Welcome back to Eater Seattle's Something for the Weekend column. Every Friday, you probably ask the same question: Where should I eat and drink? Covering brunch, dinner, booze, and everything in between, here are three places to try this weekend in Seattle.
December 15, 2017
Tarsan i Jane has continued its evolution since it opened last May, changing nearly every element of its menu, format, service, and physical space. Now the restaurant focuses solely on expansive tasting menus that show off chef Perfecte Rocher’s creativity in the kitchen and the dining room’s excellent delivery as led by his partner, Alia. Beautiful bites, artistically plated, involve ingredients foraged and sourced locally and prepared with wild renditions of dishes from Rocher’s native Spain. Rocher is also experimenting with fermentation, including making his own kombucha, umeboshi, fish sauce, and more. It seems the restaurant is hitting its stride.
Standard Brewing has completed its multi-stage expansion and now runs a bar and restaurant called Standard Public House next door to the original taproom. The brewery has always made great beer, and that hasn’t changed. Now, though, you can pair the brews with an excellent menu of hot and cold sandwiches, hearty toasts, and from-scratch jalapeno potato chips. A recent visit involved a cheesy rarebit toast made with Standard beer and a juicy Chicago-style Italian sub, both of which were too good not to wolf down.
Great sandwiches are a thing of beauty, and the food truck Wicked Good Grinders knows what’s up. The menu of East Coast-style sandwiches includes options like chicken or eggplant parm, steak and cheese, Italian meatball, and buffalo eggplant — a vegetarian option for non-meat eaters craving the spicy wing sauce. Find the truck at various breweries around the area.
December 1, 2017
It took me a while to make it to Bateau, Renee Erickson’s celebrated Capitol Hill steakhouse that Eater restaurant critic Bill Anderson has called one of the best restaurants in the country. But good things come to those who wait; eating at Bateau was a rewarding experience from start to finish. The restaurant expresses an impressive commitment to sustainability by focusing on whole-animal butchery so as not to let anything go to waste. Yes, you can have a filet mignon (as long as it’s available) but diners are encouraged to try offbeat cuts, too, and the servers are knowledgeable in guiding the selection process. Sides, starters, and cocktails are as impressive as the perfectly-cooked steak. It’s no wonder Addison says this is “the steakhouse of the future.”
The former Bell and Whete restaurant at 2nd and Bell has reinvented itself into Belltown Brewing. There’s actually a brewery on site, and it’s an impressive one-man show run by Adam Frantz, who was formerly at American Brewing. Frantz is somehow coaxing eight beers from a tiny, four-barrel system, and he’s working in plenty of seasonal brews along with three fantastic flagship beers: an IPA, a lager, and an amber, all of which are well-balanced and food-friendly. Frantz’s future plans include a super-smooth Mexican chocolate stout and a white IPA. The brews pair well with the restaurant’s menu of pizzas, sandwiches, and snacks like a spent-grain pretzel with pimento cheese dip and fried green tomatoes topped with hunks of pork belly.
Sea plane-themed Bar Charlie is a delightful spot to kill a few hours on a rainy weekend day. The original cocktails are solid, with picks like the Baby Breakdown with Sun Liquor gin, lemon, simple syrup, and rhubarb bitters. Go for snacks like caramelized shallot and goat cheese dip or bacon-wrapped stuffed dates, or stay for a full meal with one of the menu’s sandwich options. If beer is more your style, the rotating tap list does a great job of representing a diversity of mostly-local picks.
November 10, 2017
Kryse Martin-McGill and Darren McGill (Nate’s Wings and Waffles, Central District Ice Cream Company) have finally opened their much-anticipated Happy Grillmore in the Central District. It’s worth the wait that was brought on by construction delays; these burgers have won awards for a reason. I was skeptical of the use of ciabatta, but the sturdy buns make it easier to cradle these big, messy burgers. The patties have a pleasant kick of spice, and several burgers feature uncommon combinations that show off the McGill’s mastery of flavors.
