* indicates one of Seattle Weekly's favorite restaurants of 2002! American-Outside! BluWater Greenlake A sleek new sorority sister for Green Lake's good-looking young professionals who don't want to drive the new Audi all the way to the original BluWater on Lake Union (or the Paragon, or Ten Mercer, or Toi). The menu offers lots of appetizers (Jamaican jerk chicken satay, artichoke dip, calamari), salads (including the big seafood Louie [sic]), and steaks, chops, fish, etc. for entr饳. 7900 Green Lake Dr, 525-0755, GREEN LAKE; BluWater Bistro, 1001 Fairview N, 447-0769, EASTLAKE/LAKE UNION DECK WITH OUTDOOR BAR AT FAIRVIEW LOCATION! Bookstore, A Bar and Caf鼯B> Less like a bookstore and more like some rich old guy's library, the Bookstore is a fine place for a quiet lunch or a civilized drink (and a cigar, if you like) after work. Good panini-style sandwiches have different combinations of upscale ingredients (e.g., artichoke, caramelized onion, shiitake mushroom, and goat cheese, or prosciutto, tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella), and there's soup and so forth. When the weather permits, sidewalk seating offers a view of rich old (and young) guys (and women) going in and out of the Alexis. 1007 First, 382-1506. DOWNTOWN $ SIDEWALK SEATING! Cafe Septieme Three things stand out about this place: the poorly painted, high-gloss blood-colored walls; a skinny, cute, covetable painting of a shopping cart hanging high on the wall at the back of the bar; and the chicken Septieme salad-a strange array of baby and bitter lettuces, tossed in balsamic vinaigrette and topped with roasted nuts, blue cheese crumbles, and chicken. The split pea soup is also good. Service is adequate, if somewhat disaffected, and when the season's right there's sidewalk seating. 214 Broadway, 860-8858. CAPITOL HILL $$ SIDEWALK SEATING! The Cheesecake Factory Why is it so popular? Is it the food court atmosphere? The 36-page menu (with 17 pages of ads)? Maybe it's the diversity of the menu: large portions of Tex-Mex egg rolls cheek-by-jowl with Thai noodles and chicken Madeira, all overcooked in the homogenizing American melting pot. It sure can't be the 36 flavors of cheesecake, none of which is worth waiting in line for. 700 Pike, 652-5400. DOWNTOWN $$ SIDEWALK SEATING! Deluxe Bar & Grill It's not the dive it used to be, but it is bigger, with a whole extra room and pool tables. The menu went upscale too-with schmancy appetizers like a wild mushroom quesadilla and "Japanese ravioli," entr饳 like lobster ravioli and orange-sage chicken-but the good ol' Deluxe burgers are still here (now with Tillamook cheese and peppered bacon) and so are the onion rings, potato skins, etc., and the tried-and-true bar still pours a mean cocktail. 625 Broadway E, 324-9697. CAPITOL HILL $-$$ SIDEWALK SEATING!  Diner Diner has red-upholstered booths and shiny tabletops and a checkered floor. Other signs that this place is the real deal: Cops frequent it; service is fast; they know what a black-and-white shake is; the Platonic ideal of a hot turkey sandwich comes with what one can only believe are potato buds; the hash browns are the grated kind; the Fantabulous Eggwich is $3.25. Thank you, Diner, for being you. 72 S Washington, 340-8859 PIONEER SQUARE $ SIDEWALK SEATING! Garage Fancy some beef medallions or Thai grilled prawns with your pool game? You got it. The liquor-absorbing standbys haven't been forgotten, they're just augmented with some additions you wouldn't expect from anyplace that charges by the hour. Fries are yummy, the pizza is decent, and a daily risotto is as good as you'll ever get at your neighborhood Italian place, minus the overhead. Portions are generous and the atmosphere has the raucous mix of jukebox, television, clacking balls, and tipsy chatter. 1130 Broadway, 322-2296. CAPITOL HILL $ DECK! Harbor Place Harbor Place has expanded our downtown dining options in a most welcome direction with its gorgeous deck, cozy booths for two, sparkly little bar, and attentive service. For lunch, the ubiquitous burger is a great one, weighing in at a drippingly juicy half-pound. Salads are lovable, and the dinner menu has some unusual treats, like the Hudson Valley foie gras, served with smooth quince sauce and pistachios, and the Moroccan honey quail with grilled fennel and crisp baby potatoes. 