Your Seattle Restaurant Questions Answered: Best Indian Food, Carrot Cake and High Tea

By Seattle magazine staff

December 18, 2019

Plus: Where to find Thai desserts


They say the way to the heart is through the stomach: we say the way to the heart of a city is also through food. What better way to explore Seattle than by getting to know the dishes it does best? Editor-in-chief Chelsea Lin is leading the charge by scoping out the best places for Christmas Day dinner, sharing her tips for Thai desserts and a few can’t-miss Eastside spots. 

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I know it’s Seattle mag, but top 3 food spots in Tacoma? 

There’s some really great food in Tacoma… Southern Kitchen has great Southern comfort food, I love going to the Red Hot for a beer and hot dog and then hitting up Ice Cream Social next door, and I’ve heard good things about The Table but haven’t made it in yet. 

What are some good vegan comfortand/or diner-esque places you recommend? 

For vegan comfort food, there’s nothing better than the mac ‘n’ yease at Plum Bistro in Capitol Hill. For dessert, I’d go to the Cookie Counter, which is the most quintessential old school ice cream shop but all vegan. No Bones Beach Club has some great vegan bar food (and tiki drinks, too).

Best place to go for dinner on Christmas Day? 

There are generally more places open for Christmas Eve than on Christmas Day, but I checked OpenTable and there are options: Patagon, Tula Bene at Tulalip and Gyu-Kaku in Bellevue, to name a few. Or you could just go for Asian food. 

Best carrot cake? 

I really like the version at Coyle’s Bakeshop, mainly because it feels substantial and not too sweet and you can almost justify eating it for breakfast. Macrina makes a pretty excellent carrot cake, too. 

Where can I get some quality homemade potato chips? 

Matt’s in the Market has the best chips and dip, and I love the version at Union Saloon, too—their onion dip is the best. 

Where to find the best onigiri? 

I would love to know a good spot for onigiri… I’ve only had them at Uwajimaya and Kai Market here, and if you can catch them as they’re being set out and a little warm, they’re pretty good. I think 45th Stop N Shop has them, but I haven’t been there recently to verify. 

I love Spinasse’s noodles. Is there anywhere else that is similar? 

Isn’t fresh pasta just the best? Go check out Haymaker or G.H. Pasta Co. for some good homemade noodles, and of course Il Corvo and Il Nido. One of my favorites is Pasta Casalinga in Pike Place Market, though it’s definitely more casual than Spinasse. 

Best place to have food or drink with festive holiday décor?

Rob Roy is the best this time of year, for its truly over-the-top holiday decorations and fun mugs. I’ve heard they’re also dressing up Vinnie’s Raw Bar

Best Indian food? 

I always love Kathakali in Kirkland, and my go-to is Bengal Tiger on Roosevelt. I’ve heard great things recently about an Indian pop-up called Meesha happening once a month at Pomerol. 

New Year’s Eve dinner in Seattle? 

Adana chef Shota Nakajima is throwing a Japanese-themed New Year’s Eve party that will also preview the food of his upcoming restaurant Taku with a number of other prominent local chefs… that’s the one I’d go to, if I wasn’t old and lame and stuck at home with my kids on NYE.

Where can I find the best truly Southern grits in the city? 

I would head to JuneBaby, because the Southern food there is the best in town, and because I know how seriously Edouardo Jordan takes his grains, so the grits are top quality. The Comfort Zone would be a good idea, too, on a much more casual scale. 

Thai desserts? 

My favorite spot for Thai desserts that are beyond the standard sticky rice and mango is Wann Yen in the U District. They have a bunch of different traditional sweets, many of which you can’t find elsewhere in Seattle.  

Who is the best hot food vendor at the Seattle farmers markets? 

Ooh, this is tough because there are so many. If you click here, you can read something from this summer about some of our favorite new(ish) vendors… I love Brother & Co. and Phorale especially. 

Best place for high tea (besides the Fairmount)? 

My favorite is Coyle’s Bakeshop, though they only have tea a couple of times a month and you should definitely make a reservation/buy a ticket through their site. Also, you can click here and read about a few of our favorite tea spots. 

Best family place to hang out? 

I love book stores, and so do my kids… I’d recommend somewhere like Raconteur where you can have a meal and then wander the aisles of Third Place Books in Seward Park. Elliott Bay Books and nextdoor Oddfellows Café is a great pick to enjoy a family-friendly meal and hangout, too. 

Best happy hour in Seattle right now? 

I just saw on Instagram that Bistro Shirlee is now doing $1 oysters during happy hour, 4-6pm Sundays to Thursdays. This is a great opportunity to go get some oysters and a lovely glass of wine and check out this relatively new restaurant in Laurelhurst. 

Ever tried Frankie and Jo’s? 

Yes! I love what they do—their plant-based ice cream is creative and healthy and ultimately super delicious. 

Best Old Fashioned on the Eastside? 

Check out Lot No. 3 in Bellevue… I’ve had great cocktails there (and food) and they’ve got a very bourbon/whiskey-heavy menu, including an old fashioned Woodinville rye and maple syrup. 

Where can I find kaya toast? 

I would check with Reunion in Kirkland… kaya toast is a specialty in Singapore and Malaysia and that restaurant would be an obvious choice, as they have great baked goods and delicious Malaysian food. 

Best vegetarian sushi where they make custom rolls? 

Momiji has a huge assortment of vegetarian sushi, both complex, creative rolls and simple nigiri, which is pretty uncommon. They also have an impressive assortment of hot Japanese small plates that are plant-based as well. I love the restaurant and have had great meals there, but I haven’t specifically sought out the veg sushi.

Jessica Wang skillfully blurs the lines between sweet and savory

First, it was a cupcake empire and cannabis edibles. Now, Jody Hall is focused on liquid mushrooms.