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.
August 17, 2018
Brian Clevenger’s Eastlake pasta spot strikes the perfect balance between neighborhood hangout and legitimate destination restaurant. The bright, minimalist space feels high-end, the sort of place you’d linger for date night, but it’s also a welcoming place to meet friends for a casual hang out. The menu here is ever-changing, but reliably includes a handful of Clevenger’s perfect pastas, plus small plates like a seasonal burrata dish, local vegetables, and raw oysters, along with entrees like sockeye salmon and steak with black garlic and fingerling potatoes.
The Central District’s new noodle house is bustling. It’s an excellent addition to the neighborhood, with bold flavors wielded expertly in dishes like roast duck crispy rolls with sambal hoisin, papaya salad (get the pork belly version), caramelized pork fresh rolls with Hanoi fish sauce, curry vermicelli bowl, and noodles from the wok. Nothing about this place feels particularly reckless, just plain dialed in — ditto the original cocktails.
Another neighborhood gem that’s a destination restaurant in the making, Opus Co. delivers a surprising diversity of from-scratch elements despite a tiny kitchen. The chef’s menu here is the way to go — it’s relatively low-priced, and you’ll get to taste the kitchen’s most daring dishes of the moment. Lamb and pig are broken down on site and turned into charcuterie or charred on the wood grill, and local vegetables reign supreme. Little consideration is given to plating, which makes the meal all the more accessible.
June 15, 2018
Sam Choy’s Poké to the Max
All things delicious and Hawaiian-inspired live in this sunny, plant-filled Hillman City restaurant. It can get busy here on the weekends, and the space is small, but the food is always worth the wait. The Godfather of Poke knows his raw fish salad, which he introduced to Seattle via food truck long before the poke craze took hold. And it’s the real deal here. Customize your poke bowl, wrap, or taco, or try kalua pulled pork and spam musubi. It all pairs well with the furikake-topped fries.
Capitol Hill’s Soi puts something of a bar-food spin on Thai food, with so-called “drinking food” to kick off the menu. Jumbo chicken wings and housemade curry sausage are followed with deeply-flavorful dishes borrowed from Thailand’s north. Think fermented pork ribs, grilled pork collar, green papaya salad, and rotisserie-cooked game hen. The cocktail game is on-point, too, with tropical concoctions that don’t skimp on the booze. Save room for the black sticky rice pudding with coconut milk.
Fat’s Chicken and Waffles
Fans of deep-fried Southern goodness can feed their souls at Fat’s Chicken and Waffles. A new member of the ownership team, Erika White, has added a few successful new dishes to an already-appealing menu: honey-butter chicken biscuit sandwich and a seafood sampler with shaved catfish, oysters, shrimp, and a choice of salad or fries. Brunch is a success, too, with the signature chicken and waffles and a biscuit with andouille sausage gravy. Be kind to yourself and order the mimosa carafe.
May 18, 2018
It’s impossible to deny the many changes overtaking Seattle, in the restaurant scene and beyond. If you miss the “old” Seattle, park it on the patio or in the bar at Loretta’s in South Park, where sticky floors and rusty bar stools pass for Northwest chic. The beer taps aren’t that impressive, but the burgers are still as legit as always—and cheap, too. It’s hard to imagine a better venue to knock back a few Olys while complaining about traffic and rent prices.
Salt and Straw
If you haven’t stood in line at Salt and Straw yet, it’s time. After all, summer is pretty much here, so you should at least go see what all the fuss is about. Wacky ingredient combinations mostly hold up, and plenty of local names usually make appearances, from Ellenos Yogurt to Theo Chocolate. Skip the line by going straight to the pints freezer, if you’re bold enough to commit to more than just one serving.
Ghost Note Coffee
Single origin coffees meet weird drink concoctions at Ghost Note Coffee on Capitol Hill. From-scratch ingredients make appearances on an ever-changing menu, like the Lush Life, with espresso, almond milk, and orange blossom honey syrup, served cold; or the Espresso Soda, with simple syrup, lime, and sparkling water. There are non-coffee mocktails, too, using tea or shrubs and syrups, and a slew of single-origin espressos with accompanying tasting notes if you’re feeling nerdy. Tea drinkers also have a great selection, and there are plenty of pastry options for snacking. If there’s a new wave of coffee coming, Ghost Note is at the forefront.
April 27, 2018
Tucked in the frenzy of Amazonia, also known as SLU, Mamnoon Street consistently draws a weekday lunchtime crowd — and for very good reason. Come weekends, though, it’s mercifully less slammed, whether you pick the walk-up window or dine inside. Treat yourself to deeply flavorful manaeesh flatbread cradling the likes of ground lamb, za’atar, and roasted red pepper and onion spread. There’s hummus, falafel, fattoush, and more, plus excellent cocktails.
There are many reasons John Sundstrom’s Capitol Hill pizzeria ranks as one of the best in the city. Sundstrom has found the perfect balance between New York and Neapolitan, making pies that are just on the practical side of floppy, holding their ingredients well. The Featherweight, featuring smoked mozzarella, roasted garlic, parmesan, and white sauce, is a good place to start on a first visit, as are the boozy slushies.
Shimi Kahn first built a reputation with his fantastic food truck before taking Falafel Salam brick-and-mortar in West Seattle last year. He does a hefty takeout business, especially at dinner time, but there’s never much of a wait at the counter-service style restaurant. Can’t decide from among the enticing menu of pita wraps and salads? Pick The Hesitator, which scores you a selection of falafel, chicken shwarma, lamb gyro, Arab salad, purple slaw, pickled veggies, organic hummus, dolma, tahini, and homemade pita. Kahn makes his own pickles with seasonal produce, bringing Seattleites a taste of a Middle Eastern staple sorely missing at most other restaurants in this category.