96 Union, 652-9299. DOWNTOWN $$ DECK! Rosebud The cozy Capitol Hill bistro and lounge features a solid menu of starters, like baked brie and Penn Cove mussels. The wild-mushroom linguine and fettuccine de la mer will flood your taste buds with fresh sauces and ingredients, while the pistachio-encrusted beef tenderloin and market fish will surprise you with flavorful combinations. 719 E Pike, 323-6636. CAPITOL HILL $$-$$$ PATIO! St Clouds A touch of worldly influence, a scoop of traditional Americana, and a sincere effort to make you feel like you're right at home, St Clouds has the formula for excellence. Appetizers delight, the mains give new (and improved) meaning to comfort food, and brunch is good too. 1131 34th, 726-1522. MADRONA/LESCHI $$ COURTYARD! Six Seven As indicated by its name and confused decor of tree bark on hinges, this place is an odd contrast of dazzling views but consistently negligent service. Its Asian-inspired menu can be exquisite, including a long list of flavor-saturated sashimi, but the waiting can be less so. 2411 Alaskan Way, 269-4575. BELLTOWN $$$ DECK! Asian-Outside! Dragonfish You can get Korean bulgogi, Chinese pot stickers, Indonesian skewers, and serviceable sushi right here (and dont forget cocktails). The bar, filled with pachinko machines, is fun; try to catch the excellent happy hour specials. 722 Pine, 467-7777. DOWNTOWN $$ PATIO! Kwanjai Thai Cuisine & Catering Whoever invented lunch specials was a very good person. The folks at Kwanjai are good people, too, because they offer lots of daily lunch specials-and this home-style Thai joint churns out super coconut-milk-and-curry concoctions for lunch and for dinner. Try the salmon shoo shee, prepared in a thick, creamy red curry sauce with bell peppers, pineapple, tomatoes, lime leaf, and, of course, coconut milk. Also try the fresh rice noodles, pan-fried with a kiss of peanut sauce. 469 N 36th, 632-3656. FREMONT $ SIDEWALK SEATING! Noodle Ranch Start your meal in this very chic Belltown mainstay with gyoza, perfect satay, or an Asian cabbage salad. If anything has lemon grass in it, try it. Our favorite: the green curry with potatoes, broccoli, and an intense puddle of sauce over rice. Have some green-tea ice cream for dessert. 2228 Second, 728-0463. BELLTOWN $ SIDEWALK SEATING! Wasabi Bistro Nothing's aesthetically flashy or dazzling here-that's what customers bring to the scene. Sushi selections are tweaked with stylish innovations, each solidly constructed and unimpeachably fresh. But intriguing twists can fail as frequently as they succeed; go with the Chilean sea bass to be safe. 2311 Second, 441-6044. BELLTOWN $$ PATIO! Bar Food-Outside! Axis Gel the hair and bring the cell phone for your visit to Axis, where you can rubberneck with like-minded souls. You create your meal by choosing the starch, meat, and vegetable. Match a crisp piece of roasted fish or grilled flank steak with wondrously cheesy twice-baked potatoes or bacony wok-fired greens. 2214 First, 441-9600. BELLTOWN $$ SIDEWALK SEATING! Broadway Grill Live tropical trees and hanging plastic fruit decorate this Broadway oasis. Waitstaff in matching shirts serve up nice salads for lunch-the chop salad is a treat-and a mean grilled chicken and brie sandwich at suppertime. Happy hour's so happy it happens twice a day, and in the summer you can try to get a table on the sidewalk and watch the freaks go by. 314 Broadway E, 328-7000. CAPITOL HILL $ SIDEWALK SEATING! Kells Ireland meets the Pacific Northwest in the steamed clams in a beer-garlic-ginger broth, traditional Irish soda bread, and the expected Irish stew. There are a number of salads, and their soups can be wonderful, such as a recent tomato-basil with a sweet, cabbagey undertone. 1916 Post Alley, 728-1916. PIKE PLACE MARKET $-$$ SIDEWALK SEATING! Eat in/Take out-Outside! Caffe Ladro Ladro is a coffee place that has achieved small chain status (whatever you may think of that). People love their espresso-made from excellent Caffe Vita beans-and desserts are all baked at their West Seattle outlet, from berry pies to superlative carrot cake. There's also sandwiches and so forth. 801 Pine, 405-1950, DOWNTOWN; $ PATIO! French-Outside!  