through the lively downtown, teeming with attractive street art and antique shops. And the recent addition of the charming 222 Marketplace (from community partners Gray and Joy Graham and chef Lela Cross) has only added to the civil discourse, not to mention the incredible food selection, in downtown Oly. Look to these, and other great spots in the city, to offer up comfort and solace as 2017 unfurls.

—Jenise Silva, with contributions by Adam H. Callaghan

Note: Map points are ordered geographically and are not ranked by preference. Is your favorite destination in Olympia missing from the list? Show it some love in the comments, send an email, or start a forum thread in its honor.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. San Francisco Street Bakery

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1320 San Francisco Ave NE
Olympia, WA 98506
(360) 753-8553
Visit Website
Seattle’s loss is Olympia’s gain. Otto and Judi Mendoza pulled up their Seattle stakes and headed headed south more than 25 years ago, delighting those seeking out sweet and savory treats in the Capital City ever since. Today, Judi and other family members carry on, making flaky apple and berry puffs, Instagram-ready pear and blueberry frangipanes, a not-too-sweet chocolate macaroon, and a host of other organic and sustainably sourced baked goods.
Jenise Silva for Eater

2. Bavarian Wurst

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700 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 786-1934
Visit Website
A crowd favorite at the farmers market, this little Bavarian beauty has been dishing up sausages, burgers, and a hearty dose of German (or American-style) potato salad, all affordably priced, since 1982. Yes, Bavarian Wurst is just what you might expect — all things meat and potatoes, with a little more meat and potatoes on the side — except better. (Check Facebook for seasonal hours.)

3. Los Tuleños

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700 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98507
(360) 956-1404
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Another farmers market favorite, Los Tuleños' is fast, friendly, and fresh, a perfect place to fuel up before you hit the shops. Co-owners Roberto Perez and Saul Serrano, both from Tula in Mexico, knock out chicken mole, chile verde, and homemade tamales like nobody's business. And the Mondo Chorizo Burrito is a thing of wonder: It's large enough to split, and yet you’ll likely end up eating the the whole thing yourself.

4. Broth Bar

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222 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 870-5124
Visit Website
Bone broth, simmered for 72 hours: delicious and nutritious, trendy yet timeless. Tressa Yellig started making her small batches of broth in Portland in 2009, and she recently opened up a second lovely spot in Olympia, where you can slurp daily selections with combinations like chickpea miso and turmeric or kelp noodles and fish sauce.
Mattie John Bamman/Eater

5. The Bread Peddler

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222 Capitol Way N Ste 103
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 352-1175
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Founded 12 years ago by Andre LeRest and partner Frances Wolff, the Bread Peddler has been a long-time destination for hungry souls looking for the best in baked goods and sandwiches in downtown Olympia — it’s not a stretch to say that this shop was the inspiration for 222 Marketplace. The perfectly baked fougasse with tomato, feta and olives, the Friday-only (reservation-recommended) challah, and the orange rum cake Gateau Basque are all winners.
Jenise Silva for Eater

6. Bread Peddler Creperie

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222 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 352-1175
Visit Website
Sweet-and-savory is the name of the game at the Creperie. Next door to their bakery and bistro, the owners work their magic with buckwheat crepes filled with savory fillings like caramelized onions, lardons, potatoes, and Beurre Blanc. On the sweet side of things, dig into crepes filled with the likes of spiced poached pears with chocolate hazelnut sauce topped with whipped cream. Grab an espresso and shop the tasteful wares in the back before heading out.
Jenise Silva for Eater

7. Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar

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222 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 915-7784
Visit Website
Founded by John and Linda Lentz, Chelsea Farms is the originator of the ingenious tide-tumbled oyster, plump and less labor-intensive to produce. The Oyster Bar, run by John and Linda’s kids, is the first outpost where you can belly up and enjoy a variety of fresh oysters daily. Baked oysters with absinthe butter or fried oysters with harissa aioli are particular standouts. An impressive selection of draft beers seals the deal.

8. Sofie's Scoops

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222 Capitol Way N #116
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 539-6797
Visit Website
When Sofie's says “small batch from scratch,” the company means it. This gelato is made with raw milk from a dairy in nearby Tenino, Wash. Sophia Landis and Christopher Proctor churn out some incredible flavors to the delight of their ever growing fan base: Persimmon, toasted coconut, espresso stracciatella and orange chocolate stracciatella (Italy’s answer to chocolate chip ice cream) are just a few flavors that will have you coming back for more.

9. 5th Avenue Sandwich Shop

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117 5th Ave SE
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 705-3393
Visit Website
A classic sandwich shop in the heart of downtown Olympia, this joint is a no-fuss must, serving up pastrami on rye, Reubens, triple-layered clubs and the requisite French dip au jus. There’s also pie a la mode, which seems fitting for the setting. You can hang out inside or, better yet, grab yours to go and head four blocks to the lake for a picnic, weather permitting.

