City of Seattle Downtown Andaluca 407 Olive Way (in the Mayflower Park

City of Seattle


Andaluca 407 Olive Way (in the Mayflower Park Hotel), 382-6999. Upon his move to Ray’s Boathouse, sous chef Sarah Lorenzen replaced tenured executive chef Wayne Johnson but the Mediterranean-inspired menu has changed little in the transition. Small plates showcasing fresh shellfish and local produce, including a paella thoughtfully sized for one, and ever-popular potato croquettes remain. And in addition to its seasonal cuisine, Andaluca offers a respectable wine list, with a small but excellent selection of regional and Washington bottles. $$$

The Brooklyn Seafood, Steak & Oyster House 1212 Second Ave., 224-7000. The Brooklyn’s tripartite mission means it rarely leads the lists of Seattle’s best steak, fish and oyster houses, which are invariably headed by specialists. And the resulting insecurity sometimes shows: Most of the steaks here are draped in sauces and butters, and pristine halibut is finished with lobster bisque. But The Brooklyn doesn’t need the bells and whistles, as the customers who crowd its dining room know (nothing wrong with snagging a captain’s chair at the kitchen bar when every table’s taken.) The meat and fish are terrifically fresh, and service is excellent. The staff is admirably well-versed in oysters, which are available in paired beer and vodka flights. $$$

Gordon Biersch 600 Pine St., Ste 401 (Pacific Place), 405-4205. If Gordon Biersch were a guy, he’d have big pecs. He’d like his beer cold and his meat by the pound. With a crowded, buzzing downtown scene, this manly eatery offers solid pub food, varying from surprisingly interesting to a few steps short of good, but always in massive portions. $$

Guaymas Cantina 1303 First Ave., 624-5062. Perched above the Harbor Steps, the patio of Guaymas Cantina downtown is a great spot to savor a sunny summer Mexican lunch and dinner. For the other 10 months of the year, you can always enjoy the cheery interior and catch some soccer on the telly. Food is cheap and serviceable, which in the Four Seasons district is very handy. $

Il Corvo 217 James St. Ste. 300, 538-0999. There’s no shortage of great meals within walking distance of Seattle Weekly’s downtown offices, and Il Corvo—serving weekday lunches only—is no exception, even after their recent move from Western to James street. The spaghetti with briny cured tuna heart, crushed Calabrian chiles, olive oil and parsley leaves evokes the feverish, lascivious spring that many chefs forsake in favor of celebrating the season’s tender greens. The pasta preparations change daily, so check chef Mike Easton’s blog for a running roster. $

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant 1103 First Ave., 623-5500. This wood-paneled haunt attracts players and lowly office workers alike, and arguably boasts the best happy hour in the city—possibly in the country. McCormick and Schmick’s lunches and dinners—offering well-prepared seafood, pasta and steaks—are generally much pricier. But a mid-day chef’s special usually gets you a fine piece of fish with sides for about $12. $


Eastlake & 
South Lake Union

14 Carrot Cafe 2305 Eastlake Ave. E., 324-1442. One of the first restaurants in the 1980s to induct Seattle into the cult of brunch, 14 Carrot Cafe is still chugging along. On the weekends, the colorful room is packed with polite families and young couples, all vying to get to the biscuits and gravy or the pancake du jour before they run out. If you don’t make it in time, find solace in the egg dishes or the huevos rancheros. $


Art of the Table 1054 N. 39th St., 282-0942. Everything about Art of the Table is refreshingly unpremeditated. Chef Dustin Ronspies originally set up shop as a caterer in 2007 and started serving food a few days a week to lure potential clients. Passionate word-of-mouth turned his unlikely location—practically an underground restaurant—into a cult favorite. Ronspies does his own shopping, churns his own ice cream, grows his own herbs, and, yes, washes his own dishes. Check the Web site ( to see what he’s serving at his prix-fixe multicourse dinners, offered on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday alongside a la carte dining, or splurge Friday or Saturday on the house recommended chef’s tasting menu. Whether seared spring mushrooms with gnocchi and parsnip puree or pork and bacon albondigas, it’s made by hand from market ingredients. There’s no dining without a reservation, since he only has 22 seats. $$–$$$

