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Local seafood at the Hotel Theodore’s Rider makes the restaurant a downtown standout.
Courtesy of Rider

Where to Eat Near the Washington State Convention Center In Seattle

There are plenty of good options for dining downtown

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Local seafood at the Hotel Theodore’s Rider makes the restaurant a downtown standout.
| Courtesy of Rider

Downtown Seattle has no shortage of restaurants, but like most American cities, the bulk of them seem to shut down once the lunch rush is over. Here’s a list of dinner spots concentrated around the downtown malls and the Washington State Convention Center if you need a great meal once the conference and/or movie is over. These restaurants are not ranked, but listed geographically, from west to east. If you think there’s anything we missed or would like us to add for next time, send us a tip.

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Shaker and Spear

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Chef Carolynn Spence has come up with an enthusiastic menu for her fish house in the ground floor of the Palladian Hotel, e.g., Vancouver scallops with gin Hollandaise, charred octopus with hazelnut romesco, and shrimp scampi with corn pudding. They’re all solid and just a little bit weird. Plus, Shaker and Spear has sage sausage-fried Scotch olives that make for a great opener.

Long Provincial Vietnamese

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The Belltown/downtown cousin of the Chinatown-International District’s well-loved Tamarind Tree, Long does a spread of North and South Vietnamese dishes in a slick, upscale, museum-like setting. Tamarind Tree rolls, along with a few other fan favorites, can be spied on the menu, but Long does its own unique thing quite well. Go with a group, pick out one of the interesting salads — say, cognac scallop pomelo salad or soft-shell crab banana blossom salad — and then aim for the family-style stuff, like the curry duck, the squid stuffed with ground pork, or any of the noodle dishes.

Barolo Ristorante

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This business lunch stalwart has been around for a long time, but with no loss in quality. Barolo does mostly coastal Italian fare — king crab fettuccine, vongole in bianco, penne con salmone affumicato — and the white tablecloths, colossal wine list, and dapper waitstaff never crack a smile. Dr. Frasier Crane would take a first date here. That said, everything’s fantastically prepared and perfectly plated, right down to the late-night bar menu.

Thomas Barwick

Miller's Guild

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In its fifth year, Miller’s Guild, run by James Beard Award-winner Jason Wilson, is still going strong with new American classics. The name of the game here is steak, prepped on the kitchen’s spectacular 9-foot Infierno live-fire grill — as seen from the stools at the bar, and as such, you can’t go wrong with anything beefy in this joint (heh). Menu stars include the Painted Hills sirloin steak frites (fried in beef fat), the melt-in-your-mouth Korean-style short ribs, and the harissa-tinged sloppy joe.

Suzi Pratt/Eater

Din Tai Fung Pacific Place

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The soup dumpling war rages on between Taiwan-based corporate chain Din Tai Fung and local chain Dough Zone, and Seattle’s got TWO of the former now — one in University Village and another in Pacific Place. While DTF (heh) is a little fancy-schmancy for a teahouse dim sum snack like xiaolongbao — swirly teardrop-shaped dumplings, filled with either pork or crab and hot, heavenly broth—no one’s worried too about it after the first bite.

Jay Friedman/Eater

In the bottom floor of the Hotel Theodore, Rider looks like your standard-issue upscale downtown hotel restaurant until you get to the menu. Dishes center around Pacific Northwest cuisine, particularly seafood; everything’s locally sourced and put together in out-of-the-box ways that delight. Standouts include the whole trout with black garlic and turnips as well as the halibut with pearl barley risotto, stinging nettle mole, and kumquats.

Courtesy of Rider

In the ground floor of the Hyatt at Olive 8, ultra-chill farm-to-table bistro Urbane joins with local growers, ranches, breweries, and wineries to focus on hyper-seasonal ingredients. As a result, Chef Brian Pusztai’s menus change continually. The fish, whatever it happens to be, is your best bet, especially if it’s wild salmon or cod, and the local charcuterie and cheese plates, decorated with all sorts of fun little embellishments, are always inspired.

Dragonfish Asian Cafe

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Dragonfish looks like it was designed by a Holiday Inn Express architect in 1994, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. No one can step to Dragonfish’s twice-daily happy hour — every day around 4pm, the place fills up with the after-work office crew, there to load up on campy cocktails and respectable sushi. Folks can get tipsy and full here for less than $30, and it’s open late. What’s not to like?

