Americans have been popping corn kernels in the fireplace for centuries, but the snack's popularity picked up during the Great Depression , when a


Seattle's 10 Best Popcorns

Americans have been popping corn kernels in the fireplace for centuries, but the snack's popularity picked up during the Great Depression, when a nickel bag of salty popcorn was one of the few affordable luxuries. Not surprisingly, popcorn fervor returned with the recession: Once sold primarily at movie houses and circuses, popcorn now makes regular appearances at craft cocktail cocktail bars and fancy restaurants.

Here, our picks for the best non-theater popcorn in Seattle, accompanied by Voracious contributors' comments, as compiled by Erin Thompson. Like a bowl of popcorn, the list is in no particular order, with the exception of our first-place finisher. You'll find the winning popcorn on the last page.

10. Unicorn Bar & Restaurant

It's hard not to feel like you're sitting under the big top at some sort of grown-up circus when you dine at Unicorn. Unicorn's popcorn is available in three fun flavors--truffle butter, sweet bacon, and spicy brewer's yeast. It's $4 a bowl, or $1 during happy hour. And should your inner child so demand, you can order it on a stick so that it matches your corn dog.

Alan Cleaver
9. Wedgwood Broiler

Air-popped popcorn is far more delicious and healthy than microwave popcorn. It stands to reason, then, that the Wedgwood Broiler could charge a pretty penny for offering its customers such a superior rendition of matured kernels. But no: the Broiler provides its buttery bowls for a mere $1.50.

8. RN74

When dining at RN74, Michael Mina's contribution to the downtown dining scene, start with a bowl of truffled popcorn sprinkled with chives.

7. Canon

Canon focuses on classic cocktails and sharable bites, including house-made potato chips and a terribly addictive caramel popcorn studded with cashews, the perfect synthesis of sticky and sweet.

6. Oliver's Twist

Enter under the orange-and-brown striped awning and start your Oliver's visit with a little bag of popcorn, garnished with garlic butter, truffle oil and truffle salt. The novelty bag it's served in mocks the fine ingredients inside, but don't be fooled--this is not mere carnival-caliber food. The flavor is intense, reminding us a little of movie-theater popcorn in the way its seductive oily sheen clings to your fingers.

5. Mistral Kitchen

Mistral Kitchen isn't cheap, but the happy hour menu knocks a few dollars off the cocktails and offers up a buttered popcorn for $2. To keep things interesting, Mistral rotates the popcorn flavors--come one day to try the truffle salted variety, come back another for the Thai spiced version.

4. Elemental Next Door

Elemental closes in June, but we couldn't deny a spot on this list to its casual offshoot. Starters at E.N.D include a strongly flavorful truffle popcorn--it's $3 a bowl, but it's a big bowl.

Hey Paul

3. Kushibar

Umi Sake House's owners advertise industrial-designed Kushibar as an izakaya specializing in street snacks. The menu will make you hungry as you peruse it, which makes the complimentary bowl of lightly spiced curry popcorn brought out to your table while you wait for your food extra appreciated.

2. The Backdoor at Roxy's

During happy hour at The Backdoor, salty, crunchy corn nuts are $1.50, crispy curly kale chips are $2.50, and bowls of buttery movie theater-style popcorn are the best price of all--free.

1. Chino's

This multi-cultural Capitol Hill bar, which labels itself an "Urban Tiki House & Taiwanese Cantina," serves rice bowls, zha jiang mein and an outstanding furikake kettlecorn. The corn is popped in pork fat and generously dusted with the dry Japanese rice seasoning known as furikake--a diverse mixture of sesame seeds, dry seaweed, fish flakes, sugar, and salt, giving this dish that mysterious and delectable umami flavor.

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