We chose to review the Savor Seattle Gourmet Food Tour because, as many of you know, whenever we visit new cities we love to start our adventure with a food tour. Food is such an integral part of a city’s identity that it would be wrong to visit and not indulge in its food scene. When imagining Seattle many think of the basics – coffee and seafood. While those items are, in fact, delicious, they only tell half the story.
What about the farmers market that opened in 1907 and provided local farmers the opportunity to sell fresh produce without a middle man? How about the chocolate shop that got its start at pike place and is credited with the artisan chocolate revolution. If you don’t do a Savor Seattle Gourmet Food Tour or Pike Place Tour you might miss out on these uniquely Seattle gems. See how this food tour fits into our 48 Hour City Guide for Seattle here.
What do you do on a Savor Seattle Food Tour?
So, what do you actually do on a Savor Seattle Gourmet Food Tour? First things first – you eat. You are provided with a meeting point where you’ll be greeted by your super-friendly and knowledgable guide. If you’re wondering about how you will find your guide – fear not – they carry around a bright pink umbrella that’s nearly impossible to miss. One of our guides actually called us ahead of time to lay specific instructions on how to find him since the meeting point was on the back side of pike place.
Second, depending on the tour you choose there may also be some drinking involved. Our Savor Seattle Gourmet Food Tour included a few wine and beer pairings at select locations.
Last, you learn. You meet with the managers, chefs, and/or employees at each stop. They, along with your tour guide, offer information about things like the farming practices of their suppliers, how their food is prepared, and the history of their restaurant. As you stroll from stop to stop you will also learn about the history of the city.
Savor Seattle Gourmet Food Tour in Detail
The Savor Seattle Gourmet Food Tour weaved us through 3 different Seattle neighborhoods including Belltown, downtown, and pike place. Along our path were 6 stops where we experienced importance of the F.L.O.S.S. (Fresh, local, organic, sustainable, and seasonal) Methodology first hand.
The starting point of the tour is in Belltown at ORFEO which is an upscale dining location specializing in wood fire grilled dishes. The chefs here are kind of a big deal around Seattle and they own a few other restaurants, including Steelhead Diner, another stop along the tour. They’re proud of their international wine list which highlights local wineries and they focus on seasonal ingredients which they toss into their custom designed grill.
The restaurant wasn’t officially open at the time the Savor Seattle Gourmet Food Tour started so we got VIP treatment from the staff and felt like insiders. They sat us at a table near the kitchen and presented us with some bubbly to get started. The wild boar bolognese with grilled polenta was being pulled out of the oven when we arrived so we started eating almost immediately. While eating, the (we believe to be) manager came over and told us a little about the restaurant’s history and the preparation methods of the chef.
The portion sizes were large enough to relieve our hanger that had set in from the long flight. The food got two thumbs up from us and our San Francisco based food-tour-mates.
We walked a few minutes up the street to an unassuming pizza joint called Serious Pie. Unlike ORFEO, Serious Pie was open for business and had a significant sized crowd inside. We were a little worried about having a place to sit until our tour guide lead us to a back room near the kitchen that was reserved just for us. The waitress came around with a freshly baked pizza within minutes of us sitting down. Savor Seattle really has the timing down pat.
You could smell the truffle as they delivered our uniquely shaped rectangular pizza. If you follow us you probably know we love all things truffle and this pizza was no exception. It was delicious. The apple wood burning stove at Serious Pie cooks the hand crafted pies to perfection, resulting in a nice crispy crust and perfectly browned artisan cheese topping. To finish it off they drizzled a little California olive oil on top along with some freshly chopped herbs that leaves you wanting more than just a tasting.
As mentioned above, Steelhead diner is owned by the same chefs that brought you ORFEO and they’ve done another great job with Steelhead Diner. We took a quick stroll from Serious Pie into the Pike Place Market area of Seattle for this stop. Along the route we caught a glimpse of the famous Pike Place sign and experienced how steep the hill is that takes you down to the edge of the Puget Sound where the market sits (pictures don’t do it justice).
The Steelhead Diner was open for business and packed with people. The atmosphere was laid back and super casual (so Seattle) with a great view of the Sound. We had a private table in the back of the restaurant where we did our food and wine pairing. They served a crisp white wine from Washington State that paired well with our Alaskan razor clam chowder. The clam chowder had our hearts when the waitress mentioned the truffle oil drizzle. It had just the right amount of soft clams and had a smooth smokey finish from the apple smoked bacon. This chowder rivaled many of the great ones we’ve had in Boston and it seriously pains us to say that. You HAVE to try it.
Just a few steps away from Steelhead Diner was our next stop, Noi Thai Cuisine. As we walked up to the building we realized that this was no ordinary place. The elegant finishes combined with the intricate sculptures give it a truly polished feel. After taking our seats, we were presented with expertly crafted crispy garlic chicken. You could tell from the presentation alone that this place takes their food seriously. The chicken was cooked to perfection with a light and crispy crust, and served with a cocktail that almost stole the show. They called it the Diamond Head Mango Drop Cocktail and it’s made with Thai chili infused vodka, mango puree, and has a spicy salted rim. This drink left us longing for more but there was still more food to be tasted!
Right around the corner from Noi Thai Cuisine is a giant glass window that exposes an enormous selection of spirits above the Von’s Gusto Bistro bar. They have one of the largest selections of spirits you’ll find and their expert bartenders serve up fancy cocktails that are definitely worth exploring. However, it was our pleasure to learn that Von’s is more than just a bar. Along with the extensive drink selection is a kitchen that sources all of their ingredients from local vendors. They have a sourdough recipe that they use for everything from the hamburger buns to the pasta.
Now, back to the Savor Seattle Gourmet Food Tour. We were given a giant portion of their Seattle Smoked Salmon Mac. The salmon is caught right out of the waters of the Pacific Northwest and was the ideal compliment to the four dill cheeses. The sourdough pasta was a treat – just firm enough to stand out amongst the giant chunks of salmon. We loved the texture and taste so much that we bought a bag of pasta to go.
Last on the tour is Fran’s chocolates. On your left as you walk in the door is a glass case revealing some of the most delicious chocolate you can imagine. We got a taste of four different pieces which we assume may vary based on the season. The most notable of our experience were the famous gray and smoked salt caramels. The slow cooked, soft butter caramel paired so perfectly with the salted toppings that we could not get enough. We had to buy a few to take home, but they were so delightfully tempting, we finished them before our flight left the next day. This was a true exclamation point to the end of our tour.
That’s it. That was our amazing experience with Savor Seattle’s Gourmet Food Tour. We had a blast and highly encourage anyone traveling to Seattle to give it a try. If you enjoyed this post please share it with your friends and family!
P.S. Don’t forget to tip your guide!