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3 Places to Try in Seattle This Weekend

Pho in Queen Anne, barrel-aged beer in Lake City, and Hawaiian pastries in White Center

A closeup of a hearty beef pho at Coba Viet Kitchen and Ales, with a side of bread.
Beef pho at Coba Viet Kitchen and Ales.
Coba [Official Photo]

Every Friday, you probably ask the same question: “Where should I eat and drink?” Welcome to your weekend planner, where Eater Seattle editors recommend brunch, dinner, booze, and everything in between, whether they’re trendy and new, or old, reliable standbys. Got a suggestion? Drop us a line.

March 6, 2020

For pho and porridge paired with Chinese doughnuts: Coba Viet Kitchen and Ales. The modern-casual Queen Anne restaurant and bar, two blocks from Seattle Center, features a menu filled mostly with Vietnamese comfort food. As pho goes, they have all the bases covered (the beef short rib pho is a crowd pleaser), and the weekend happy hour menu has $5 items like Dungeness crab rangoon with basil and bite-sized crispy rolls. But to really hit the spot on a cold day: a robust bowl of silky rice porridge with chicken or tofu, onions, ginger, shallots, soft boiled egg — and Chinese doughnuts for dessert. — Marika Malaea

For barrel-aged beer in Lake City: Brother Barrel. Safe to say, everyone could use a beer in Seattle these days. While visiting the intriguing new Lake City Chinese restaurant Mount and Bao, I hopped across the street for a beer at Brother Barrel and wasn’t disappointed. The taproom adjacent to sibling Elliott Bay Public House and Brewery serves up a robust selection of beer aged in bourbon and wine barrels, along with some satisfying small bites, such as fried cheese curds and fermented tomato soup. The servers are attentive and friendly as well, willing to walk newcomers through the beer list, which currently includes a rich chocolate porter with hints of pinot noir. — Gabe Guarente

For happy Hawaiian pastries in the heart of White Center: Patrick’s Cafe and Bakery. This tiny house-turned-cafe serves up easygoing Hawaiian favorites and satisfying sweets, like pineapple scones and colorful cakes (personal favorites: guava, P.O.G., or lilikoi). Savory classics like loco moco and kimchi fried rice are always a safe bet, but if you just need a quick morning bite, try one of the cafe’s famous cinnamon rolls — with or without cream cheese frosting — or the haupia, which is topped with a light coconut frosting and crushed macadamia nuts. — Marika Malaea

February 21, 2020

For banh mi on a perfectly-baked baguette: Q Bakery. This low-key deli, which is about a 15 minute walk from the Othello light rail station, has been slinging some of the best banh mi varieties in Seattle for years. It’s mainly thanks to the excellent baguettes the bakery in the back has been known for (many people come in and just order whole plastic bags of them to go). While there are a number of banh mi options to choose from at the counter, a personal favorite is the No. 11 banh mi thit, with sliced ham, head cheese, and pate. But you can’t really go wrong with any of them. — Gabe Guarente

For delectable dishes influenced by Wuhan cuisine: Zheng Cafe. We already went into detail this week about the harrowing experience owners Jing and Greg Wetzel are going through worrying about relatives back in China, but that’s not the only reason to support this South Lake Union business. The food is absolutely fantastic, from a take on Wuhan’s well-known hot dry noodles, to a variety of steamed buns, both savory and sweet. Plus, though it’s not originally from Wuhan, of course, the Thai iced tea is surprisingly better than others served at area restaurants, which are often too sugary. The secret, apparently, is using half and half. — Gabe Guarente

For flights of fruity cider while longing for spring: Schilling Cider House. Really, hard cider is good year ‘round, but there’s something optimistic about sampling the many light, fizzy offerings at this bustling Fremont spot as the days start to get longer. There are currently 32 taps from a variety of purveyors, and a recent visit included a few revelations, including the bright, citrusy “Excelsior!” imperial offering, which goes down pretty easy. There’s no kitchen, but patrons are allowed to bring in outside food (pizza from nearby hot spot The Masonry is a good bet). — Gabe Guarente

