To nobody’s surprise, the usual onrush of tourists did not descend upon Pike Place Market during this pandemic-ridden summer. This means the businesses who comprise our finest institution (sorry, Space Needle) need locals’ support. In this case, civic duty doesn't sound so bad—the quieter summer means an unheard of opportunity to wander stalls, snack on pastries, and toast the sunshine while drinking in both views and cocktails beneath a cafe umbrella, all at a shockingly civilized pace.
Below is a status update on our favorite bars and restaurants, but don’t forget vendors, retail, and some craft stalls are open as well. Most open businesses are operating on limited hours, but Pike Place Market has handily current information on its website. Six-foot markers have blossomed outside storefronts, and a spectacularly useful color-coded zone system makes curbside takeout surprisingly easy. So by all means, hit up the directory to make sure you have current details on hours, and scroll down to the bottom for the curbside map situation. But, most of all, consider alleviating four months’ worth of cabin fever by supporting this definitively Seattle landmark.
Quick and Casual
The 76-year-old grocer has a magical ability to provide us with the provisions we seek (cheese, locally made hot sauce, so much olive oil, exactly the right bottle of wine) but also a sturdy slice of Sicilian-style pizza for lunch. For such a longstanding business, DeLaurenti has pivoted with the best of them, with online ordering, grocery delivery, and lunch orders taken and handed out through a window near the entrance.
If there were ever a time that called for the comforts of mac and cheese, or the best grilled cheese in town, it’s now. Order online for lunch, or for the cheese case and freezer section.
The seats in the adjacent courtyard may be roped off, but this counter has online ordering for its spicy noodles and dumplings and flatbreads stuffed with cumin beef or garlic pork.
For nearly three decades, this quiet spot in the Economy Market Atrium, just off the market’s fish tossing, pig petting epicenter has served carefully wrought crepes, in classic sweet or savory combos like powdered sugar and lemon or ham and cheese. The full menu and ordering details is online.
Curmudgeonly Seattle journalist Emmett Watson was the original co-owner of this hidden Pike Place Market cranny with its sky-blue booths and menu of cooked and raw oysters plus chowder and beer aplenty. Though right now its best feature might be the handful of seats in the adjacent rock-lined courtyard.
Few biscuit shops can boast a view this amazing; its counter-service perch in the MarketFront wing means biscuit sandwiches and biscuits and gravy (including a surprisingly great vegan, gluten free version) come with a broad Elliott Bay view and an ample nearby patio.
The Greek yogurt en route to being a national phenomenon has graduated from a little corner stand to a proper white-tiled stall beneath the Pike Place Market neon sign, with walk-around cups of cool seasonal flavors you won’t find in grocery stores.
This counter in the heart of the Sanitary Market building is definitely worth hunting down for its portable taco bowls, huaraches, and breakfast menu; Los Agaves also keeps some of the broadest hours at the market right now, serving food daily from 7:30–6. Call or email for takeout orders.
Pike Place Market’s midday miracle still stocks its long glass case with all manner of takeaway: grain salads, pastries, and thoughtful sandwiches (turkey bacon, chicken caesar) pressed on order until warm and toasty. A brown bag lunch special runs you $10, even with dessert and a drink.
This lowkey First Ave outpost, all pale woods and soothing pastels, specializes in pide—leavened flatbreads filled with spiced meats and veggies, so they resemble a torpedo-shaped Turkish pizza. Or grab a beyti kebab, gyro meat cooked in dough then doused in tomato sauce and yogurt. Either way, the food has been a welcome addition to Seattle’s halal offerings. Order online for takeout.
Gyros fall under the same laws of reliable deliciousness as pizza and tacos. If “yeeros” at Mr. D’s charmingly worn street-eats shop stretch the word delicacies—meat a smidge too salty, tzatziki more like a yogurty ranch dressing—they’re still satisfying as hell. And right now available daily from 11–3, with online ordering.
The world is a better place with Leila Rosas back at the helm of her family's Filipino comfort food stall, which the James Beard Foundation honored as one of its America's Classics earlier this year. Right now, O-Mart looks a little different; Rosas has an actual printed menu and preps customers' requests to order, rather than doling out big flavors from her hot counter. She's open for lunch Thursday through Sunday.