Navy Strength delivers a strong dose of tropical sunshine with its modernized Belltown tiki bar. Part of the menu visits a different country every few months, with diverse locales like India and the Philippines lending flavor inspiration to food and drink. Opt for traditional tiki, or be adventurous with one of the many outstanding original drink concoctions. No matter what, definitely order some food: Chef Jeffrey Vance, who drew a James Beard semifinalist nod for his work next door at No Anchor, helms the kitchen here, too.
Bright and bustling Meet the Moon has quietly been delivering solid meals next to Lake Washington in Leschi since early 2016. This member of the Heavy Restaurant group does it all, with breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert, drinks and even a classic kids’ menu. It’s the quintessential neighborhood cafe, well-executed from the decor to the service to the food. “Seasonally inspired comfort food” is perhaps the best way to categorize it, with current stand-outs like the prosciutto and delicata squash sandwich, Dungeness crab roll, and curried lentil hash.
October 13, 2017
Hiding out inside Bauhaus Coffee in Ballard is quite possibly one of Seattle’s best sandwich shops. Hog Island Hoagie fills a void with its classic Philadelphia-style sandwiches, which come packed with top-notch deli meats, cheeses, veggies, and pickles. The flagship choice is a sure bet: an Italian classic, with the perfect balance of ham, salami, cheeses, Mama Lil’s sweet peppers, and mayo. You can order these via most of the usual delivery suspects, or pick up inside the coffee shop.
An homage to Kentucky, Belltown’s new hideaway bar Commonwealth is tucked away behind the flashy new Pintxo, which recently relocated to bigger digs. Commonwealth’s cocktails and darn-good Southern bar food are worth the confusion in finding the entrance (you have to walk through Pintxo). The warm space feels like a good friend’s living room, with a fire pit and eclectic furnishings. The drink menu is naturally Bourbon-leaning, but there’s nice diversity, too. Select a classic drink like a Manhattan or negroni on tap, or pick one of the originals to pair with bites like Nashville-style hot chicken or cast-iron cornbread topped with beans.
Obec means “community” in Czech, and this new Ballard brewery has created a welcoming atmosphere and a strong line up of brews. There are plenty of breweries in Ballard, as we all know, but Obec’s tap list brings diversity to the scene, with options like a Czech pils, red rye saison, and a Belgian singel. There’s usually a food truck parked outside, and games aplenty to encourage lingering. Non-beer drinkers will feel included here too, as the menu also includes cider, wine, vermouth, and soda.
September 29, 2017
There’s something special happening at Copine, and it’s flying criminally under the radar. A fine-dining rarity in Seattle, Copine comes courtesy of chef Shaun McCrain and manager Jill Kinney. The food here feels both ambitious and approachable, with French techniques applied to Northwest ingredients for plates that are sure to dazzle. Opt for the chef’s table or the dining room and you’ll be suitably impressed. What’s more, the couple has added firepower from beverage director Ruven Munoz, who adds an impressive wine list and original cocktails.
Anu and Chris Elford are killing it with Navy Strength and No Anchor, their two new bars in Belltown, but their original Rob Roy still welcomes. The retro cocktail lounge is dark and quiet, the perfect place to tuck into a strong drink on a rainy day. Classic cocktails are made well, using local ingredients when possible, and a slew of originals are worth dabbling in. Or just ask the bartender to make something up — you can’t go wrong.
Populuxe has just unveiled a much-needed expansion that allows more than four people to fit inside. The new space also comes with pinball machines, and greater brewing capacity for sampling Populuxe’s signature brand of well-balanced brews rather than heavy flavor bombs. It’s all arriving just in time for fresh-hop season — there’s one such beer on tap now, plus other seasonals like a pumpkin ale and an Octoberfest.
September 8, 2017
Tucked away in a (relatively) quiet corner of Pike Place Market, this small counter-service restaurant is the answer to your prayers if you’re searching for food amid the tourist throngs. The Szechuan-style meals here are ready quickly, there’s hardly ever a line, and the patio outside usually has some available seating. Choose from among hand-shaved noodles with additions like bean paste, cumin, and chili sauce; Chinese crepes filled with sesame hoisin sauce, fermented bean curd, and a Chinese doughnut; or flatbread stuffed with your choice of meat and flavorings.
