American Mary’s Wallingford location is pretty perfect. It’s close to U-Dub, convenient from anywhere, and surrounded by great places to eat. Seriously, if we had to eat Thai Tom every meal for the rest of our life? We’re basically OK with that. But while you really don’t have to leave the U-District to eat extremely well, Seattle has a ton of amazing affordable restaurants, and all are just a quick bus ride or Uber from campus. So if you haven’t checked out these five spectacular spots yet, take a recommendation from your favorite Wallingford pot shop and put them on your list.

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Ristorante Machiavelli 1215 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101

While it’s “only” about 30 years old, this Capitol Hill staple feels like it could have been serving up magnificent plates of roasted red pepper penne and eggplant Parmesan for a century. Ristorante Machiavelli is exactly what a little Italian restaurant should feel, smell, and taste like. It’s a great first date spot.

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Piroshky Piroshky Pike Place Market, 1908 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

You can eat beautifully for pocket change at this Market institution, and it’s one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite Seattle spots. Grab a cabbage and onion, a potato and cheese, and a cheddar cheese and garlic roll, and walk down to the park. The great view of the Sound is the perfect view as you achieve pastry nirvana.

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Jamjuree 509 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112

Even the little salads which come with the lunch special at this fantastic Thai spot are delicious. We’ve eaten our way through the entire menu here, and while we generally opt for the either the special tofu or the Panang curry, there’s absolutely no way to go wrong at this gem. The bright, airy atmosphere is just a plus.

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La Carta De Oaxaca 5431 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

Oaxaca is the region of the Mexico known for its magnificent mole. The rich, complex gravy transforms chicken and pork, and makes tamales an almost religious experience. There are no words for how good it is at this Ballard treasure. Make sure to also try the pastor tacos and chile rellenos. You’ll never look at Mexican food the same way again.

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Le Pichet Pike Place Market, 1933 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

Americans don’t eat enough French food, because we’re too busy rushing around to sit and savor it. So do yourself a favor and head to Le Pichet on a Sunday night. Order the roast chicken for two, and enjoy a few glasses of wine to kill the hour wait until it arrives. It’s easily the priciest option on this list, but that dish is truly a celebration of life.

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