Au Bouchon Should you eat so much in your first course or two-subtle cream of carrot or rich onion soup; a perfect salad ni篩se; and a big golden puff of pastry with escargot and blue cheese baked inside-the server, noting your midprandial stupor, will offer a respite of a few minutes ever so gracefully. If, later, the people at the next table are loud and stupid and un-French as can be, a couple glasses of port will be brought by way of tacit sympathy. Au Bouchon is a lovely little bistro, there's a nice, reasonable wine list, and the food is gorgeous-and Au Bouchon reads your mind. 1815 N 45th, 547-5791. WALLINGFORD $$ PATIO!  Avenue One The gleaming, idealized Paris bistro of your dreams, Avenue One is a lovely contradiction: easily sophisticated, casually formal, unintimidatingly posh. A crab Napoleon appetizer is maddeningly good; the entr饠of duck "Two Ways" is a sweet, smoky confit and a tender, rare breast. Every element of every plate is balanced with consummate care, and the wine list merited a Wine Spectator award of excellence. 1921 First, 441-6139. BELLTOWN $$$ SIDEWALK SEATING! Campagne Campagne is Peter Lewis' dream of a French countryside inn, and it's even spawned a junior daydream (bistro-style Cafe Campagne around the corner). Dream on as you tuck into course-ground house p, squab in port reduction, or lamb in anise-scented jus. Dishes are light and draw imaginatively on tradition. 86 Pine (off courtyard of the Inn at the Market), 728-2800. PIKE PLACE MARKET $$$ COURTYARD!  Cassis Every time you go to Cassis, it's like discovering the place all over again. The inside's plain, the menu brief, the food exceptional. The fish soup, fragrant with tomato and garlic, is heavenly, and soups of the day are just as good. Daily specials (cassoulet Monday, coq au vin Tuesday, etc.) are exquisite exercises in essential French country cooking. The French fries are to die for. Habitu鳠tend to stick to menu basics; the standbys are always great. 2359 10th E, 329-0580. CAPITOL HILL $$-$$$ COURTYARD! Italian-Outside! Casa d Italia If you like the Rat Packera Sinatra vibe, chances are youre going to love Casa d Italia. The food, tasty 50s-style Italian, is served in huge portions (stacks of to-go boxes stand at the ready for your departure) in this shrine to Hobokens favorite son; from time to time chef Tonys voice from the kitchen joins the Chairmans in melodious duet. Save room for the ricotta cheesecake, baked by Tonys wife Angeli. 2615 NE 65th, 525-7747. ROOSEVELT/WEDGWOOD $$$ COURTYARD! Piatti Ristorante With unfailing service and its open, airy atmosphere, Piatti offers a better menu than 95 percent of the world's shopping-mall food options. An occasional heavy hand in the kitchen can be avoided by sticking to the simpler dishes and pasta preparations: Their gnocchi is a thing of beauty. University Village, 524-9088. UNIVERSITY DISTRICT $$ PATIO! Serafina Destination restaurant, neighborhood hangout, showcase for well-picked jazz, elegant bar. The northern Italian food is always good and sometimes excellent; people come here from all over the city for the romantic atmosphere, but the great staff elevates this place to jointhood. 2043 Eastlake E, 323-0807. EASTLAKE $$ COURTYARD! Mediterranean/Middle Eastern-Outside!  Cafe Paloma Enjoy downtown's only meze bar every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night, with a selection of hot and cold appetizers (nutty rice-stuffed grape leaves, the smoothest hummus, addictive baba ghanoush) along with entr饳, as well as the soups, salads, and incredible grilled sandwiches that have made Cafe Paloma a very popular lunch spot. Paloma's a taste of true Pioneer Square culture; charming chef/owner Sedat Uysal has created one of the few places in this historic area that still seem to fit with the neighborhood's artsy, colorful reputation. 93 Yesler Wy, 405-1920. PIONEER SQUARE $ SIDEWALK SEATING! Contour A downtown lunch spot in a cool cave of bricks. Businessmen and hipsters come here for the proverbial three martinis, but also for the bread: served with hummus, made into panini sandwiches, or stacked aside creamy portions of pasta like the pumpkin ravioli-rich, sweet, and heavy enough to offset a loaded lunch hour. 807 First, 447-7704. DOWNTOWN $ SIDEWALK SEATING!  El Greco El Greco's known for its great weekend brunches (and the concomitant long wait; those people standing around inside the strange "Alley" minimall are, yes, all waiting). But El Greco also has very good Mediterranean dinners in its spacious L-shaped room with the big windows looking out onto the sordid splendor of Broadway. The appetizer variety plate of zucchini cakes, excellent olives, hummus, pita, etc., and a bread salad with tomatoes and squares of mild, squishy white cheese are excellent-as are the crispy penne, daily risotto, and fish specials. 