Lunch. That magical mid-day reprieve when you can mentally check out for a moment and re-fortify your body – especially when enjoyed in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood where chefs have taken their lunch game to the next level.
In the land dominated by Amazonians and Facebook-gurus, lunch is a far cry from baloney sandwiches on white bread. From dressed up pizza and authentic Mexican tacos to Mediterranean street food and out of this world burgers, these South Lake Union eateries are throwing down some tasty plates.
Sure, traffic is historically terrible at the southern tip of the lake. But, the terrain is relatively flat and with our Lake Union terminal as your home base, walking to lunch is a breeze. So, between a Seattle Scenic Flight Tour and an afternoon at MOHAI, take a stroll to one of the best lunch spots in South Lake Union. You won’t regret it.
*Walking times are all approximations based on leaving from our Lake Union terminal.
Where to Eat in South Lake Union
Close and Tasty (7 minutes or less)
Born from a desire to bring authentic Mexican tacos to Seattle and founded in an obscure second-story Capitol Hill hole-in-the-wall, Taco Chuckis in South Lake Union has taken their game to the next level. Dishing up their same flavor-packed selection of tacos, baby burritos and tortas for cheap, their Dexter destination is anything but shabby. Located just a two-block walk from our Lake Union terminal, this staff favorite sports an open kitchen and trendy wood tables. Of particular note are the pork tacos, topped with the house-made avocado salsa and a delightfully tangy-sweet slice of pineapple.
There are pizza joints in Seattle. And then there’s Ballard Pizza Company, another Ethan Stowell addition to the Seattle food scene. Here, slices take on a mind of their own with toppings ranging from traditional prosciutto and tomato sauce to egg and parmigiana. The really daring go for ‘The Big Moses’ – a chef’s choice concoction that typically features whatever’s freshest.
Pssss….Don’t forget to book your Seattle Scenic Seaplane Tour in advance. Flights sell out quickly!
An Easy Stroll (15 minutes or less)
The menu’s not overly intense. It doesn’t need to be. You come to South Lake Union’s Bar Harbor for the rolls. And the rolls don’t disappoint. Your choice of protein (Maine lobster, Oregon bay shrimp or Dungeness crab) is served in a split-top white roll for a handheld seafood monstrosity that might make you think you’re on the east coast. Your filling is tossed in your choice of mayo (Maine Style), clarified butter (those Connecticut folks are onto something) or a bright mix of mayo, celery and chive (like the do in New England).
Starters range from Dungeness crab stuffed eggs to house-pickled seasonal veggies. Salad lovers will rejoice over the Crab & Kale Caesar, uniquely adorned with roasted beets. And those who have discovered the creamy joy of all things Burrata, will go gaga over the tangy combo of artichoke puree and sweet onion.
This classic soup, sandwich, and salad joint isn’t going to help you pinch pennies. But if you’re looking for killer sandwiches made from impeccably fresh and sustainably-sourced ingredients, Homegrown is the place for you. The new menu includes a smoked pastrami with caramelized onions; thinly sliced steak with blue cheese (it’s exquisite); and a turkey, bacon, and avocado with roasted garlic aioli; and an inventive wasabi-infused chicken salad bowl that’s loaded with flavors and textures.
Carb lovers rejoice. Serious Pie & Biscuit is all about the dough. Their crust goes through a 3-day cold rise. Their biscuits are packed with butter. This Tom Douglas mainstay might not specialize in regional flavors from around the globe, but it does American comfort food in a way that’ll make you sigh for a nap. The menu can change seasonally, but right now we’re particularly fans of the fried green tomato and bacon biscuit and the lamb sausage pie with parsnip cream and rapini.
Worth the Walk (23 minutes stroll or less)
From the masterminds of Seattle’s beloved Mamnoon, this casual offshoot is dishing up the same homemade pita falafel wraps and spicy cilantro fries we’ve come to love. In the dip department, you can’t go wrong with the Shamandar Bi Tahini, a grated beet and yogurt bowl that’ll knock your socks off. The baba ghanoush is always delightful. And, if you’re a fan of traditional za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice blend that’s hard to find in its traditional form here in the Emerald City) – order the Za’atar wrap. Trust us. It’s exquisite.
What began as an experiment in excess has evolved into an eclectic (some might say kitschy) burger joint high on energy and big on portions. While the classic pickle, onion, and cheese layered patty is on the menu – loyal fans often come for the more untraditional combinations such as The Dork – where duck, pork, and a secret meat create a savory treat unlike anything else you’ll find. Of course, a Seattle burger joint wouldn’t be complete without a nod to Dick’s, but we’re particularly partial to the Burger of the Gods – a blue cheese and candied onion burger that’ll make your entire week.
What began as a food truck known for its bacon jam and gravy-loaded hand-cut fries (aka poutine) has evolved into a series of brick-and-mortar classic dinners scattered throughout the city. It. Is. Awesome.
You can get the classic bacon jam and blue cheese burger from the Skillet’s humble four-wheeled origins. But you can also get hearty kale salads topped with fried chicken thighs and meatloaf with seasonal veggies. Breakfast here is an all-day thing, so if you’re getting a late start you can’t go wrong with the fried chicken and waffles (the optional two eggs are delightful) or ‘The Chub” a bacon-brie-egg breakfast sandwich smothered bacon jam.
If Mediterranean food is your thing, Eggs and Plants is a must. This vegetarian breakfast and lunch destination features big, bold flavors. While you can’t go wrong with anything off their minimal menu, their fries are a sure winner. Delightfully seasoned and crispy, they’re perfect on their own or dipped in some smooth tahini-packed hummus.