February 14, 2020

For wonderful, wallet-friendly kathi rolls on Capitol Hill: Spice Waala. This fast-casual Indian restaurant on 15th Avenue started as a stand at the South Lake Union Market, and has since blossomed into one of the most underrated street food spots in the city. Both the chicken tikka kathi roll and the lamb version are satisfyingly plump (costing $7 and $8, respectively), and go well with a mango lassi, or even one of the Indian beers available, should the mood strike. A heads up that Spice Waala is not open on Sunday, so later Friday night or Saturday at lunch or dinner are your best bets. — Gabe Guarente

For eating savory flaky pies while being surrounded by plant life: Byrek and Baguette. This U District restaurant is lush with various plants in the dining room, and has a menu filled with byreks — an Albanian pastry made with phyllo dough, like a Greek spanakopita. There are some breakfast options as well, including scrambles and bacon and egg sandwiches. But those that make it over here might as well embrace the theme and go for one of those stuffed pastries (such as the leek and feta cheese version), or a slow-cooked pork sandwich on a baguette with a side of comforting lentil soup. — Gabe Guarente

For one last beer and meaty dinner at a chill Green Lake pub: Jak’s Alehouse. It’s a bummer that Jak’s is going to close February 23 (although the sibling grill will stay open). So it may be a good idea to swing by this weekend to say goodbye, if you’re in the neighborhood. The bar has a robust list of beers from local breweries, along with a meaty menu, including sirloin steak and eggs for brunch. Monday nights is all about prime rib: worth keeping in mind for anyone who has Presidents’ Day off. — Gabe Guarente

February 7, 2020

For Chinese comfort food at wallet-friendly prices: Tai Tung. Fears over the new coronavirus have revived longstanding racism and unfortunately affected local Chinatown-International District restaurants, including this Chinese food mainstay. It should not be considered “brave” to go to a place like Tai Tung and support the business that has been around the neighborhood for 85 years — it should simply be part of a great CID food crawl. But here’s a reminder that even the late Bruce Lee loved the restaurant’s beef with oyster sauce, which will only set you back about $9. — Gabe Guarente

For tender Iberico ham and build-your-own gin and tonics in Bellevue: Castilla. This new Spanish restaurant opened last year in the heart of Bellevue mall country, and the menu is geared toward the shopping masses, with flatbreads aplenty. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some rarer gems to find, including tender Iberico ham (good on its own, or alongside lemony boquerones). There’s also an extensive list of cocktails, including an option to match different gins with fruit and flavors of tonic, for hardcore Q&T fans. — Gabe Guarente

For a classic place to grab a cocktail and snacks while catching a flick: The Big Picture. As Cinerama closes down for renovations (and deals with labor fallout), it’s worth remembering that there are other great single-screen movie houses in the city, including one not too far away, next to Belltown steakhouse El Gaucho. This weekend, blockbuster “Birds of Prey” is showing, and getting some surprisingly good buzz for a DC comic book offering, but the theater is still worth a visit for its signature cocktails (which changes depending on the current movie theme) and truffle popcorn. — Gabe Guarente

January 31, 2020

For satisfying sandwiches and some growlers to go: Mammoth. This laid-back Eastlake restaurant (from the owners of Bitterroot BBQ) has been quietly serving up excellent sandwiches for six years. There’s a build-your-own sandwich or salad component, including everything from meatballs to fried eggplant, but the signature offerings are all worth a try, especially including The Predator, with fried chicken leg, pork belly, and swiss, and the Cro-Magnon, with housemade giardiniera. A bonus is the extensive beer selection on tap, offered in growlers to go, which currently includes Georgetown Brewing’s popular 18lb imperial porter. — Gabe Guarente

For comforting bowls of tom yum soup and Thai stir fry: Thai Tom. This no-frills U District mainstay has been packing University of Washington students and visitors alike for decades, thanks to a wonderful array of satisfying thai dishes, including tom yum soup, vegetable stir fry, curries, and fried rice. Sit at the counter across from the flaming woks, if you really want to feel the heat on a cold and rainy weekend. — Gabe Guarente