With Il Corvo closed, Turin, Italy native Michela Tartaglia now carries the torch of exceptional downtown pasta bowls. Thursday through Sunday, her pasta counter in the market atrium has resumed its tradition of four daily bowls, like meaty tortiglioni with speck and ricotta, and memorable vegetarian creations. Pasta Casalinga also fashions its perfect pasta into family style "take me home" kits .
It’s hard to disassociate this Post Alley counter with long tourist lines, but it’s even tougher to forget that superb chowder—creamy, and rich with clams. Order online for quicker access to chowder and a lobster roll.
At the crossroads of the market, a counter fashions massive sandwiches with smoked meat from Pecos Pit, the SoDo institution known for its own glorious amply sauced lunch menu. They’ve also embraced online ordering, to help speed you on your way with a bun stuffed with chopped beef and cheddar, or pork and a spicy hot link.
Though it debuted in 2016, this ice cream parlor on the First Avenue side of Pike Place Market feels every inch a timeless institution, from the egg creams and cherry phosphates to the marble-topped soda fountain that dates back to the 1930s. Lopez Island Creamery supplies the 15-ish flavors—lovely on their own, but even better in Shug’s menu of elaborate sundaes. These days, Shug’s has added sundae and ice cream cocktail kits, and takes orders from its extra-handy sidewalk window.
The bierstube may be shuttered, but Pike Place Market’s preeminent sausage maker still rocks a deli case full of kielbasa and brats, plus a to-go menu of grilled tube steak—from hot Italian to chicken sausage—served sliced over kraut or inside a bun.
Even Quicker: Coffee and Bakeries
Should you find yourself in need of a caffeine fix down on Western, this trim little coffee shop has espresso and pastries, and shares a few charming umbrella-shaded sidewalk tables with neighboring JarrBar.
A bounty of vegan and gluten free pastries await on a Pike Place corner, like pull-aparts and multiple kinds of cinnamon rolls. Pastries sport clear labels so visitors with dietary guidelines can distinguish them from decidedly gluten-ful creations like cookies the size of a small dinner plate.
While visitors busy themselves with photographs outside the pseudo-original Starbucks, PPM regulars (and people who work at the market) grab their americanos at Ghost Alley. Right now you can place your order through the front window.
How to describe this intellectually sweet occupant of the MarketFront wing? Equal part shopping destination and master class on cacao. Right now, the retail area is closed, but the makeshift counter setup still lets you browse some of the cacao body lotion and s'mores kits while you order a mint cold brew or chocolate chip cookie. Plus “MarketFront” is code for “beautiful water views on the patio.”
The company that brought us caffeinated chocolate (a favorite with hikers) has turned its workshop into a window counter coffee operation, vending festive coffee drinks like Thai iced cold brew and one hell of a mocha, plus ice cream bars and boozy slushies, at the corner of Stewart and Pike Place.
The “Very French Bakery” still bakes its pain au chocolat and jewel-box macarons and epi baguettes each day, and has set up a very demarcated floor plan for socially distant lines (which are about 500 times shorter than they are during a normal summer).
The dim sum bakery was doing open air counter transactions long before it became a vital public health measure. Staff still sling potstickers, bean-paste-filled buns, and the all-important bbq pork hombow—a confection that blurs any useful distinctions between dinner and dessert.
Though it’s grown by bounds in recent years, the original counter on Pike Place perfected these Russian pastries: A cinnamon cardamom braid with just enough acid and heady aromatics to balance the sweetness, or a sturdy twisted bun filled with seasoned beef and cheese—grandmotherly food elevated with gilded crusts and harmonious fillings. Both these items are on the limited menu running this summer to smaller-than-average queues. Owner Olga Sagan has also set up a locally focused delivery operation.
Destination Dining (and Destination Takeout)
Shiro Kashiba is a verifiable sushi legend in this town, but even 60-year veterans can pivot. Recently his Pike Place Market sushi temple assembled its first-ever takeout meal, an omakase that feels like a special occasion inside a box. The restaurant sells just 25 a day, but is also open for in-person dining, including on the charming courtyard patio when weather permits.
