Vancouver and Seattle Tips… Please?? :)

There is a chance that we will be able to visit the Pacific Northwest Coast of the U.S. and just across the border in Canada in the late summer or early Fall, and Mrs. MM and Marketman would appreciate some advice and tips from Marketmanila residents in those areas… What do we just have to try, eat, visit, see, do, experience if we only had two days each in Vancouver and Seattle? I realize it isn’t enough time in either wonderful city, but your tips for getting the most out of 48 hours would be truly appreciated. Thank you!

P.S. Is it possible for foreigners (Pinoys) to rent a car in Vancouver and drive down to Seattle, leaving the vehicle off in Seattle? Or are you not allowed to do that if you cross borders? If that isn’t possible, is there an easy bus or train service between Vancouver and Seattle? Thanks.

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106 Responses

  1. Hi MM, my hubby and I just went to Seattle this March. Definitely hit up Salumi’s! It’s a small deli that’s owned by Mario Batali’s family. Anthony Bourdain went there for his Pacific NW coast episode on No Reservations. They only open from 11a-4p or earlier if they run out of their meats. It’s a pig lover’s dream! Also check out Pike Place Market, and try Beecher’s Handmade cheese. There’s also a food tour at Pike Place but we didn’t get to try that. Have fun on your trip and can’t wait to see where you went. Any chance you’re stopping by Portland or SF too?

  2. Mr MM There is a bus that will take you from downtown Vancouver to Seattle. You need a reservation the fares was around $40 last year

  3. The Pike Place Market in Seattle will be right up your alley. Quite a display and variety of food – absolutely fresh and perfect produce, seafood, olive oils and vinegars and other interesting food finds.
    Then there are the beautiful, beautiful flowers (and quite reasonable too!). You can spend a few hours just walking around the area. A place of interest would be the very first Starbucks that ever opened. For lunch, look for a little fish and chips place in the market area. Can’t remember the name, but their fish and chips are pretty good.

  4. Oh Yes! My favourite Eating place! For chinese Sun Sui Wah … Try the crabs with cream sauce! Actually most of the chinese restaurants in Vancouver even the small ones are very Good! For Japanese, Guu! Japanese Fusion! Make sure you seat by the Bar where the action is! Along Thurlow street in Robson Area( near banana republic – Guu)! SHOTA in Kerrisdale are lots of creative Sushis!!!

  5. MM, rental car companies do allow you to do what you described, but they charge an arm and a leg, and half a torso besides, for that kind of pick-up/return pattern.

    Have sushi at Shiro’s in Seattle. Go to the sushi bar and just tell the sushi chefs that you’re leaving everything up to them. You’ll be completely bowled over. A visit to Pike Place is of course de rigueur. The basic rule of thumb there for prepared food is to go where the lines are, because chances are the food will be really good. After watching the fishmongers throw fish around, head over to Chukkar Cherries. Their dried tart cherries are out-of-this-world good.

    Vancouver is one of my favorite cities. You can go to the market at Granville Island (take a water taxi) and just build a meal out of this-and-that from the various amazing stalls. There’s also a pretty casual restaurant on the island that serves the most amazing langoustine appetizer. Unfortunately I can’t remember its name. If you like dessert, head over to Hamilton Street Grill in Yaletown and have their gingerbread pudding. Ah. May. Zingggg. Their peppercorn steak is also really good. Wherever you go, be sure to sample the local (i.e. British Columbia) wines. Okanagan Valley produces some of the most amazing pinot noir this side of Burgundy. BC ice wine is also fantastic, but not quite as complex as the German ones.

    (edit: I just realized that I used the word “amazing” about 500,000 times in this comment. lol)

    (edit2: The restaurant at the Space Needle is overpriced crap. If you really must go up the needle, just pay for the elevator ticket; don’t eat there.)

  6. Vancouver is alot like the SF Bay Area so you’ll feel right at home. Seattle is like its naughy cousin. There are plenty of Filipino communities in BC such as Richmond and Burnaby.

    For your traveling needs, I would research the customs/immigration websites of both countries and see if your question can be answered there. The next would be to call the car rental companies and inquire about your status and bordering crossing and any fees. I haven’t traveled by rail accross the border. But I have done the ferry…from Point Angeles to Vancouver and from Victoria to Seattle. That might be an option you may consider. I can tell you that its very pretty. Its about a three hour trip to and from. Again, research the ferry websites to sync your schedules. If you do get a chance, do visit Victoria for a bit of the UK in North America.

  7. Hi MM! To be honest, you need more than 2 days to eat through the whole of Vancouver, not to mention the myriads of restaurants in its surrounding cities. However, no feat is impossible and I would absolutely recommend that you visit these places:

    1. Granville Island – Although this is a tourist spot, it isn’t totally a tourist trap. You could enjoy a wide variety of food from pot pies, to fish and chips, to charcuterie (Oyama is phenomenal!). If you’re buying souvenirs, this is a good place to do it. If you’re in luck and it’s sunny outside, you can sit at one of the benches and watch a street performer do some amazing tricks. Otherwise, you can always just sit inside and enjoy the view of downtown Vancouver on the other side of the Burrard Inlet. I particularly like the view of the Inlet towards the historic Burrard Bridge.

    2. Refuel Restaurant – West Coast food that won’t break the bank in Kitsilano at West 4th. You can’t go wrong with their famous buttermilk fried chicken. Sure winner!

    3. Mae Nam – this is right beside Refuel. Yummy Thai food!

    4. Twisted Fork Bistro – To-die-for mussels at Granville St. in downtown Vancouver. I know most people prefer Chambar Restaurant for mussels, but I have gone mussel-tasting throughout the city and I should say that they serve one of the best and, mind you, non-extortionate mussels here.

    5. The Flying Tiger – their mussels here can compare to the Twisted Fork’s. Love their pork belly, too. Chef Tina Fineza is the talented Filipino chef behind a string of successful restaurant scattered around Vancouver. I haven’t tried all of her restaurants yet but I have no doubt all of them are good. This is also in Kitsilano.

    6. Chinese Food – Richmond is your city for the BEST Chinese food. You’ll feel like you have lost your way and have ended up in Hong Kong when you come here. I have been to China, HK, Singapore, Taiwan – trust me, the best Chinese food is here. Sun Sui Wah is popular, as well as Kirin Seafood, Empire Seafood. For the best xiao long bao (Shanghai dumplings) and cherry pork, try Shanghai Wonderful. In Vancouver’s Chinatown, Bao Bei is good. They don’t call Vancouver “Hongcouver” for nothing. :)

    7. Vietnamese – Phnom Penh in Chinatown or Thai Son in Richmond.

    8. Italian – CinCin in Robson St or Marcello’s in Commercial.

    9. Seafood – Joe Fortes or Rodney’s for fresh oysters, C Restaurant, Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar Restaurant. Order anything salmon or halibut. For fish + chips specifically, Pajo’s at Steveston in Richmond is everyone’s favourite! You won’t be disappointed.

    10. Poutine – please promise me that you won’t forget to eat poutine. If there’s anything that shouts Canadian, it’s this. If you want a classic poutine, try Fritz. If you want a fancier one with chanterelle mushrooms, candied salmon and a bit of truffle oil, there’s a food truck in downtown Vancouver. Forgive me, I forget the name but it’s red and it’s always outside Sears. Re-up BBQ, another food truck, serves a kick-ass pulled pork sandwich. Surely you’ll see these food trucks all around downtown when you do your shopping and sightseeing.

    For things to do in Vancouver, check out or Hope you have a good time! :)

  8. Oh yes! The now-super-famous hotdog cart, thanks to Anthony Bourdain, Japadog is also a must-try. Get their terimayo kurobota pork hotdog. Goodness. <3

  9. Hi MM:

    Two recommendations:

    Canlis’ restaurant in Seattle is an absolute institution, brought up to modern day. Currently ranked #11 for restaurants by tripadvisor. I’ve only been to the remaining Seattle location once, but many times to the old Honolulu branch and the one that was in the Fairmont in SF. Third generation family run, dinner only, closed Sundays, reservations a MUST, casual attire crazily inappropriate.

