21 Dishes We Loved from Seattle Restaurants

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The Pasta Bolognese at Il Corvo

Pasta Bolognese at Il Corvo
If you could only order one thing at Il Corvo, we’d suggest green garlic pesto—a gorgeous spring memory from last year. But who knows when you might catch such a seasonal treat on the pastaria’s ever-changing menu. Instead, we’ll steer you to any one of Mike Easton’s house-made pastas: rigatoni, fettuccine, whatever, with a classic Bolognese meat sauce, which makes it onto the menu at regular intervals and is perfectly soul-satisfying ($9). Pioneer Square, 217 James St.; 206.538.0999; ilcorvopasta.com




Baklava at Bistro Turkuaz

Ugur Oskay makes Seattle’s most beguiling baklava ($5.50), thick with walnuts, sugar and lemon syrup. It’s light and buttery, and absolutely head and shoulders above the other baklava in town. Madrona, 1114 34th Ave.; 206.324.3039; bistroturkuaz.com




The Big Italian at Martino’s

Sandwich of the year? We nominate the Big Italian ($9): Hickory and cherry woodsmoke kisses herb- and Dijon-rubbed pork butt, which is sliced, topped with grilled onions and creamy smoked mozzarella, and followed with a hit of Mama Lil’s hot pickled peppers and bright lemon-chive aioli. Phinney Ridge, 7410 Greenwood Ave.; 206.397.4689; martinosseattle.com


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The Vegetable Thali at Poppy

Where else can one opt for ravioli filled with silken parsley root and dressed in thinly shaved local white truffles? Or salt-roasted pears with radicchio and citrus? As luck would have it, depending on the day, you’ll get to enjoy both, along with several other tasty rotating bites on Jerry Traunfeld’s ever-changing vegetarian thali plate. The thalis (assorted small dishes served together) are complex and marvelous, a fantastic study in vegetable cookery and seasonality ($24–$28). Capitol Hill, 622 Broadway Ave. E; 206.324.1108; poppyseattle.com

 




The Flavor Curve at Book Bindery

The tender, marbled cap on the outer edge of a rib-eye steak? It’s always the best part. The Book Bindery uses butcher’s slang for the hedonistic cut—the “flavor curve”—but on this, the restaurant’s most renowned entrée, the chefs forgo the rest of the rib-eye, serving just the fork-tender Mishima Ranch flavor curve, accompanied by carmelized onion soubise, garnet yam, lacinto kale and bordelaise vinaigrette ($44). And it is divine. Queen Anne, 198 Nickerson St.; 206.283.2665; bookbinderyrestaurant.com




The Crunch Salad at Juicebox

Every salad should be a textural adventure like this: a rainbow array of seasonal raw and cooked vegetables and lettuces with plenty of fresh herbs and a bright, winning vinaigrette ($9). Capitol Hill, 1517 12th Ave., Suite 100; 206.607.7866; juiceboxseattle.com




Smoked Paprika and Cheddar Croissant at Crumble & Flake

Neil Robertson’s Capitol Hill bakery is little bigger than a walk-in closet, and his Spartan dedication to carefully crafted pastries is both celebrated and bemoaned (especially if you come after the day’s small allotment of pastries has sold out), but there is nothing austere about the rich combination of flavors in this savory croissant: the crackle of good cheddar with a background earthiness of smoke and pepper ($3.75). Capitol Hill, 1500 E Olive Way; 206.329.1804; crumbleandflake.com
 




Koftes at Shanik

No vegetarian dish should ever feel like an afterthought at an Indian restaurant, and Shanik serves up a glorious example of why not. Its koftes are aromatic vegetable patties made from a mix of Oxbow farm produce: squash, turnips, carrots—whatever is best at the moment—and then bound with chickpea and corn flour ($22). They are served in a rich tomato sauce that just might make you forget marinara. South Lake Union, 500 Terry Ave. N; 206.486.6884; shanikrestaurant.com

 


 


Setas al jerez (sherried mushrooms on toast) at Ocho

Griddled toast provides a good soaking base for mushrooms sautéed in oil and sherry with a little cream, and topped with a sprig of arugula for peppery contrast ($3.50). Like so much at tiny Ocho in Ballard, it’s simple, a tried-and-true flavor combination, and it’s delicious. 2325 NW Market St.; 206.784.0699; ochoballard.com




Crudo at Anchovies & Olives

It’s a careful dance, dressing raw fish without burying the delicate flavors. The kitchen crew at Anchovies & Olives does so with expert restraint. Here, on fine rectangle plates, carefully cut raw fish—selections vary by season—are enhanced with bold yet balanced flavors, often with chiles for heat, citrus for acid, and just enough salt and fat to heighten the flavor ($14–$18). Capitol Hill, 1550 15th Ave.; 206.838.8080; ethanstowellrestaurants.com