219 Broadway E, 328-4604. CAPITOL HILL $-$$ SIDEWALK SEATING! Mexican-Outside!  El Puerco Lloron The rickety old metal tables and chairs, the loud color scheme, the strings of lights, and the Mexi knickknacks all holler "south of the border," but it's the woman shaping and grilling handmade corn tortillas that shows El Puerco Lloron is indeed most authentic. The menu here is no-frills, and the food's good and cheap-carne asada, taquitos, good old-fashioned tacos, splendid rellenos de queso. Pork reigns supreme-the meat in the carnitas is so moist and tender that you'll understand why the pig is crying. It's safe to drink the water here, but the cerveza best fits the mood. 1501 Western, 624-0541. DOWNTOWN $ PATIO! Mama's Mexican Kitchen This place is not about the Cult of the Burrito; Mama's is where your plate comes heaped with all the standards, like delicious goopy beans, rice, shredded lettuce, and two kinds of cheese. From the heaping nachos to enchiladas, burritos, and tacos, it's Seattle's version of a Mexican diner. 2234 Second, 728-6262. BELLTOWN $ SIDEWALK SEATING! Tia Lou's Old Mexico ᠬa Belltown, complete with free parking! You might come for the dependable preparations of Mexican classics-chicken mole, seafood quesadilla, chiles rellenos, sensational tamales-but you'll leave appreciating the unusual refinement of the sauces, the terrific prices, and the warmest service to ever traverse a language barrier. 2218 First, 733-8226. BELLTOWN $$ DECK! Pacific Northwest-Outside! Cascadia From its beautiful underlit marble bar to the indoor waterfall cascading in the back, Cascadia exudes a posh sophistication. Chef Kerry Sear prepares food exclusively with seasonal ingredients found in the area; thus, when it's asparagus time over in Yakima, there'll be an asparagus and butter lettuce salad or a delicious, subtle asparagus bisque, and seasonal fish and Washington meats are always gorgeous. If you've got a pretty penny to spend, this is a pretty place to spend it; if you don't, the bar menu's for you. 2328 First, 448-8884. BELLTOWN $$$ SIDEWALK SEATING! Earth and Ocean It's nice to see prominent chefs going back to the earth and the ocean, focusing on locally grown seasonal products and food that comforts as well as intrigues-and with dishes that grow more interesting with each bite, Earth and Ocean has done just that. Four-course dinners feature unusual items like truffled fries and wild boar ravioli, with vegetarian options as well. Plan to spend big money, feel serious, and eat sweet and rich. 1112 Fourth, 264-6060. DOWNTOWN $$$ SIDEWALK SEATING! Marco's Supperclub Marco's has become a Belltown institution, with a moody atmosphere that complements the warm, professional service. Start with the by-now-famous fried sage leaves. All the entr饳 are great, especially the gnocchi nestled in a classic pesto sauce and the tuna seared in coconut-milk curry with black sticky rice. 2510 First, 441-7801. BELLTOWN $$ SIDEWALK SEATING! AND PATIO! Palisade Palisade is a great place to take out-of-towners and aged aunties (especially if they're paying): It's got its own inland sea with a bridge, a waterfall, and tide pools, in addition to an unbelievable view of the city and the Sound. The menu favors grilling: Try the spit-roasted prime rib and grilled prawns combo, or anything alder- or cedar-planked. 2601 W Marina Pl (Elliott Bay Marina), 285-1000. MAGNOLIA $$$ DECK! Waterfront A throwback to the great Seattle view restaurants of the '60s, Paul Mackay's Pier 70 restaurant is very styley, with extremely cool light fixtures resembling mutated pinecones, and the wraparound view of the Sound is stunning. The extensive menu concentrates on fish, simply grilled or prepared fusion-style. The lobster mashed potatoes are amazing, and Waterfront's version of baked Alaska is a very exciting production indeed. But on a recent visit service evinced yawning 20-minute gaps and two fish entr饳 were terribly undercooked. 