    For your car, contact the people at AutoSlash. They’re fairly new, but seem knowledgeable, plus it’s not your normal faceless reservations website. They’ll either know the answer to your question, or will get it. I’ve corresponded with Jonathan there, and he answers e-mails with lightening speed. (Let him know you have a U.S. credit card from a major bank.)

    I’m a bit south in Portland, and haven’t been to Seattle for a couple of years, so I don’t want to lead you astray with any other recommendations that might be dated by now.

    Bon voyage!

  10. Bella Gelateria in Vancouver has the best handcrafted gelato! The flavors change based on what ingredients are available but I’ve even seen some made from calamansi and Philippine super mangoes.

  11. In Seattle, try Matt’s in the Market(located at Pike Place Market) and order the Steamed Clams. Also, try the triple coconut cream pie at Dahlia Bakery(or in any of Tom Douglas’ restaurants).

    In Vancouver, try the Japadog (

  12. MM,

    Born and Raised in seattle, now living in Japan and soon retiring to Cebu. I would have to agree with Karen on the first post. Salumi’s is a must.., Pike Place market, the tourist spot that it is, still and always does have hidden treasures. I hope the weather is good (sunny and clear) when you do go..the Seattle waterfront with the Olympic mountains in the background is a beautiful sight.

  13. Hi MM, i think you may cross-border from Seattle to Vancouver using your Seattle’s (rented?) car. First town you will hit after crossing the border is Langley, its a small town, you may want to go to their downtown area (Fort Langley), nice small restos around.
    There’s also a very nice town nearby, the White Rock (sea-front town), many interesting restos…Proceed to Vancouver and hit Granville Market (ala-Pike market din ang dating!). You may also want to see the famous Capillano Suspension Bridge. WIthin Vancouver, take the ferry (Sea-Bus) to bring you to Lonsdale and see their Lonsdale Quay Market, many restos din…

    You need a day to visit Victoria BC (ferry ride from Vancouver). There’s the Parliament house, Craigdarroch castle, downtown, Buchart Garden, etc

    When in Seatlle, go to Pike Market (have fun with fishmongers… drop by DeLaurenti Deli store). See also the very first Starbucks Store (complete with its old logo) beside the Pike Market.

    Remember your best (navigator) buddy is your GPS. Enjoy!

  14. Pike Market is a must for you! There is a hole in the wall greek resto there that serves very good spinakopita. (sorry forgot the name); the first starbucks store and if you can, try to arrange a boat ride where they will take you around the lake and show you Bill Gates’ mansion. Resto at the space needle is OA. enjoy seattle!

  15. Pikes Place chowder, Peirogi Peirogis, Cafe Besalu in Ballard, Noveau Bakery West
    Seattle, Green Leaf in Chinatown, seafood at Ellas, and don’t miss Phoenicia at Alki for superlative Lebanese fusion.Stroll around Belltown for the bar scene and tapas. Sun Sui Wah for great dim sum in Vancouver, and you could just eat your way through Granville Market. If you stay in the South of Granville district or Yaletown you can walk or catch a water taxi to Granville. Bookmark Museum of Anthropology Univ. of B.C. If you can get reservations Willows Inn on Lummi Island (I think you need to catch a ferry from Bellingham), it is the “go-to” restaurant nowadays. And don’t forget to browse and buy at Seattle Roastery off of Pine in Pikes Place. That is if you are a coffee fiend like me. Yelping is always helpful.

  16. You can take the train going to vancouver from seattle’s King station. It’s a scenic ride! Get the bussiness class if Amtrak still offers it. The last time I was there, they changed their services and they only have the coach. Check the website of Amtrak, you can actually book your ticket at their website. (** make sure you’re booking for Vancouver, B.C. & not Vancouver, Wa ***)
    Places to visit Seattle, ofcourse the famous Pike Market, Nordstrom( for shopping), Queen Annne got lots of places to eat and so, is Broadway. I have to agree, canlis is a good restaurant, if you have time, go to Ballard area, nice quaint place, coffee bars, bakery, etc. Seattle downtown is kind a boring @ night time, but there’s always the Pier, go to Anthony’s, Crab pot, Seattle Aquarium, etc.
    In Vancouver, the train Stops at Central Pacific Station, one skytrain ride going to downtown. Grandville Market, West Fourth is a great place to walk, lots of resto & boutiques. And it’s also close to the beach. Sophie’s is a good place for brunch when in W. Fourth. Sun Sui Wah @ Main St. is very good chinese resto & dimsum. After a dimsum, walk at Main Street, plenty of stores again to look at. Close to 18th, I think, there’s Sollie’s Bakery, Very good Bagels and schmears! In downtown Vancouver, Tsunami is nice Japanese Restaurant.
    If you’re interested, I can email you the cell phone of my Seattle’s taxi cab driver.
    Btw, I lived in Seattle & go to Vancouver to visit my brother & sister who lives there.

  17. Hi MM,
    Rental car insurance between Canada and US will be a problem and / or very expensive. Here’s my suggestion:
    1) From Downtown Vancouver you can take a shuttle bus going to Seattle ( Bus will stop at US border, passengers will go to US Immigration office for passport and US Visa verification. check out “” for fare and schedule. Another one is “”
    2) Then, when you’re in Seattle rent a car at SeaTac airport ( or in another location) Thrifty car rental is a good choice. “”
    3) Train = Amtrak is good ; check their daily train schedule. “”

    Hope it helps. Take care


  18. My first vacation in Vancouver was also around late summer/early fall. We enjoyed corn and cherries around that time. We also had fresh and sweet tasting shrimps then.

    Here are 2 places I keep on coming back to in Vancouver:
    Grandville Market. It’s a colorful, photogenic market. It’s a good place to go to have lunch or a snack. Be on the lookout for the nice paper/stationary store on the building across the street from the market. You can also take beautiful photographs of downtown Vancouver/Yaletown/False Creek from Grandville Island (where the market is at). Be warned though that finding a parking spot can be hard.

    Stanley Park – Probably bigger than NYC’s Central Park. Rent a bike and bike around the seawall of the park to see Totem Park, Siwash Rock, etc. The jewel of the park is Vancouver Aquarium and my favorite there are the beluga whales and the jellyfish displays.

    There’s a big asian community in Vancouver. In certain places, you’ll feel that you’re in Hong Kong or Glorietta instead of Canada. Try to eat at a chinese restaurant at least once.

    They also have creative street food such as Japadog My favorite is Okonomi (okonomiyaki inspired kurabuta pork hotdog). It’s also in Vancouver where I had the best tasting salmon sashimi in my life.

    My retail favorite is Winners. Smaller and not as high-end in designer brands compared to Century 21 in NYC but same concept.

    Btw, make sure to bring an umbrella in Vancouver. I read somewhere that it rains more in Vancouver than in London.

  19. Granville Market! And any of the famous gardens/parks because the flowers will be breathtaking, and in a riot of colors. I miss the market and parks the most (and the space, of course), that’s what HK lacks. Vancouver has a lot of Asian communities so if you get tired of Western food there’s always Cantonese and Vietnamese…but I have to say, 2 days isn’t long enough to try everything unique to Vancouver. And yes, Cantonese food in Vancouver is fantastic…but since you have friends who live in HK and are in the know, I would say fly to HK instead if you have a hankering for Cantonese. :)

  20. I did that trip last year and apart from the mentioned go-to markets in both cities – off the beaten track, you may want to check out the only organic bean-to-bar small scale chocolate factory in the US, Theo Chocolate in Seattle. It’s just a few minutes away from the city – I just asked a local from Pike Place Market for directions on how to find it and hopped on a bus from there.
    Have fun in the Pacific Northwest, MM – Portland and its food carts, boutique wineries, microbreweries, beautiful coastline (and definitely Powell’s City of Books) would be another lovely addition to a great Pacific Northwest trip, too!