For a cozy French bistro experience near Pike Place: Le Pichet. Here’s another longtime Seattle classic that shouldn’t be overlooked just because it’s been around awhile. I was lucky enough to live a few blocks away from the French restaurant when I first moved to the city, and loved the bistro’s warm atmosphere and French comfort food, executed with great care, from the signature roasted chicken to the pork pate to the tartines. Order a glass of wine, relax, and wait out the Pike Place crowds. — Gabe Guarente

January 24, 2020

For excellent tacos near the Amazon Spheres: Casco Antiguo. The well-regarded Mexican restaurant in Pioneer Square opened a second outpost on 7th Avenue and Lenora Street last year, right in the heart of Amazon territory. I’m partial to the carnitas tacos, with nicely crisp pork generously doled out into soft tortillas, and a thick salsa verde sauce on the side — but it’s hard to go wrong with any of the selections. The service at the new outpost is speedy and friendly as well, and on the weekend, you should be able to avoid the lunchtime tech crowd. — Gabe Guarente

For getting into the Belgian spirit on a beer-soaked weekend: Brouwer’s Cafe. Belgian Beer Fest kicks off Saturday at Seattle Center, but you don’t need to buy any ticket to sample all the great Belgian style beer and food at this longtime Fremont bar. Among the menu items are pomme frites and stoofvlees (a hearty beef stew), which should hit the spot if you’re pre or post-gaming from the main event — or just skipping it altogether. After all, there are plenty of drafts here, and more than 400 bottles, all expertly sourced. It may take a little sting out of the fact that nearby craft beer bar The Red Door is closing soon (although we recommend you hop on over there as well). — Gabe Guarente

For comforting pastries and coffee in Beacon Hill: Fresh Flours. This relaxing bakery has four outposts across the city, including one near the light rail in Beacon Hill. It’s worth a trip for the pastries alone (selections at the moment include yuzu macarons, green tea muffins, and azuki bean croissants), which are best paired with a cup of coffee from Stumptown, or any of the rotating drips, currently from Oregon-based Heart roasters. — Gabe Guarente

January 17, 2020

For good beer and chill sports watching in Ballard: Reuben’s Brews. This taproom tucked away on a sleepy 14th Ave NW block in Ballard (there’s also a second location called the Brewtap) has been a local favorite for years, and is a bit underrated as a sports bar. Of course, many flock here for the variety of seasonal beers (including, currently, the excellent Robust Porter), but I recently enjoyed the many screens within good eyelines showing the Seahawks games. Those still mourning the loss to the Packers last week can catch the conference championships Sunday, with grub from food truck, Mr. Gyros. – Gabe Guarente

For great grilled flatbreads, meats, and vegetables in Georgetown: Ciudad. Though its watering hole neighbor, Bar Ciudad, recently closed, the main restaurant is still going strong. On the menu, diners will find a variety of grilled meats — such as tahini marinated chicken and pork collar — served with a selection of interesting dipping sauces (tomato sambal is a personal favorite). But don’t sleep on the vegetables either, especially the nicely crisped Brussels sprouts, which have a hint of sweetness to them. Best washed down with a spicy carrot margarita. — Gabe Guarente

For a cozy coffee shop with killer lattes in White Center: Moonshot. Eater Seattle recently updated its list of the latest and greatest cafes around town that opened in the past year, but it’s also worth noting those that have been quietly excellent for a little longer. Moonshot in White Center is one of those spots, serving up a variety of fantastic, seasonal lattes (there’s one called the Bon Iver now, made with cardamom and autumn spices — just like the singer of the same name, perhaps). It’s a small place, but the WiFi is strong, the drinks hit the spot when the weather is unforgiving, and the vibe is welcoming. — Gabe Guarente

