These aren’t your everyday deli counters—and that’s a good thing. For the finest in premade dishes and by-the-pound sides and salads, these spots are the best.
East Anchor Seafood
At this clean, bright Madrona fish shop, head for the help-yourself fridge case for dishes that highlight the ultrafresh seafood, including a Dungeness crab and snap pea salad ($11) and the excellent house-smoked fish spread ($11), best with a Columbia City baguette from the basket nearby. Madrona, 1126 34th Ave.; 206.708.6669.
The London Plane
Although the takeout selection has changed recently (gone are those by-the-pound salads and meatballs), in a cold case up front, you can now find boxed sandwiches and mezze assortments (plus yogurt, cheeses, and the can’t-miss pastry options)—that is, if you arrive early, before everything has sold out. If you want ensured lunch satisfaction, order 48 hours in advance from its specialized takeout menu. Pioneer Square, 300 Occidental Ave. S; 206.624.1374.
Don’t miss the baked goods at this much loved Eastside café, but strike a balance with the savory: giant meatballs in tomato sauce ($8 each), golden beet salad with pistachio pesto ($13 per pound), and roasted broccoli and kale ($13 per pound), plus woodfired pizzas and sandwiches made to order. Kirkland, 723 Ninth Ave.; 425.298.0268.
Think of the takeaway items in the deli case at this fine-dining Ballard destination as complements to a wonderful meal there—not substitutes. Pick up perfect seasonal soups and simple salads to enjoy the next day ($7–$10), plus some foie gras dog biscuits for Fido ($4). It also offers a takeout-only Sunday supper for two ($65), which must be ordered by the prior Thursday. Ballard, 6460 24th Ave. NW; 206.258.2467; Wednesday–Saturday, noon–2 p.m. and 5–9 p.m.; Sunday noon–4 p.m.
I Love Souzai
This hidden gem, a counter of ready-to-eat Japanese dishes, is tucked inside Bellevue’s I Love Sushi restaurant. Grab-and-go bento boxes ($9–$20) are available, but you’ll want to try the colorful salads sold by the pound; the steamed chicken salad ($4.25 per quarter pound) is the best seller for a reason. Bellevue, 23 Lake Bellevue Drive; 425.455.9090.
Check out the rest of our package on Seattle's Best Takeout Food here.