By Jonathan Kauffman (with contributions from Maggie Savarino and Mike Seely)
BEST BAGELS: Bagel Oasis Their doughy O's have a dense crumb with a kiss>"/>
By Jonathan Kauffman (with contributions from Maggie Savarino and Mike Seely)
BEST BAGELS: Bagel Oasis Their doughy O's have a dense crumb with a kiss of barley malt and a thin crust that blisters up in the toaster. No messing up the classics here. 2112 N.E. 65th St., 526-0525.
BEST BREWPUB: Pike Brewing Owners Charles and Rose Ann Finkel helped catalyze the craft-beer movement in the late 1970s, and they've still got the passion. Get a killer burger with your pint of Kilt Lifter at their friendly, rambling Market pub. 1415 First Ave., 622-6044, pikebrewing.com.
BEST BRUNCH: Lola Soak up last night's booze with fried-to-order doughnuts, octopus hash with poached eggs, and veg-heavy omelets. Burn off the hangover with Bloody Marys thrumming with jalapeño-infused vodka. 2000 Fourth Ave. #B., 441-1430, tomdouglas.com/restaurants/lola.
BEST BURGER: Smokey's Char-Broiled Irresistible greaseball burgers in the Frisko Freeze mold served out of a building that has all the charm of a 24-hour bail bonds office. Don't let the drab looks dissuade you from entering; the shakes are killer too. 12806 First Ave. S., Burien.
BEST CARIBBEAN: Island Soul It is impossible to walk away from Theo Martin's pan-Caribbean restaurant feeling snubbed (either by your neighbors or the waitstaff), SAD-afflicted (the yellow on those walls is potent), or starved (don't miss the seafood fritters and curry goat). 4869 Rainier Ave. S., 329-1202, islandsoulrestaurant.com.
BEST CENTRAL AMERICAN: Salva-Mex Stop into this Salvadoran restaurant for half-inch-thick pupusas stuffed with cheese and vegetables or caramelized plantains served with sour cream, and you might walk out with one of the plastic-wrapped piñatas hanging around the room, too. 15019 Ambaum Blvd., Des Moines, 988-1234.
BEST CHEAP DINNER: 663 Bistro Order a two-meat combo from the butcher counter at this Hong Kong–style restaurant—the barbecued pork, roast duck, and soy-sauce chicken are especially good—and some stir-fried greens from the kitchen. Twelve bucks feeds a family of two, possibly three if you order extra rice. 663 S. Weller St., 667-8760.
BEST CHINESE: Bamboo Garden Head east and go spicy, with the ma po tofu, rabbit with red chile sauce, and swimming fire fish. The resulting sweat-bath and endorphin rush will feel more cleansing than a sauna and a mudpack. 202 106th Pl. N.E., Bellevue, 425-688-7991.
BEST COFFEEHOUSE: Zoka Five reasons why it's our favorite: Great espresso drinks, beautifully roasted single-estate coffees, rarely a wait for a table, nonstop free wi-fi, and most important, no fucking attitude. 2200 N. 56th St., 545-4277, and 2901 N.E. Blakeley St., 527-0990; zokacoffee.com.
BEST DIM SUM: Jade Garden Humbow and siu mai are only the gateway drugs here. Hardcore yum cha'ers are addicted to the shrimp and pea dumplings, steamed spareribs, sticky rice packets, steamed rice crepes rolled around shrimp, and baked custard buns with crackly sugar tops. One tip: Go early. 424 Seventh Ave. S., 622-8181.
BEST DINER: Randy's Restaurant This classic 24-hour greasy spoonsouth of Boeing Fieldmore than makes up for the fact that there are no longer any Denny'ses in Seattle. The food's far better, there are model airplanes hanging everywhere, and pancakes can be substituted for toast. 10016 E. Marginal Way W., 763-9333.
BEST ETHIOPIAN/ERITREAN: Dahlak and Saba A tie. Hit Dahlak for the incense-drenched coffee ritual and meat dishes (long-braised lamb, beef tartare mixed with spiced butter) and Saba for the family-friendly vibe and magnificent vegetable combo. Dahlak: 2007 S. State St., 860-0400. Saba: 110 12th Ave., 328-2290.
BEST FRENCH: Le Pichet The Jean-Paul Belmondo of the restaurant scene—cool without being studied, effortlessly handsome. The roast chicken and confit-gizzard salad always leave us breathless. 1933 First Ave., 256-1499, lepichetseattle.com.
BEST GREEK: Vios Cafe Too often written off as the place with the kiddie corner. Babbling toddlers won't spoil the charms of Thomas Soukakos' roasted-pepper spread with pita, spring rabbit with white beans, and galaktoboureko for dessert. 903 19th Ave. E., 329-3236.
BEST HOT DOG: Dog in the Park This corner stand in Westlake Park splits the frank, grills the bun, and covers it in kraut and cream cheese. A cut above mere nostalgia, yet still simple and classic. 1520 Fourth Ave., Suite 100, 254-0943.
BEST ICE CREAM: Poco Carretto Gelato Gelato, ice cream—who gives a fig? Cafe Juanita chef Holly Smith's farmers-market cart serves the creamiest of frozen milk products in adult flavors like malt, gianduja, and burnt sugar. Locations vary, pococarretto.com.