March 30, 2018
The cozy, triangular restaurant in Upper Fremont has something special going on. Chef and owner Mutsuko Soma’s menu is intriguing, with precisely constructed dishes like mustard-stuffed lotus root tempura, Japanese vegetable curry with melty mozzarella, and the signature Kamonegi with duck and leek. The array of soba dishes feature Soma’s handmade noodles, many of which can be eaten as a hot soup (nanban), cold salad (bukkake), or dipping style (seiro). Do yourself a favor and make a reservation (this place is small and gets busy on weekends) and sit at the counter where you can watch the magic happen. Leave room for the trio of tempura Oreos for dessert — you’ll never want to eat an Oreo any other way.
Madison Valley’s lovely Cafe Flora is still kicking butt decades later with its high-end vegetarian cuisine, and you can tell from the lines that stretch out the door on the weekends. Whether you opt for dinner or brunch, you’ll be treated to a creative meat-free meal with options like herb-and-cheese stuffed mushrooms, cauliflower za’atar pizza, king oyster and shiso papardelle, and brioche ricotta French toast. Don’t miss the cocktails, which are equally appealing.
Bok a Bok
You can never have enough Korean fried chicken in your life. Luckily Bok a Bok now has two locations for this particular indulgence: Capitol Hill and White Center. The perfectly crisped, deeply flavorful chicken comes in a variety of preparations: sandwiches, wings, drumsticks, breast strips, and bulgogi chicken tacos. The biscuits are a must for an add-on no matter what you order. Can’t decide from the insanely enticing menu? Try the Bowl O’ Shame, layered with kimchi mac and cheese, spicy tots, fried chicken, chili sauce, and a fried egg.
February 9, 2018
Tucked away behind Marmite and Amandine Bakeshop in Capitol Hill’s Chophouse Row building is Sara Naftaly and Tallulah Anderson’s new crepe and juice counter. It’s an uncommon combination, and the menu is small, but if you’re looking for a snack on the go, this is your spot. Flavorful crepes range from savory buckwheat options (which are gluten-free) to sweeter picks made with wheat flour. Anderson’s knock-out juices are a must to wash it all down.
Brunswick and Hunt
Upper Ballard’s Brunswick and Hunt, with its Northwest-meets-Wild-West-saloon feel, is the ideal neighborhood haunt. Regulars pile in on weekends for well-executed food and cocktails served at dinner and brunch. Morning drinks include twists on the classics, like Vikings Blood, a bloody Mary with aquavit, while evening libations cast a wide net for classics and originals. The food here is simple but satisfying; each dish involves only a few ingredients, all perfectly prepared. Go for a big biscuit with bacon and hazelnut-almond butter or a veggie-centric scramble at brunch, while at dinner your choices range from hearty (cheeseburger, fried chicken) to upscale (seared foie gras, pan-seared ling cod).
This sensational family-run Mexican spot near the Othello station serves soft tacos Northern Chihuahua-style, naked with a choice of meat, plus burritos, tortas, and breakfast burritos. The tamales hide on a large and growing menu, but they’re fantastic, too — and you can pre-order a whole bunch to stock your freezer at home. There’s a large selection of sauces and salsas, plus toppings like cilantro and pickled red onions at a self-service station for endless customization. Don’t leave without trying the housemade frescas, which change daily, and horchata, the perfect antidote to the food’s hot kick.
January 19, 2018
Whether you opt for a special like lobster pho or go with a more standard pho, there’s a lot to love about Wicked Chopstix. The Rainier Valley restaurant also turns out a fantastic bun cha, a multifaceted dish of smoky grilled pork submerged in a sweetened fish sauce, plus vermicelli, vegetables, herbs, and fried eggrolls, all of which can be corralled into a lettuce wrap or mixed together for a customizable bowl of soup. Here, it’s named “Obama Noodle,” after the dish former President Barack Obama shared in Hanoi with Anthony Bourdain on an episode of Parts Unknown.
Gather Kitchen and Bar
Ryan Donaldson’s well-received Stone House restaurant in Redmond is your first clue that its Ballard sibling, Northwest-styled Gather, is a good one. Mix and match your meal from an array of menu options that are described as “tapas,” but are really just a range of small and large plates plus sides, all of which draw flavor influences from around the world. Highlights from a recent dinner included fried cauliflower with buffalo sauce and house pickles, roasted marrow bones with bacon jam and toast, and ribeye with mushroom confit and caramelized onions.
Iconiq’s sad closure (which we’re still hoping is temporary) hasn’t left Mount Baker entirely devoid of excellent dining options. Heyday is overseen in part by Gary Snyder, co-owner of Geraldine’s Counter, so you can expect a solid brunch on weekends and a fantastic selection of burgers and cocktails the rest of the time. Meat options like bison and lamb complement the usual beef patties, and they’re all served on low-profile Macrina potato rolls that hold these sauce-forward concoctions together well while staying out of the way of the creative mix of ingredients. High on the list of great picks are burgers like the Bacon Bleu, with house bacon jam, cambozola triple cream, bleu cheese, and house sauce, and the Bison, with grilled apple, radicchio, red onion, Vermont maple syrup, mustard, pickles, and Beecher’s cheddar.