Greenwood & Phinney RIDGE

Red Mill Burgers 312 N. 67th St., 783-6362. At Red Mill, you can get great traditional burgers, a smoky grilled chicken sandwich, or a veggie alternative with a roasted Anaheim pepper. A good many sandwiches come with the zesty Mill sauce. The milkshakes are thick, and the cooks will even make them malted. Potatoes and onions are fried up fine and crispy in fresh peanut oil. You only live once—you gotta pig out every once in a while, and when you do head on over to Phinney Ridge. $

International District

Armandino’s Salumi 309 Third Ave. S., 621-8772. Dining at Salumi is all about planning. Slump in without preparation and you’re liable to stand in the cold for an hour. For the uninitiated, that’s not a typo. Armandino Batali’s cured meats in overstuffed sandwiches at reasonable prices (hovering around $10 a sammy) are worth the wait. Over the past year, we’ve identified two surefire ways to get exactly the sandwich you want before they start running out. First, show up an hour before opening (11 a.m. Tues.-Fri.). Look, if you’re going to wait around, you may as well not be told they’re fresh out of meatballs when you step up. Or wait for heavy rain on a day that’s not Friday, because people don’t like waiting in the rain. And when they don’t want to wait, they don’t eat at Salumi—which means that cold, dreary Wednesday is your day for an antipasto platter and a glass of wine. $

Fuji Bakery 526 S. King St., 623-4050. The classics are all here at Fuji Bakery—flaky croissants, griottines with shiny, brandied cherries, and gleaming lemon-infused cakebreads. Specialties include the cube-shaped brioche Japon with red beans and raspberry puree and the green-tea Danish. There’s even a savory nod to the Northwest—a wild salmon brioche. Everything is sized for the ladies but nothing skimps on the ingredients—many organic—or the flavor. Most elegant of all is the organic sweet red-bean bun. Burnished to a lovely copper color, it appears to have just spent a few days basking on the Cotes d’Azur. A splash of black sesame tops the bun on the outside and muddled, subtly sweet red beans fill the inside. It’s no wonder that Fuji Bakery presents their wares like treasures. $

Madison Valley & 
Madison Park

Cafe Flora 2901 E. Madison St., 325-9100. From the outside, Madison Park’s Cafe Flora looks a little like a converted greenhouse, which is a savvy marketing strategy: sidewalk bystanders can peek right in and check out what everyone’s eating, and it’s only slightly creepy. The interior is adorned with plants and colorful paintings of birds, and the granola factor that plagues some vegetarian establishments is notably absent here. Though the menu is exclusively vegetarian, Cafe Flora doesn’t rely on processed, fake meat products to come up with imaginative menu items even the most devoted flesh fiend can admit to enjoying. The Oaxaca tacos are a masterful combination of taste and texture: Creamy, cheesy potatoes come rolled up in crunchy corn tortillas and slathered in more cheese, black bean stew, and sundry salsas. If you absolutely must consume something that tastes like meat, the portobello Wellington, a flaky pastry filled with a finely chopped mushroom-and-pecan concoction and topped with Madeira sauce, is the meatiest vegetarian approximation of beef you’re likely to encounter without resorting to fried foods. $$

Crush 2319 E. Madison St., 302-7874. Jason and Nicole Wilson’s Madison Valley restaurant is becoming like nirvana for a certain class of local grubniks—a white-on-white temple to Chef Jason Wilson’s James Beard Award-winning modernist’s take on Pacific Northwest cuisine. The renovated 1903 house is beautiful and romantic, the restaurant itself wildly popular, and Chef Wilson’s food is occasionally revelatory in the way it can make the simplest things new all over again. A bowl of tagliatelle, a piece of short rib, a slip of foie gras—these are all just ingredients until they are put in just the right hands. And thankfully, the chef and his crew have the skills to make the best of everything they touch. $$$