  21. I don’t know which part of Canada bettyq is at, but are you going to have the chance to meet her, MM? Now that should be a fantastic eyeball and kitchen marathon!

  22. Hi again MM, sorry, I thought from Seattle to Vancouver, Vancouver to Seatlle pala. Yes, it might be expensive, suggest you check the bus from Vancouver downtown to Seattle… and oh btw, basic necessity to bring, a hoodie jacket, it always rains in Vancouver and Seattle…

  23. wow!!! two of my favorite places!! agree with all the above suggestions. i missed salumi’s the last time we went (be prepared for LONG lines outside it). would and could spend a whole day at Pike Place. both places are foodie’s paradises. we rented a car from seatttle and drove to vancouver and back in 4 days my recollection was that it was not that expensive (we had private insurance and did not take their insurance). ENJOY!!!

  24. A bike ride around Stanley Park is a great way to see Vancouver. I just did the Pacific NW tour and we took the ferry from Washington to Vancouver Island and it was gorgeous…but you might need more than 48 hours to do that. Pike Place at Seattle is a must. Wish I could remember the place of the restaurant where we had oyster stew with foie gras butter but it was just right across the market….

  25. The EMP near the space needle might also be interesting for the teen if she’s into grunge music :) The Nirvana exhibit is quite interesting.

  26. i’ll echo chinachix’s recommendation on Vij’s. haven’t been there myself as well but it is on my list of restaurants to try. plus Japadog as others have mentioned.
    not sure what your interests are when you’re not eating but to burn off some of the calories, Stanley Park is great for strolling and biking, even tandem-biking. Kitsilano Bridge is popular too. Butchart Gardens on Victoria Island is nice but you need to take a ferry or float plane to get there. There’s not much else to see/do, except maybe traditional afternoon tea at the Fairmont hotel, because Victoria Island is a favorite of retirees.
    and as others have mentioned, rental car pick up at one place and drop off at another is very expensive. you can try checking out the cost by going to one of the car rental companies’ web site and putting in the pick up location/date and drop off location/date.

  27. Greetings from Seattle Washington.

    Hello. I have been following your blog for several months now and i have been entertained and educated at the same time. More power to you.
    Vancouver – Or better known as Hongkouver. There are so many restaurants there. Go to Richmond. They have the best chinese restaurants there. Sun Sui Wah (for dimsum) is one recommendation and Number 9 (yes thats the actual name of the restaurant and its located on No 3 rd). Dont be offended if upon entering Number 9 you are not entertained right away. Most servers do no speak english and only an english speaking person will seat you. The food is very good. I always make it a point to go there when i visit my in-laws who live in Richmond.
    Seattle – I like the following places and these are the places i always take my out of town guests when they come for a visit. Duke’s Chowder House (in Greenlake), Anthony’s (by the pier), Wild Ginger (in downtown Seattle)
    It is very convenient to either take the bus, train to and from Seattle (or vice versa)Public transportation within downtown Seattle is free. Summer or early fall is a great time in the
    Pacific Northwest.

    If you have the time, i would gladly entertain you. Let me know if you are agreeable and we can make arrangements. Welcome to Seattle.

  28. Hello Again,

    I forgot to include places to see.

    Here are my recommendations.

    1. Granville Island
    2. Stanley Park
    3. Grouse Mountain
    4. Whistler
    5. Capilano suspension bridge

    1. Pike Place Market
    2. Museum of Flight
    3. Pioneer Square (take the Underground tour)
    4. Washington Park Arboretum
    5.To pass by Seattle Center then take a boat ride around Lake Union

  29. Hi MM and family,

    I have been in Vancouver for the last 9 years (originally a Montreal girl –i loove my food) and have taken so many people around this city. Two days is definitely just an amuse bouche.

    Ketty’s recs are all spot on. I second all her choices. I loove Maenam for upscale and authentic Thai.

    As a Mandarin/Cantonese speaking Filipino Canadian, my choice for Chinese food (dimsum, seafood banquet, barbeque, etc) is Red Star for upscale chinese food. The one on Granville St (Marpole neighborhood) is better — but try to book it in advance. Ketty is correct that you can do no wrong in going to any resto in Richmond neighborhood as well. If you email me with further info, I can tell you what is logistically feasible in your time here.

    I also want to add Cioppino in Yaletown, and La Buca on the West Side on McDonald St as fave Italian restos. I like Crocodile for French. My hubby and I sat next to (lead singer and drummer of ) ACDC while we were there. Brian Johnson and his crazy conversation with us certainly distracted my hubby from his food but I managed to keep most of my attention on the food … so, just sayin’.

    West on West 4th — also very good — but haven’t been for about 4 years.

    You should try some Japanese food. I like Kadoya on Denman ,and on Davie street (two branches), and a bunch of Ramen places on Robson and Denman streets. I love Miku in downtown Vancouver… very good and specializes in Aburi (torched sushi) and rivals Tojos — for about 50% of the price. It has a hip vibe and no corporate suits. I think Tojo’s is a bit overhyped especially as you are from SE Asia — don’t bother. Tojo’s is where we take a CEO who has an expense account and Miku is where we take really good foodie friends. Market (a Jean Georges Vongerichten -sp? restaurant) is excellent but I hate their bread rolls. It is right next to my fave urban foodie grocery store in Coal Harbour –Urban Fare, It is also near the Shangrila Hotel. Other hotel restos I love.. Five Sails at the Pan Pacific and also YEW (Four seasons).

    If you are a coffee lover — go to Cafe Artiggiano – do not go to Starbucks.

    The Teen may like Cupcakes (they are everywhere). But she may also feel that the fad has come and gone . Go for JapaDog (2 street carts or even nore, all over downtown) . It is too salty for me but definitely a “touristy to do”.

    I can’t comment on Seattle but we have done short weekends there. Just spend a big chunk of time at Pike Place. If you are a music lover, consider Seattle as the Mecca . I loved the Experience Music Project but pleease stay only for 1 hour ;-)

    I feel (and please excuse me , dear fellow readers, for thinking this) that you can do Granville or Pike Place and usually people prefer one over another. They have very different vibes. Look them up on their web sites. I am a Granville kinda gal. Pike Place Market is just chaotic/disorganized and a bit “grungy” (they’re famous for this – enjoy it ). For “bang for buck ” and considering the 48 hour per city constraint — including ravel — I vote Granville >>> Pike Place. Judge for yourselves – to each his own. I spent most of my time in Seattle shopping at Nordstrom’s etc.. and my evenings attending music events. Spent only 1 hour at PP.

    THat’s it so far. Email me if any q’s. Good luck and maybe see you in Hongcouver !!!

  30. PS — if you have a shoe shopping itch — I suggest, in our short time here, Gravity Pope on West 4th. Shop on West 4th for the Vancouver West Coast vibe. I suspect that the Teen would love this place. Downtown (ergo, Robsonetc) has more predictable choices — eg Ferragamo/Sephora….

  31. You shld visit ottawa, canada too. and would love to invite you for dinner at our place. and show you the capital city of canada.

  32. I love the Pacific Northwest!

    I agree with most of the recs above. If you want the convenience of having someone to pick out the places for you, I recommend taking a food tour. Last year, I took the Chocolate Indulgence Tour by Savor Seattle Tours and had a blast. It really gives you an insiders look into Seattle culture/history. Plus you can ask your guide about restaurants even if they are not included in the stops. At the end of the tour we got a discount card good towards any purchases at the shops we visited.

    I’ve only been to Vancouver once, it’s a beautiful city and Granville Island, for me, was the jewel as I love food. Stanley Park, of course, if a must.

    Lastly, Portland, OR, a miniscule city compared with the above two is worth a stop. Not only is it beautiful but the food scene is very active. Willamette Valley is a must for wine enthusiasts. But most importantly, there is NO sales tax. Be it eating out or shopping, it will save you money significantly. I can vouch for this city as I live here.

