As is tradition, Eater closes out the year by surveying local food writers on various restaurant-related topics. Here, the experts weigh in on this question: What were the biggest restaurant newcomers of 2019? (Here are the top standbys of the year.)
Allecia Vermillion, editor-in-chief, Seattle Met: This was a good year! Archipelago, Dacha Diner, Samara, Il Nido, By Tae. I guess it wasn’t such a good year if you actually want to get a reservation at some of these places.
Chelsea Lin, editor-in-chief, Seattle Magazine: I love great Thai food (and, to be honest, even bad Thai food), which is why I fell particularly hard for Bangrak Market and Kin Len Thai Night Bites. I’ve loved watching spots like Samara, Paju and Eden Hill Provisions really fill a need in their respective neighborhoods — I wish I lived closer to all three.
Providence Cicero, food writer, former restaurant critic for the Seattle Times: It’s been a bumper year. Among the places I’ve been to so far, the newcomers that standout most are (in alphabetical order): Ben Paris, Bisato, Eden Hill Provisions, Eight Row, Il Nido, Samara, and Taneda Sushi in Kaiseki.
Frank Guanco, food and wine writer, Seattle Refined: By Tae and Rupee Bar stood out. I love what Sun and Erin do at their counter spot in Chophouse Row. Just delicious, idiosyncratic, and endlessly entertaining. When we first went to Rupee Bar they were only newly opened and already firing on all cylinders. Hospitality, cocktails, food; all were on point and were so fully realized, it’ll be exciting to see how they entrench themselves.
Rosin Saez, former associate editor, Seattle Met: Champagne Diner. Bryn Lumsden of Damn the Weather has penned a homage to the American diner writ in natural wine and diner classics in the prettiest space in Interbay. Rupee Bar! It’s so great. Ben Paris: It bucks any hangups people have about “hotel restaurants” with a dedicated, talented team. Bangrak Market. Xi’an Noodles, especially when it opened a second location inside Westlake Center.
Jill Lightner, Seattle food writer, author, and person who gets asked, “Is it still safe to eat this?” a lot: Il Nido, Dacha Diner and Archipelago? There are so many fantastic ones, picking a couple seems like I might as well choose by whatever came to mind first.