Mad Pizza 4021 E. Madison St., 329-7037. Excuse the groan-worthy tag (Seattle’s source for insanely great pizza) and focus on their by-the-slice and delivery service (even if you’ll spend $20-plus for a good-sized pie). Especially noteworthy is their embrace of pesto, the green-headed stepchild of tomato sauce, which serves as the base for almost half the menu, including the Rastaman Jamaican jerk chicken and yellow pepper. $

Philadelphia Fevre Steak and Hoagie Shop 2332 E. Madison St., 323-1000. Philadelphia Fevre’s cheese steaks and hoagies are the closest thing you’ll get to real Philly food around here. Sit at the counter and spar with the wisecracking grillmeister as you savor a basket of great fries, a hoagie, and that Philly piece de resistance, a TastyKake. $

Magnolia & Interbay

Palisade 2601 W. Marina Place (in the Elliott Bay Marina), 285-1000. 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, as well as 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. $$$

Pioneer Square

Il Terrazzo Carmine 411 First Ave. S., 467-7797. Hidden away in an alley off First Ave. is one of Seattle’s secret bastions of fine dining. Or perhaps just fine dressing. The baroque wooden chandeliers and ornate hand-painted ceramics that decorate this terrace-like restaurant bespeak money, the kind wielded by opera board chairs and Madrona mansion owners. For almost a quarter-century, Carmine Smeraldo has run his restaurant in the Italian manner, with gracious formality and properly trained waiters. Are dishes like his veal scaloppine and chicken breast stuffed with ricotta and spinach butter out of step with the hipper Italian-esque fare of Tavolata and Cafe Juanita? Perhaps. But doing justice to the classics, decade after decade, is what makes Smeraldo’s restaurant so beloved by the members of Seattle’s boardroom class. $$$

Queen Anne

5 Spot 1502 Queen Anne Ave. N., 285-7768. The culinary focus of this Americana tribute restaurant changes every three months, so don’t get too hooked on the chicken-fried steak. But while the menu and decor sway with the season’s theme, the quality of the upscale diner fare at 5 Spot is remarkably consistent. While the burgers and ice cream sundaes make the most sense at lunchtime, Queen Anne residents’ adoration for the cheery restaurant is so intense that they queue for brunch, dinner, and a seat at the circular bar. $$

Rainier Valley

Both Ways Cafe 4922 S. Genesee St., 722-5799. When it comes to this wood-paneled nook, it’s best if you know what you’re in for: Americana breakfasts, a darn good cup of joe, and a decent place to plant your rear and read the paper while kibitzing with other Seward Parkians. The cooks bake their own pastries, producing biscuits that flake on contact and cinnamon rolls that, when warm from the oven, can produce a sensation akin to ecstasy, only with frosting. Caveat: Dinners and lunches are hit-and-mostly-miss. $

Pho Bac 3300 Rainier Ave. S., 725-4418. The Rainier Valley branch of the Pho Bac empire is the most whimsically decorated, a garden of plastic vines and flowers. Pho Bac is famous for its broth, so meaty and aromatic that you could almost skip the rice noodles. With such a minimal menu, your only dilemma is settling on the cuts of beef you want in your pho: The tender raw top round, sliced paper thin? The long-cooked brisket, which melts away at the slightest touch? Crunchy tripe or buttery, translucent tendon? With the pho dac biet, or house specialty bowl, you can have it all. $



Tropea Ristorante Italiano 8042 161st Ave. N.E., 425-867-1082. Tropea features sturdy, bold sauces and a relaxed atmosphere. Of antipasti, high marks go to the cozze vongole, clams and mussels in a scampi sauce. The extensive menu includes a meaty spaghetti Bolognese, lasagna Tropeana, and a half-dozen specials; we loved the pollo Calabrese. For dessert, the zabaglione is divine. $


