NFT Seattle Northwest Seattle

Northwest Seattle

Like its NE counterpart, NW Seattle contains a blight (Aurora), a hidden corner of wanna-be elitists (Broadview), and a few funky neighborhoods that defy sensibilities of affordability. It isn't as dull as NE, but that's not saying much. It's slightly more developed and neighborhoody than the other side of I-5, but still nothing to get excited about.

NW has a few pockets of commercial activity that contain life, most notably along 85th and north on Greenwood. The farther north you go, the more suburban the setting. Sticking to Aurora, you'll find an abundant selection of $2 beers, pull tabs, used cars and meth heads, with the occasional hooker waiting to reveal her "hidden neighborhood treasure."


This Neighborhood Featured in...
A (Karaoke) Place to Call Home

By Jessica Baxter
Eight years ago Jessica Baxter walked into an empty bar in Seattle to "sing" Daydream Believer in front of 3 friends and 6 wasted, possibly dangerous strangers. She wanted more. Now she's a bona fide karaoke expert.

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Karen Watson
Photo:  Karen Watson

Saffron Grill
I was skeptical about Saffron Grill because (a) it's in a building that looks like it used to be a TGI Fridays and (b) it's in the car park of a scary looking "business" hotel. But the old cliche really fits -- never judge a book by its cover. Owned by the same family that runs the U-District staple Cedars, I instantly recognized the coffee pots full of chai going round the room. That stuff is like milky delicious crack. The food isn't outstanding but it's definitely tasty and flavorful, especially if you're in need of a tikka after a hard day of shopping. And the cocktail list reads like a Webster's Dictionary of exotic tropical flavors. Jai Ho!

Posted By:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter

I'm not crazy about authentic French cooking. I find it heavy and uninteresting. Apparently, all it needed was a Seattle twist! Gainsbourg is among Seatown's best restaurants. We were lucky enough to dine when mac and cheese was the special. Not too oily, perfectly bread crumbed and Gruyere laden, it was unequivocally the best I've ever tasted. Gruyere. Other menu highlights include the Croque Monsieur, the French Dip, and Poutine. They season most dishes with pig, but will make vegetarian versions of practically everything. (Beware. They mustn't clean the pans. A little chunk of ham was hiding in our Roasted Brussels Sprouts.) Their drink menu is as elaborate as the food, with an entire page devoted to Absinthe. The Lavender Lemonade (spiked with vodka) is as refreshing as it is dangerous. Naturally, they also offer a large list of French wines. The decor is dark and interesting. Real candelabras sit on each table, making you feel like characters in a gothic romance novel. But you might want to move it away from yourself after a few drinks. Francophiles might take issue. But for people on the fence about French cooking, Gainsbourg is a revelation.

Posted By:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter

El Camion
There are a lot of good taco trucks in Seattle, but El Camion is one of the best. This isn't your standard three-taco deal. Their selection is massive. It's basically a restaurant on wheels. Taco-wise, they offer ELEVEN different fillings. If you're not in a taco mood but still want something south-of-the-bordery, they have a about a million other dishes from burritos to tortas to special plates. They make their tamales fresh every day (fillings vary). Breakfast burritos are served all day. If a burrito the size of a baby isn't enough food for you, tack on a side of rice and beans or chips and salsa. Speaking of salsa, their numerous varieties are also made daily in-house and some of them will really kick your ass. Wash it all down with one of several classic Mexican beverages including Horchata, Jarritos, Mexican Coke, pina coladas or, on those not-so-rare rainy days, Mexican hot chocolate. Bonus for the meat-averse, unlike most authentico taco trucks, they have vegetarian versions of just about everything. While El Camion is certainly worth a special trip, there is no better way to reward oneself after an always grueling visit to the adjacent Home Depot.

Posted By:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter

Pillagers Pub
It's true; they were a little overused for a while. But pirate themes will always be cool. And the Pillager's Pub banks on that. A little bribery in the form of Build-Your-Own Bloody Marys doesn't hurt. Starting at noon on Saturdays and Sundays, they start you with a large glass full of vodka and then send you to the buffet where you can customize the hell out of your Bloody. Choose from several bases, loads of hot sauces and a bevy of pickled vegetables. If you're feeling more like a flagon of ale, their house brands, Three Skull and Baron, offer a lovely selection. Because pirates need to eat, they offer a delightful menu of bar grub, including creative uses for tater tots (Tachos!). During daylight hours, they also have a kids menu to keep the shorter members of the crew happy while the big pirates carouse. Take the party home with you by purchasing a (pretty tough looking) growler full of one of their signature beers. Regular members of the crew can utilize punch cards, which result in treasures like t-shirts, pints glasses and free growlers. With incentives like this, how can you not choose a pirate's life?

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Restaurants (16)
Nightlife (8)
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