  33. Hi MM, cross-border car rental/driving is not a good idea. Hubby and I did it (had no choice because I got carried away with the shopping and we thought it was too cumbersome to take public transpo) and had to pay an arm and 2 legs (!) for the insurance alone. Bus or train is a good way to travel. I second all the recommendations of Ketty. But whatever you do, don’t miss Pike Place.

  34. TDF bbq ribs and fried catfish: Joanna’s Soul Cafe & Jazz Club… southern comfort food!

  35. The original Sur La Table in Seattle, for sure. The ferry from Vancouver to Victoria to Seattle and, if you have the time, the train from Seattle to Portland – fabulous views!

  36. I just hope it doesn’t RAIN when you get here! MM…2 days in Vancouver..not enough! If you are coming from Seattle to Vancouver and passing through the back door over at Sumas exit…you will see the countryside…green space and farm stalls where you can buy fresh fruits direct from grower. It is a good 1 hour drive going towards Vancouver. If howver, you are going through The Peace Arch crossing, you will hit the Richmond area. You might want to make a quick stop at Steveston wharf where one can buy fresh seafood from the fishermen right off from their boats. Depending on what time though, it is best to hit the Steveston wharf really early esp. on week-ends. Like this week-end for instance, 1 of the boats had FRESH SEA URCHIN. Another had live crabs and live sole. Then next stop is Richmond. I need not say more about things to see in Richmond. Others have said it. However, every summer, Richmond has the biggest TIANGGE that comes alive at night every Friday to Sunday. It is near Home Depot (I think!). But we go there mostly to eat STREET FOOD! Another place Teen might want to visit is Dominique’s Duby’s place. They make really awesome chocolates.

    As for places to eat, I will call my buddy Regis (used to be the executive chef of the Cannery which is now closed sad to say!). He knows Vancouver like the back of his hand and can be the culinary guide. He knows the high end, middle end and hole in the wall places like you can imagine. Just let me know what kind of cuisine you would like to try and if he can’t make it, I will ask him to compile a list of places. He also fluent in French though he born in Mauritius.

    You might also want to go to Thomas Haas store while in downtown Vancouver. If you are going to Granville Island…DO NOT MISS OYAMA’S while you are in there…hams galore and CHEESES! Now, a word of warning…the place is always packed with people wanting to buy stuff…so try to be in front of the display cases if you can manage to get a spot there. Better yet, let MRS MM be in front for I think the owner is FRENCH and she can shout in FRENCH! But I will get back to you on that one! Terra Breads is also there so maybe grab a baguette, a soft cheese at Oyama’s and hamon, a nice bottle of wine, some frsh fruits and go outside find a bench and enjoy the scenery and music provided by different people or bands. But if you are going to be the one driving, forget the bottle of wine!…just have freshly squeezed juices! Oh…I forgot, there is a new place near Gourmet Warehouse (you might want to visit that store too!…it is foodie’s haven!)…, just forgot the name and I will get back to you on that one too. I haven’t tried it but I have been told it is a MUST PLACE TO TRY! They have pates, cheeses, etc.

    Then after hitting downtown Vancouver, you can drive to North Vancouver go through Stanley Park and Lion’s Gate bridge. You can see or walk on the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Then as dusk approaches, you can see the view of the city up top over at Grouse Mountain.

    As for rental cars, I asked hubby for always uses rental cars on his business trips and he said, some companies allow it but they charge a drop off fee which can be expensive.

    Please allow me MM to prepare some stuff you can take home with you… a loaf of the cake (freezes very well!) and slices as well which I will wrap and package. I have sent it to friends in Seattle so I know it can cross the border! Since it is salmon season, I can make my CANDIED SALMON. NOw, not to make angat ng banko, but I have been told by a lot of people that I mke the best Candied Salmon. Of course, I think they are just being polite! Canadians are one of the most polite people on the planet! But then, when I am asked to teach them how to do it (which is almost always once they have tasted it!), then I know they are sincere! If you are going to visit Pike Place….they sell candied salmon there too. Now, you can compare mine to theirs.

    As for shopping, if you are going by bus, I don’t know if they would stop at Tulalip…shopping galore FACTORY OUTLETS! They have Michael Kors, not sure about Ferragamo, etc. Since you will be here sometime late summer?…maybe you will be in time for end of the season sale!

    OH….soooooooo many things to see and do in such little time! AHA…I misread the top part or your post. You probably might want to do it in reverse then…sorry, MM!

    I hope by the time you get here, we’re back. Hubby already booked his holidays and we are driving to Nevada and to Colorado. He knows I cannot stand high temperatures (for I get migraines)…so he booked his holidays after Labour Day! I REALLY would like to meet you, Mrs. MM and the Teen! ON the other hand, we can always go next year!

  37. There is a revolving restaurant in the Space Needle and also a park by Queen Anne to enjoy the view of the Seattle skyline and Puget Sound. If you’re into sports, you can catch a game at Safeco Field to see the Mariners, and no game yet for the Seahawks. Enjoy the trip and don’t forget to try the Seattle Fudge….it is yummmy!!!

  38. If you are working with more time and can afford to go leisurely, you can actually take the ferry from Seattle to Vancouver which crosses the straight of Juan de Fuca, the body of water straddling the US-Canada border. It was named after its first discoverer, a Greek navigator sailing under the Spanish flag after whom the University of British Columbia was originally named, that is, until the students quickly started calling it Fuca U for short.

  39. we will also be in vancouver in september so this post is very timely. getting so many helpful info & tips here. thanks!

  40. I agree on most of the tips and suggestions above. I not sure if already mentioned, having lived in Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle, I would suggest that you squeeze in a day to visit Vancouver Island, specifically the city of Victoria. Visit the harbour and buy some freshly caught crabs and salmons, straight from the fishermen’s boat. Or you can relax watching Sam the seal while eating your fish and chips.
    Butchart garden is a must see. If you have more time, drive to Tofino.

  41. Let me just add MM, yes, Pinoys can do cross border rental/driving. The car rental company (I forget the name) just photocopied hubby’s passport and international driver’s license and we went our merry way. This was 4 years ago though so I am not sure if they’ve changed the rules.

  42. Someone’s mentioned Japadog. Yup, Japadog it is. There’s an idea for a lechondog right there :-)

  43. Please try the beef brisket and sui-kau noodle soup at Sea Garden in Seattle International District. If you are in Renton, try KC’s Seafood Restaurant. KC was the chef at Sea Garden for many years before he opened his own spot. Best regards.

  44. If you plan to drive from Vancouver to Seattle, you should go to Deception Pass and pick up a bag of the local shrimp (the little ones – coonstripe or pink) at Sweet D’s Shrimp Shack. Next, drive to the North Beach of Deception Pass State Park, find a place to sit on the beach, and watch anglers fishing for humpies (pink salmon) as you enjoy the shrimp that you just bought. Humpies run through during odd years around here so I’m sure you will witness more then one angler land a few right from the beach.

  45. granville island and Growse mountain in vancouver
    seattle premiun outlet in tulalip before seattle proper.
    have fun!

  46. Lummi Island–eat at (and if possible stay at) the WIllows Inn. A Destination in and of itself. The ferry from Bellingham (between Vancouver and Seattle) takes less than 10 minutes. Make this your on-the-way-north dinner and plan to arrive late in Vancouver if you don’t stay on the island. Reservations an absolute must.

  47. Hi! Request for the Sound View when checking in to you Hotel :) and visit Beecher’s Hand Made Cheese at Pike Place :) Have a Safe Trip!

  48. I just hope the weather cooperates when you get here. At any rate, pack your gum boots…you never know!

    ASked hubby about rental cars…he said some companies allow you to take it across border and drop it off. However, it can be quite expensive.