January 10, 2020

For creative Northern Thai cooking just outside the city: Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen. With locations in Kirkland and Lynnwood, Isarn isn’t usually the first stop for Seattleites chasing down quality Thai — but it should be. Dishes such as the mushroom fritters, minced lamb and stir-fried squid with salted egg yolk are not only to-die-for, but also set it apart from some of the other Thai places around town. Kirkland is my personal pick for its relaxed, stylish vibe and prime location. — Maggy Lehmicke

For cheesy snacks that could put Wisconsinites to shame: The Boar’s Nest. In case you didn’t hear, there’s a big game Sunday, as the Seahawks travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. But Midwesterners don’t have the monopoly on cheese. The Boar’s Nest has shown up on Eater’s list of great cheesy places around town in the past, but it’s worth a reminder that the fried mac ‘n’ cheese balls at this Ballard barbecue spot are delightful. For those who want to watch the game, there are three TVs, but more robust viewing options can also be found here. — Gabe Guarente

For upscale Italian fare with a romantic ambience: Barolo Ristorante. In the heart of South Lake Union, this fancy Italian joint is a favorite for its homestyle seafood and pasta dishes, accompanied by dim lighting and wax-covered candelabras to set the mood. The seasonal ravioli is a favorite of mine (and everyone in my family), while antipasti like the caprese and tuna tartare are also well-loved. Small dishes just mean more room for dessert. — Maggy Lehmicke

January 3, 2020

For healthy brunch dishes to get New Year’s resolutions going: Eve. This Fremont restaurant — which co-owner Debra Russell, a Whale Wins alum, has described as “elevated hippie food” — delivers simple, but hearty dishes heavy on grains, organic meats, and vegetables. The brunch bowls rotate seasonally, and I recently enjoyed bibimbap with wonderfully tangy gochujang sauce and a 6-minute tea egg, but the French toast is another hit. Also, don’t forget about the mimosas made with house shrubs. — Gabe Guarente

For a relaxing, grown-ups night out in Sunset Hill: Samara. This place appeared on Eater’s 2019 nominees for best restaurant design, thanks to its warm Pacific Northwest charm and sound abatement panels, but the food is just as alluring. There’s an open kitchen with a wood-burning grill roasting seasonal vegetables, along with an assortment of seafood dishes, including the popular Dungeness crab on a charred rice cake. But the duck is truly the star of the menu. — Gabe Guarente

For a place to stress eat before the Seahawks play: Champagne Diner. Interbay could be the dining neighborhood to watch in 2020, and this handsome, inconspicuous spot from Bryn Lumsden, owner of Pioneer Square’s Damn the Weather, is one of the reasons why. Upscale greasy spoon fare, such pork belly BLTs and Pacific cod “tuna melts,” are satisfying, and its soothing, chill atmosphere should help create a Zen mood before Sunday’s big Wild Card game (then you can head over to one of these bars to yell and scream). — Gabe Guarente

Byrek & Baguette

4209 University Way Northeast, , WA 98105 (206) 632-3864 Visit Website

Champagne Diner

945 Elliott Avenue West, , WA 98119 (206) 420-7503 Visit Website

Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen (Kirkland)

170 Lake Street, , WA 98033 (425) 298-4429 Visit Website

Barolo Ristorante

1940 Westlake Avenue, , WA 98101 (206) 770-9000 Visit Website

Ciudad

6118 12th Avenue South, , WA 98108 (206) 717-2984 Visit Website

Spice Waala

340 15th Avenue East, , WA 98112 (206) 466-5195 Visit Website

Eve

704 N 34th St, Seattle, WA 98103 (206) 900-7186 Visit Website

Fresh Flours Bakery and Cafe

1624 S McClellan St, Seattle, WA 98144 (206) 258-3121 Visit Website

Brouwer's Cafe

400 North 35th Street, , WA 98103 (206) 267-2437 Visit Website

Casco Antiguo

115 Occidental Avenue South, , WA 98104 (206) 538-0400 Visit Website

Samara

6414 32nd Avenue Northwest, , WA 98107 (206) 946-6997 Visit Website

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