Seattle Municipal Court
Il Corvo (4 min)
Don’t underestimate this order-at-the-counter, lunch-only joint; its pasta is legitimately transcendent, and quantum leaps ahead of the field in creativity. On weekday mornings pasta geek Mike Easton blogs photos of that day’s handful of seasonal choices—maybe creste di gallo pasta with braised Treviso, garlic, chilies, and olives; maybe gnocchetti with sweet corn and sage—which pulls Pioneer Square office workers in droves. Easton’s repertoire is bottomless, his seasonality admirable, his passion winning. A couple of salads and a dessert round out the offerings, making this ticket to Italy no more than $20. Arrive early; lines can be epic.
Biscuit Bitch (5 min)
Equipped with cheddar-topped hangover cures, this self-described “trailer park to table” cafe serves up gravy-drenched biscuits with southern-inspired fixings: garlic grits, hot links, pork sausage, and more. Bitches get stuff done, and can do so with biscuits in hand. The Pioneer Square location is just a short walk from the courthouse; they're in Belltown and downtown too.
Delicatus (7 min)
A dozen each “Traditionalist” and “Progressive” sandwiches fill the chalkboard of Pioneer Square’s manliest hipster-brick deli; choose among the latter for the smartest innovation. Like the glorious ShankLamb: lightly toasted ciabatta bread oozing braised lamb shank and chive aioli, ruffled with lettuce and tomato and the occasional thrilling detonation of hot pepper. A second location in Benaroya Hall has its own list of specialty sandwiches.
Homegrown (7 min)
Future, meet Seattle. Seattle’s already met you at this sustainable sandwich stop, and you taste amazing. Since first setting up shop on Capitol Hill, Homegrown's expanded to eight locations across the city, including a downtown outpost a few minutes walk from the courthouse. The sandwiches, soups, salads, and sides burst with more than quality and freshness, like in a slab of blackened cod with sweet slaw on a panino roll, or a perfect toss of arugula with flank steak, blue cheese, red onion, and honey mustard. Homemade potato chips come with a salt of the day; homemade fries might be parsnip, turnip, and yam. And all the pristine sourcing and blazing creativity comes with a heaping side order of what may be this year’s most important ingredient: value. It’s tough to pay over $12 in here.
Manu's Bodega (8 min)
Imagine if every hole-in-the-wall with a patio offered food as flat-out stunning as chef Manu Alfau’s tribute to his Dominican heritage: yam and smoked gouda empanadas with sofrito, sloppy baguette sandwiches packed with salted green tomatoes, a puerco asado plate whose rice and beans could proudly stand alone.
King County District Court
Tat's Delicatessen (3 min)
The headliner in this crammed East Coast–style deli is the Tat’strami, a sweet-meets-savory mess of pastrami and Russian dressing and coleslaw and melting swiss: the unholy spawn of a pastrami sandwich and a cheesesteak, served hot and dripping inside an Italian roll. For the two of you who don’t like the sound of that, Tat’s offers nearly 30 other sandwiches—bountiful riffs on cheesesteaks, hoagies, subs, and grinders—that make Seattle feel like Jersey.
Cherry Street Public House (4 min)
This new concept from the venerable Cherry Street Coffee House company combines third wave coffee with an Australian-style breakfast menu (think toasts and waffles sweet and savory), Persian food for lunch and happy hour, and cocktails whenever you might need them—all enveloped in the Weyerhaeuser Building’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
London Plane (5 min)
An eloquent country-house aesthetic prevails in this airy, two-level space off Occidental, with its bakery, deli, and in-house flower shop painting a Jane Austen dream of the English countryside—right down to the cobblestones and leafy London plane trees out the window. Foodwise it’s breakfast, lunch, and brunch iterations of Matt Dillon’s (Sitka and Spruce, Bar Sajor) signature passions: bold salads with grains and vegetables, lots of cultured dairy, extraordinary brown bread for spreading, and plenty of vinegar counterpoints. Don’t miss a slice of strawberry cake or gateau Basque for dessert—this bakery is outstanding.