Loulay Kitchen & Bar

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It’s sorta ridiculous to say that Loulay is overlooked, since it’s the brainchild of Thierry Rautureau, one of Seattle’s most celebrated chefs of all time. But it seems like no one ever talks about this place (anymore?) and that’s a shame. Rautureau’s thing is taking American standards and instilling them with his general francité, which results in dishes like roasted chicken with bacon lardons and Parisian gnocchi, Dungeness crab beignets, or a très français cheeseburger with bacon-onion jam, comté cheese, and butter lettuce (and an option to add foie gras).

Shaker and Spear

Chef Carolynn Spence has come up with an enthusiastic menu for her fish house in the ground floor of the Palladian Hotel, e.g., Vancouver scallops with gin Hollandaise, charred octopus with hazelnut romesco, and shrimp scampi with corn pudding. They’re all solid and just a little bit weird. Plus, Shaker and Spear has sage sausage-fried Scotch olives that make for a great opener.

Long Provincial Vietnamese

The Belltown/downtown cousin of the Chinatown-International District’s well-loved Tamarind Tree, Long does a spread of North and South Vietnamese dishes in a slick, upscale, museum-like setting. Tamarind Tree rolls, along with a few other fan favorites, can be spied on the menu, but Long does its own unique thing quite well. Go with a group, pick out one of the interesting salads — say, cognac scallop pomelo salad or soft-shell crab banana blossom salad — and then aim for the family-style stuff, like the curry duck, the squid stuffed with ground pork, or any of the noodle dishes.

Barolo Ristorante

This business lunch stalwart has been around for a long time, but with no loss in quality. Barolo does mostly coastal Italian fare — king crab fettuccine, vongole in bianco, penne con salmone affumicato — and the white tablecloths, colossal wine list, and dapper waitstaff never crack a smile. Dr. Frasier Crane would take a first date here. That said, everything’s fantastically prepared and perfectly plated, right down to the late-night bar menu.

Thomas Barwick

Miller's Guild

In its fifth year, Miller’s Guild, run by James Beard Award-winner Jason Wilson, is still going strong with new American classics. The name of the game here is steak, prepped on the kitchen’s spectacular 9-foot Infierno live-fire grill — as seen from the stools at the bar, and as such, you can’t go wrong with anything beefy in this joint (heh). Menu stars include the Painted Hills sirloin steak frites (fried in beef fat), the melt-in-your-mouth Korean-style short ribs, and the harissa-tinged sloppy joe.

Suzi Pratt/Eater

Din Tai Fung Pacific Place

The soup dumpling war rages on between Taiwan-based corporate chain Din Tai Fung and local chain Dough Zone, and Seattle’s got TWO of the former now — one in University Village and another in Pacific Place. While DTF (heh) is a little fancy-schmancy for a teahouse dim sum snack like xiaolongbao — swirly teardrop-shaped dumplings, filled with either pork or crab and hot, heavenly broth—no one’s worried too about it after the first bite.

Jay Friedman/Eater

Rider

In the bottom floor of the Hotel Theodore, Rider looks like your standard-issue upscale downtown hotel restaurant until you get to the menu. Dishes center around Pacific Northwest cuisine, particularly seafood; everything’s locally sourced and put together in out-of-the-box ways that delight. Standouts include the whole trout with black garlic and turnips as well as the halibut with pearl barley risotto, stinging nettle mole, and kumquats.

Courtesy of Rider

Urbane

In the ground floor of the Hyatt at Olive 8, ultra-chill farm-to-table bistro Urbane joins with local growers, ranches, breweries, and wineries to focus on hyper-seasonal ingredients. As a result, Chef Brian Pusztai’s menus change continually. The fish, whatever it happens to be, is your best bet, especially if it’s wild salmon or cod, and the local charcuterie and cheese plates, decorated with all sorts of fun little embellishments, are always inspired.

Dragonfish Asian Cafe

Dragonfish looks like it was designed by a Holiday Inn Express architect in 1994, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. No one can step to Dragonfish’s twice-daily happy hour — every day around 4pm, the place fills up with the after-work office crew, there to load up on campy cocktails and respectable sushi. Folks can get tipsy and full here for less than $30, and it’s open late. What’s not to like?

Loulay Kitchen & Bar

It’s sorta ridiculous to say that Loulay is overlooked, since it’s the brainchild of Thierry Rautureau, one of Seattle’s most celebrated chefs of all time. But it seems like no one ever talks about this place (anymore?) and that’s a shame. Rautureau’s thing is taking American standards and instilling them with his general francité, which results in dishes like roasted chicken with bacon lardons and Parisian gnocchi, Dungeness crab beignets, or a très français cheeseburger with bacon-onion jam, comté cheese, and butter lettuce (and an option to add foie gras).

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