Jim Drohman and Joanne Herron’s pathologically good Parisian bistro still sustains us from lunch through dinner, with classics that spark with nonchalant finesse—sandwich en baguette, a bibb lettuce and hazelnut salad, one of the best charcuterie boards in the city—and some beautiful seasonal inventions. The restaurant is back open Friday through Sunday (including the streetside patio) and has embraced takeout and delivery.
Dan Bugge’s restaurant on the second floor of Pike Place Market is the closest thing Seattle has to an essential restaurant. Now it’s back for dine-in and takeout, after a few months of running a combined menu over at sibling restaurant White Swan Public house. Chef Matt Fortner has revived his lunch and dinner menus, maybe the best ones in the restaurant’s expanded tenure, but that view never left.
Matt’s in the Market’s sibling tavern shares a Pike Place Market upstairs address and a talent for delicate seasonal salads. But it’s those gravy-covered tots and burnt ends sandwiches with chili cheese Fritos that really meet this peak comfort food moment. Need a half-a-pig-head dinner to go? Their takeout menu also includes some pretty rad kits and meals.
Since reopening his quintessential French bistro for to-go service, Daisley Gordon has outfitted himself with a Rad Power Bike. Order a crab quiche, a lamb burger, or the bouillabase kit and negroni for two, and you might get the chef himself wheeling up to deliver your order. For those of us who don’t fall within that 1.5-mile delivery radius, Cafe Campagne still has online ordering and a nifty streetside setup for takeout.
Spots for Great Drinks
Kittie Davidovich’s First Ave hangout is one of the most economical places to grab a margarita, some nachos, or something from the unexpectedly great vegan menu. All that is still true of El Borracho’s current takeout mode, which includes online ordering and a bevy of cheerful to-go cocktails.
Owner Bryan Jarr turned a storage closet beneath Pike Place Market into an approximation of watering holes in San Sebastián or Galicia or Lisbon. Now he’s transformed it again, into a well-curated bottle shop with sidewalk seating and that menu of marvelous snacks from Zoi Antonitsas, plus the sort of refreshing cocktails you want to drink whilst watching the sun set from beneath a cafe umbrella.
This romantic underground Italian restaurant in Pike Place Market set up an online takeout menu that includes to-go iterations of the cocktail list that built Il Bistro’s legend over the years. A carbonated Last Word sounds like just the antidote to these uncertain days.
Show me a cocktail that can’t be improved by a jolt of Seattle’s homegrown (nonalcoholic) ginger beer. And show me a kid that doesn’t want to suck down a cup of their own while you drink that aforementioned cocktail. Preorder growlers and kits online, or grab a walk-around cup of white peach or spicy pineapple RGB.
And Spots for Great Patios
The red chair–lined patio at this Bolivian joint perches you right above Pike Place. This year that vantage point, and a glass of sangria, doesn’t require throwing elbows. They’ve got food and drinks for takeout, too.
At this longtime Pike Place Market French bistro, online takeout orders (get the frites) meet one charming umbrella-clad deck, where you can survey ferries, port industry, sparkling water, and rolling hills (again, get the frites). Right now the restaurant opens at 3pm on weekdays, and 11:30am on weekends.
When the brewery set up its broad tables in the newish MarketFront wing, Seattle instantly gained an essential destination for accessible pints consumed in the heart of a Seattle institution, against a backdrop of waterfront and slowly turning Great Wheel. Like many a brewery in these pandemic times, required reservations have replaced the art of hovering over nearly finished glasses in hopes of a seat.
One of the town’s cult favorite patios returned July 23, in all its light-strung, flower-basketed, lattice-shaded glory. Reservations are required—or online ordering gets you a la carte takeout or special three-course dinners.
Though it be tiny, the balcony at this hidden bistro behind the Pike Place Market fish tossers is steeped in Seattle postcard charm, plus cocktails that exceed your expectations. Pigalle is still organizing its takeout program, but meanwhile that patio awaits.