*See Also Seattle Weekly's Snackdown Returns
Erika Hobart is a Kirkland (and Bothell and Kenmore) believer.
Many Seattleites balk at the idea of crossing the bridge for a good meal. But, contrary to their stubborn beliefs, the Eastside offers options as capable of pleasing a hipster's palate as it does a Microsoft-employed yuppies.
In Kirkland, there is of course, the renowned Café Juanita, where Chef Holly Smith cooks dishes like braised rabbit and goat cheese gnocchi inspired by the rustic fare of the Northern Italian countryside. If cheap and tasty is more your style, Santorini Greek Grill slings awesome gyros and souvlaki made from family recipes. The tiny cash-only eatery is so dearly loved that its regulars forgive the owner for closing the doors and going home to Greece every year for two months, running back full-speed as soon as he returns.
Meanwhile, if you equate quantity with quality, Brown Bag Café serves enormous portions of comfort food made from scratch. If you can finish a meal here, it's likely you need to check into Overeaters Anonymous. Over in Kenmore, Uma Thai and Acapulco Fresh Mexican Grill offer authentic but inexpensive dining experiences. And in Bothell, you can enjoy the sweetest, most butterlicious (it needs to be in the dictionary) scallops at Northwest seafood restaurant Russell's. Or, if you're feeling nostalgic, hit up the Ranch Drive In for a damn good ranch bacon cheeseburger and root beer out of a Styrofoam cup - see? Who says they can't hang on the Eastside?
But Mike Seely suggests hightailing it further east for a good meal.
Former Seattle Weekly food critic Jason Sheehan (now closer to his east coast roots at Philadelphia Magazine) lived in Issaquah, and really dug what the foothill food scene had to offer, bestowing positive reviews on the likes of Taqueria La Venadita, Stan's Bar-B-Q and Macky's Dim Sum, and singling out Jak's as the best steakhouse in the area (he visited the West Seattle location, but quality crosses the bridge). Granted, proximity played a part in this Issaquah lovefest, but Sheehan was never one to shower artificial praise on a place which deserved a kneecapping.
Further east, the stoves of the Snoqualmie Valley (anchored by North Bend) still emit vapors of Twin Peaks, what with Twedes--the Double R in David Lynch's Northwest-set television show (many exteriors were shot here, but most of the series was filmed near Los Angeles)--and the Salish Lodge (fictionally called the Great Northern) serving chow to satisfy brows low and high. But locals flock to Fall City's Last Frontier Saloon, whose beer and burgers might actually be the best bait for whoever killed Laura Palmer.