The humble red cart belies the magic happening on the grill. The choices are few but enticing; the Seattle Dog with grilled onions, cream cheese, and jalapenos is a stand-out. The beef hot dogs are split, and the toppings wedged inside, a simple act of brilliance. You can also opt for a Field Roast veggie option if you sway that way. Find the cart at Seapine Brewing on Saturdays and Populuxe Brewing on Sundays — these dogs pair perfectly with beer.
The newish brick-and-mortar shop for the Cheese Wizards food truck is admittedly a bit of a shit show. On a recent visit, a single employee was making food and taking orders, and the whole operation was severely backlogged. To make matters worse, the shop has almost no seating and feels cramped with just a handful of people inside. But, stick it out, and your reward is worth the trials. Tricked-out cheese sandwiches, named after nerd-culture icons, combine ingredients like cream cheese, black forest ham, and salami, and come with your choice of dipping sauce for even more extravagance. The food truck is also still rolling if that’s more your speed.
August 18, 2017
The ever-successful twists on Korean flavors wielded by husband-and-wife duo Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi have helped keep Joule relevant in an evolving Seattle food scene. An Eater 38 member, Joule is worth revisiting if you haven’t been in a while, and it needs to be at the top of your list if you haven’t been at all yet. Brunch, especially, is a must, with an enticing menu of mains complemented by a thematic buffet, where you can fill up on seasonal creations. It’s popular, though; go early or make a reservation.
I admit I felt a serious dose of skepticism about Cook Weaver when it first opened. What on earth was the “inauthentic Eurasian food” peddled by the restaurant’s tagline? And yet it’s won me over, thanks to stellar cooking that magically melds a diverse set of ingredients into thoughtful dishes. A recent meal included fried chicken with crab seasoning, peanuts, and pickled daikon; kasu-roasted cauliflower with an anchovy mint aioli, pistachio, and lovage; and pea spaetzle with king oyster mushrooms, fermented black beans, and beurre blanc. I had no idea what I was eating, and I loved every bite.
The velvety tonkatsu broth at Hokkaido Ramen Santouka is worth braving the horrors of the University Village shopping mall. Pick from among shoyu-, miso-, and spicy miso-flavored broth, but I recommend the shio, because that pickled red plum is fun to eat. This location, the second in Washington, sports a lovely interior that incorporates art from the Hokkaido region’s Ainu people, plus an adorable robot that can help you make menu selections.
August 4, 2017
Dough Zone is the stuff dreams are made of. Fill your table with heaps of dough-based delights, all expertly crafted at this highly respected local chainlet. Take your pick of noodles, dumplings, and buns, with stand-outs like the jiao long boa (soup dumplings) and fried jian buns. The restaurants tend to get swamped on weekend evenings, so opt for an early start.
Seattle has seen a rather surprising proliferation of frozen sweets shops, but they’re certainly coming in handy in the recent heatwave. The Central District’s Street Treats dishes out indulgent cookies and ice cream, as well as ice cream bars and build-your-own ice cream sandwiches. The only downside is that there’s no place to eat inside, so be prepared to take your selection to go.
Refreshingly without pretension despite having an expert selection of beer, Hill City Tap House is a welcome addition to the south end. It’s also kid-friendly, with a small play area for the little ones, so families will feel particularly drawn to this hang out. Local and regional beers feature heavily in the 24-tap selection, and whoever is behind the bar is likely to be a great resource in helping you choose. There’s a bottle shop component, too, for purchases on the go.
July 28, 2017
Who cares if it’s hot outside? Pick a table by the window at Capitol Hill’s new Tentenyu and let the breeze cool your ramen-induced sweat. The Kyoto-style ramen, made with chicken broth, is just rich enough, and the vegetarian mushroom version is worth going meatless for. Don’t forget to add a perfectly molten soft-boiled egg to your soup. Among the sides, the cold tofu with spicy sauce and the fried chicken karaage are your best bets.