10. Van's Burgers

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7811 Yelm Hwy SE
Olympia, WA 98513
(360) 412-8267
Visit Website
Van's Burger, home of the "Big Pete," reopens in late January after a seasonal closure; even when it's fully operational, the business is notorious for its limited hours and long lines. But these burgers are definitely worth the trouble. The menu is refreshingly limited, with every patty made from beef produced and grown in Washington. Van’s also serves up BLTs, hand-dipped corn dogs, fries, and rings — or frings (a mix of fries and rings), if you’re feeling indecisive.

11. Old School Pizzeria

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108 Franklin St NE
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 786-9640
Visit Website
Whether you're in it strictly for the ambiance or for the food, you'll want to spend time at Old School. Retro posters and graffiti cover every conceivable surface, arcade machines blare in the back, and a unicorn welcomes you in; meanwhile, the floppy-round or thick-square pies are greasy and satisfying, the soda taps dispense Puck's, and the draft list is fully modernized with local craft beers.
Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

12. Quality Burrito

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213 4th Ave E
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 357-7292
Visit Website
The photos on the wall range from cute and quirky to unsettling, but the fare here is nothing but outstanding. You'll find a huge menu of huge burritos (and other goodies) that are, as the restaurant's name so helpfully suggests, quality. Kombucha cocktails, ranging from original creations to twists on classics like a margarita, make for a unique drink pairing, too.

13. Dillinger's Cocktails & Kitchen

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404 Washington St SE
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 515-0650
Visit Website
Dillinger's nails the Prohibition-era throwback vibe, with plenty of gorgeous nooks and crannies in which to enjoy some of Olympia's best cocktails. And despite the kitchen's limited setup, its varied bar food is nothing to sneeze at, with comforting crab and artichoke fundido cohabitating amicably with the likes of zesty asado tacos, harissa-roasted cauliflower, and "whiskey donut bread pudding."

14. Little General

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500 Capitol Way S
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 352-3663
Visit Website
This little general store (get it?) has a well-curated selection of retail items from organic wines to local hot sauces. Combined with the draw of its deli, which offers hot and cold sandwiches (like the pimento cheese melt with pesto, romesco, and pickled jalapeño on sourdough), salads (dilly beet, carrot currant, and plenty of rotating specials), and soups, this is a perfect place to sit and have lunch or prepare for a picnic.

15. Three Magnets Brewing Co.

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600 Franklin St SE
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 972-2481
Visit Website
At one of Washington's most exciting brewpubs, come for the beer — highlights include juicy, East Coast-style IPAs, balanced stouts, and bottles of funky, barrel-aged rarities that you can crack in-house or take for later — and stay for the pub grub, hearty but elevated enough to stand out, like avocado fries or beer-braised elk sandwiches.

1. San Francisco Street Bakery

1320 San Francisco Ave NE, Olympia, WA 98506
Jenise Silva for Eater
Seattle’s loss is Olympia’s gain. Otto and Judi Mendoza pulled up their Seattle stakes and headed headed south more than 25 years ago, delighting those seeking out sweet and savory treats in the Capital City ever since. Today, Judi and other family members carry on, making flaky apple and berry puffs, Instagram-ready pear and blueberry frangipanes, a not-too-sweet chocolate macaroon, and a host of other organic and sustainably sourced baked goods.
1320 San Francisco Ave NE
Olympia, WA 98506

2. Bavarian Wurst

700 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98501
A crowd favorite at the farmers market, this little Bavarian beauty has been dishing up sausages, burgers, and a hearty dose of German (or American-style) potato salad, all affordably priced, since 1982. Yes, Bavarian Wurst is just what you might expect — all things meat and potatoes, with a little more meat and potatoes on the side — except better. (Check Facebook for seasonal hours.)
700 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501

3. Los Tuleños

700 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98507
Another farmers market favorite, Los Tuleños' is fast, friendly, and fresh, a perfect place to fuel up before you hit the shops. Co-owners Roberto Perez and Saul Serrano, both from Tula in Mexico, knock out chicken mole, chile verde, and homemade tamales like nobody's business. And the Mondo Chorizo Burrito is a thing of wonder: It's large enough to split, and yet you’ll likely end up eating the the whole thing yourself.
700 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98507

4. Broth Bar

222 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98501
Mattie John Bamman/Eater
Bone broth, simmered for 72 hours: delicious and nutritious, trendy yet timeless. Tressa Yellig started making her small batches of broth in Portland in 2009, and she recently opened up a second lovely spot in Olympia, where you can slurp daily selections with combinations like chickpea miso and turmeric or kelp noodles and fish sauce.
222 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501

5. The Bread Peddler

222 Capitol Way N Ste 103, Olympia, WA 98501
Jenise Silva for Eater
Founded 12 years ago by Andre LeRest and partner Frances Wolff, the Bread Peddler has been a long-time destination for hungry souls looking for the best in baked goods and sandwiches in downtown Olympia — it’s not a stretch to say that this shop was the inspiration for 222 Marketplace. The perfectly baked fougasse with tomato, feta and olives, the Friday-only (reservation-recommended) challah, and the orange rum cake Gateau Basque are all winners.
222 Capitol Way N Ste 103
Olympia, WA 98501

