We always enjoy finding good restaurants wherever we travel. This post is a summary of the restaurants we have visited in Seattle throughout multiple visits.
Anthony’s Pier 66
2021: Our Seattle friends told us Anthony’s Pier 66 was a tourist trap but we decided to go anyways and are glad we did. First, we had a nice view of a cruise ship in the port. Second, we had a wonderful dinner. We begin with Northwestern Mussels skillet roasted in orange tarragon butter and an entrée that combined half servings of char-grilled Alaskan halibut with beurre blanc and chive oil. We also had the absolute best fish of our trip: char-grilled king salmon with sun-dried tomato and basil butter. The entrée was served with asparagus and a nice cornbread pudding with jack cheese. The meal was enhanced by a lovely bottle of 2017 Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvee.
2021: Momiji is a Japanese restaurant where we shared a number of dishes with friends. These included a crispy rice cake topped with raw scallop, salmon roe, and wasabi aioli; sashimi salad with salmon, albacore, and yellowtail sashimi with avocado, onion, cherry tomatoes, and spring greens in spicy miso vinaigrette; salmon, ivory salmon, and fatty tuna sashimi; “King Ghidorah” roll with spicy snow crab, tempura scallions and avocado topped with spicy tuna, tempura unagi, and sesame with spicy aioli, sweet chili, and soy glaze; and panko fried oysters. We also shared a bottle of full-bodied, savory, unfiltered Kamoizumi Junmai Nigorijunmai sake. We enjoyed every dish and the sake.
2021: Barolo Ristorante is an incredibly noisy Italian restaurant. The conversation with our friends was limited due to the noise level, which put a damper on the night. But the food was quite good. We each had an entrée: a Chilean Sea bass with puttanesca sauce, and whipped potatoes; and half a rack of New Zealand lamb with amarena cherries and an amarone wine sauce. The first lamb dish was overcooked lamb was replaced but the replacement was worth the wait. Our wine was an acceptable 2018 Chianti Classico Riserva from San Filice.
2021: Nishino is a Japanese restaurant in Madison Park where the food and service began as wonderful and rapidly fell off as the meal progressed. Our favorite dishes were the very rich miso soup with clams and shiso shrimp dumplings in a ginger sauce. The food became less impressive with fried kumomoto oysters, tempura maitake mushrooms, the small, tasteless softshell crab, and the overcooked foie gras and seared tuna served on a mushroom. The food, if not the service picked up with the oyster nigiri. We did appreciate our server’s suggestion of a sake that met our request for a relatively dry, full-bodied sake with a somewhat nutty taste (Umenishiki Junmai Gingo), with which we followed up at the end with a touch of sweeter, unfiltered Joto Nigori Junmai.
Din Tai Fung
2021: Din Tai Fung is a very popular Chinese dumpling restaurant at Pacific Place where we shared four dishes: Crab and Kurobuta pork xiao long bao; shrimp and Kurobuta pork potstickers; Jidori chicken wontons with spicy sauce; and sweet and sour pork baby back ribs. Our beverages included a 2019 Chateau St. Michelle wine, Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling, and Kizakura Higori sake. While the food was OK, we prefer the dumplings (not to speak of the wider range of dishes that are available) from our favorite San Francisco dim sum restaurants. But given the dinner business this restaurant does, we suspect that Seattle does not have a lot of chinese dumpling options.
Elliott’s Oyster Bar
2021: We had a very good lunch at Elliott’s Oyster Bar where we shared pan-fried oysters with bourbon sauce, tartar sauce, asparagus, and new potatoes. A pint of local Diamond Knot Industrial IPA accompanied Tom’s food.
Toulouse Petite Kitchen and Lounge
2021 As we needed to find a lunch spot near Seattle Center, we stopped at Toulouse Petite Kitchen and Lounge. This is a long-time, somewhat tired-looking Cajun-style restaurant. Joyce had a good, but not a great bowl of Penn Cove mussels with leeks, bacon lardon, shallots, thyme, and garlic in cream sauce. Tom had two dishes—both again, good, but not especially memorable. They began with a cup of seafood gumbo with a spicy roux, creole rice, andouille sausage, rockfish, and allegedly (although he did not find them), crawfish, and shrimp. He then had a dish of ultra-creamy corn grits with loads of shrimp, crawfish, and andouille.