    2 days only not enough to see Vancouver! After a few hours of rest, maybe start off in Richmond early in the day. Steveston wharf offers float sales. There you will see fresh fish offered by local fisherman right off their boats….just like this week-end…fresh sea urchin available! Then dim sum places abound in Richmond. By that time you are ready for dim sum. Do not miss Dominique Duby’s place for awesome chocolates! Then head out to Vancouver to walk it off! On the way to Vancouver, pass by Main St. where you will a line up of antique stores. Then Granville Island. DO NOT MISS OYAMA’S while in there…A word of warning! The place is ALWAYS packed so be sure to get a spot in front of the display case. Better yet, have Mrs. MM get the spot! Why? I think the owner is French and she can shout out in French…hahahaha! But I have to get back to you on that to make sure he is French! Terra Breads is in there too …so a loaf of baguette, awesome hamon and cheeses from Oyama’s and nice bottle of wine…but if you are the one driving, forget he bottle of wine and have freshly squeezed juices instead and frsh fruits in season…go outside and enjoy the scenery while having a light lunch. Then drive through downtown and pass by Stanley Park. If you need to walk off your light lunch…do a brisk walk around the SEA WALL for a few minutes. Then there is Lion’s Gate bridge and on to Capilano Suspension Bridge. I hope you have no fear of heights! But it is fun though… Bu that time it is dusk…have to see the Vancouver skyline up top Grouse MOuntain. Oh… a must see place , a FOODIE’S HAVEN is Gourmet Warehouse while you are in Vancouver. Also at the back or adjacent is a new place…visit it for their pate and cheeses. I will get back to you on that for the name of the place. Oh…can’t forget the Casa Gelato on Venables…you have to get ice cream cones over there. It is soooooooooo GOOD!

    You cannot leave the Pacific Northwest without trying the native cuisine. There used to be one in Vancouver…no longer there. But if you are in Seattle…join one of the cruises as Kurzhaar suggested and partake of native cuisine.

    As for places to eat, we all have our favorites! I have already enlisted the aid of a really good friend of mine who happens to be one of the executive chefs I had the pleasure to work with as his pastry chef back then. He agreed to compile places to go and eat from high end to hole in the wall places. He knows all about those like the back of his hand. I have also asked him to be the culinary guide if he has time. He is also fluent in french so Mrs.MM will have a ball talking to him about food! I know that you must have a pretty hectic schedule for the 2 days you will be here but I hope you can find the time to have even dim sum with all of us who would like to see you and your family.

    If you are taking the bus to Seattle, I hope the bus stops for a few hours of shopping at Tulalip…FACTORY OUTLETS! from Michael Kors, Le Creuset, etc. I hope you are here in time for their end of season sale!

    MM…please allow me to prepare a care package for you, Mrs. MM and the Teen. I can make a loaf of the chocolate cake which I can cut into slices and package them neatly so you can have it for midnight snack in your hotel room! Also it is SALMON season here so I would like to have you taste my Indian Candy (candied Salmon) which makes an excellent chichiria? while you are hiking along the sea wall making paseo. This is the Pacific Northwest after all! So, I hope you will give me the chance to let you taste one of our indulgences here. There are not that many places you can get good Candied Salmon. You can buy one at Granville Island and at Pike Place and make a comparison …bettyq’s Candied Salmon and PP’s and Granville Island’s! If you want to take some home, let me know and I will vacuum pack it. My Candied Salmon reached all the way to France and Spain about 3 years ago!

  49. Dick’s Drive In, if you like cheeseburgers. I always get a Deluxe, vanilla shake, and fries.

  50. Hi MM,
    it is fun reading through the suggestions but 2 days each aren’t enough to do and enjoy Vancouver or Seattle. But all the above is good. Now I know where to go too. I live here close to the border so I go either way several times a month but I have never been to these restos before. Another thing too, if you are driving, expect a long wait at the border, of course, depending on the time of day or day of the week. weekdays are usually better. Although with summer vacation it might be busy too. Good luck and enjoy your trip.

  51. Ditto to Ketty and Proteinshake.

    For the Teen, I must add La Casa Gelato on Venables Street in Vancouver on the YVR list – with 218 flavours and counting (…

    If you like Chinese food, going to Richmond is a MUST – Kirin, Sun Sui Wah or Empire Seafood – dimsum or banquet – everything is delicious. If you’re looking to try a place where the locals eat and love noodles, try Tsim Tsai Noodles on Westminster Highway in Richmond (just off the Canada Line).

    If you like coffee, try VIVACE in Seattle. It is owned by David Schomer, a coffee prophet. (

    And yes, you can rent a car from YVR and leave it in Seattle. We do not recommend Budget due to poor service. Try Avis – we had good rates and service from them with unlimited mileage in 2010. There is also a bus that goes from YVR to Seattle. ( You can purchase your tickets online.

    One last note, raingear is highly recommended in these parts. Happy Trip MM, Mrs. MM & Teen!

  52. THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all those suggestions, and in less than a day since the post went up, as well! Keep em coming, we obviously have to edit and pick/choose for a 48 hour version in either city… bettyq, WHERE ARE YOU? :)

  53. Arrgh…3 days not visiting your blog..Late.. late..i am glad you will be visiting the Great Pacific Northwest!! Everyone basically almost covered everything,Ditto to Fried Neurons,Ketty & Protein Shake!!Well can stay for more than 48 hrs..Advance welcome..Happy to have you here soon!!

  54. MM…I sent you a loooooooong or rather tried to post a really long do’s and don’ts!…suggested an itinerary from Richmond all the way to North Van….keeping in mind your short duration. I also enlisted the aid of a very dear friend (Cannery executive chef)…he knows high end places as well as hole in the wall joints!

    BUT I cannot get it posted…it kept saying duplicate comment detected. Am I banned from posting comments?!?

  55. wow–great TIPS!! i knew bettyq would have a detailed one, too—–will be reviewing these tips when my time comes to visit. lots of GOOD food???? i’m there!!!!

  56. hi mm, i just finished showing vancouver and seattle for 4 and half days to my cousins from chicago. they arrived vancouver, thursday lunchtime and left seattle for chicago monday night. i showed them pretty much most of the areas that were mentioned above. Betty’s recommendation are also spot on. Send me an email, i would like to drive you around even for a day. I live in Richmond (airport is around 5 minutes away). Steveston is my saturday morning hang-out. i jog from my house thru the dike to get my supply of fish, prawns, crabs and a lot more at the wharf.

  57. Now, being a foodie, MM…Fall is mushroom season here in the PNW.If you had more than 2 days, I can take you and Mrs. MM mushroom hunting. Also, I could have taken you out fishing using my brother’s boat. I am volunteering him already. Boy, will he be surprised! By the time you get here, the GOLDEN CHANTERELLES must be out by then ….with all the rain and burst of sunshine and then rain again we are having! Just 2 weeks ago, I got 7 POUNDS of KING BOLETES!!!!!! I dried half of them plus I have dried morels and a few dried matsutake which you can take back with you. It is too bad you are flying out of Seattle? If you are flying out of here and we are lucky enough to find golden chanterelles, I can put them in a styrofoam cooler for you to enjoy back home.

    MM… please allow me to host a dimsum thingey. Since a lot of your fans are out in Richmond (I think…Cwid…richmond? I know Pinky is from there)…I must be the only one out in the boonies!…maybe we could have it in Richmond…So, if MM can fit a dim sum eyeball in their schedule, let me know guys. I know I will be inundated with junk mail posting this e-mail but I can always close it after…so please send me an e-mail…

  58. Betty Q, cantharellus cibarius, boletus edulis gigantescus and Ferragamo outletshoes on top of that? Holy, I’m on my way.

