Thierry Rautureau

Best French Chef

Recognized nationwide as the "Chef in the Hat," THIERRY RAUTUREAU is known as much for his flamboyant personality as for his four-star cooking. He's passionate about food, eager to be a guest chef for local benefits, and quick with a quip or a tease. (Tune into KIRO-AM [710] radio from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturdays to hear him go at it with friend and colleague Tom Douglas.) For nearly 20 years, Rautureau has presided over the tiny kitchen at Rover's in Madison Valley, earning rapturous praise from the likes of Gourmet, Zagat, and every local publication that covers food. He lives with his wife and two sons just a few blocks from the restaurant, and many of his favorite Seattle haunts are located nearby.—Lynn Jacobson

Thierry Rautureau's Picks:

BEST RESTAURANT ROW: East Madison Street. "Between Crush [on 23rd Avenue and East Madison Street] and Lake Washington, we have just about every damn type of restaurant you can think of: Crush, Harvest Vine, Voila!, Chinoise, Nishino, Bing's Bodacious Burgers, Starbucks, Tully's (because you gotta have both!), Attic Ale House, Cactus, Impromptu (for a glass of wine and a bite), Sostanza. I can't think of anything we don't have. . . . "

BEST FISHMONGER: Mutual Fish on Rainier Avenue. "Their seafood is the best, bar none."

BEST HAT SHOP: Rautureau buys his signature fedoras at Byrnie Utz Hats, downtown on Union Street. He picks them off the shelf, but says he's surprised "no fancy hat designer has ever come to me and said, 'Chef Thierry, let me make you a hat.'" (Fancy hat designers take note: That's a dare.)

BEST CHEAP EATS: Even a famous French chef craves a bowl of noodles sometimes. For Rautureau, that means Pho Cyclo on First Avenue or on Broadway.

BEST NEW MARKET FOR EUROPEAN GOODIES: Porcella Urban Market in Bellevue. "That store is cool!" the chef enthuses.

BEST LATE-NIGHT RESTAURANT: OK, Tom Douglas is a friend and colleague, but Rautureau swears the Palace Kitchen is the place to be after hours, and "not just because I like to give my money to Tom." His menu recommendations: the chicken wings ("pretty good," he says) and the "awesome" burgers.

BEST PLACE TO CELEBRATE AN ANNIVERSARY: "Besides Rover's? Chez Shea in the Market; it's very romantic and very Seattle-like. And the food is unpretentious and very soothing."

BEST SATURDAY MORNING STROLL: The University District Farmers Market on the Ave at Northeast 50th Street, and then on to University Seafood and Poultry Co.

BEST PIKE PLACE DESTINATION: Don & Joe's Meats in the heart of the Market. "It's fun to go see Donny there . . . there's always something going on."

Recognized nationwide as the "Chef in the Hat," THIERRY RAUTUREAU is known as much for his flamboyant personality as for his four-star cooking. He's passionate about food, eager to be a guest chef for local benefits, and quick with a quip or a tease. (Tune into KIRO-AM [710] radio from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturdays to hear him go at it with friend and colleague Tom Douglas.) For nearly 20 years, Rautureau has presided over the tiny kitchen at Rover's in Madison Valley, earning rapturous praise from the likes of Gourmet, Zagat, and every local publication that covers food. He lives with his wife and two sons just a few blocks from the restaurant, and many of his favorite Seattle haunts are located nearby.—Lynn Jacobson Rover's, 2808 E. Madison St., 206-325-7442, www.rovers-seattle.com.

THIERRY RAUTUREAU'S PICKS:

BEST RESTAURANT ROW: East Madison Street. "Between Crush [on 23rd Avenue and East Madison Street] and Lake Washington, we have just about every damn type of restaurant you can think of: Crush, Harvest Vine, Voila!, Chinoise, Nishino, Bing's Bodacious Burgers, Starbucks, Tully's (because you gotta have both!), Attic Ale House, Cactus, Impromptu (for a glass of wine and a bite), Sostanza. I can't think of anything we don't have. . . . "

BEST FISHMONGER: Mutual Fish on Rainier Avenue. "Their seafood is the best, bar none."

BEST HAT SHOP: Rautureau buys his signature fedoras at Byrnie Utz Hats, downtown on Union Street. He picks them off the shelf, but says he's surprised "no fancy hat designer has ever come to me and said, 'Chef Thierry, let me make you a hat.'" (Fancy hat designers take note: That's a dare.)

BEST CHEAP EATS: Even a famous French chef craves a bowl of noodles sometimes. For Rautureau, that means Pho Cyclo on First Avenue or on Broadway.

BEST NEW MARKET FOR EUROPEAN GOODIES: Porcella Urban Market in Bellevue. "That store is cool!" the chef enthuses.

BEST LATE-NIGHT RESTAURANT: OK, Tom Douglas is a friend and colleague, but Rautureau swears the Palace Kitchen is the place to be after hours, and "not just because I like to give my money to Tom." His menu recommendations: the chicken wings ("pretty good," he says) and the "awesome" burgers.

BEST PLACE TO CELEBRATE AN ANNIVERSARY: "Besides Rover's? Chez Shea in the Market; it's very romantic and very Seattle-like. And the food is unpretentious and very soothing."

BEST SATURDAY MORNING STROLL: The University District Farmers Market on the Ave at Northeast 50th Street, and then on to University Seafood and Poultry Co.

BEST PIKE PLACE DESTINATION: Don & Joe's Meats in the heart of the Market. "It's fun to go see Donny there . . . there's always something going on."

 
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