Braised Chicken Thighs at TanakaSan

Sometimes spicy dishes are so assertive that you lose track of the flavor of the main ingredients, but not so with the braised chicken at TanakaSan ($18), where not-too-hot gochujang chili paste from Korea plays up the supple earthiness of chicken thighs. Kimchi and smoked oysters in the hot pot double down the rich flavor. TanakaSan’s menu changes regularly, but keep an eye out for the return of this terrific dish. Belltown, 2121 Sixth Ave.; 206.812.8412; tanakasanseattle.com



Smoked Chicken Wings at Brave Horse Tavern

Taken from humanely raised birds and cut at the top joint for a much meatier bite, the grilled wings at Brave Horse Tavern ($9) are unforgettable, grilled over apple wood and then deep-fried to a dark finish and doused in sweet-spicy Ballard-based Bonache hot sauce. There’s house-made blue cheese dip on the side, and even though it’s really good, you won’t need it. 310 Terry Ave. N; 206.971.0717; bravehorsetavern.com




Blueberry Scones at Madison Kitchen

Tender and nearly fluffy on the inside, crunchy with raw sugar on top, the blueberry lemon zest scones at Madison Kitchen are lightly sweet, morning-making perfection. 4122 E Madison St.; 206.557.4640; madison-kitchen.com




Malay Satay Hut’s Dry Curry Crab

The mess is part of the fun at Malay Satay Hut, where a whole Dungie is basted with sticky, aromatic spice paste and showered with crisp curry leaves. As you crack your crab, you spread the flavor of turmeric, coriander and other spices to the delicate flesh ($13.95–$15.95, depending on the season). Chinatown–International District, 212 12th Ave. S; 206.324.4091; malaysatayhut.com


 


Sandwiches on House-Made Rolls at Kaffeeklatsch

Kaffeeklatsch, on Lake City Way, specializes in homemade rolls such as hoagies and German-style brötchen ($1.25). For a hearty grab-and-go lunch to take on a hiking or biking excursion, pick up a classic roast beef and cheese on a hoagie ($6.25). Lake City, 12513 Lake City Way NE, Suite H; 206.462.1059; kaffeeklatschseattle.com
 




Cold Soba Noodles in Hot Soup at Miyabi 45th

Get your hand-cut buckwheat noodles cold, and then get a hot broth to go with them: There’s something ineffably delightful about the combination of cool, springy noodles and a rich, warm dipping broth. Mutsuko Soma is a playful chef, riffing on Thai, Korean and French tradition for her soups; however, if it’s your first visit, be sure to include at least one order of the traditional zaru, soba noodles with bonito-soy broth ($9–$18). Wallingford, 2208 N 45th St.; 206.632.4545; miyabi45th.com




Lamb Prosciutto at Le Petit Cochon
It takes the better part of a year for Derek Ronspies to cure his lamb leg for the sensational lamb prosciutto he serves at Le Petit Cochon, and once you taste it, you’ll be sure of two things: First, that it has transformed that year’s meat into an otherworldly masterpiece, gamey and smooth—rapturous, really. And second, that you’d be lucky to eat anything else as delicious again this year. Fremont, 701 N 36th St.; 206.829.8943; gettinpiggy.com




Fish Tacos at Zamorana

There are many treats at this tiny, crowded taco shop on Vashon Island, but you won’t get fish tacos like this anywhere else nearby: large slabs of red snapper, marinated with mild red chili powder and lime, atop a bit of crunchy salad and finished with a bit of chipotle aioli ($9). Vashon Island, 17722 Vashon Highway; 206.356.5684




Bar Sajor Seafood Platter

Don’t expect a fancy organized platter in the French mode; the seafood platter at Bar Sajor looks as if it washed up on shore: crab claws, cold steamed mussels and spot prawns are strewn with bits of seaweed and sea beans ($30, $55 and $95). A dollop of aioli waits to enrich your discoveries. Pioneer Square, 323 Occidental Ave. S; 206.682.1117; barsajor.com




Tonno del Chianti at Bar del Corso

Of course you should get pizza at this beloved Beacon Hill pizzeria, but don’t miss the opportunity to order several small side dishes, too: Tonno del Chianti isn’t tuna at all, but olive-oil-braised pork shoulder, voluptuous and silky, and accompanied by velvety heirloom perline beans and the season’s best veggies ($10). 3057 Beacon Ave. S; 206.395.2069; bardelcorso.com
 




The Beef Short Rib at Miller’s Guild

The tender Niman Ranch meat of this Flintstones-esque slab from the “Infierno” menu ($25, served with a dollop of horseradish and yuzu sauce) is pure comfort food, best enjoyed with a side of Parmesan creamy grits (when they are rotated onto the menu) while seated at a coveted counter in front of the restaurant’s epic grill. Downtown, 612 Stewart St.; 206.443.3663; millersguild.com

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