Today, we’re thrilled to announce the winners of the 10th annual Eater Awards, celebrating the restaurants that made the largest impact over the past 12 months. From an intimate Filipino restaurant in Hillman City to a light-filled farm-to-table spot in Green Lake to a casual omakase counter in Capitol Hill, these places have taken the Seattle food world by storm. Thank you to everyone who sent in nominations. Winners will receive an illustrious tomato can trophy in the mail, along with a full feature on Eater in the coming year.
Restaurant of the Year
This tiny Filipino tasting menu restaurant in Hillman City stood out for its ingenuity, storytelling, and passion. Husband-and-wife team Aaron Verzosa and Amber Manuguid execute wonderfully inventive dishes that weave the narrative of their personal journeys growing up in the area, and that of Filipino immigrants to the Pacific Northwest, combining a meal and a compelling history lesson in each 10-to-12 course sitting. The duo use only ingredients found in this region, such as the hot pandesal rolls made with local wheat and the 29-day aged Washington rib-eye, with dinuguan Oregon wild rice and greens from Harsh Farm, a Filipino-owned operation in Bremerton, WA. Verzosa’s former life as a chef at Nathan Myhrvold’s futuristic cooking and research lab in Bellevue (Modernist Cuisine), helps inform many of Archipelago’s memorably complex flavors, and Manuguid’s background in design brings a welcoming intimacy to the space. It’s a deeply affecting dining experience that also drives the Seattle food conversation forward.
Design of the Year
In a city that tends to favor cavernous, industrial dining rooms, the comforting brightness of Green Lake’s new farm-to-table restaurant from rising chef David Nichols is a refreshing departure. Local interior design firm White Space helped fill the interior with green plant life and an eye-catching floral mural behind the bar, while Nichols made sure there were personal touches, such as jars of colorful fermented produce from his family’s Wenatchee, WA, orchard stored on the shelves. The taps are even made from old tree pruners, sanded down to take the edges off. Perhaps an even better feature: Even on packed weekend nights, dining room chatter is pleasantly muted, thanks to a well-conceived layout.
Daytime Destination of the Year
Like Archipelago, By Tae is a small chef’s counter that appears to hint at where dining trends are going in Seattle (reduction of overhead costs and waste). But the experience is vastly different. Chef Sun Hong creates a memorable, $29-per-person omakase lunch experience filled with nigiri, hand rolls, and surprise snacks, served up with friendly quips and casual repartee inside Capitol Hill’s Chophouse Row. (During one recent meal, Hong referred to a kelp-soaked uni, scallop, and roe dish as a “triple threat,” and deftly transitioned into the wonders of Kansas City cuisine, where a couple of the diners hailed from.) Hong’s wife, Erin, runs point on management and service, making sure everyone feels at home. There are plenty of regulars, and this is a place where local chefs and bartenders tend to go for lunch. Though getting in can be a challenge (patrons need to put their name on a daily signup sheet to reserve a seat, often very early in the morning), the effort is worth it, just to see what the resourceful Hong has up his sleeve next.