Belltown Bliss: Expert Tips on the Best Dates in the Neighborhood



Belltown is a dynamic Seattle neighborhood with a variety of restaurants, clubs, and other activities available as date options.

It encompasses the part of the city stretching north of the central business district to Seattle Center, west to the Olympic Sculpture Park on the water and as far east as 6th Avenue. Belltown combines condos and apartments with artist lofts and major businesses and boutiques with restaurants and clubs. It’s also the area the majority of downtown residents call home, with nearly 9,000 within its boundaries as of 2012.

To the non-resident, Belltown can seem a little intimidating – the media tends to play up incidences of crime and blight and yes, parking can be a pain. Belltown tends to attract bad press, which might be inevitable given the fact that things HAPPEN there. But don’t you want to be where things are happening? To dispel any negative image, we asked David Nelson of the Seattle P-I’s “Inside Belltown” to discuss the best options for dating in that neighborhood. Nelson is an active Belltown community member. He researches and writes about activities and hotspots in the area and his opinions are derived from personal knowledge – he lives Belltown and in addition to writing regularly about events and issues there, is involved in a variety of neighborhood causes.

Nelson says that not only is the neighborhood vibrant and diverse, there is now a greater police presence at night and resident involvement in making it safer. Because of Belltown’s great ethnic and economic diversity, it offers a wide array of dating options in terms of ambiance, price, and menu. Belltown is Seattle’s most densely populated neighborhood and in recent years has evolved from an industrial, poorer area to one that includes numerous upscale bars, restaurants, and residences. As Nelson put it, “After enjoying a $100 meal, a couple can walk next door and get a $3 beer, it’s awesome!”

These are some of David Nelson’s specific recommendations:

For a pizza by the slice (or whole) experience, try Rocco’s http://www.roccosseattle.com/. In a city whose pizza rankings just keep climbing, Rocco’s is rated one of the best. They also have an impressive bar. If you’re looking for something a different type of flavor, Nelson and his girlfriend and love Tandoori Hut http://www.tandoorihutcuisineofindia.com/ which he characterized as “exotic and authentic.” And the service is great. Or walk down the street for toothsome pho at Green Leaf Vietnamese http://greenleaftaste.com/#!/home/. Open late and lauded for serving a great Vietnamese menu, Green Leaf can satisfy your date’s craving for flavorful, moderately priced food.

If you’re looking for a neighborhood classic, Nelson said “I’d never recommened Mexican food for a first date due to the risk one takes in eating beans, but Mama’s Mexican Kitchen is not only Seattle’s Oldest Mexican restaurant, but it’s also a local favorite.” Almost everyone in Seattle has a Mama’s story. The big, relatively cheap restaurant offers a great cross-section of patrons and an outdoor seating area during the summer. Mama’s http://www.mamas.com/index.php.

Nelson said his best date nights “have always been concluded with drinks and bread pudding at Aqua at El Goucho.” Aqua, located at the end of Pier 70, is a high-end restaurant that offers floor-to-ceiling views of the Puget Sound with a deck and a bar that looks out over the Olympic Sculpture Park. Before or after your stop at Aqua, enjoy a romantic stroll along the always charming waterfront. http://www.elgaucho.com/Aqua-by-El-Gaucho.html

If you want to get a little more intimate and show off your cooking skills, Nelson recommended heading down to Pike Place Market. His girlfriend and he “buy all sorts of ingredients, spices, and wine for what we call our homemade Pike Place Dinner.” The Pike Place Market abuts Belltown and is one of Seattle’s most famous and enduring landmarks for a reason. It never gets old to browse the fresh, cheap flowers, local crafts, and huge variety of fresh food.

Nelson finished with these words, “I encourage everybody to come down to Belltown, find a place to park for the night and walk around to enjoy the many options Belltown offers.”

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Posted 08-16-2013 1:20 pm by