The Barking Frog 14580 N.E. 145th St., 425-424-2999. If you’re in Woodinville, consider the little restaurant across the lane from Willows Lodge. Chef Bobby Moore has high ambitions for the place, noticeable even at lunch: His hamburgers are made with Kobe beef, his scallops dusted with hazelnuts. Dinner is less distinctive, but you won’t find prawns sauteed in Grand Marnier just anywhere, and the pancetta-wrapped Alaskan halibut with cornbread pudding is very good. $$$

The Herbfarm 14590 N.E. 145th St., 425-485-5300. The Herbfarm dominates national “best restaurant” lists for its seamless service and flawless execution. If you’re not put off by the profuse chintz in the dining room, your nine-course dinner, lovingly infused with local herbs, will leave you stunned. The impeccable wine pairings are only one element of a four-to-five-hour sensory journey. Dining here is an event, patience is a virtue, and the virtuous are rewarded. $$$

Purple Cafe and Wine Bar 14459 Woodinville-Redmond Rd., 425-483-7129. The Woodinville outpost of this local chain anchors a burgeoning upscale mini-mall next door to the Woodinville Wine Village complex. The wine menu is extensive, offering mostly domestic selections but also a decent variety of imported wines from Europe and Australia. The appetizers are Mediterranean-influenced (lots of spreads, olives, and cured meats), while the entrees are mostly Italian American in genre (there’s a pizza and pasta menu). $$

North of Town


Anthony’s Homeport Everett 1726 W. Marine View Drive, 425-252-3333. Anthony’s has a reputation for friendliness and all-you-can-eat Dungeness crab nights. The patio tables on a summer night are a great place to have a drink and appetizers and engage in the splendor of sunset. At sunset (well, 4:30 to 6 p.m. on weekdays, which in the winter is past dusk), you can also order the cheap four-course Sunset Dinner. $

El Pollo Rico 209 E. Casino Road Ste. J, 425-347-5075. El Pollo Rico (“The Delicious Chicken”) is one of the many knockoffs of El Pollo Loco (“The Crazy Chicken”), the Mexican fast-food franchise colonizing California faster than Taco Bell. But none of the chain’s grilled chicken ever reached the perfection attained by its Everett copycat. Sold by the half-bird, whole bird, or flock, Pollo Rico’s chicken is marinated in aromatics and achiote, then cooked on a mattress-sized grill just until the skin crackles and blackens but the meat stays faint pink at the bone. Ignore everything else on the menu, or even on the plate: The meat, and meat alone, is sublime. $


Ka Won Korean BBQ 15004 Highway 99, #A, 425-787-6484. There’s alchemy afoot at this strip-mall restaurant: Oven-heated stone bowls containing soft-tofu stew or puffy egg-and-broth custards hiss and steam; woks of spicy stew bubble away; flames lash up through the barbecues where marinated kalbi cooks; cast-iron griddles send up clouds of porky smoke from the uncured pork belly sizzling on their surface. If you find yourself daunted, pick a prix-fixe dinner. $$

South of Town


New Zen Japanese Restaurant, 509 S. 3rd Street, Suite A, Renton, 425-254-1599. Those who argue for a benign order to the universe will find solace here. The food matches the ambience: Japanese standbys like teriyaki, katsu, tempura, and yakisoba are served up with precision, and standouts like saba shioyaki (broiled mackerel) don’t disappoint. The sushi is skillfully prepared as well. $

Omar Al Khyam 354 Sunset Blvd. N., Renton, 425-271-8300. A longtime favorite of Rentonians and Boeing employees, Omar Al Khyam has earned its reputation. Lebanese favorites like kebobs and shish tawouk (chicken roasted in lemon, garlic, and onions) are prepared with love and pride. The chicken shawarma special (spiced chicken with red wine vinegar, grilled with onions and peppers) is heavenly. $