2801 Alaskan Way, 956-9171. DOWNTOWN $$$ DECK! Waters Lakeside Bistro Located in the four star/four diamond Woodmark Hotel, Waters is another local restaurant breaking the hotel-food rules. The room is elegant (if perhaps a little too spare), and the food, with a oft-changing menu based on top-notch fresh ingredients, is very good. Recently a plate of exquisite saut饤 prawns with perfect fresh linguine and Gorgonzola, tomato, and capers was mind-blowing. Add the views of the Olympics and faraway Seattle across Lake Washington (and a room at the hotel if you can afford it), and you've got a fancy mini-vacation. 1200 Carillon Point, Kirkland, 425-803-5595. KIRKLAND $$-$$$ PATIO! Seafood-Outside!  Elliott's Oyster House Embedded in the touristy waterfront, Elliott's shows how good a chain-type restaurant can be when it's trying. The menu's imaginative-ancho chiles and andouille sausage and cream with steamed clams, subtly cheesed mashed potatoes under your king salmon, many dipping sauces with your oysters (more than a dozen varieties during the season)-and daily specials are fresh seafood grilled or baked to perfection with unconventional but subtle seasonings. Desserts are yummy, Momma-used-to-make pies, cakes, and puddings. Elliott's isn't cheap, and the decor's nothing spectacular, but the food's first rate. Pier 56 (1201 Alaskan Way, foot of Seneca), 623-4340. DOWNTOWN $$$ DECK! Ivar's Salmon House It's all longhouse-styley, like a trip to Tillicum Village without the boat ride and with a full bar. Furthermore, said bar is called the Whalemaker Lounge, and it has a great view of distant, forgotten downtown, and there's a great happy hour! Bring your out-of-town guests here to astound and amaze them with the decor, stuff them full of salmon, and teach them how to pronounce "Ivar." 401 N.E. Northlake Way, 632-0767. UNIVERSITY DISTRICT $-$$ DECK! Leschi Lake Cafe From a table looking out over Lake Washington, you can talk uninterrupted while savoring a large and luscious cheeseburger with sweet onions, nibbling on crisp fish and chips, or waiting for your big mug of excellent clam chowder to cool. Service is always friendly but can be glacially slow. Leschi Marina, 102 Lakeside, 328-2233. LESCHI/MADRONA $$ DECK! Little Coney We know how you love to get your hot little hands around those paper boats and feast on fish and chips; next time you're at Shilshole, stop by this spot. If a hunk o' cod isn't what you're after, they've got hot dogs, burgers, and shrimp. 8001 Seaview NW, 782-6598. BALLARD $ PATIO! Ray's Boathouse/Cafe Ray's has become such a clich頯f Seattle delights, it's almost impossible to believe it could also be good. Believe it. Chef Charles Ramseyer's smoked Alaskan Coho salmon in apple-cider glaze, pan-seared sea scallops in green curry with mango-papaya salsa, and grilled black cod in sake kasu are expertly conceived and executed. 6049 Seaview NW, 789-3770. BALLARD $$ DECK! Salty's on Alki The only restaurant that looks upon Seattle from the southwest, Salty's would be worth visiting only for the view. But there are many other reasons, as prom-night couples and business-suited lovers dining t괥-୴괥 would attest, including a huge menu with a marvelous selection of Northwestern seafood specials. 1936 Harbor SW, 937-1600. WEST SEATTLE $$$ DECK! Spud Keep clam: The Alki Spud is owned by Ivar's, the Green Lake and Kirkland ones aren't. Does it matter? Some say Green Lake's the only way to go for the best fish and chips ever, and indeed, the grease is delicious. Then again, Ivar's fish and chips are pretty damn good too. You work it out, people. 6860 E Green Lake Way N, 524-0565, GREEN LAKE; 9702 NE Juanita Drive, Kirkland, 425-823-0607, KIRKLAND; 2666 Alki SW, 938-0606, WEST SEATTLE $ VARIOUS FORMS OF OUTSIDE SEATING! South American/Caribbean-Outside! Tempero do Brasil Brazil comes to Seattle here, and that's a really good thing. Known primarily for its seafood, Bahian cuisine is a marriage of tastes: ginger, lime, coconut milk, and the spicy palm oil dende. Order a caipirinha (Brazil's national drink), a handful of the tira-gustos (appetizers), and relax to the strains of bossa nova. 5628 University Wy NE, 523-6229. UNIVERSITY DISTRICT $-$$ PATIO! Southern-Outside!  Backdoor Barbecue Food should never be confused with love, unless the food in question is barbecue. This meaty little haven hidden behind a West Seattle bar offers outstanding BBQ: Boneless pork ribs have crispy edges and meltingly tender middles, while the brisket is a mountain of slightly chewy shredded beef. Sauce is mild, spicy, turbo, and nitro. The cornbread is rich and sweet, and the coleslaw is crispy. Meats are also available by the pound, a nice option if you're planning a party or just feeling unloved. 