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Guide

Where To Get The Best Picnic Food In Seattle

Summer in 2020 means it’s time to eat on a patch of grass. Here’s where to get your supplies.

Written by
22 Spots
Launch Map
22 Spots
Launch Map
Updated August 15th, 2020

While traveling isn’t really a thing right now, the closest way to feel like you did something cool this summer is to go somewhere in the city for a picnic. Here are the best markets, sandwich shops, and takeout situations to grab lunch or dinner while you make your roommate stake out a small plot of grass or sand far away from other humans. And if you have no plans to leave your apartment, all of these spots work equally well for a picnic in the living room. Assuming you have a comfortable carpet.

THE SPOTS

Little Chinook's

$$$$
$$$$ 1900 W Nickerson St

Picnics scream summer. Well, so does fried seafood. For both in one sitting, Little Chinook’s is the perfect spot to grab fish and chips before hanging out at Discovery Park for a picnic. You can choose from many different varieties, from tempura-battered wild salmon to panko-crusted cod - it pairs perfectly with a bubbly fountain drink and watching people finish their trail hike while you sit and eat fries.

CLOSEST PARK: Discovery Park

Pane Pane Sandwiches

$$$$
$$$$ 304 Union St

If you’re planning a socially-distant hang with friends and you know that everyone wants a sandwich but that’s as far as you’ve gotten, Pane Pane is the only answer. This place serves a salami and pepperoni sub with pesto mayo and greens that’s just as stupendous as their teriyaki meatball bánh mì. If someone can’t find a combination of meats, cheeses, sauces, and vegetables on Pane Pane’s homemade baguettes that they like, it’s time to start questioning your friendship with this person.

CLOSEST PARK: Olympic Sculpture Park

Deru Market

$$$$
$$$$ 723 9th Ave Ste D

If you’re planning to set up a picnic on the east side of Lake Washington, you should be stopping at Deru Market beforehand. Not only does this place have delicious sandwiches on homemade focaccia bread, but it also has a case full of bulk salads with everything from beets with pistachio pesto to roasted carrots with salsa verde - not to mention great wood-fired pizzas if that’s more your speed. At the very least, just get a loaf of focaccia to go with meat and cheese and olives from the grocery store. But if you don’t get a slice of coconut or dark chocolate salted peanut butter layer cake to go, too, you’re making a huge mistake.

CLOSEST PARK: Heritage Park

The Independent Pizzeria

$$$$
$$$$ 4235 E Madison St

Not a lot of Neapolitan pizza is picnic-able - we’ve ruined many a white tee to fallen globs of mozzarella slipping off floppy slices. But the pies from The Independent are the exception. Their crust is light but still holds up well to toppings like speck and runny egg yolk or clams and lemon, and you can also order things to supplement your pies, like wine, cider, and appetizers like olives or grilled bread with chevre and honey.

CLOSEST PARK: Washington Arboretum

East Anchor Seafood

$$$$
AmericanSeafood  in  Madrona
$$$$ 1126 34th Ave #101

At this seafood market, you can grab some ahi tuna poke bowls with sriracha aioli for a refreshing under-the-sun lunch. You could also see what’s happening in the prepared food case (usually Dungeness crab snap pea salad makes an appearance), then pick up some crackers, fruit, maybe some bell peppers, and a bottle of wine to bring with you.

CLOSEST PARK: Madrona Park

Mammoth

$$$$
AmericanSandwichesBar  in  Eastlake
$$$$ 2501 Eastlake Ave E

If all of the ideal picnic foods played a celebrity basketball game together, the turkey club would be the MVP - and our favorite in town is at Mammoth. It’s full of house-smoked meat, cheddar, bacon, and a homemade dill-y ranch that’s so good you should get a couple of extras for potato chip-dipping. If turkey’s not your thing, there are a lot of great sandwich options here, from fried eggplant and goat cheese to a loaded Cubano.