Bongos is bigger and — gasp — maybe even better than the likes of Un Bien and Paseo. The Caribbean-themed restaurant is a neighborhood favorite, a tropical paradise nested improbably next to Aurora Avenue, and it’s worth trekking out to Green Lake if you don’t live nearby. The sandwich and plate selection here is broader than the alternatives, and the flavors just as indulgent, with ingredients like braised pork, jerk chicken, yucca fries, and fried plantains. Don’t let the line scare you away; there’s plenty of seating.
Ignore the menu of mostly just-ok entrees at this sometimes discordant Vietnamese-Chinese mashup. Instead, head straight for the fried butter chicken wings, which are the real draw at this International District strip mall restaurant. The oft-praised appetizer is delicious even without the addition of the excellent sweet-and-spicy dipping sauce. Should you so desire, you can supplement a few orders with the duck egg noodle soup or a stir-fried vermicelli plate, which are some of the most worthwhile mains.
July 21, 2017
Craving a great patio and some honest-to-goodness sustainability? Humble Pie, tucked off of Rainier Avenue, sports outdoor seating and an enticing selection of wood-fired pizza using local and organic ingredients like Beecher’s Cheese, Uli’s Sausage, and Washington apples. The pizzeria, constructed of two shipping containers and built following LEED standards, also grows some of its ingredients, draws power from solar panels, and raises chickens on-site. There’s also a great selection of local beer and wine.
The Ma’Ono hot chicken sandwiches doled out at the new Rachel’s Ginger Beer location in the University Village are worth braving the shopping mall’s madness to obtain. Choose a spice level — ranging from naked to “Hot Hot Hot: Bring the Pain” — and be prepared to have this meal pervade your dreams for the next several weeks. The sandwiches are built with King’s sweet Hawaiian buns and kewpie mayo, which balance the heat, and big, crunchy daikon pickles that are creatively sliced to resemble hamburger pickles. Oh, and the chicken. It’s thick and thickly-breaded and perfectly crisped and one big flavor bomb. And it all goes perfectly with RGB’s sodas and cocktails.
Owner Dan Bugge knows a thing or two about what Seattle likes in a restaurant. His other hits, Matt’s in the Market and Radiator Whiskey, should be your first clue that White Swan won’t disappoint. Stock up on raw oysters to start, and otherwise fill your table with whatever looks good, be it the fried maitake mushrooms, oven-roasted octopus, fried Brussels sprouts, or bone marrow on toast. Don’t leave out the Poutine O’ the Sea, which is quickly becoming Seattle legend. Enjoy fresh breezes off Lake Union, though be prepared to be patient with dodgy service on busy evenings.
July 14, 2017
Drawing on Vietnamese and Northwestern influences and packed with sustainable seafood, Salted Sea is a Columbia City gem worth visiting for dinner or brunch. Bright flavors punch up classics like spicy green curry mussels, pan-fried oysters with kimchi tartar sauce, and pork belly fried rice. Don’t skimp on the raw oysters, and enjoy gloating over the line at Geraldine’s across the street while grabbing a seat immediately here.
Order from the extensive list of original cocktails, or simply tell the server a few preferences and be surprised with a random concoction. Either way, expect herbs aplenty, and apothecary-inspired additions. That tagline may sound a bit twee, but it works here because it’s all done so darn well. Throw in a few Southern-inspired bites like hushpuppies and whiskey French toast and call it good.
Little Uncle’s outstanding Thai dishes continue to impress, whether you go with the customizable pad thai or branch out and try something new, like khao soi gai, a spicy chicken curry and noodle dish. The tiny space is busy, so be prepared to stalk a table or take your food to go. Scoring a patio spot is ideal. Ice-cold lager in a frosted mug? Yes, please.
July 7, 2017
If you have any trouble finding Wallyburger, tucked in as it is along the sensory overload that is Wallingford’s 45th Avenue, just look for the line. The new Western-themed burger joint slings well-proportioned burgers made with grass-fed Washington beef, along with shakes and fried chicken and even a made-here vegan patty option that doesn’t disappoint.
Capitol Hill denizens would be hard-pressed to find a more delightful patio. Bar Vacilando’s sports massive potted trees and carved wood benches that lend a tropical feel. Whether you sit inside or out, you can’t go wrong with the original cocktails, thoughtful wine list, and internationally-inspired small plates. Bring friends and stay a while.