2021: We wouldn’t normally consider a restaurant in Pike Place Market. However, Place Pigalle was highly recommended. Although we weren’t bowled over by the food, it was good, reasonably priced and the service was very good. We also got a window table with a pretty view over the waterfront and Puget Sound. We had two dishes. The steamed mussels were good, although the balsamic vinaigrette cream sauce that went with them overwhelmed the taste and in our view, wasn’t a great match. The other dish, a Northwest bouillabaisse was loaded with clams, mussels, salmon, and shelled Dungeness crab and potato. So loaded, in fact, that we rationed the saffron-tomato broth (although we could have also requested more broth). This was quite good, although we prefer the thick, savory sauce of a San Francisco cioppino to the broth of a bouillabaisse.
2021: Mantra Thai is a small Thai Lower Queen Anne restaurant near Seattle Center. We had a good, but not memorable lunch of pad thai with chicken and a spicy seafood dish with shrimp, squid, scallops, yellow curry powder, carrots, onions, peppers, and celery. While fine for lunch, we are not sure we would return.
W Hotel Trace’s Market
2021: While we don’t always eat breakfast when traveling, we did appreciate the range of especially interesting complimentary breakfast items at The W Hotel’s Trace Market (where we stayed for 5 nights). Among these were avocado toast with grilled corn relish, radicchio, sunnyside egg, chipotle lime crema, and cilantro; breakfast sliders with scrambled egg, grilled ham, grilled pineapple, and sweet onion on Hawaiian sweet rolls; and a jalapeno bagel sandwich with maple bacon, cheddar cheese, over easy egg and tomato aioli. In addition to the interesting dishes, the people behind the counter were extremely friendly and helpful.
2011: As we were staying out by the airport at the Cedarwood Lodge, as we had an early flight. We decided to eat at their Copperleaf restaurant as it was rated as 2010’s best new Seattle area restaurant. But whatever the rating, it was worth a try. The location, below the lodge’s lobby, is lovely and comfortable. We sat outside the restaurant, next to the fireplace. The Pacific Butterfish, with snap peas, cucumber and radish, and a Meyer Lemon sauce was pleasant, although somewhat salty for our taste. The Kodiak Island halibut with white asparagus, morel mushrooms, and english peas, was lovely and well prepared. Both went well with a very reasonably priced Washington State Substance Pinot Gris. And after dinner, we walked a few steps to the bar, where we “unwound” with some scotch and a few pleasant games of pool.
2011: While not exactly a gourmet haven, Wild Ginger is a lot of fun and great for a group of people who looking to share a wide range of interesting Asian-inspired dishes. We went to the downtown location on 3rd Avenue and Union Street. Our group of six people shared eight different dishes, ranging from potstickers and lettuce cups appetizers, fragrant duck, lamb chop, and Pad Thai entrees. These all paired nicely with a couple of bottles of Gruner Veltliner and a Pinot Noir, and ended pleasantly with mango sorbet and especially coconut gelato.
Sitka & Spruce (now closed)
2011: Sitka & Spruce, from chef Matt Dillon (no, not the sheriff), is a small, charming rustic) place with a small but interesting locavore menu. It is located in Melrose Market, which is a rustically refurbished market with cheese, meat, and wine stores and several restaurants. Our lunch for two consisted of chewy, Columbia City bread, smoked air-dried ham with shaved asparagus and hazelnuts, and a wonderful steamed sockeye with black morels, salt pork, and sorrel. It had a light, pleasantly tangy, sherry vinegar-based shallot cream sauce. Both dishes were nicely complemented with a reasonably priced Montepulciano.
Poppy (now closed)
2011: Poppy was created by the founding chef at the regionally revered Herbfarm restaurant. Chef Jerry Traunfeld combines locally sourced ingredients into delicious creations influenced by the chef’s travels in India. The Indian influence also comes through in his serving of these dishes as “thalis”, essentially bento-box-like combinations of small dishes that complimented each other. Each of the seven and ten-dish thali had a main ingredient (on the night we were there, lamb loin and Copper River sockeye salmon), combined with a mix of side dishes that were leveraged across multiple thalis. Our friends guided us through, a new-to-us selection of Washington State wines, to a lovely Delille Doyenne Syrah-Cabernet. Although we enjoyed the unusual combinations, one of our friends felt the combinations lacked context by confusing tastes and techniques. We recommend that you try for yourselves.