CLOSEST PARK: Rogers Playfield

DeLaurenti Food & Wine

$$$$ 1435 1st Ave

If you need some inspiration before choosing exactly what you want to be eating on your picnic blanket, stop inside DeLaurenti (or order same-day delivery from Monday-Friday). This Italian specialty market carries a ton of local and imported products like crackers, jams, honey, nuts, chocolate, spices, and Torres potato chips, which we’re convinced are the best on the planet. DeLaurenti carries so much wine that their online bottle list is a 27-page PDF, and they also have the best selection of charcuterie and cheese in the city. Make your own spread of these things, or just grab a truffle oil-drizzled prosciutto sandwich and a couple of Linzer tarts.

CLOSEST PARK: Olympic Sculpture Park

Meaty Johnson’s BBQ

$$$$ 1201 Pine St

You always remember your first warm-weather brisket sandwich from Meaty Johnson’s. The homemade sauce has that ideal mix of tang and spice, the meat is smoky and tender, and the bread (a soft-but-sturdy burger bun) is perfect. Add sides like mac and cheese, kimchi potato salad, and jalapeño cornbread, take it to Cal Anderson, and try to finish it before your dog can figure out where that smell is coming from.

CLOSEST PARK: Cal Anderson

Little Lago

$$$$
$$$$ 2919 Fuhrman Ave E

This little market in Portage Bay has a bunch of specialty products as well as a deli case where you can get some serious cured meats and fancy cheeses. They also serve cold sandwiches, hot sandwiches, and tasty wood-fired pizza. Grab a couple of pies (like the homemade meatball) or just load up your basket with a DIY charcuterie situation alongside some housemade lemonade.

CLOSEST PARK: Roanoke Park

Mean Sandwich

$$$$
SandwichesDeli  in  Ballard
$$$$ 1510 NW Leary Way

The chicken cutlet sandwich is not really a thing in this city - other than Mean Sandwich’s “Buon Appetito.”It comes on a fresh Macrina roll with provolone, buffalo mayo, pickled pepper relish, and a breaded chicken cutlet so big it juts out of the bun like an iceberg in glacial waters. It’d be perfect for a picnic even if it cools off a little bit, and so would the Italian cold cut sub or the namesake “Mean Sandwich,” with homemade corned beef, mustard, pickled cabbage, maple syrup, and lots of fresh mint.

CLOSEST PARK: Woodland Park

Bottlehouse

$$$$
AmericanFrenchWine Bar  in  Madrona
$$$$ 1416 34th Ave

This fantastic wine bar in Madrona is selling a “Living Room Picnic” that includes some cheese, salami, and bread, and we won’t tell anyone if you choose to use it outside instead of on your carpet at home. That combo of staples is a great place to start, and you can add on things like olives, pickles, roasted nuts, and most importantly - bottles of wine or 32-ounce containers of frozen rose.

CLOSEST PARK: Madrona Park

Joyce's Market And Cafe

$$$$ 2717 E Union St

On the intersection of Union and MLK, there’s a little corner shop called Joyce’s that sells cheeses, meats, pestos, mustards, homemade pastries, and wine. Pick out some things to snack on, but you definitely can’t leave without Joyce’s incredible s’mores cookies. It’s a brown sugar cookie with a graham cracker baked into the bottom, and topped with shards of really good dark chocolate and an entire sticky torched marshmallow. We’d even just grab a few of these with a bottle of Champagne and call it a day.

CLOSEST PARK: Powell Barnett Park

Michou

$$$$ 1904 Pike Pl

Michou Deli is a fantastic lunch spot with an impressive display case of premade deli sandwiches waiting to be pressed on a hot grill. They also have a refrigerator case full of dishes sold by weight in little Tupperware containers, like pasta salad and roasted golden beets. Once you’ve got your panini (get anything that has roasted chicken) and some cold orecchiette with pesto, make sure you tack on a slice of banana cake or a cornflake bar.

CLOSEST PARK: Victor Steinbrueck Park

Homer

$$$$ 3013 Beacon Ave S

You might see all of these picnic spreads of baguettes and charcuterie, and wonder if that’s just as exciting as a picnic’s going to get. Homer’s here if you’d rather be swiping hummus with crusty sourdough than stacking Cabot cheddar on a Ritz cracker. They’re doing freshly-made pita, lamb ragu on tahini, and roasted chicken with fruit paste, and you can also add on things like canned vermouth spritzes, bottles of wine, and of course, soft serve cones to eat on the way to the park.

