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“Small and historic”
Review of Merchants Cafe

109 Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98104-3473 (Downtown)
206-467-5070
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Ranked #318 of 3,387 restaurants in Seattle
Certificate of Excellence 2013
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: American, Delicatessen, Seafood
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: Downtown
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43 reviews from our community

88% Recommend
    16
    22
    2
    1
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
There are newer reviews for Merchants Cafe
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Columbus, Ohio
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“Small and historic”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2011

We decided to go to dinner here because it is supposedly the oldest restaurant in Seattle. We loved the uniqueness of the place. (Its true, the bathrooms are down old creeky stairs.) The food was fast and really good. I loved that they had a sandwhich named after the worlds fair. Each of our meals was served on a plate with a different china pattern which only added to the spice of the place. They also have on tap different Seattle brews so that was an added bonus.

  • Visited October 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bloomfield, New Jersey
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Carded for a $45 lunch tab? Really?”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2011

Stopped for lunch during a recent trip to Seattle. The food, typical pub fare, was generally good for the price, but not standout.

The bathrooms are located in the basement, down a flight of creaky and somewhat uneven stairs (it should go without saying that Seattle's oldest restaurant is located in a very old building!), and they are not accessible to people with mobility issues.

The one reason that would make me hesitant to return has nothing to do with the food, or with the service generally, but with one thing the server did: he asked to see identification when I presented my Visa card to pay the bill. I thought this was very odd, considering that I was there with my parents, who are in their mid-70's, and our lunch tab came to less than $50. The server said he asks for ID because "they get a lot of tourists", whatever that means.

I've traveled over 100,000 miles inside and outside the country in the last ten years, and have purchased hundreds of meals at restaurants in dozens of cities during those trips. Never once was I asked for identification anywhere. Not in Vegas, not in Miami, not in Orlando or anywhere else you might think someone with a stolen credit might go for some R & R. I found it rather bizarre that a server in some Seattle hole-in-the-wall would ask for ID from a 40-something guy who just finished lunch with his elderly parents to the whopping tune of $45. Really?

  • Visited September 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kenmore, Washington
1 review
“Great food and great history!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2011

We took the Seattle ghost tour that stopped at the Merchant's Cafe and Saloon and we instantly decided to go there after for dinner. The atmosphere is amazing and historic, and the haunted basement bar was creepy and mysterious. I wish we had the guts to eat down there! The food was very tasty as if it was made fresh at home. Overalll we were pleasantly surprised and I cannot wait to have my birthday party in that haunted bar! The new owner has done an amazing job on the oldest restaurant in Seattle, a must see.

  • Visited July 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
1 review
“A hauntingly nistalgic atmosphere and a very enjoyable experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2011

My family and I had dinner at the Merchants Cafe July 9, 2011. I ejoyed myself so much it was almost midight before i realized it.
The atmosphere was fantastic and the new ownership was very personable. The service was great and the minute we tasted the food the great comments started flowing...
Great food!
Also went on the Spooked in Seattle haunted ghost tour...a fun experience!
Can't wait to visit there again...

  • Visited July 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Seattle
1 review
“My new favorite bar...club...cafe...whatever”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2010

I went to the Merchant and had one of their awesome burgers and ended up staying for 4 hours before I realized it. It is such a cool old bar. Bartender said they were under new management but I don't know what the old management was like so that didn't matter much to me. We went back for New Years Eve and it was GREAT. They had a DJ, bartenders were great, and the cover was only $10 for a new years party compared to $75 next door (or so I heard, I didn't go next door). Don't normally write reviews but I was looking for a website to show my cousin and found these reviews...I love the place. (p.s. - still never found a website and every business should have one)

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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