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Max’s Café, Hotel 5, Seattle, WA: A New, Creative Player in Town

Salmon BLT from Max's Cafe in Hotel 5

There’s a new kid on the culinary block in Seattle and foodies should take notice.

Pineapple Hospitality, the people who built and operate the über-cool Maxwell Hotel, have refurbished a tired old Ramada Inn in the Belltown district into the sleek, hip Hotel 5 and have opened Max’s Café, a surprisingly sophisticated eatery located on the hotel’s first floor. Now, most travelers know that hotel restaurants can be a forgettable after-thought for hotel management, but not so with Max’s Café.

Chicken and Waffle Max's Cafe Seattle

Max’s Cafe serves up classic breakfast items like chicken and waffle.

In February, Hotel 5 smartly hired Chef Tom Rhyneer as Food and Beverage Director. Rhyneer has cooked at Sorrento and several five-star properties in Miami, Florida, and brings considerable culinary skill and a creative touch that’s made this  little café worth a stop.

While the café’s physical space is still waiting a remodel, Chef Rhyneer has completely revamped the menu. It offers some delicious breakfast and lunch surprises such as a spicy huevos ranchero; a Caprese omlette that’s redolent with super fresh basil pesto; and a truffle croquet madame (a traditional grilled ham and cheese, topped with a fresh egg and creamy, cheesy Mornay sauce), among many others.

Caprese omlete Hotel 5 Seattle

The Caprese Omelet at Max’s Cafe features perfectly cooked egg surrounding a fresh basil pesto accented with good balsamic.

One my favorite lunch choices is the salmon “BLT” that pairs a thick filet of deliciously moist Alaska salmon with smoky bacon, lettuce, tomato, and caper aioli all on a satisfyingly chewy bun. Other interesting options include a thick and complex fire-roasted tomato soup served with a sweet, succulent baby lobster grilled cheese (now that’s decadent); light-as-air halibut and chips; and tiny Kobe sliders, cooked medium rare and served with Boursin cheese and caramelized onions.

Huevos Rancheros Max's Cafe Seattle

The huevos rancheros have just the right amount of spiciness.

Plans are to expand the restaurant and serve dinner in the near future (I plan to be one of the first dinner guests!). When that happens, I predict Chef Tom’s creative and talented touch will start attracting a wider range of diners in addition to Hotel 5 guests and his food will make some serious waves in Seattle’s already rich and wonderful culinary scene. – Reviewed by Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

Check out our full review of:

Seattle’s Hotel 5 and the Maxwell Hotel.

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Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

RFT co-founder Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook, Bobbie is editor-in-chief at