6. Bread Peddler Creperie

222 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98501
Jenise Silva for Eater
Sweet-and-savory is the name of the game at the Creperie. Next door to their bakery and bistro, the owners work their magic with buckwheat crepes filled with savory fillings like caramelized onions, lardons, potatoes, and Beurre Blanc. On the sweet side of things, dig into crepes filled with the likes of spiced poached pears with chocolate hazelnut sauce topped with whipped cream. Grab an espresso and shop the tasteful wares in the back before heading out.
222 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501

7. Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar

222 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98501
Founded by John and Linda Lentz, Chelsea Farms is the originator of the ingenious tide-tumbled oyster, plump and less labor-intensive to produce. The Oyster Bar, run by John and Linda’s kids, is the first outpost where you can belly up and enjoy a variety of fresh oysters daily. Baked oysters with absinthe butter or fried oysters with harissa aioli are particular standouts. An impressive selection of draft beers seals the deal.
222 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501

8. Sofie's Scoops

222 Capitol Way N #116, Olympia, WA 98501
When Sofie's says “small batch from scratch,” the company means it. This gelato is made with raw milk from a dairy in nearby Tenino, Wash. Sophia Landis and Christopher Proctor churn out some incredible flavors to the delight of their ever growing fan base: Persimmon, toasted coconut, espresso stracciatella and orange chocolate stracciatella (Italy’s answer to chocolate chip ice cream) are just a few flavors that will have you coming back for more.
222 Capitol Way N #116
Olympia, WA 98501

9. 5th Avenue Sandwich Shop

117 5th Ave SE, Olympia, WA 98501
A classic sandwich shop in the heart of downtown Olympia, this joint is a no-fuss must, serving up pastrami on rye, Reubens, triple-layered clubs and the requisite French dip au jus. There’s also pie a la mode, which seems fitting for the setting. You can hang out inside or, better yet, grab yours to go and head four blocks to the lake for a picnic, weather permitting.
117 5th Ave SE
Olympia, WA 98501

10. Van's Burgers

7811 Yelm Hwy SE, Olympia, WA 98513
Van's Burger, home of the "Big Pete," reopens in late January after a seasonal closure; even when it's fully operational, the business is notorious for its limited hours and long lines. But these burgers are definitely worth the trouble. The menu is refreshingly limited, with every patty made from beef produced and grown in Washington. Van’s also serves up BLTs, hand-dipped corn dogs, fries, and rings — or frings (a mix of fries and rings), if you’re feeling indecisive.
7811 Yelm Hwy SE
Olympia, WA 98513

11. Old School Pizzeria

108 Franklin St NE, Olympia, WA 98501
Adam H. Callaghan/Eater
Whether you're in it strictly for the ambiance or for the food, you'll want to spend time at Old School. Retro posters and graffiti cover every conceivable surface, arcade machines blare in the back, and a unicorn welcomes you in; meanwhile, the floppy-round or thick-square pies are greasy and satisfying, the soda taps dispense Puck's, and the draft list is fully modernized with local craft beers.
108 Franklin St NE
Olympia, WA 98501

12. Quality Burrito

213 4th Ave E, Olympia, WA 98501
The photos on the wall range from cute and quirky to unsettling, but the fare here is nothing but outstanding. You'll find a huge menu of huge burritos (and other goodies) that are, as the restaurant's name so helpfully suggests, quality. Kombucha cocktails, ranging from original creations to twists on classics like a margarita, make for a unique drink pairing, too.
213 4th Ave E
Olympia, WA 98501

13. Dillinger's Cocktails & Kitchen

404 Washington St SE, Olympia, WA 98501
Dillinger's nails the Prohibition-era throwback vibe, with plenty of gorgeous nooks and crannies in which to enjoy some of Olympia's best cocktails. And despite the kitchen's limited setup, its varied bar food is nothing to sneeze at, with comforting crab and artichoke fundido cohabitating amicably with the likes of zesty asado tacos, harissa-roasted cauliflower, and "whiskey donut bread pudding."
404 Washington St SE
Olympia, WA 98501

14. Little General

500 Capitol Way S, Olympia, WA 98501
This little general store (get it?) has a well-curated selection of retail items from organic wines to local hot sauces. Combined with the draw of its deli, which offers hot and cold sandwiches (like the pimento cheese melt with pesto, romesco, and pickled jalapeño on sourdough), salads (dilly beet, carrot currant, and plenty of rotating specials), and soups, this is a perfect place to sit and have lunch or prepare for a picnic.
500 Capitol Way S
Olympia, WA 98501

15. Three Magnets Brewing Co.

600 Franklin St SE, Olympia, WA 98501
At one of Washington's most exciting brewpubs, come for the beer — highlights include juicy, East Coast-style IPAs, balanced stouts, and bottles of funky, barrel-aged rarities that you can crack in-house or take for later — and stay for the pub grub, hearty but elevated enough to stand out, like avocado fries or beer-braised elk sandwiches.
600 Franklin St SE
Olympia, WA 98501

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