Coming to Seattle and wondering where to eat? I've lived in Seattle for 17 years now and think I've got a pretty good handle on restaurants. Do you have a friend whom you always call for a restaurant recommendation? Well, that's me. About half my social calls are "I'm at this location and hungry, what do I do?"
Forever people have been telling me to start putting more food in my blog, since it's such a part of me. Well, here it is... the Food in Seattle post.
I've come up with a personal top 10 for Seattle Restaurants. But I should note that recently Seattle's been on a Food Rampage. We have great places opening all the time. I may do a few follow ups of specific restaurant types, but for now, here's my utterly unfocused list. No Stars given here, they are all fives.
Jason Wilson does incredible things with food. He and Nicole started Crush a few years ago and we've be fairly regulars. The food is Northwest Contemporary, always extremely fresh and not horrifically expensive. The average entree is about $14-16. My always-favorites are the duck confit tart and the rhubarb martini. Comfortable, but there are precious few tables (not small, but it ain't Denny's) so you need reservations regardless of the time or day of the week.
Crush Web Site | 2319 E Madison St Seattle, WA 98112 | (206) 302-7874
Just a few blocks from Crush is Monsoon. Eric Banh and his sister Sophie started Monsoon back when Vivian and I were dating. Monsoon's food is unclassifiable. The Banh's Vietnamese roots show through their innovative and inspiring dishes. Their menu changes all the time, but something that is a mainstay that I try to feed every guest that comes to Seattle is their Cognac Filet Mignon with Oxtail Stock. It is amazing. I've decoded the recipe and made it myself several times, but I have not and will never get it right. This dish alone is a reason to visit Seattle.
Monsoon Web Site | 615 19th Ave Seattle, WA 98112 | (206) 325-2111
If you visit Seattle and don't go to Salumi, you have likely missed the best part. Located in the smallest restaurant space imaginable, Armandino Batali and his crew make some of the most amazing cured meats you will ever put in your mouth. These aren't just salami's you chew and swallow. You put them in your mouth and hold them there, letting the flavor penetrate your soul. You think I'm kidding? Well, I'm so food-jaded it's kind of sad. It takes a lot to get me this worked up and Salumi has never disappointed me. One note, Salumi opens at 11 and there is always a line. My recommendation is to check out the web site, order ahead over the phone (don't just get sandwiches, make sure you get at least a quarter pound of something to enjoy on its own), and then go pick it up. If you order on the phone, you can walk around the line. Then go to a park or back home or to your hotel room and enjoy it there. Oh, and did I mention they ship worldwide? I HIGHLY recommend, or even demand, that you try the Mole Salami. It changed my life.
4. Bakery Nouveau
About a week after William Leaman opened Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle we were there. Since Vivian has been looking at opening a chocolate shop, she was out to eat everything chocolate that Seattle could kick out. The verdict ... William is gooooood. He has amazing tarts and cakes. Our favorite is the Praline Cake which is absolutely incredible.
Bakery Nouveau Web Site | West Seattle at the Alaskan Junction | 4737 California Ave SW Seattle, WA 98116 | 206 923 0534
5. Chiang's Gourmet
You have to go to an old XXX Root Beer place to have the best Chinese food in Seattle. Chiang's Gourmet is located on the unlikely Lake City Way, a street better known for strip clubs and auto lots. Chiang's is conveniently located just off I-5 and close to several bus routes - someday it will be only a few blocks from a Light Rail station. Chiang's smoked Tea Duck is certainly the highpoint of their menu. But fear not, they'll usually order for you. You'll suggest your order and they'll say "Oh no, today you want this!" Always take their suggestions. Good Chinese food is an art form and requires excellent ingredients and a keen eye for detail. They always have the eye and will direct you towards the food they have the best ingredients for. Owned by a wonderful family who is always there and always helpful.
Chiang's Gourmet Doesn't have a Website | 7845 Lake City Way Ne, Seattle |(206) 524-6183
Palisade is just down the street from our house and we go fairly often in the summer. They have a nice, but small, deck. We tend to go right after work and get a nice table overlooking Elliott Bay, Puget Sound, the Elliott Bay Marina (with all the pretty boats), the City of Seattle, West Seattle, and the Olympics. This is nothing short of the most beautiful view you will find in Seattle. During their happy hour they have great drinks and appetizers. I've never been disappointed in either the view or the food. For me the must try here is the macadamia encrusted brie with the balsamic reduction.
Palisade Web Site | Elliott Bay Marina | 2601 West Marina Place | Seattle, WA 98199 | (206) 285-1000
I've been going to Ken-san for as long as I can remember now. If you want to take the plunge, he's the only Fugu guy in Seattle. But, even though it's not sushi, you have to try their Tonkatsu. It's huge and it's done in the hottest oil imaginable. It's perfectly crisp on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. Yamamoto Sensei is a wizard with sushi. If they have live swamp crabs, you have to try those as well. They're scary, but good. Some people have remarked that it's a tad expensive, but it's still one of my personal favorites.
Shiki Web Site | 4 W. Roy Street Seattle, WA 98119 | 206.281.1352
8. Saint Germain
You want pain? Delicious wonderful pain? The S&M equivalent of good eating? Go to Saint Germain and get their Mussel Casserole. It is so rich that you have to have wine with it or you'll drop right at the table. It is incredible. I need to go back again and again. Excellent food, wine and staff. Saint Germain is the quintessential foodie restaurant.
9. Cafe Besalu
I used to live just up the street from Besalu and would go down at least once a week to get my fill of GINGER BISCUITS. I really really liked the Ginger Biscuits. You must eat the Ginger Biscuits. James Miller makes scary good pastries. My love of the Ginger biscuit is my own fetish, but you can certainly go crazy on the other things there. You will love it. You will be happy. You will feel it worth the journey.
No web site for these guys | 5909 24th Ave NW Seattle, WA 98107 | (206) 789-1463
10. Sichuan Bistro
I love the people who own this place. Again, it's attention to detail that makes good Chinese food. It ain't a steak that you can slap on and stare it. These people know finesse. The two ways to see it are their hand-shaved noodles and their spicy potato dish. The latter has thinner-than-shoestring potatoes stir fried with peppers. It's spicy and hot and miraculously crunchy. The potatoes are amazing and incredibly difficult to do right. A hole in the wall restaurant par excellance! I love this pace.
Yelp it! | 212 N 85th St Seattle, WA 98103 | (206) 781-1818
And Believe me even as I write this I'm having trouble separating out another restaurant that I'm going to go ahead and make 10.5.
10.5 663 Bistro
In Seattle's International District. This is a huge place to be called "Bistro". There is one reason you must try this place ... Pepper Salt Eggplant. Cooked perfectly, Seasoned perfectly. Perfect Perfectly. Pepper Salt Eggplant is very rare. You must go. Good food, good prices.
No web site here either | 663 S Weller St Seattle, WA 98127 | (206) 667-8760
I'll likely do another top ten sometime soon. I couldn't even stop at 10 this time. So, come to Seattle, eat at these restaurants and let me know what you think!