  59. Hi MM! Late summer/early fall is a great time usually weather-wise :) Agree with all the food suggestions re Seattle. If you have a couple of hours free, you should take the Ride the Ducks tour , it is highly entertaining! And would love to meet you, Mrs MM and the Teen- our daughters are the same age I think.
    P.S. Not sure if anyone suggested this already- Theo’s chocolates (3400 Phinney Ave N, Seattle) offers tours of their factory. Even if you don’t have time for that you can go to their store on the factory premises- there are little mounds of chopped up chocolates in front of each flavor so you can sample before buying. My kind of store! :D

  60. Butchart…beautiful gardens…Also, though not sure if it’s still the season for it but when we took the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria we saw whales along the way. Granville Island…different types of food…

  61. Oh Bettyq, you never fail. I kept checking for your and other Canada-based MM followers’ comments and was overwhelmed by the amazing suggestions (in the best way possible). After reading everyone’s comments, I’ve decided to revisit Canada!

  62. I would take the Ferry from Vancouver to Victorian then either take the float plane (Kenmore Air) to Lake Union or the high speed ferry from Victoria to Seattle.

    While in Seattle, I recommend Salty’s seafood brunch buffet, Serious Pie for pizza (owned by local celeb chef Tom Douglas), Maximilien for moules frites. You can also drive out to Penn Cove for mussels straight from the source.

  63. Forgot to add…

    In Seattle, you could also check out the food truck scene (e.g.,

  64. MM, when i was on vacation last year, i went to seattle via train from vancouver. it was so relaxing, the views are so nice,esp the effects of the lights at night. it was a wonderful experience. cheap pa!! i love the french bakery across Pike Place. they sell very delicious pastries and bread. it’s on the corner very near the 1st starbucks store……

    in vancouver , try the Monk- something restaurant it’s along false creek. we took a water taxi ti yaletown. try the greek resto stephos at davies, i think……… and the Japadog!!!
    there’s a lot a bakery in yaletown that sells yummy pies… i love their BB pie all the berries and rhubarb.. super yum!! when i was i easting it, i remembered you! each bite was for you.. re: you posted your rhubarb pie….

  65. Are you in Vancouver in Oct — you know , like, around Oct 29, WHEN ANTHONY BOURDAIN IS IN TOWN for a show at The Centre???

  66. Agree with Rosemd on that french bakery across from Pike Place. Pastries and coffee are good. We always end our day there just for short merienda. Just can’t remember the name though..

  67. Just went to Seattle and did the “touristy” thing. That said – here are my picks, foodwise.

    1) Serious Pie for their pizza. The chanterelle and truffle cheese made an appearance on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” – this is one of Tom Douglas’ *many* restaurants in Seattle
    2) Lowell’s, either for brunch or for their fish and chips
    3) Wild Ginger – Asian food, thought I saw this listed somewhere in the comments above
    4) The Confectional – if you are a cheesecake fan.
    5) There is a truffle store, a few stores down from The Confectional. The name escapes me now, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy this!
    6) Again, from “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” – beignets from Dahlia Bakery (or Lola). I also got to try their coconut cream pie – YUM.
    7) Tilikum Place Cafe – good homemade desserts!

    Read about and wanted to try but didnt have time (or the tummy) to –
    1) Veraci Pizza – thin crust pizza
    2) Paseo – Cuban sandwiches
    3) Maximus Minimus and Marination Mobile – food carts that I saw on Eat Street (can you tell I’m a fan of the Cooking Channel?).

    To prepare for the trip, I went through the comments on the NYTimes travel section on Seattle! There’s an article (or was it a question posed to readers?) about where to eat/what to do — so I got ideas from the comments section!

    We took a ferry to Bainbridge Island – nothing to do there but I did enjoy Blackbird Bakery and lunch at the Harbour Public House. I wanted to try Cafe Nola, but that was more a brunch place.

  68. PF Chang in Seattle is not a bad place to eat! its at pine st and 4th street I think. just behind the monorail :)

  69. Hello MM! I am a true seattlite! You have to try la rustica on Alki for great Italian food! Their braised lamb shank is to die for! Also eat at sea garden in the international district and have fresh dungeness crab cooked for you in black bean sauce! All the other places are where most tourists go….it’s nice too see but the locals they come here :) enjoy!

  70. Hi MM,

    If you’re coming to Vancouver after the labor day long weekend ( September 5th ), I’ll offer to drive you around town for 2 days and be your local tour guide. You can also meet some of my eatcetera friends, who are regular lurkers of your blog site and have dinner to boot.
    We’re big followers of yours, and I do post occasionally and have followed some of your recipes as well.

    Anyway, if you’ve made plans already or if you are having an eyeball with some of the Vancouver locals, I hope you don’t mind sending us an invite so me and my friends could come along.

    Send me an email so we can make some arrangements. 2 Days is not enough to visit our beautiful city. But then again it’s better than nothing.


  71. As a Seattle native, I have to balk at some of the places that have been thrown out. Dick’s, Wild Ginger, PF Chang. C’mon people, surely you can do better than that? Dick’s while iconic as a cheap burger joint is hardly a place to send tourists to – lol! PF Chang is a national chain that serves sub-standard quasi ‘fusion cuisine’. Wild Ginger used to be good but has fallen out of favor in the last few years. Also, they’ve been shut down a couple times due to ‘questionable’ practices. Do you really want to risk getting sick while vacationing?

    There are tons of places to see and experience but would span months to cover. The Space Needle is of course the ultimate Seattle trademark but it is very pricey – is it worth it? I don’t think so. There are so many more interesting places for a fraction of the price. Pike Place Market is a must – it houses the originial Sur La Table which I know you’re a fan of and the first Starbucks store. You can get SBUX souveneirs that are sold only at this store. Beecher’s Cheese is also there and if you’re lucky you can kinda sorta watch cheese being made (booooring) but their cheeses really aren’t all that great. Read thru Nancy Leeson’s blog

    to get a good picture of Seattle eats. The July 18 post is specially timely.

    I haven’t been to Vancouver in a while but I’ve heard that since the HK exodus you need go no further than Richmond for good eats. Richmond is the first city after the border.

    If you can manage it though, take the Clipper to Victoria BC

    and experience a high/afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

    You don’t need a car – everything is within walking distance from the dock. There’s also a free shuttle that runs thru downtown Victoria – you simply hop on and off as you please. There are other places you can enjoy high/afternoon tea for less of course but that would complicate your day. And really, the Empress should be experienced at least once. You can do a day tour and probably even squeeze in the Butchart Gardens which should be in full bloom during your visit.

    In any case, I hope you and your family enjoy your visit and if you end up coming out in the Fall, you might want to bring a light sweater/coat. It can get chilly in the evenings.

  72. Hello MM..we are from Bremerton,an hour ferry to family visited ur newly opened resto in Cebu last June, day after the opening and we enjoyed it so some of your mango and calamansi jam along with the chicharon of course….so glad to know that you are visiting Pacific Northwest..Enjoy!!!!

  73. Proteinshake, are you going to Bourdain’s show in October? Tickets are not bad at all! Around 50-70ish :) I might go. Still deciding if I should get balcony or orchestra seats…

  74. The french bakery at the market serves Umbria beans (my favorite coffee in Seattle). Umbria has their own cafe in Pioneer Square. It’s an Italian style bar with panini, pastries, gelato, Italian beer and wine …oh, and espresso =)

  75. Oh yeah MM, I forgot about your macaron obssession – thanks AOC! Be sure to visit Le Panier at the Market. They make very very VERY good macarons but they sell out quickly. Either call in an order for pick-up or get there early. Be sure to also try their hot cocoa – TDF!!!

    Actually, if you haven’t decided on solid accommodations yet, check this place out – you’ll be right in the heart of the Market AND downtown! Everything within walking distance and free shuttle buses (during the week) as far as the International District (formerly Chinatown)

  76. I live in Vancouver (and I visit Seattle on a regular basis). You have already been given some solid recommendations. Let me add a couple not yet mentioned here:

    -Izakaya. Vancouver has the most active and concentrated izakaya scene outside of Japan. Guu – which is a Japanese owned mini-chain (five locations here) is perhaps the best and most authentic example in this genre. The “izakaya crawl” down Robson Street and Denman St is a popular eating tour for tourists and locals alike. All the good izakaya are within walking distance of each other

    -Sushi. We have good cheap sushi here compared to nearly anywhere else.