6459 California SW, 932-RIBS. WEST SEATTLE $ DECK! Dixie's BBQ There's only one Dixie's, and folks lined up across the parking lot know it. Dixie's popularity is through word of mouth-their only advertisements are T-shirts that brag "I Met 'The Man' at Dixie's BBQ." The Man is their toxically hot barbecue sauce, but the beef brisket doesn't need it, and neither do the excellent ribs and chicken. 11522 Northup Wy, Bellevue, 425-828-2460. BELLEVUE $ PARKING LOT! Pecos Pit Barbecue Just south of the Safe, you'll find one of Seattle's oldest, most successful barbecue joints. Pecos Pit has built a reputation and a following with tasty, Texas-style barbecue. One of the highest pork-to-menu-item ratios around: big, sloppy barbecue sandwiches made with your choice of beef, pork, or ham. 2260 First S, 623-0629. PIONEER SQUARE $ "ON THE CORNER"! Sazerac A Sazerac's a cocktail (brandy and bitters) highly favored by cultivated New Orleaneans, and there's a strong Creole accent to Jason McClure's menu: catfish, ribs, pulled pork, and spicy andouille sausage served with everything from breakfast eggs to late-night pizza. No po' boy sandwich, more's the pity, but the fries, mes amis, are to die for. 1101 Fourth, 624-7755. DOWNTOWN $$ PATIO! Spanish-Outside! Bandoleone Fragrant with the scent of sangria, decorated with chile pepper-shaped lights and bowls of oranges and lemons, it's the perfect setting in which to enjoy highly inventive tapas, from the tiger shrimp saut饤 in lemon, paprika, sherry, garlic, and chipotle butter to the tuna ceviche with pineapple salsa and masa. 2241 Eastlake E, 329-7559. EASTLAKE $$ PATIO!  Fernando's Hideaway Moody, romantic, and labyrinthine, Fernando's offers toothsome Spanish fare and authentic Spanish service. Tapas-type appetizers include saffron-scented deep-fried calamari, served with a creamy sweet-pepper dipping sauce, and prawns pil pil, swimming in peppery, garlicky oil. Lunch is a bargain; look for a wonderful stew with garbanzos and bread dumplings. Desserts are lovely, too. And by authentic Spanish service, we mean a perversely charming mix of complete attention and benign neglect. 522 Wall, 441-0606. DOWNTOWN $$ DECK! Marcha The tapas plates are the stars here, overshadowing the entr饳. A perfect green pepper is stuffed with shredded cod and covered with warm tomato sauce, and the pimientos verdes has a neat, sleek presentation. Paella can be slightly overcooked and short on saffron but is still passable. 1400 First, 903-1474. DOWNTOWN $$ SIDEWALK SEATING! Vegetarian-Outside! Cafe Ambrosia The vegan menu is refreshingly concise, and salads are sensational across the board, such as the baby lettuces with pear and caramelized pecans. Two entr饳 in particular are fabulous: Mediterranean Napoleon-ratatouille towering over pesto rice and tomato sauce-and the steamed carnival squash with mushrooms, adzuki beans, and wilted greens. 2501 Fairview E, 325-7111. EASTLAKE $$ DECK!  Cafe Flora Dedicated vegans and sworn carnivores alike have been swooning over the fusiony, inspired vegetarian fare at this airy Madison Park institution for more than a decade-options like ginger pesto samosas, wild mushroom and Gouda pizza, and delicately fried artichoke croquettes have about as much to do with traditional "vegetarian cooking" as a corn dog has in common with roasted pork loin. The menu can be confounding-rice stick noodles in ginger basil Thai pesto or coconut banana curry with lime mint yogurt and pomegranate syrup?-but don't fret. It's all good. The signature portabello Wellington is a standout. 2901 E Madison, 325-9100. MADISON PARK $$ PATIO!  Carmelita A butternut squash and apple terrine, a broccoli pesto pizza, and a portabello mushroom roulade stuffed with baby green beans, roasted peppers, and caramelized onions should put to rest any questions about the compatibility of the words "vegetarian" and "gourmet." Carmelita has been criticized for its somewhat spotty execution: Starters like bruschetta and an antipasti platter are safe bets, but note that the purple potato pizza has a prodigious quantity of powerful Oregon blue cheese. No matter; Carmelita's still a good reminder of how far herbivorous fare has come. 7314 Greenwood N, 706-7703. PHINNEY RIDGE/GREENWOOD $$-$$$ PATIO!