SXM Advanced 2015 Food and Drink Guide


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SMX Advanced kicks off on Tuesday, June 2nd, and if the agenda and speaker lineup is any indication of what’s to come it’s going to be a great conference full of mind-blowing tips and insights. I always look forward to SMX Advanced because it’s in my backyard. That means I get the chance to meet up with my favorite industry folks and show them my favorite places to eat and more importantly drink here in Seattle.
Seattle has a plethera of amazing restaurants and my goal is to steer you somewhere other than the large brand name shops (Old Spaghetti Factory, Cheesecake Factory, Benihana’s) to something you can’t find in every major city. Restaurants, breweries and distilleries that are unique to Seattle, serve delicious fresh food, and that make it the reason I call Seattle home. I’ve been touting Seattle’s Brewery and Micro-Distillery scene and how it has grown dramatically in the last 4-5 years, so I’ve included a separate section of the guide to call out my favorite breweries and distilleries in and near Downtown Seattle.

Food & Drink Guide: SMX Advanced

No matter if this is your first, third or umpteenth time visiting Seattle there is most likely something new that you haven’t tried before on the list of recommendations. Click through the image below to access a Google Map that has conference events and happy hour locations and my recommendations of where to eat while you are here.
Guide of where to go for food and drink at SMX Advanced. Use this interactive Google Map that you can access on your phone or laptop, and don't get stuck eating chain restaurant food!
The Google Map has 20+ restaurants, breweries and distilleries included and I won’t have enough room to list them all here in the blog post. I’m going to highlight a few of my favorites and I encourage you to click through and find somewhere new!

Where to go: If you are trying to impress a client or prospect

Want somewhere that is nice and has amazing views to WOW a client or prospect? Do you have a per diem that you can spend and you want to get the most bang for your buck? Here are some of the top tier restaurants in Seattle that wow not only for the quality of the food but for the views as well.
View from Palisade to Downtown Seattle


Palisade is known for their fresh seafood and amazing views looking over Elliot Bay into Downtown Seattle and to Alki Beach. My go to menu items are the Cedar Plank Seafood Trio, the Crab Stuffed Colossal Prawns and the Pan Seared Diving Scallops. Both are delicious and always perfectly prepared.
Location: Magnolia
Distance from SMX:3 Miles (Don’t try walking to Palisade! It’s in the Yacht Club off of Magnolia)
Canlis Restaurant Seattle


Canlis is the type of restaurant you go to for special occasions. If you are trying to WOW a client or prospect, this would be a great choice. The menu changes regularly and is delicious.
Location: Queen Anne/Fremont Bridge
Distance from SMX: 2.8 Miles (Don’t try walking to Canlis. It’s perched above Lake Union off of Aurora Ave which has alot of traffic)
Aqua by El Gaucho

Aqua by El Gaucho

Are you looking for fresh Seafood with an amazing view looking out from Downtown to the Olympic Peninsula and Alki Beach? Aqua has a beautiful view and is renown for their seafood. Don’t miss out on fresh oysters from here in the Puget Sound and finish your night off with the baked Alaska prepared tableside.
Location: Waterfront
Distance from SMX: 0.4 Miles (flat and just north of the convention center)

El Gaucho

El Gaucho is one of three top tier steakhouses in Seattle and it’s conveniently close to the conference center. If you are looking for a nice juicy thick Chateaubriand or a flaming sword of brochette tenderloins then you’ve come to the right place.
Location: Belltown
Distance from SMX: 0.4 Miles (up the hill)

Where to go for: Dinner

In the Google Map I’ve included 20+ venues that range from vegan to a meat lovers paradise. I’m going to call out a few that stand out from the rest, although with this lists they are all phenomenal and you’ll have an amazing dinner at all of them.

Din Tai Fung

The BEST Dim Sum in Seattle, hands down.
Location: University Village
Distance from SMX: 5.6 miles

Radiator Whiskey

What to Order: EVERYTHING! It’s tiny so call ahead to reserve a table or stand near the bar. The food is delicious and the drinks are unique and strong. Radiator Whiskey has a great selection of Whiskeys including some from Ireland and Scotland that are nearly impossible to find stateside.
Location: Across From Pikes Place Market (2nd floor above the Book Shop & Flower Market).
Distance from SMX: 0.4 Miles

Assaggio Ristorante

One of the BEST italian restaurants in Seattle. The Gnocchi is velvety smooth and so delicious.
Location: Downtown
Distance from SMX: 0.5 Miles

Single Shot

If you are looking for a sublime pork chop served over spaghetti squash with a sweet and sour pomegranate glaze look no further. It’s tucked away on Summit Ave on the lower slopes of Capitol Hill but worth the drive.
Location: Capitol Hill
Distance from SMX:2.2 Miles

Local 360

90% of everything served here is locally sourced. The Tagliatelle with mushrooms and a duck egg is delicious and filling and the braised rabbit leg made me decide that I do indeed like to eat cute little bunnies.
Location: Belltown
Distance from SMX:0.3 Miles


Middle Eastern Cuisine meets Seattle at Mamnoon. If you like lamb try the Kefta. The beef Kabob is also wonderful!
Location: Capitol Hill
Distance from SMX:1.8 Miles (Lots of hills)

Where to go for: Breakfast

If you get up early and are looking for something a little more filling and sustaining than the typical conference continental buffet Seattle has many great options for you. Most of my Go-To’s are a few miles away from the conference center. It’s a good brisk walk or if you take Uber it would be a $4-$6 fare.
Breakfast at Portage Bay Cafe

