Food comforts me. When I’m stressed or burnt out, eating a good meal revives me. Therefore, I see lunch as an important part of a good day’s work. When I first started at Curator, I was weary of the lunch options in the neighborhood. Luckily, I like cooking at home and often bring my lunch, but when my culinary stars don’t align, eating out is necessary. Because I’m unwilling to pay money for crappy food and also too frugal to spend a lot, it’s taken some time to seek out the greatest lunch spots in the neighborhood. I like calling these special places Grubsteps, which are cheap, great food restaurants that are only steps away. Without further adieu…my favorite Grubsteps, in no particular order.
There’s no reason to not explore the International District when Curator is so close, and Pho Bac is right in the middle of it. Like most spots in the ID, it doesn’t look appetizing from the outside, but I’ve discovered the best pho anyone could want. Aside from traditional pho, they will add steamed mixed vegetables for no additional cost, not that the original price of $8 is steep! The staff is super friendly and the hostess, Kim, remembered me the second time I visited.
- My Favorite: Chicken Pho with veggies
- Walking Time: 13 minutes
- Best Day to go there: It’s best to go on a rainy day or a Monday, when you need the most comforting.
- Get There: 1314 S Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98144
Delicatus is known for their amazing sandwiches. However, if I ate a sandwich regularly for lunch, I’d be asleep at my desk by 2:00 p.m. When I discovered that they make any sandwich as a salad too, I was hooked. The choices are endless. Add a cup of oyster chowder on days when you need a little extra motivation.
- My Favorite: Anti-Pasta Salad with turkey, field greens, cherry tomatoes, red onion, Gorgonzola, Dijon balsamic vinaigrette.
- Walking Time: 10 minutes
- Best Day to go there: Monday-Thursday: The days when you can’t afford a food hangover.
- Get There: 103 1st Avenue S, Seattle , WA 98104
I was scared of this place at first because fighting a pasta addition is really hard for me. I went for the first time recently and was pleasantly surprised. They have a rotating menu and so summer pastas are usually lighter. They are great at portion control, which is a great job for anyone, but me. I was full and content when I finished, but didn’t feel like I was going to collapse into an immediate nap. Win! The only thing that would make this place better is if they offered a side salad.
- My Favorite: Tagliatelle, alla bolognese
- Walking Time: 15 minutes
- Best Day to go there: Friday, because Friday’s should be about treating yourself.
- Get There: 217 James Street, Seattle, WA 98104
Every neighborhood needs a good sushi lunch joint and Gaba Sushi is it for Pioneer Square. They’ve got a brown rice option and enough variety in rolls that you can switch it up. You can even order halves of rolls. Genius.
- My Favorite: Half Pink Flamingo roll/Half Tiger Eye roll
- Walking Time: 7 minutes
- Best Day to go there: Again, Monday-Thursday, when you need to keep your energy up.
- Get There: 220 1st Avenue S, Seattle, WA 98104
I know I ripped on sandwiches earlier in this post, but if you really need a sandwich (which is something I fully understand), let it be Rain Shadow’s. It’s a butcher shop so they know how to do meat well. My biggest complaint is their bread choice (the really hard crusty kind that pushes everything out of the sandwich every time you take a bite), but the flavors they combine are excellent.
- My Favorite: The Romesco, add a Marinated Kale salad for $2.
- Walking Time: 30 seconds, it’s across the street
- Best Day to go there: Wednesday seems as good of a sandwich day as any.
- Get There: 404 Occidental Avenue S, Seattle, WA 98104
Thai Curry Simple, at the edge of the International District, is awesome if you love curries because they have one on special every day that costs about $6, rice included. You can also buy the curry paste if you want to make it at home.
- My Favorite: Red Curry
- Walking Time: 10 minutes
- Best Day to go there: Anyday, because there’s always a new curry
- Get There: 406 5th Avenue S, Seattle, WA 98104
Little Uncle is tucked away in a basement on Yesler and 1st Avenue, but it has open seating, so it doesn’t feel closed off or claustrophobic. Their pad thai comes with packets of peanuts and different peppers, so you can customize according to peanut allergy or spiciness. Yum!
- My Favorite: Pad Thai
- Walking Time: 12 minutes
- Best Day to go there: Thursday or Friday, the best days to treat yourself after a good week.
- Get There: 88 Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98104
*All walking times are from Curator PR, 419 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104.