BEST INDIAN: Spice Route Indian Cuisine Two sets of cooks in the kitchen mean thin, crackly dosas and cottony idlis for the vegetarians, and tandoor-roasted meats and spice-drunk Chettinad chicken for the omnivores. On weekends, the buffet—and the crowds—are massive. 2241 148th Ave. N.E., Bellevue, 425-643-4144.
BEST ITALIAN: Tulio Ristorante In Walter Pisano's kitchen, Seattle and Italy join forces to turn out dishes like roasted branzino with caramelized fennel and crab tortelli with spinach and crab oil. 1100 Fifth Ave., 624-5500, tulio.com.
BEST JAPANESE: Chiso It's well-known for its sushi, but we're fans of the other half of the menu, too: the chawan mushi with crab, the duck breast rubbed with tingly sansho pepper, the tempura asparagus. 3520 Fremont Ave. N., 632-3430.
BEST KOREAN: Ka Won Korean BBQ Pretenders to the throne keep appearing. And while they may offer better service and prettier surroundings, none can best Ka Won's panchan (side dish) spread, its succulent meats, and the furious spectacle of its cooked-at-the-table stews. 15004 Highway 99, #A, Lynnwood, 425-787-6484.
BEST LATE-NIGHT MENU: Cafe Presse Dick's, Hot Mama's, Dante's Dogs, and Purple Dot are all great for hangover mitigation, but the only 1 a.m. meal your better self won't regret eight hours later is a croque monsieur, a bowl of fries, and a green salad at Cafe Presse. 1117 12th Ave., 709-7674, cafepresseseattle.com.
BEST MEXICAN: Señor Moose Cafe This improbable, and improbably named, restaurant has become famous for entomatadas, machaca con huevos, and other Mexican breakfasts. At dinnertime, Kathleen Andersen and her crew prepare hard-to-find main courses like manchamanteles mole from Oaxaca and bistek de cerdo enchilado from Michoacán. 5242 Leary Ave. N.W., 784-5568.
BEST MIDDLE EASTERN: Gorgeous George's Gorgeous George Rached grills tender kabobs, fries up delicate falafel and spiced cauliflower, bakes a mean baklava, and occasionally sings for your supper. 7719 Greenwood Ave. N., 783-0116, gorgeousgeorges.com.
BEST NEW RESTAURANT: Corson Building Almost 12 months in, the kitchen gardens keep growing, the hens keep laying, and the pricey weekend prix-fixe dinners have expanded into a la carte Wednesdays and gorgeous brunch buffets. 5609 Corson Ave. S., 772-3330.
BEST NORTHWEST RESTAURANT: Crush Jason Wilson's a master at fitting the improbable together—black cod with porcini-dashi broth and sea beans, sea scallops with braised oxtail and miner's lettuce—in exquisite, voluptuous bites. 2319 E. Madison St., 324-4549, chefjasonwilson.com/crush.html.
BEST PIZZA: Veraci Pizza There's a lot of hype over wood-fired pizza in this town, but no oven-stoker produces smoky, blistery, airy pies with the regularity and finesse of Veraci. 500 N.W. Market St., 525-1813, veracipizza.com.
BEST ROMANTIC RESTAURANT: Matt's in the Market An evening meal at Matt's frames your date in all Seattle's glory. One arched window looks over the rooftops to the blue horizon and the snowcaps; the other grants a postcard-worthy view of the neon Market sign and surrounding skyscrapers. 94 Pike St., 467-7909, mattsinthemarket.com.
BEST SEAFOOD: Anchovies & Olives Ethan Stowell and Charles Walpole make the seafood restaurant as timely as the vegetables and handmade pastas with which they surround their fluke crudo, sautéed squid, and pan-roasted black cod. 1550 15th Ave., 838-8080, anchoviesandolives.com.
BEST STEAKHOUSE: Metropolitan Grill For many a Seattleite, a dry-aged Prime New York strip at the Met, cooked rare to medium-rare, with a Scotch-tinged vodka martini, justly means living the dream. 820 Second Ave., 624-3287, themetropolitangrill.com.
BEST SUSHI: Miyabi Sushi Sit down with Masa-san for a season-specific, brain-meltingly good omakase meal that costs two-thirds the price of inner-city restaurants with bigger reputations. 16820 Southcenter Pkwy., Tukwila, 575-6815, miyabisushi.com.
BEST TAPAS: Ocho There are more authentic Spanish restaurants (aka ones owned by Spaniards) in town, but this neighborhood favorite truly gets the tapas experience—lots of drinks, lots of ham and anchovies, lots of little plates for little money, and a hell of a good time. 2325 N.W. Market St., 784-0699, ochoballard.com.
BEST THAI: Bai Tong One of the earliest Thai restaurants to make a splash for its quality, their digs keep getting fancier but the glitz still can't overshadow the food. 16876 Southcenter Pkwy., Tukwila, 573-3366, baitongrestaurant.com.
BEST VEGETARIAN: Chaco Canyon Café Vegan? So are they. Believe in composting, organics, Fair Trade? Ditto! You think cooking vegetables and seeds above 108 degrees Celsius destroys valuable enzymes? Half the menu agrees with you, too. Best yet, whether the food's hot or cold, juiced or dehydrated, it's tasty. 4757 12th Ave. N.E., 522-6966.
BEST VIETNAMESE: Huong Binh While Caucasians head to Tamarind Tree, Vietnamese-Americans are more likely to favor Huong Binh for its Hue-style noodles, steamed rice crepes, and nem nuong, or grilled meatballs. 1207 S. Jackson St., 720-4907.