Cafe Hitchcock (6 min)
Hitchcock’s Brendan McGill runs this all-day cafe in the art deco Exchange Building, a culinary bright spot on a barren stretch of First Avenue downtown. Mornings mean espresso, pastries, and biscuits—great ones made with lard from his own Mangalitsa hogs. Lunchtime sandwiches include favorites from Hitchcock Deli; come afternoon, people who work in nearby offices linger in clean-lined booths with wine and charcuterie from those same hogs. The kitchen flexes to its full reach at happy hour and into the evening with smart tartines and French-leaning plates like pate de campagne or roast chicken. (Around 3pm things shift from counter service to table service.)
Salumi (7 min)
Once upon a time, retired Boeing engineer Armandino Batali drew on his family recipes and Tuscan butcher training to build a sliver of a salumeria in Pioneer Square, a plucky deli grew into a dry-cured Seattle institution. In 2018, his daughter, Gina, sold the majority stake in the business, and Salumi moved to larger, brighter quarters not far from its original storefront. It’s all there—the sandwiches of cured meat and gloriously unwieldy porchetta, the meatballs, the private lunches in a back room—plus actual tables and chairs (though not many) and streamlining features like to-go sandwiches and four-packs of sliced meat.
U.S. District Court
Mr. West (3 min)
The owners of Bottlehouse in Madrona turned a sterile office building space downtown into that rare breed, a truly all day cafe. By day, it’s a sleek, spacious destination for impeccable coffee, Instagram-pretty sandwiches, and pastries. Evening brings an impressive wine list and a happy hour crowd. There’s even a patio.
Anar (4 min)
It’s Mamnoon’s upmarket grain bowl-and-juice bar takeout, in Amazon’s Doppler Building downtown. And out of it comes food as global, refined, and healthful as distinguishes all of Mamnoon’s properties. Consider the mujaddara: Upon a warm foundation of brown rice and green lentils are heaped bright magenta cubes of pickled turnip, flecks of fresh cilantro, pumpkin seeds spiced with Aleppo, and a creamy dollop of Seattle’s own Ellenos yogurt. This dish mingles the sour with the tart, the sweet with the savory, the high notes and the bass notes, along with a brilliant spectrum of textures and colors. Super fun to eat. The classy little vegetarian spot is mostly takeout, with just a few seats.
Marination (4 min)
First there was the award-winning truck introducing us to Marination’s signature collisions of Korean and Hawaiian flavors. Then came the brick-and-mortar takeout, Marination Station, its West Seattle sibling and the newest, simply Marination, now a lunchtime staple at Sixth and Virginia downtown, which processes lines efficiently while peddling pork katsu sandwiches, Korean cheesesteaks, kimchi quesadillas, and the nap-inducing aloha tots.
Home Remedy (6 min)
Tom Douglas’s little market in the Via6 building at Sixth and Lenora began as a place to pick up fancy snacks and the occasional kitchen staple, with a salad bar toward the back. But the neighborhood let its needs be known: Home Remedy has become a takeaway lunchtime juggernaut, the market’s central counter now slings rice bowls and Indian-style burritos; hot sandwiches and pizza slices emanate from the back room. The salad bar is still going strong, and the selection of local beer, ice cream, salumi, condiments, and prepackaged hits from the Douglas universe is just as great, even if actual grocery shopping means doing a little bob and weave between people waiting for lunch orders.
Dahlia Bakery (7 min)
To talk about Dahlia Bakery is to talk about coconut cream pie, which has been Seattle’s signature dessert ever since Tom Douglas was a young upstart in the 1980s. But this little cubby down the street from Dahlia Lounge is also an undersung destination for reasonably priced soup and sandwiches that hew to Douglas-level standards of quality. If the savory stuff’s already gone by the time you arrive, console yourself with a chocolate cookie or sprinkle-clad whoopie pie.