The Day-Off Lunch Guide
Where to get a weekday meal when you don’t have to work.
Maybe it’s a national holiday. Maybe you have an out-of-town visitor and called in sick to play tour guide. Or, maybe your boss is superstitious and closes the office every Friday the 13th. No matter the reason why you have a day off, you should be making the most of it by sitting down to a great lunch. On this guide, you’ll find a bunch of restaurants where you can get something way better than your normal weekday meal, and, as an added bonus, they should all be relatively easier to get into during the day.
Via Rosa 11
You're already taking the day off, so why not board a commercial watercraft and sail away from Seattle? Via Rosa 11 on Bainbridge Island is exactly the location to keep in mind. It’s a place to take a breather as you're fed exemplary pasta and pizza by genuine, warm people who pronounce “marinara” with D’s instead of R’s. It's a place to pop open a bottle of prosecco to wash down a porchetta panini. It's a place to haul along a cooler bag so you can stock up on housemade sausage and tubs of pesto to bring home. The best course of action is to order the burrata and speck pie, pair it with springy fusilli tossed in vodka sauce out on their string light-lined patio, and it should become clear: this is why you got on that boat.
Marmite does normal lunch stuff that’s fancier, fresher, and tastier than the wrap or salad you usually get to-go every Tuesday, and it’s probably only a few bucks more expensive. This means you’ll find interesting soups with sunchokes in the mix, plates of really fresh leaves, and sandwiches you definitely can’t get at your local deli.
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photo credit: Nate Watters
Sugo Hand Roll Bar
Sometimes, you don't want lunch to feel like lunch—you want it to feel like a small break from reality as you enjoy excellent food and soak up some limited free time. Sugo is the place to do that. This four-sided sushi counter specializes in handrolls, and it's incredibly exciting to sit here among the soundtrack of Alesso tunes and the blast of a flame as it blowtorches wagyu on a pink Himalayan salt block. Expect a whirlwind of delicious fillings like sesame-forward ahi poke, marinated ikura, and melty chopped otoro that won't set you back too much money or take too much time out of your afternoon. And vegetarians, there are great options for you too—like truffled mashed avocado with tempura crunchies, fried green beans, and crispy battered tofu with sweet onion and pea shoots.
Matt's In The Market
In a fit of pent-up rage, something snapped during a partnerships meeting—you screamed, “Nope!” just before flipping over the conference table, and it resulted in your immediate termination. But it’s only 11am, so now what? Lunch at Matt’s In The Market could turn around any unfortunate scenario, even if nothing catastrophically bad happened to you today. Get the same fried catfish sandwich that’s been around since 1996, potato chips with bacon dip (both of which are only available at lunch), and end with the candy bar square.
The Butcher's Table
You want a steak for lunch, and we support you. The Butcher’s Table is a modern steakhouse in South Lake Union with antique leather barstools and statement piece light fixtures, so you’ll probably feel comfortable using the word “panache” here. That said, it’s relaxed enough for you to show up in jeans and eat a burger and beef fat fries at the bar. Don't miss these beef fat fries.
Kirkland is primarily associated with two things: Costco, and the city where Jason and Molly from The Bachelor live. Sure, it may have a few more claims to fame, but none are more important to us than Deru Market. It’s a magical little cafe smack in the middle of a quiet neighborhood with delicious sandwiches, soups, pizzas, a pepita- and roasted carrot-loaded entree salad that will inspire you to become a farmer, and massive layer cakes in flavors like coconut and salted peanut butter dark chocolate.
When you have no obligations for the rest of the day, you should probably take a drive along the lake followed by a margherita pizza drenched in chili oil. For a big step above a heat lamp-warmed slice, head south to Pizzeria Pulcinella, a little neighborhood spot in Rainier Beach that serves excellent Neapolitan pizzas and baked pasta dishes. You should also grab some spumoni ice cream for the ride home.
While we’d do a birthday dinner or date night here, lunch is a nice time for a casual combo of shawarma, mezzes, and mint lemonade. Choose your own meat or falafel adventure, but no matter what, get an order of the harra fries. Have them as an appetizer, stuff them in your flatbread—we don’t care. Just have them.
The Pink Door
If you’ve been trying to get into The Pink Door lately with no luck, come for lunch. Order some lasagna and the grilled garlic bread. Consume with some bubbles (in wine or water form) for maximum enjoyment of the waterfront pier.
Damn The Weather
If you feel guilty about hanging out inside in the middle of the day, Damn The Weather might change your mind. It’s a chilled-out natural wine bar that serves oysters, fresh pasta, and sandwiches. Even though you’re calling the shots today, we highly recommend grabbing a seat at the bar and a burger alongside the illustrious duck fat fries.
Salumi is a Seattle institution with Italian sandwiches that work for any kind of lunch, but don’t kid yourself—if you don’t work in Pioneer Square, you’re not coming here unless you’re playing hooky. The homemade cured meats and mozzarella will make a nice day-off treat, and you can also do a bit of charcuterie shopping. Also, did you know charcuterie makes a great gift? You’re such a good friend.
Sushi Kappo Tamura
There are times when it’s appropriate to stare into space as conveyor belts of tempura-battered sushi rolls orbit around you (like at an affordable group hang, or during an existential crisis), but lunch on your day off is not one of them. Instead, go to Sushi Kappo Tamura for quality nigiri in an elegant space. The fresh fish here is great across the board, but we’re big fans of the scallops and sockeye salmon.
Ba Bar is an excellent Vietnamese spot that doesn’t take reservations. So if you had the choice between dinner (where your table competition is eight families of four, a handful of first dates, and an entire office building’s Happy Hour) or lunch, when you will be seated instantly—you get where we’re going with this. Come for lunch, eat a big bowl of phở or vermicelli, and then make the transition to a cup of soft serve.