As is tradition, Eater closes out the year by surveying local food writers on various restaurant-related topics. Readers, please feel free to chime in with your own thoughts in the comments section below.
What was the biggest Seattle dining surprise of 2017?
Leslie Kelly, Seattle-based food writer:
Some pretty shocking, high-profile shutterings in South Lake Union reinforce the challenges of catering to an area that's crazy busy during the day and dead at night. Maybe some of the remaining restaurants can work on getting Amazon to serve up some free parking in the evenings as a way to create some after-hours energy in that ever-expanding part of the city. Roger that, Jeff B.?
Nicole Sprinkle, food writer and critic, Seattle Weekly:
No Anchor’s unique pairing of exquisite food with a beer bar in a neighborhood (Belltown) not known as a major dining destination.
Allecia Vermillion, deputy editor, Seattle Met:
In a year of increasingly corporate restaurant projects, it felt good to see a crop of bootstrapped, deeply personal chef-driven places open, even in this tough climate.
Jackie Varriano, editor, Zagat Seattle:
I saw a ton of transparency this year, which was refreshing, if not surprising. I loved how chefs spoke publicly about how things weren’t working, reasons behind re-tooling concepts, how they are paying people and making ends meet, and being honest about the ins and outs of running small businesses in a city like Seattle. I mean, I’m also surprised by the amount of poke spots that continue to open, but I hope I’m not alone in that.
Rosin Saez, associate food and drink editor, Seattle Met:
The proliferation of ramen bars, the continual onslaught of poke joints...Miles James’s Dot’s Butcher and Deli closing inside Pike Place Market. One cool surprise has been the big-time collaboration of Seattle chefs. Jeffrey Vance (No Anchor), Max Petty (Eden Hill), Heong Soon Park (Chan), Alex Barkley (Manolin), and Perfecte Rocher (Tarsan i Jane) have joined forces to create Rain City Chefs Alliance and mind-meld on some super interesting dinners. Then there’s ILAW, a collective of chefs who are making traditional Filipino food, reimaging Filipino food into what they want to say about it, and connecting to their community as they do it. I’m really looking forward to seeing what all of these chefs do in 2018.
Angela Garbes, Seattle-based food writer:
I can't say it's a total surprise, but I am heartened and inspired by the full-fledged Filipino food movement happening in the city right now — from the monthly Musang brunches at Bar del Corso, to the Filipino-infused menus of Happy Grillmore and Hood Famous Bakeshop, to the various pop-ups, night markets, and collaborative dinners led by the members of the Ilaw Collective. I regret that I haven't been able to make it to as many of these events as I'd like, but am thrilled to see the momentum built by these chefs who are owning their heritage and pushing Filipino cuisine forward as a group. I'm looking forward to what they do in 2018.
Providence Cicero, food critic, The Seattle Times:
Wood-fired cooking isn't new but Mark Schroder (Opus Co.) seems like a natural at it. He commands the fire and smoke. It doesn't boss him around. His food has a powerful simplicity and he works with a small, close-knit team so in sync you wonder if they communicate telepathically.
Tan Vinh, food and drink writer for The Seattle Times:
That the poke madness didn’t stop. There seems to be one on every two blocks, like Subway or Starbucks.