Your Seattle Restaurant Questions Answered: Banana Splits, Patio Dining and Cinnamon Rolls

Plus: where to get brunch on the South Side and the best vegan and vegetarian spots in the city
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  • Seattle's Sea Wolf bakery cinnamon roll
Sea Wolf's cinnamon rolls are one of Chelsea's favorites

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? Dining and lifestyle editor Chelsea Lin is leading the charge by scoping out highly anticipated restaurant openings, sharing her tips for Mother's Day brunch and a few can't-miss Eastside spots. 

Have a question for Chelsea? Submit here

I’ve found Seattle lacking in the cheap and fast but ALSO healthy category. Any ideas?
This city is just teeming with salad joints these days, which are generally healthy and fast and fairly cheap. I’m also a big fan of the lunch-in-a-bowl trend: some of my favorites are from B-Side Foods, Sweetgrass and Fremont Bowl.

Best vegetarian food on the Eastside?
There are so many great Indian restaurants on the Eastside—more than we have in Seattle, I think—and Indian food is so accommodating to vegetarians. Spice Route has a huge assortment of vegetarian dishes, Chaat House is entirely vegetarian… there are lots of options through Redmond and Bellevue and down to Kent.

Best khao soi?
Khao soi is one of my favorite Thai dishes, and the best I’ve had here is at Little Uncle in Capitol Hill, but Pestle Rock in Ballard makes a pretty great version, too.

Where are the best veggie burgers in Seattle?
Though I’m not a vegetarian, I love a good veggie burger, and I feel like this is coming up as a question more and more. I actually prefer the patties that don’t try to taste like meat, so I especially like the fried black bean burger at Zippy’s. Click here to check out a few other favorites!

Celebrating my anniversary in May! We were thinking Canlis, any other suggestions?
Canlis is always a good bet, because the food is great and the hospitality is unparalleled. But a few other recommendations for celebratory meals: Copine, Art of the Table, Altura or Tarsan i Jane.

Best cinnamon roll? 
I did the hard, hard job of researching this for our May issue, actually—you can read the results here.

Is there any vegetarian/vegan ramen in the greater Seattle area?
Yes! Some of it’s pretty bad, but my coworker just tried out Ooink yesterday—I love their pork broth, and she said the vegetarian broth is super good as well. And it comes with tofu skin, which is such an underappreciated topping.

Best place to order dessert for a baby shower?
Almost any bakery can do custom orders, but if you’re looking for fun, colorful little bites, check out Hood Famous and order one of their cheesecake platters. They also do another kind of assortment with ube cookies and little tarts—both would be perfect for a shower.

Any favorite restaurants in Issaquah/Sammamish?
I’ve heard really great things about the Black Duck in Issaquah, which looks like a brewpub, and I love Dough Zone, which has a location in Issaquah as well. If you find yourself all the way to Snoqualmie, go check out Aahar, it’s one of the best Indian restaurants in this whole region.

Best place for a banana split?
For sundaes, you can’t beat Shug’s near Pike Place Market. The Dixie Split has a bruleed banana—it’s their own take on a more traditional banana split—but I love the S’Mores sundae, too, which has huge homemade marshmallows they roast with a torch when you order it.

Any great yakitori or yakiniku in Seattle? (Preferably not super far from downtown)
Junkichi in Capitol Hill is a great option—they offer a selection of yakitori skewers, not just chicken but shishito peppers, okra, scallops and more, plus grilled wagyu beef and mackerel and all sorts of dishes that go best with a cold drink.

Best place for Mother’s Day brunch without breaking the bank?
I’d steer clear of anywhere marketing a special brunch for Mother’s Day, as those will be very busy and also, generally, pretty expensive. Try somewhere like Tilikum Place Café or Lola that make great brunch items any old weekend, and celebrate Mom that way.

Best family-friendly outdoor patios in Seattle/Eastside?
Uneeda Burger is always a favorite for its burger menu and outdoor space, and Agua Verde is in a great spot, too. My kids love Magnuson Café and Brewery because of the patio and proximity to the water and a great playground, and they’ve got beer for the parents.  

Any places to get Norwegian lefse?
Have you looked into our Scandinavian bakeries, like Larsen’s and Byen Bakeri? I would guess, since they both make such a wonderful assortment of Scandinavian baked goods, that you’d be able to find this there.

Where are the best mid-range fish places? Not fish ‘n’ chips, but like a fish plate or tacos
I’d check out one of the spots that both sell fish and seafood and have a menu of ready-to-eat items, because they’re always super fresh and generally not super expensive. Seattle Fish Guys is one of my favorites, but I love The Market in Edmonds, and also Seattle Fish Company in West Seattle.  

Best vegan pizza?
We’re so lucky that there are a number of options for this, but I’d first head to Sizzle Pie in Capitol Hill. It’s a Portland-based chain, but they have the best menu of vegan pizzas I’ve seen. It’s all customizable, obviously, but they have signature pizzas with vegan cheeses and plant-based faux meats and even vegan ranch.

Where can I get a great seafood dinner for my birthday this weekend? (I’m new here!)
Welcome to Seattle! RockCreek is always my go-to for seafood, and it’s a delightful place to celebrate. White Swan Public House would be another great option. If you go in the direction of oysters, there are spots like Westward or Walrus and the Carpenter, and we also have excellent sushi places like Sushi Kashiba or Wataru!

Best brunch in the South End?
I love Hudson in Georgetown, and they have a breakfast/brunch menu every day. There’s also a place called Uncle Eddie’s in South Park, which has biscuits on their brunch menu that sound awesome. Also, I’m a big believer in eating cake for breakfast, and for that, you can go to Deep Sea Sugar & Salt.

Where’s the best place to eat in the U Village?
Ma’Ono’s fried chicken sandwiches are my favorite go-to at U Village, mainly because I love an excuse to fill a growler with the spicy pineapple ginger beer. But Din Tai Fung is wonderful, particularly if you’re looking for a more sit-down meal or with a bigger group. And I’m excited for when Mr. West opens there, because I love the food at the downtown location.

What anticipated openings are you most excited for?
Such a good question! I’m super excited about Hannyatou, which is the sister spot to Kamonegi that will feature an assortment of sake and a small food menu. They’re actually opening next week. Il Nido in West Seattle is going to be a big deal—that’s Mike Easton’s new pasta spot.

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