Portage Bay Cafe: South Lake Union

I first discovered Portage Bay Cafe in 2004 and have been making the trek across the water from the East Side of Lake Washington to Seattle for it’s breakfast menu at least once a month ever since. In my opinion the Crab Cakes Benedict here is the best in Seattle. You can’t go wrong with items on the daily fresh sheet, or the Chile Verde Pork Omelette, the Farmers Hash, or the Banana’s Foster French Toast.
Location: South Lake Union
Distance from SMX: 1.4 Miles (with a hill involved getting off of the waterfront)
Bayou Fishermans Breakfast Plate

Toulouse Petit

Southern charm from NOLA makes its way to Seattle in this always busy breakfast spot. Start off with a large french press of coffee and an order of Beignets, while you browse through a filled page of sweet and savory breakfast items. You can’t go wrong ordering from the Bayou Fishermans Breakfast, Shrimp and Grits, any of the long selection of Benedicts (‘Eggs Hussarde is my fav), to the sweet stuff like Caramel French Toast.
Location: Lower Queen Anne
Distance from SMX: 1.2 Miles (with a hill involved getting off of the waterfront)
Sam testing out the famous Bloody Mary at Sam's Tavern on Capitol Hill.

Sam’s Tavern

Have a little bit too much fun last night? Sam’s Tavern should be your go-to for their famous hair of the dog Bloody Mary that is served with a mini-slider on top.
Location: Capitol Hill
Distance from SMX: 1.6 Miles (Disclaimer: It’s all up hill most of the way to Sam’s)


If you are lucky you can catch their food truck in one of it’s many locations in Seattle, otherwise, head up onto Capitol Hill to their original location.
Location: Top of Capitol Hill (1 block from OOLA distillery)
Distance from SMX:1.9 Miles

13 Coins

One of the few venues in Seattle that is open 24/7 and serves Breakfast all day long. It’s not the fanciest of all the venues, but the food is solid.
Location: South Lake Union
Distance from SMX: 1 Mile

Where to go for Drinks: Distilleries

Aha! I’m finally getting to the good stuff. There are tons of fun little bars in Seattle, but lately I’ve found myself quite found of little hidden speakeasy’s, so I’m going to highlight my two favorites for you as well as introduce you to some local breweries and distilleries that you should check out. IMHO Seattle has some of the best breweries and micro-distilleries in the nation. I’ve turned into a beer snob because we have so many choices of beer and liquor available.

BathTub Gin

What to Order: Tell the waitress what types of drinks you like and the bartender will craft a unique drink for you.
Location: Hidden in an old radiator / steam room for a building it’s a little deceptive since there are no signs advertising that it’s a bar.
Distance from SMX: 0.4 Miles

Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Come on… it’s Seattle. I couldn’t not include this super swanky high end roastery in the list. It’s not your standard Starbucks and it’s a new flagship roastery perched on Capitol Hill.
Location: Capitol Hill
Distance from SMX: 1.7 Miles

CopperWorks Distillery

Come try some FREE samples of a local distillery. I’m a huge fan of their Gin aged in Whiskey Barrels.
Location: Seattle Waterfront
Distance from SMX: 0.5 miles

Fremont Mischief Distillery

Handcrafted Whiskeys and Vodka. They offer a sampling for $5-$10. Fremont Mischief Whiskey is my second favorite local whiskey. (My favorite is Woodinville Whiskey Co, but it’s a 15-20 mile drive from the conference center)
Location: Fremont
Distance from SMX: 3.4 Miles

Sun Liquor Distillery

Sun Liquor was featured in Seattle Met Magazine Best Brunch cocktails in February 2015.
What to Order: Any of their craft cocktails. I’ve tried several and they were all wonderful.
Location: Capitol Hill
Distance from SMX:1.5 Miles

OOLA Distillery

Try between 3-5 free sample’s of OOLAs Vodka, Gin, and Whiskey. I’m a fan of the Rosemary Vodka with a little tonic. 🙂 MMM!
Location: Top of Capitol Hill
Distance from SMX:1.9 Miles

Where to go for Drinks: Breweries

If you love beer, especially hoppy beer, you’ve come to the right city. Seattle and Portland both love to make beers featuring Cascade Hops and it will put some hair on your chest. Good news, not all of the breweries are hop forward — so there is a beer for everyone here in Seattle! There are over 100 breweries in the Puget Sound and if you want to see the entire list go to the Washington Beer Lovers Association for the most up to date list.

Pike Brewing Company

What they are known for: Pikes Kilt Lifter. Somewhat hop forward. All of their beers are bold in flavor. If you are a Bud Light fan there might not be a beer on tap for you.
Distance from SMX: 0.5 Miles

GeorgeTown Brewery

What they are known for: Manny’s Pale Ale & Lucille IPA. The beers here are hoppy and delicious. I’m not a super hop head, I tend to prefer Hef’s but Manny’s is on my list of go to beers.
Location: SoDo
Distance from SMX: 4.4 Miles

Schooner Exact

What they are known for: King Street Brown Ale
Location: SoDO
Distance from SMX:3.2 Miles

Hales Ales

What they are known for: Hales Cream Ale, Red Menace, Kolsch. Hales has great all around beers. Each variety is solid. Some breweries have one or two great beers, all of Hales Ales are good. Once you make it over to the Fremont neighborhood you might as well stop by Fremont Brewing Company, Peddler Brewing Company, Maritime Brewing company and have yourself a nice little brewery tour. 🙂
Location: Fremont
Distance from SMX:4.1 Miles

Okay, I’ve written enough about the places to go to eat and drink! I hope it’s helpful and I hope to see a few of you wandering to new venues in Seattle. Have a wonderful SMX and please share your comments and thoughts on your favorite places to eat and drink in Seattle!

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