    -Hawksworth (perhaps the highest end restaurant here right now).

    -Vij’s. World famous “Indian” restaurant….but really, it isn’t Indian. It is French cuisine using Indian flavours. (All my Indian friends refuse to call the food there “Indian”).

    -La Brasserie for Alsatian food at reasonable prices.

    -The food carts downtown – Fresh Local Wild and La Brasserie are two of my favourites. A new street food experiment by the city of Vancouver which has so far been successful. You can download a location-aware iPhone app that tells you which are close by and which are currently open.

    -Chinese in Richmond – especially Cantonese/Dim Sum. Red Star, Jade Seafood, Sea Harbour. Regional Chinese – authentic Sichuan, Yunnan, and Hunan could be found too if you are interested in that.

    Re: your rental car question. I believe you are allowed to drop a car off in Seattle with an International Driver’s License. It only gets complicated for Canadian Residents attempting to drive a US registered car into Canada…which is technically not legal. The rules become sketchy because border guards are often ignorant of the laws. Best to check with the rental company and ask if their customers have had problems recently.

    I am active on Chowhound’s BC board if you need more details on where to eat. . It is an active board full of dedicated, knowledgeable eaters. Or you can PM me.


  77. Vancouver can easily be appreciated for its fresh seafood and sushi places. Try TOJOs. Sit by the bar for the Omakase. Vancouver also has a large Indian population. Try VIJs, even if Indian food is not among your favourite. I love Icewine. If you’re not into sweet wines, sample some BC wines. Check out SALT TASTING ROOM, where you could sample BC wines, paired with the meat and cheese of your choice. It is located in Gastown, which should give you a different vibe on Vancouver. The Olympic Cauldron and STANLEY PARK are easily within reach, as would shopping centres. Take a stroll along Coal Harbour. Robson Street in Downtown Vancouver is a typical shopping area. A JAPADOG stand is two blocks away. I hear that there are Hapadogs now in Manila, so that should be on the bottom of the list, I think. Granville Island has a lot to offer. The drive up to WHISTLER should be spectacular.
    Take a bus to Seattle. It is less of a hassle. There are buses that pick passengers up from major hotels and landmarks. Have a great trip

  78. I found a website , MM, while searching for salted plum paste…go to Letsforking.wordpress… it is worth clicking on it. I think she gives Japanese cooking lessons at UBC! She gives us the best places to try Japanese food…from high end to hole in the wall. ONe of them I think I will try dining there for the head chef used to be with Tojo’s! I agree with Proteinshake that Tojo is the place to go when a REP takes you and has an huge expense account. My sister took me there for my birthday, hubby took me there for anniversary, and always joined hubby when a rep shouldered the dinner!

  79. Great to hear you’ll be visiting the Pacific NW! Just commenting about Seattle because I have never been to Vancouver. I browsed thru some of the comments and agreed on Pike Place Market, Cafe Vivace (Awesome coffee art! I think the teen will enjoy it!) and Salumi (Batali’s deli)

    I live on the Eastside where all the yuppies of Microsoft live, and if you have time, you can also check out downtown Bellevue. It’s a blooming city on the Eastside where you can find great restaurants as well.

    Going a little bit East in Woodinville (around 30 minutes from Seattle. My little backyard Napa) you can find wineries that offer great wine tasting deals. I’ve tried Chateau Saint Michelle

    Lastly, I know you are trying to be healthy and fit, and I think the Pacific NW has the BEST hiking places! So if you do want to burn some calories, do check out Little Si, Mount Si or even Snoqualmie Falls hike :)

  80. Hi Betty Q , Yes, a rep once took me to Tojo’s and also to Araxi in Whistler. If MM has time for Whistler one day — Araxi is fabulous! Ditto to fmed for Vij’s and La Brasserie . I also am avid Chowhound follower.

  81. betty q – Nice find on that website. Japanese Kitchen – whose chef (Masa Kudo) used to work at Tojo and Blue Water – has closed unfortunately. He was chef at Lime just up the road from there for a few years. Lime used to be my favourite place to go for sushi….and it was around the corner from my house. I am trying to track down where he moved to. It is a good list (though I would pass on Honjin which is not Japanese-run).

  82. fmed: there is a new Japanese restaurant called KI right next door to the MARKET over at Shangri-la. Word has it that the guy used to be at the BLue Water. My gut instinct says it is Mr. Kudo though my source (Regis from the Cannery in the late 90’s) frequents the place but whenever he goes there, they just do the NOD thing to acknowledge the presence of the other! He says the place is very high end.

  83. betty q –

    No… Ki is run by Yoshi Tabo (Blue Water and prior to that his own eponymous ‘Yoshi’ on Denman at Davie). It was perhaps the best sushi in Vancouver (better than Tojo IMO). He also served kaiseki. He sold to his sous-chefs who stopped serving kaiseki, unfortunately. Masa Kudo used to work under Tojo and under Yoshi (at Blue Water). I live in the Commercial Drive neighbourhood where Masa plied his trade for a few years at Lime Restaurant and then Japanese Kitchen (both closed). I miss his sushi.

  84. I can’t believe I’m SO late commenting on this post!

    A lot of really good recommendations have already been posted, but I’ll add this: Fran’s Chocolates (at the Four Seasons Hotel, not far from Pike Place. Or if you’d rather, go to their Bellevue store and then cruise over to the Bravern for some high end shopping). Your MUST tries are the hazelnut diamonds and the salted caramels.

    Seattle: You can’t miss Salumi but you need to get there early. I’ve seen the line go around the block! … If there is one restaurant you absolutely cannot be over-dressed for is Canlis. Mrs. MM could probably wear a tiara and still be ok ;) …Shiro’s has superb sushi. …There is a spice store at Pike Place (the name escapes me at the moment) where they custom grate/grind your spices, so you can order as much or as little as you want…. Macrina bakery does some really good bread… if you’re after the best croissants, you’ll have to go to Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle…The coconut pie at Dahlia is delicious…Etta’s has really good seafood. . .Go to Ivar’s for clam chowder (get the white). . .

    Vancouver: Best shopping is on Robson St…best Chinese food is in Richmond…can’t miss the Granville Market…

    For the best view of Seattle, go to Kerry Park. If you’ve ever seen the show Gray’s Anatomy, the view you see at the start of the show is from that park. . .Go to the Space Needle but do NOT eat there. . .if you’re up to driving to Tacoma (about 35 mins.–with no traffic– south of Seattle) you can visit the glass museum…Seattle Art Museum is pretty cool, too. if you can extend your stay, . .then there’s Pacific Science Center, Experience Music Project, and the Seattle Aquarium (you can purchase a CityPass for discounted admission)…Victoria, B.C. is a great place to visit. The museum is so cool! Also, you can visit Butchart gardens. THE place to stay there is the Fairmont Empress where they have a tea service every afternoon (you don’t have to stay at the hotel to enjoy the tea service, though.)

    Shopping. . .as bettyq mentioned, there’s the outlet stores in Tulalip, though nothing as fancy as the one in NY. I think the highest end they get is Burberry. . .Downtown Seattle: Nordstrom, H&M (for the Teen). A few blocks from Nordstrom is Nordstrom Rack where they sell discounted stuff from the regular Nordstrom stores. You have to be patient when shopping there as it’s not as organized as the regular stores. You’ll be rewarded,though. On a couple of occasions, I’ve seen shoes by Chanel, Ferragamo, and Tod’s…if you’re really wanting to burn some cash, go to The Bravern in Bellevue (about 20 mins. from downtown). They have a Neiman Marcus, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, . . .IF you go to the Bravern, you should dine at John Howie Steak House (order the lobster mashed potatoes to go with your steak)

    If you want to stay in downtown Seattle, I recommend the Four Seasons hotel. It’s practically new (about 4 years old) and not far from Pike Place Market. Also, we’ve got the light rail that goes from the airport all to way to downtown Seattle. You could take the rail, spend your day(s) in downtown. When you are ready to leave, rent a car while in downtown (the concierge could help you get that set up). That way, you don’t have to worry about parking and parking fees.

