Critic's Notebook

Seattle’s 7 Most Sumptuous Pies

The dessert that loves you back.

By Kathryn Robinson January 22, 2017

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Could pie be any more adorable than this? The cherry pies at Pie. 

Image: Facebook/Pie

No, not pizza: We’re talking pie, the dessert kind, fruit-fresh in summer but even better in winter, over good coffee and a long afternoon. Seattle defines dessert most prolifically through ice cream and doughnuts—but pie is the rarer pleasure, done well at these fine bakeries.


My God, man, the pie! There’s a piemobile and a Fremont shop no bigger than a minute, so lucky for you these minis are handheld and portable, and filled with goodness from cinnamon apple to savory chicken to a legendary Key lime. Crusts are fine but the fillings really are the headliner here; every day you’ll find the same handful of sweet and savory classics—including the three mentioned above—but dozens of others rotate through. French toast cream, anyone?

Dahlia Bakery

Thank you, T Doug, for the pie that proves that some clichés get there by earning it. Tom’s Famous Triple Coconut Cream Pie really is a careful wonderment—from the coconut in its crust to the toasted coconut on top—and rich as the Presidential administration. And although rumor has it slices are always orderable in the Douglas restaurants, even when unbilled on the menu—you can get the Triple Coconut by the pie, slice, baby (6 inch), or $2.75 bite at Dahlia Bakery.

Simply Soulful

This tucked-away gem in Madison Valley just serves up plain good soul food—the crowning glory of which is its individual pies, a crust lover’s dream for the resulting ratio of crust to filling. Pecan and sweet potato are the crowd favorites, and we like the latter, a lot, for its sweet, smooth filling (think Thanksgiving yam side-dish) and its crackle-flaky savory counterpoint of a crust. One craveable pie.

Pie Bar Capitol Hill

Pie plus booze, served up on the Olive Way walk from downtown to Capitol Hill—how was this going to do anything but succeed? It’s charmingly tiny (with a takeout window for minors and/or sidewalk snackers), aiming those charms at everyone from pedestrian commuters to after-last-call revelers (it’s open till 2am). You buy slices, like peanut butter chocolate or cherry crumble, which each have a suggested drink pairing.

Pie Bar Ballard

Okay, so weird: One of the two identical twin sisters who opened the above Pie Bar splintered off to open this one in Ballard—which is about three times bigger and able to sell whole pies. They have the same name, use the same recipes—but run them as separate businesses. (FYI: the baker sister stayed at Capitol Hill.) Candidly, I don't discern any meaningful differences; neither makes the best pie in town but damn, they're good enough. (And when they serve ‘em with booze, nobody’s complaining.) 

Jack’s BBQ

Okay, Jack Timmons does a lot of things well—central Texas barbecue, most notably—but the best-kept secret at his SoDo ‘cue house is the pecan pie, served in $7 slices with or without salted caramel ice cream. Its ratio of sugars to corn syrup makes for a more liquid filling than standard, which gets studded with a mess of good pecans. Helpful tip: Start with this, have the brisket for dessert.

A La Mode Pies

Deep loveliness defines this winner, from its aesthetic flair with the ribbon-tied to-go boxes to the consistent quality of the butter crusts, which we’ll go out on a limb to call the best piecrusts in town. The Phinney location is mostly for to-go orders; West Seattle has seats and ice cream and bona-fide food—including savory pies like a fine leek-gruyere tart, with a rustic crostata crust. Both have the mile-high Mexican chocolate mousse pie, which we’re pretty sure contains the secrets of the universe.

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