Whether it's the classic "dinner and a movie," a preshow pick-me-up, or a quick drink afterward to debrief, one of the most important parts of planning for a SIFF screening is where you'll eat before and/or after. Here are our best bets, all within close proximity to festival venues.
Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar, Queen Anne: A few raw oysters make for a nice snack before a film at SIFF Cinema Uptown or SIFF Film Center, and the larger seafood menu here—including the soul-warming oyster stew and sake-steamed mussels—supplies a great meal afterward. The 50-seat shellfish-focused restaurant brings in the freshest seafood from their own and other local farms, and pairs it with delightfully refreshing cocktail, beer, and wine options—intriguing and well-matched to the briny menu, and best enjoyed on the postage-stamp-size patio outside. (124 Republican St)
La Marzocco: If you need to meet up with someone away from the chaos of a theater lobby, there's hardly a better place than the Italian espresso machine company's sprawling space. The rotating coffee selection features the world's best beans and drinks, brought to Seattle for "residencies" (it will be Toby's Estate out of Brooklyn for most of the festival), and the pastry selection comes from London Plane. Trendy as it might be, it's hard to resist the avocado toast with lemon, basil, and pink peppercorns atop London Plane's sourdough. (472 First Ave N)
Shiki: Long known as the only place around where the chef is licensed to serve fugu (blowfish), this tiny sushi bar is much more than where to dare your friends to eat potentially poisonous fish. Despite the mostly commercial surroundings, Shiki maintains a homey, personal feel, and, in turn, a loyal audience of neighborhood patrons who will likely be unhappy to find their secret being shared yet again. But everyone should know about the generous portions of expertly sliced fish, the seasonal specials, and the friendly service. There is plenty of fancy-pants, formal sushi in this town, but Shiki's simple, no-frills space is an endangered species to be enjoyed while it lasts. (4 W Roy St)
Suika : For dishes as unique and creative as the movies you're watching, Suika's izakaya (Japanese snack-style drinking food) fulfills any uni-cream udon cravings. As is fitting of the genre, the space gets a bit boisterous, but it's a nice change of pace after a quiet movie, and surely ordering a drink served in a watermelon will help put you into a more fitting mood. (611 E Pine St)
Soi: Thai food gets the trendy treatment at this corner spot full of polished wood and statement light fixtures, but the food suffers from no hipster malaise: Strong spices, creative dishes, and traditional but under-sung specialties make for a meal that pleases both food-obsessed and trepidatious eaters. And even if you've already eaten dinner, there are no excuses for skipping the dessert menu here, from the street vendor doughnuts to the whiskey bourbon float. (1400 10th Ave)