Westman’s Bagel and Coffee
Capitol Hill, 1509 E Madison St.; westmansbagel.com
Sure, there are other bagel shops in Seattle. But none so closely resemble that East Coast staple—and, perhaps more importantly, the bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches—than this cheery Capitol Hill walk-up, where you can also find rugelach and smoked whitefish salad and even challah on Fridays.
Fremont, 1054 N 39th St.; 206.632.0185; kamonegiseattle.com
Where other Japanese restaurants specialize in sushi, or even ramen, chef Mutsuko Soma (formerly of now-closed Miyabi 45th) has built a reputation on her singular ability to make the best hand-made soba noodles in the city—maybe on the whole West Coast—out of her tiny Fremont kitchen. The duck tsukune (meatballs) should not be missed, either.
Aviv Hummus Bar
Capitol Hill, 107 15th Ave. E; 206.323.7483; avivhummusbar.com
An entire restaurant dedicated to the humble chickpea? If your only experience with hummus is from a supermarket tub, let this colorful, casual Capitol Hill café’s owner, David Nussbaum (whose background is mostly on the hospitality side of restaurants), blow those expectations out of the water with wonderfully smooth, deeply earthy hummus, served alongside falafel or topped with spiced ground beef.
Kirkland, 11451 98th Ave. NE; 425.821.8188; kathakali-juanita.com
Of all our area’s Indian restaurants, none offer the spicy, seafood-heavy specialties of Kerala, a coastal state in southern India. This family-owned Kirkland place (from the owners of the lauded Snoqualmie restaurant Aahaar) excels in this regional cuisine, such as its complex curries with lacy appams (rice crepes).