Munchies Done Right: Where to Eat in Capitol Hill
There is little in this world that is more enjoyable than getting wildly high and eating amazing food, am I right? But the options can be overwhelming so, where do you go?
Seattle is full of amazing food choices so I have broken this long list down to some of my very favorite spots to eat by neighborhood, keeping it simple so you are on your way fast! Be sure to check out some of the other top choices for food in and around Seattle throughout our blog but today, we’re going to start with Capitol Hill.
Now, this by no means should be thought of as a comprehensive list of the best spots in the neighborhood. There are so many restaurants and bars opening up every day that by the time this blog goes live, I’ll probably have a new list but Capitol Hill is always a great place to start. (Also, for the record – don’t ever call it ‘Cap Hill’. That’s how we identify outsiders).
Mexican: Carmelo’s Tacos
I’m about to make a big statement. Brace yourself. Carmelo’s makes the best Burritos in Capitol Hill. I don’t actually even think there’s a super close second.
Please, don’t take that to mean that the Hill doesn’t have other delicious tacos and burritos. I will say this, when the little Teriyaki spot that was nestled inside Hillcrest Market over on Olive closed, I was super bummed. It was probably my most frequented quick meal spot on the Hill. But when I first tried Carmelo’s, on the very first day they opened, I was a lot less bummed. First of all, the people that run it are super nice and friendly. The food is incredible. They don’t even have burritos on the menu, but they do make them if you ask and they are incredible.
Tacos, Burritos, and Topo Chico
I tend to order the Campechano mostly, which is essentially an everything burrito. It’s stuffed to the brim with potatoes, chorizo, steak, and cactus. But everything on the menu is awesome. I’ve literally eaten everything they sell, including a delicious vegan taco!!
They also sell Topo Chico, which is by far the best of all soda waters in my not at all humble opinion. Want to hear the best recommendation I can possibly give you? When I go to Carmelo’s I order two burritos. Both for me. I call it my “now and later” burrito. One gets eaten at the little patio that they have set up, the second one goes home with me and gets put in my refrigerator exactly as it is.
Oh, the joy it will bring when you realize a second burrito is waiting for you six hours later. It has also never, ever, ever, gone to waste.
A lot of folks don’t realize that an actual world-class bakery is tucked into a nondescript building on the corner of Olive and Howell. The tiny James Beard Semifinalist (a really big deal – especially for such a small place) does fancy, buttery, and sugary right.
Their model is to make what they make and when it’s gone, it’s gone. I suggest not getting there too late, especially on a weekend, if you want to have a larger selection of things to choose from. The relatively simple-looking Kouign Amann (pronounced kween ah-mahn) and the Canale are my personal favorites. Simple, clean, buttery, crispy, just absolutely perfect.
Butter and more butter
Crumble and Flakes selections vary, but I am partial to their macarons and shortbreads. Their items are simple and very French but so expertly made and delicious. You might want to wait to toke until after shopping because in my experience it gets a little pricy otherwise. I’ve definitely spent absurd amounts of money on absurd amounts of pastry. I’ve never regretted it, but you’ve been warned.
Tower. Of. Sour. That’s really all this review should need to say. They have a tower of sour candy in case that wasn’t clear. They also have all the old-man candy’s that call to my particular variety of munchy preference (salt-water taffy and weird British wine gums specifically).
Rocket Fizz has a wide selection of international candy and kitschy stuff in equal parts, not to mention tons of sodas. The people that work there are super nice and conditioned enough by my truly horrifying candy purchases that they won’t judge you either. You’re welcome.
This may be a strange category to some. I love to sit and drink coffee when I’m high. I suppose it’s only tangentially related to the munchies, but it seemed to fit in this post.
There is nowhere better than Vivace to sit, sip a delicious coffee or tea, and watch the neighborhood. There are so many great coffee shops in Capitol Hill that it truly does come down to preference. I get different things at different places, depending on where I am or what I’m doing, but in my opinion, Vivace is that consistently best of them all (I love my Vita coffees too if you’re up on that end of Capitol Hill).
Coffee and Atmosphere
Vivace makes everything great. Their Espresso sodas are great on a hot day, the Café Nico is so nice in the winter (Orange, Cinnamon, and Vanilla) and they’ll make things “Nico Style” if you ask. Their coffee is strong but so balanced that I usually order quad-shot drinks.
The people that work there are some of the coolest and sweetest folks you’ll find in the neighborhood and super good at their job. Stand to the left to order and follow the counter. Don’t walk away. Your drink will be ready quick. Otherwise, you end up with hungover bartenders like me staring daggers at you for messing up the system.
It’s a little tough to categorize Marination Station. It’s a sort of LA street food style Mexican/Asian Menu meets Hawaiian. So for our purposes, we’ll just say that it’s really good.
Sliders, Kimchee Spam and more!
Marination does sliders, kimchee rice, some quesadillas, tacos, and lots of other stuff you are gonna crave. They have several locations including one on Alki Beach, and all the locations have slightly different menus. The real star of the show though, the Spam sliders.
If you haven’t had spam, and you’re groaning right now, give it a shot. It’s salty, and crispy and porky and delicious. Their slaw is great, and the Nunya Sauce (because what’s in it is nunya business) is good enough that I could probably eat it with a spoon.
Nepalese: Annapurna Café
First of all, walking into Annapurna feels a little like entering a private little world.
Right next to the Capitol Hill light rail station, when you walk in the door you go down a set of stairs. It smells great in there. The odor of the fragrant food hits you as soon as you walk in the door. Nepalese food is pretty similar to Indian (at least to a layperson – probably Nepalese or Indian folks would disagree). When I left Seattle for a brief return to the East Coast, I dreamed of Annapurna. It’s one of those places where everything is good. The dining room is dark and pretty, which makes it the sort of spot that I find pleasurable when I’ve been smoking the devil’s lettuce.
Chai, Momos, and Warm Spices
Personal favorites on the menu are their biryani which is essentially the Nepalese version of fried rice. It’s full of vegetables, spices, and dried fruit (if you like cardamom this is going to be your jam) and is served with a side of raita which I suggest you just drown it in. Their Chai is amazing and comes in pretty little brass cups that burn your fingers in a way that I sort of enjoy.
Their Tenzing momo (Tibetan-style dumplings) are outstanding. I’ve truthfully eaten pretty much everything on the menu and have NEVER been disappointed. I didn’t see it on their menu so I’m not sure whether they still have it or not, but if they do, finishing the meal off with some Gulab Jamun is always a good call. They’re these little fried balls that are soaked in honey and flavored with Indian spices. They’re pretty unique for an American dessert palate, but oh so satisfying.
So while this is by no means is a comprehensive list of where I eat when I’m blazing in Capitol Hill, it should give you a good start for an afternoon or two. Easily accessible from the light rail, everywhere on this list is within a five-minute walk from there. So enjoy and get ready to walk a lot of calories off!