From sandwiches to a mix-and-match spread of fixings, discover some of the best places to get picnic food in Seattle.
Derived from the French term ‘pique-nique,’ a picnic initially described gourmands who brought their own wine when dining out. But by the Middle Ages, this beloved pastime began to acquire the respect it so rightly deserves. An elegant and leisurely affair — Seattle picnics are particularly renowned, if for no other reason than they mark the scant three months of Emerald City sunshine.
So, gather ye blankets while ye may. Load your coolers with a nosh-worthy spread from some of the area’s best shops slinging eat-with-your-hands goods. And, find yourself a sunny spot to lounge.
SLAB Sandwiches + Pie
Thanks to its well-touted big sister Lark, this Seattle lunch spot remains one of the city’s best (somewhat kept) secrets. The daily rotating menu features a selection of elevated sandwiches and toasts. Particularly delightful is the Cubano — a rich mix of pork confit, gruyere, grilled scallion aioli, and smoked pickles. 1201 10th Ave | 206.790.0967
Not for the faint of heart, Paseo’s sandwiches are so loaded they spill fillings like it’s their job. Luckily, they come snuggly wrapped in layers of paper to contain their fixings. And they are sized to encourage sharing, which means you won’t be the only one asking for extra napkins. Of particular note is their fabulous Caribbean Roast and the seafood packed, Alaskan Cod. 1760 1st Ave S | 206.420.7781 + 225 Fremont Ave N | 206.545.7440
If you’re looking for a slightly smaller, through equally delicious, Caribbean option, the folks formerly with Paseo are filling toasted baguettes with all the best ingredients/things. Aioli. Cilantro. Pickled jalapenos. Caramelized onions. Tender meats. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but the pork shoulder is particularly decadent. 7302.5 15th Ave. NW | 206.588.2040 & 6226 Seaview Ave. NW | 206.420.7545
This Eastside gem is nestled between homes and storage units. But don’t let its odd location fool you. A neighborhood joint, it is far from passé. Their menu features wood-fired pizzas and sandwiches on homemade focaccia that will liven up any meal. Of special note is their herb-crusted roast beef, roasted in house and served with bacon onion jam, gruyere, arugula, and celery root aioli. But for picnics, we like to go with their sides. Quinoa salad. Roasted beets. Roasted carrots. All delicious and fabulous for sharing! 723 9th Ave., Kirkland | 425.298.0268
Other Coast Cafe
Sliced-to-order, this Ballard sandwich joint’s meat-heavy menu features favorites like Cajun turkey with pepper jack and salsa mayo. But vegetarians and vegans haven’t been overlooked. The menu includes hearty mains like a garbanzo bean sandwich slathered in vegan mayo. 5315 Ballard Ave. NW | 206.789.0936
The mom and pop meat shop might be better dubbed ‘Pork Lovers United.’ Their impressive menu is loaded with pulled pork goodness and studded with bacon and smoked ham. Particularly spectacular is their three-pork combo sandwich that includes pork belly, pulled pork, and ham. 3207 California Ave. SW | 206.932.4211
It may take some advance planning to score a Rubinstein bagel, but it’s worth the effort. With a sourdough starter more than 10-years-old, a slow ferment, and a stone hearth baking process, these bagels deliver on both crust and chew — a rarity in the Seattle area. Delivery only. 206.550.1666
Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
A downtown staple, Beecher’s handmade cheese is a welcome addition to any picnic spread. You can’t go wrong with the awarding-winning flagship. But don’t be afraid to mix things up a little with one of their specialty flavors, like the pepper-studded Marco Polo. 1600 Pike Pl | 206.956.1964
Coro by Salumi
While the original ‘Salumi’ owners passed their torch, Coro by Salumi carries on the old-world curing tradition locals love. Yes, including the beloved mole salami with its magical mix of cinnamon, chipotle, and chocolate. All their meat is shelf stable and ready to slice and eat, making it perfect for a picnic. 404 Occidental Ave S | 206.621.8772
East Anchor Seafood
What’s a Seattle picnic without some seafood? While this Madrona gem is definitely the kind of place you’d also love to sit and sip wine, their ahi poke bowls with sriracha aioli will eat beautifully while you sprawl in the grass. 1126 34th Ave. | 206.708.6669
DeLaurenti Food & Wine
This Italian specialty market carries a plethora of local and imported products, ranging from crackers and jams to nuts and chocolate. Be sure to check out their filled-to-order cannoli’s. And, peruse their deli case for a smorgasbord of meats and cheeses.
This classic French bakery bakes all their bread fresh daily. From crusty baguettes to hearty multi grain loaves (pain aux grains), you’ll find the perfect vehicle for enjoying spreads, cheeses, and meats. 1902 Pike Place | 206.441.3669