Lovely London Plane, with its collections of fresh flowers and tall ceilings and loads of light, exudes a casual elegance. The food keeps that theme going, with farm-sourced ingredients utilized in a range of small plates, salads, and entrees at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Flavors skew Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. Do yourself a favor and make a reservation here as soon as you need an excuse for a great meal.
June 23, 2017
Two historic pioneer homes were relocated from the International District to Ballard to house San Fermo, where the experience feels like a dinner party. Dine al fresco on the lovely patio or sit in one of the many “rooms” of the house. The fare is straightforward Italian, not reinvented but well executed and respectful of its roots. Fresh pasta, chickpea flatbread, carpaccio, and whole grilled trout are some of the standouts.
Wallingford’s new Union Saloon is flying criminally under the radar. The convivial combination of neighborhood watering hole and high-brow comfort food restaurant is the first solo venture for Michelle Magidow, who previously put in time at Salumi, Harvest Vine, Lark, and Delancey. Magidow’s shipwright friend crafted gorgeous wood tables and an impressive U-shaped bar that complement exposed beams and plenty of natural light. The kitchen composes dishes that range from thoughtful seasonal vegetable small plates to downright delicious twists on comfort food like barbecue brisket and fried chicken. The attention to detail here makes it clear this is a labor of love for Magidow, and its warmth and approachability lend a sense that you’ve entered her home for dinner. Whatever you do, save room for Magidow’s specialty: from-scratch carrot cake.
Renowned chef Bruce Naftaly came out of retirement for this one, and the result is outstanding. The meals here lean slightly toward French rusticity, with Northwest ingredients and local sensibilities, all complemented by the occasional appearance of creations from Bruce’s wife and pastry chef Sara Naftaly. Whether you plan to sip a hearty broth or indulge in a full dinner or brunch, it’s impossible to go wrong with any of the thoughtfully prepared dishes here.
June 9, 2017
Should you find yourself in need of a patio, an adult beverage, and some very tasty snacks in the vicinity of Laurelhurst, look no further than Saint Helens, the all-day cafe from Josh Henderson’s Huxley Wallace Collective. It’s also an ideal place for morning brunch, an afternoon with friends on the patio, or a quiet date night. The small menu means the kitchen can focus on expertly executing every dish, and the original cocktails are thoughtfully crafted.
The Leary Traveler holds down the fort in Frelard, serving food and drink without pretension. The pub grub is well done, with a menu of mostly sandwiches that includes one with Manny's pale ale-brined chicken thigh. It’s all complemented by a solid draft beer selection and cocktail list. Should you come for brunch, be sure to take advantage of the build-your-own Bloody Mary bar.
Hit the “Tap Shack” outpost of West Seattle Brewing situated on a prime piece of real estate facing Alki Beach. Situate yourself on the patio and stay a while, enjoying solid brews from West Seattle Brewing and other local producers. Your food option here is good-enough pizza; consider the Alki, which comes topped with smoked oysters, bacon, and spinach.
June 2, 2017
Ballard’s Stoup Brewing is a popular go-to on sunny days, thanks to its large patio and wide range of solid beers. The brewery has also expanded into a new space above the current taproom. It’s complete with a balcony that overlooks the patio, and, should you tire of all the kids and dogs downstairs, the upper level is 21+, and it’s for humans only.
The gorgeous, gleaming piles of fresh seafood here are a draw for lovers of all things fishy. Ready-to-eat shrimp and crab cocktails, smoked lox, and tons of fish and bivalves to take home: It’s all here. And don’t despair if you’re craving poke — that’s available, too. Bowls come with brown or white rice; your choice of seaweed salad, kimchi, or mac salad; and perfectly-marinated proteins like salmon, tuna, or octopus.
A delightful addition to a somewhat anemic restaurant selection on Camano Island, Naked City Brewery has brought the best of its Seattle brand north. There’s a large patio for savoring perfect summer days, a beer selection that includes staples and island-only brews, and a food menu of well-done pub fare that will increasingly draw on local produce. If you’re anywhere nearby, this is worth a detour. Hey, you don’t even have to take a ferry.