CLOSEST PARK: Jefferson Park

Agua Verde Cafe

$$$$ 1303 NE Boat St

Cheese, crackers, a cold sandwich, and sparkling wine for a picnic? How predictable. Maybe you’d rather have fish tacos, chips dunked in guacamole, and tequila instead. In that case, get a spread from Agua Verde’s takeout window alongside a few of their canned prickly pear margaritas. Just don’t forget to add on some avocado sauce to pour on everything (except your margarita).

CLOSEST PARK: Gas Works Park

Marination Ma Kai

$$$$
$$$$ 1660 Harbor Ave SW

Salads don’t usually get a lot of picnic love, but we want to make sure they do for a change. Specifically, we’re talking about Marination Ma Kai’s taco salad, which is full of crunchy cabbage, marinated meats like miso ginger chicken or kalbi beef (our favorite’s the “sexy tofu”), green onion, cilantro, wedges of lime, and a generous drizzle of creamy spicy “nunya sauce” as a dressing. If you’d rather ditch the fork, you can get these things on tortillas as well. And while we’re on the topic of salads, their macaroni with spam is terrific too.

CLOSEST PARK: Alki Beach

Miri's Snack Shack

$$$$ 8498 Seaview Pl NW

Say you get to Golden Gardens for a picnic, and realize that you forgot the key component, which is food. Thankfully, you have one option right in the middle of the sand: Miri’s. Good thing the food at this snack shack is excellent, whether you go for a chicken kebab sandwich on homemade flatbread, or mini Dutch pancakes topped with fresh jam. Even better, they have a picnic plate that comes with the aforementioned flatbread, cheeses, fruit, and nuts. Add some hummus and virgin piña colada slushies.

CLOSEST PARK: Golden Gardens Park

Cone & Steiner

$$$$ 532 19th Ave E

This lunchtime sandwich shop on 19th also happens to be a general store with a ton of groceries and snacks for sale, most of them local (like Fuel coffee, Ellenos Greek Yogurt, Puget Sound Kombucha, Beecher’s crackers, and more). They’re open for pickup and delivery orders, too.

CLOSEST PARK: Volunteer Park

Ezell's Famous Chicken

$$$$ 501 23rd Ave

It’s a known fact that fried chicken kinda tastes better when it’s at room temperature, and it’s also a known fact that Ezell’s makes some of the best in town. So head here and get a huge spread for you and your significant other, because nothing says true romance like an endless supply of spicy tenders in the park. Don’t forget some sides (especially the rolls).

CLOSEST PARK: Powell Barnett Park

Volunteer Park Cafe

$$$$
$$$$ 1501 17th Ave E

If you want to sprawl out in Volunteer Park, it makes perfect sense to shop for picnic supplies at VPC. They sell a bunch of pastries, sandwiches, and sheet pan pizzas, but a simple caprese baguette and a tall boy of Modern Times sounds like all you need to have a great lunch in the grass.

CLOSEST PARK: Volunteer Park

Sam Choy's Poke to the Max

$$$$
$$$$ 5300 Rainier Ave S

Eating cold poke on a hot day is the picnic equivalent of having a shower beer, and we’re big fans of the bowls at Sam Choy’s. The best part about grabbing takeout here is that you get a lot of stuff in one order - some soy-seasoned fish (get the salmon over the ahi), rice, crunchy seaweed salad, and tangy pickled ginger. You could stop there, but it would be wrong not to add a spam musubi or two.

CLOSEST PARK: Genesee Park

Magnuson Cafe & Brewery

$$$$
$$$$ 7801 62nd Ave NE

If you thought of everything except a beverage for a Magnuson Park picnic, use this cafe and brewery for their takeout mason jars full of homemade beer. They have a nice variety, from creamsicle pale ales to three different hazy IPAs. Not only that, but these jars are available as 16-ounce pours, 32-ounce pours, or 64-ounce pours if this picnic is about to be the party of the year.

CLOSEST PARK: Magnuson Park

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