Local Fare History

Sleepless in Seattle for Foodies

September 25, 2017

Sleepless in Seattle...the heart-warming ‘90s classic starring Tom Hanks. If you need a little refresher (or have never seen it—gasp!), Sleepless in Seattle is a romantic drama about a grieving man (Tom Hanks) who, after the death of his wife, moves to Seattle as a single father to start a new life and find love again. Visitors and Seattle locals alike are infatuated with Nora Ephron’s 1993 blockbuster, and over 20 years later, people still connect this city with the iconic movie. Ok, that’s all super cool—but, why should a foodie care? While it IS pretty neat that the movie takes place in our home city, there’s more to it than that! Many of the places the characters visit in the movie are real Seattle locations, including the restaurants. Lots of visitors who come to Seattle want to see and do all the things in the movie, and chowing down at the same delicious eateries as these beloved characters is no exception. So, without further delay, let’s check out some of the cameos by our favorites, the foods of Sleepless in Seattle!

Pike Place Market

It would be crazy to shoot a movie in Seattle and not have at least one scene at the iconic Pike Place Market, right?! The sights, sounds and flavors of this lively market has been a hallmark of Seattle’s history and culture for over 100 years. Bursting with fresh produce stands, small family-owned restaurants, antique dealers, collectibles, craft shops, and the world-famous Seattle flying fish, Pike Place is memorable, unique, and above all, insanely yummy! You can truly spend a whole day here, meandering through the unique vendors and sampling the absolute best food Seattle has to offer. It’s undoubtedly Seattle’s #1 must-see attraction. And just like Tom Hanks, you can walk the market with confidence! Take our Pike Place Food Tour and let our Seattle local guides lead you straight to the best eats while telling you the stories and history of where you’re walking around. Or, if you want some special VIP action (I mean, we are talking a Hollywood movie, so why not get a little Hollywood treatment?), try our VIP Early Access Pike Place Tour, where you get exclusive early morning access to the market before the crowds arrive, which includes 1-on-1 time with merchants and an opportunity to catch a flying fish!

Duke’s Chowder House

Remember that scene where Annie (Meg Ryan) watches a man and his kid play catch on the beach? That scene was shot where the current Duke’s Chowder House now stands. Duke’s Chowder House is a waterfront restaurant located right across the street from the main entrance to Alki Beach, one of Seattle’s most popular beaches. Duke’s is the perfect blend of food, fun, and atmosphere. Serving up award-winning clam chowder, wild Alaskan salmon, and delectable burgers, plus Happy Hour two times a day, every day! Whether you’re looking for a romantic location or just a cool spot to chill out with friends and family, Duke’s is it!  Dine on the second story terrace and be treated to dramatic sunsets and spectacular views of the water.

Athenian Inn

Sleepless in Seattle buffs will tell you that the “tiramisu banter” scene between Sam (Tom Hanks) and Jay (Rob Reiner) is one of the movie’s more charming and humorous moments:

Jay: “Tiramisu,”

Sam: “What is tiramisu?”

Jay: “You’ll find out.”

Sam: “Well, what is it?”

Jay: “You’ll see!”

Sam: “Some woman is gonna want me to do it to her and I'm not gonna know what it is!”

Jay: “You’ll love it.”

That scene takes place at Seattle’s Athenian Inn at Pike Place, while the characters are eating clams and drinking beer. Today, it is known as the Athenian Seafood Restaurant and Bar. Its location near the Pacific Ocean allows them to serve up the most delicious, fresh seafood imaginable. Not only is the food amazing, but so are the views! In the movie scene, Sam and Jay are sitting on stools at the end of the bar---not coincidentally, those same seats are the most sought after today.

But since the movie scene is about tiramisu, let’s get back to this decadent dessert. We love that the joke was funny back in 1993 because not many people knew what this dessert was, but now it’s funny because tiramisu is a staple (and heavenly) Italian dessert that you can find everywhere! We know, we know…stop talking about tiramisu and tell you where you can eat it! Truthfully, there are there are a lot of great places in Seattle to savor its delicious custardy goodness, but we’re giving the Tiramisu Title to Ristorante Machiavelli in Seattle’s trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood. We’d love to hear your favorites in the comments. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to taste all of this deliciousness, and we’re willing to do it.    

The Famous Floating Home 

The Sleepless in Seattle floating home is probably one of the most famous movie houses. And if you’re a fan of the film, then you’re a fan of this fabulous house. The home, located off Westlake Avenue in Lake Union, sold for more than $2 million several years ago. Nonetheless, tourists still flock to see the famous floating house. (As a side note, it’s worth noting that the interiors of the house shown on screen were not interiors of the actual house). If you want to see the house (in the most respectful way possible…remember, people live there!), take one of the various lake tours that will point it out.

If you’re in the neighborhood stalking your favorite movie house, then stop by Canlis, the closest restaurant to the famous houseboat. This place is the definition of luxury and you’ll need to get your fancy pants on. (Leave those jeans and t-shirts at home. Men must wear a suit or sport coat and no casual/athletic attire is allowed). It’s pricey (be prepared to shell out $110 per person for a decadent, 4 course meal) but the views are breath-taking and the food will absolutely Blow. Your. Mind. 

So there ya have it—the foodie run-down of the movie most strongly connected with our city, and one that has stood the test of time and still warms hearts today. If you’re a fan of Sleepless in Seattle, then you gotta come to Seattle and experience the city the way your favorite characters did. You can also check out Curbed Seattle for a full list of the film’s actually-in Seattle locations (both food and non-food) and get started on planning your own personal Sleepless in Seattle tour for your next Seattle visit!

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