    One last thing: Seattleites have a reputation for being nice, not friendly. Don’t let that deter you from striking up a conversation or asking for directions. Even though I was born and raised in the Philippines, Seattle is my adopted hometown. I consider myself a Seattleite after living here for 26 years. I hope you have fun and get to love this city as much as I do.

  85. vancouver:
    la belle patate for poutine (something canadian)
    salt tasting room – sure you’ve heard of it
    bella gelateria for the best gelato around
    japadog is good but not that good to be included in a 2 day itinerary

    delancey for the best pizza

  86. “Seattleites have a reputation for being nice, not friendly.”

    It’s known as the “Seattle Chill”. In all honesty, I have no idea what it’s about really and I say it’s nothing more than a bunch of BS coined by some geek who could possibly be blaming their own lack of people skills as unfriendliness from others. Ask anyone (ok, no offense intended but please don’t strike up a conversation with a homeless person) for anything and you won’t be disappointed.

    The Seattle Chill also addresses the social phenomenon of Seattlelites being friendly enough but take their sweet time about inviting you into their homes. For goodness sakes, I for one wouldn’t invite every Joe Blow off the street to my home right off the get go, would you? I once worked with a Texan contractor who felt this ‘unfriendliness’. First off, he did kinda look weird in a leering sort of way, kwim? Secondly, he wasn’t all that friendly himself either. So, we conducted an experiment. I walked behind him, instructing him to greet some people on the street, some not. Well, as you can probably guess, the peeps he greeted responded well and the ones he didn’t, didn’t. Does that really make Seattlelites unfriendly? NOT…

    So don’t pay no never mind to what people say – just mingle nicely and you’ll have a wonderful time!

  87. i forgot, you might want to throw la quercia in the mix, it was voted best resto in vancouver and is certainly pretty good and priced reasonably as well

  88. yey for bettyq’s suggestions!
    correction on my previous post: it’s Capilano Bridge, not Kitsilano. duh me. =)
    MM, hubby and I are going to Vancouver and Tofino BC in Sept as we’d like to eat through our resto list. so thanks for posting this question as everyone’s tips have been helpful. will be on the marketman lookout. =)
    we will be trying Vij’s with the renewed expectation that it’s french food with indian flavors as someone has pointed out. =)

  89. Try Kintaro on Denman for ramen, Posh for sukiyaki hotpot, Cupcakes by cupcakes, Congee Noodle house, and there’s also foos tours in Richmond and Vancouver as well as a food truck tour downtown.

  90. I hope you’ll have time to try the following while in Vancouver:

    1) Solly’s for their soft and lovely cinnamon buns and bagels. They have several locations:

    2) Toshi Sushi for authentic Japanese food. There are lots of good Japanese food in Vancouver but this one has a neighbourhood feel. They’re located in the Mount Pleasant area, 181 East 16th Ave, just a couple of steps from Main Street.

    3) Visit Chinatown. Vancouver’s Chinatown is one of the largest in North America but since you’re in the city for a short visit only, I suggest signing up for a guided walking tour of it (and maybe include nearby Gastown too). Check out

    Happy travels!!!

  91. Hi MM,

    I am surprised no one has mentioned (or maybe I missed it?) the flagship store of Sur Le Table in Pike Place Market, 84 Pine Street, open daily from 9 to 6:30.

    If you want a comfy, not too pricey, but quite nice hotel on the waterfront – I recommend the Edgewater Hotel. The rooms have been updated and you get a touch of the pacific northwest and are right on the water at the northern edge of downtown Seattle.

    Anthony’s on the waterfront serves great fish tacos and white (new england-style) clam chowder. Any of the restaurants of Tom Douglas are very good for pacific northwest fare ( – click on “restaurants” tab) – the Dahlia Lounge is in downtown Seattle. If you are in the mood for asian goods/foods Uwajimaya (grocery and foodcourt) in the international district at the southern edge of downtown of is where asians shop.

    If you have time and the inclination, I recommend that you take the water taxi to Alki (10 minutes across downtown Seattle – board from the waterfront a couple of buildings away from the ferry terminal; $3.50 each way;(see for details). You get a great view of the Seattle city skyline. Ride either early morning to get the sun coming up over the Olympic mountains, or catch the sunset.

    For breakfast try Macrina Bakery (the boulangerie of Leslie Mackie – see They are on 1st Ave in the Belltown Area (north of downtown).

    Seattle’s “Downtown” is about 15 blocks from north to south, and from Alaskan way in the west to the I-5 in the east (separated by 1st to 6th Avenues). It’s pretty small compared to other cities’ downtown areas, and very walkable.

    Before I forget, taking the bus in downtown Seattle is free (a map of downtown free ride area is You only pay if you are travelling outside this zone, and fares change based on rush/ non-rush hours. When getting off, always ask for a transfer ticket; this lets you ride another bus within the next 2 hours without having to pay.

    A not to miss, free place to enjoy is the Olympic Sculpture Park, at the north end of Alaskan Way (the waterfront street).

    Pike Place Market’s main shops are between 1st Ave, Post Alley and Alaskan Way (all parallel streets) and bordered on the north by Virginia Street and on the south by Pike Street, on 3 levels. Watch them toss the salmon at the the seafood store near The Pig – a beloved life size brass sculpture (under the Pike Place Market sign).

    One of my favorite shops is the Spanish Table, where I get saffron, squid ink, turron and other goodies from Spain (1426 Western Ave). And Spice Boy (that’s what the proprietor is called) of World Spice Merchants on1509 Western Avenue is worth visiting – he really has almost all, if not all, the spices in the world in his shop.

    For the latest on what’s on in Seattle, take a look at the Seattle Times “Living” section ( They also have a Seattle guide ( and British Columbia guide (

    Elliott’s Oyster House, on Pier 56 ( has a special that kicks off at 3 p.m., with oysters for just 50 cents each, six bucks for a dozen. Prices increase 20 cents every half-hour, so get there early to save the most clams. Seattle’s oysters are raised locally.

    Visit the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, in Ballard – 10 minutes north of downtown – where boats rise and fall as they move between the sound and the inland waterways and salmon run through a fish ladder. This is where the boats move from Lake Washington and Lake Union to get to Puget Sound.

    FYI – Salumi (309 Third Ave South )is only open on weekdays from Tuesday-Friday 11am-3:30pm. Get there at 11 am with a good appetite! It’s a hole in the wall and his curing area is behind the store. ( Its a family business so almost everyone behind the counter is related to Armandino Batali. They make what they make for the day, and if they run out, that’s it.

    Feel free to email me if you have specific questions about Seattle.

  92. MM,

    Sorry, I just checked – Elliot’s happy hour oysters are now: (Freshly shucked oysters on the half–shell)
    3:00pm– .75¢
    4:00pm– $1.25
    5:00pm– $1.75

  93. Dawn is absolutely right. Sur La Table at the market is where it all started before it got bought out and became national. You can easily spend hours at that store so be sure to plan for it!

    If you walk north on Pike Place, you’ll hit Le Panier first and then if you keep walking north, you’ll run into Sur La Table which I believe is on the corner of Stewart & Pike Place. Keep going north and SBUX is about another half block away.

    btw if you look ahead of you and can see the Space Needle, you’re facing north. Do an about face and surprise, you’re facing south which is the direction where the International District/Chinatown is. If you’re looking at the water (Puget Sound), you’re facing west.

  94. I love this site! Lots of helpful tips and infos. I’m going to SFO, LA, Vegas and NYC. Please post some dining tips in these cities. I’m focusing on In N Out Burger and I swear to eat it everyday but if you can share some tips about other food, that would be awesome =)

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