Breakfast in Bellevue | Where to go, what to order
BY CELESTE GRACEY | PHOTOS BY CHAD COLEMAN
Perhaps my favorite time to visit downtown Bellevue isn’t with the flashy mini skirts and shiny shoes that flood the sidewalks on a Friday night.
It’s the next morning, when the wave of Eastsiders has receded, and bankers and techies are at home catching up on sleep.
Saturday morning is the one time during the week, where the only people left are West Bellevue residents. They creep down from their condo towers, obviously disheveled from partying, or they walk to town with their families, claiming their favorite spots.
Breakfast in Bellevue is my favorite, because as a West Bellevue resident, it’s the one time I can look to the surrounding tables and know with some certainty that they are, in fact, my neighbors.
This guide is more about where to find breakfast in downtown Bellevue, aside from hotels and Starbucks, than it is about what’s the absolute best.
Every few months a restaurant adds breakfast, and another removes it. Some places might be a surprise to some. My favorite place is better known for its whisky than its waffles. I decided to leave out a few Asian places, which serve clever rice bowls topped with eggs, and Mexican, simply because I haven’t the space to share this new discovery. This guide is also by no means comprehensive. Every few months a restaurant adds breakfast, and another takes it away. I’m always on the hunt for a new place.
Lot No. 3
A hipster whisky bar by night, Lot. No. 3 has comfort food that surprises, even for breakfast.
In the morning, its tall draperies are drawn back to reveal deep leather sofas, perfect for reading and sipping on perhaps the best black coffee in town.
While the menu is short, it changes seasonally.
Its Eggs Benedict (pictured) varieties change the most, but the dish is a favorite. The hollandaise has a tart lemon finish, and the eggs are poached perfectly, leaving a thick yolk to drizzle down the muffin.
The pork belly version is a fun alternative to canadian bacon rounds. The salty meat is crisp on the outside and pulls apart in the middle.
Pumpkin pancakes are slated to replace their lemon-ricotta pancakes (pictured) this October, but if the lemon flapjacks are any indication of flavor, they’re worth a try.
If you order the malted waffles, take a moment to consider the taste of the flour. Its boxes hold little bits of fleur de sel, which balance the sweetness of real maple syrup. Don’t forget to order a side of candied bacon, which they serve as an appetizer at night.
The only downside to Lot No. 3 is consistency. My first order of home fries were cold and stiff, a crime never since repeated. My pancakes have been both massive blobs and round little circles.
Gilbert’s on Main
A well-known bagel deli, Gilbert’s is a rightful staple for the Main Street neighborhood.
Marked by white adirondack chairs and true sidewalk dining, don’t let its curious sandwich combinations pull you away from the breakfast board.
Gluten lovers can find satisfaction in their bagels, which are soft and airy. They come toasted with cream cheese and jam. Arrive early to ensure your choice.
A favorite is the pesto, which comes with a whole slice of tomato baked on top.
Omelets and scrambles, which are at least twice the size they promise, are filled and mixed to the max with goodies.
The trick is to show up on a weekday, where “one” egg omelets and scrambles are only $5. They come with a fresh bagel.
The lox and cream cheese, a classic deli selection, is a good way to treat yourself. Ask, and they’ll top your bagels with just about anything.
The only downside is their scrambles have turned out a bit dry, so stick to the ones with cheese.
Chace’s Pancake Corral
Kind waiters with just the right amount of sass and endless cups of coffee served in old-fashioned brown mugs are probably the finest attributes to Chace’s.
Nestled between the biggest West Bellevue neighborhoods, this neighborhood hangout is perhaps the only American breakfast joint in West Bellevue.
Pictures of the owner’s family are mounted on the walls alongside University of Washington memorabilia and a random wood parrot.
Their potato pancakes are legendary. Don’t shy away from the sour cream and applesauce on the side. They make much better partners than maple syrup.
Kids might enjoy the pigs in a blanket. Sausage links wrapped up in pancakes, ensure the flavors mix.
While most items on the menu satisfy breakfast cravings, very few items sing. They’re also priced on the high side, especially for the portion sizes.
What makes Chace’s isn’t the pancakes, it’s the people.
Like most Irish food, breakfast at Paddy Coyne’s dominates with meat and potatoes.
Rashers, a thick form of Irish bacon, and bangers, big breakfast sausages, stay true to their Irish roots. Try pairing them with red potatoes and eggs, and skip the plates.
For the inordinately hungry, the Irish Breakfast, a plate loaded with about eight different things, is also a tribute to culture. The baked beans and broiled tomato are unusual for an American breakfast, but fitting.
The soda bread is sweet and dense like pound cake, and served with orange marmalade butter.
A favorite is the corn beef hash. The corned beef is chopped so finely its hard to see the potatoes, but top that goodness with fried eggs and a generous scoop of hollandaise, and it’s indisputably the epitome of satisfying breakfast food.
While the breakfast burrito is tasty, don’t waste the meal on something others can do better.
Hidden in an ally off Main Street, Piroutte Cafe offers French favorites for an American breakfast.
Once a tea house five years ago, delicate China tea cups still line a cabinet by the espresso machine. The cafe is bright and filled with European nick-nacks.
The fruit crepes are a warm welcome on a cool morning. When possible, try to order what fruit is in season, as all the fillers are made from scratch.
Most of the crepes are thicker than a true Frenchman might like, but being heavier they can hold more goodies.
The Piroutte Crepe, a namesake, is loaded with veggies. However, it’s under seasoned. I would have enjoyed some fresh herbs or garlic.
Simple is better for the omelets, try the ham and swiss. The eggs are both firm and moist, and the cheese is gooey.
Our cappuccinos came out like lattes, but they tasted good nonetheless.
The major drawback to Piroutte is the wait. On a busy day, the tables don’t fill up, but there is still a 45 minute wait for food.
Still, for those patient enough to sip on tea, it’s a pleasant place to wait.