Your Seattle Restaurant Questions Answered: Local Seafood, Craft Beer and Cuban Sandwiches

Plus: best U Village restaurants, burgers in Magnolia and brunch in West Seattle
| Updated: June 5, 2019

Looking to try something new? It can be hard to sort through the endless dining options in the Seattle area to find the true gems, but there are some spots worth hunting for. If you're in the mood for outstanding Laotian, Filipino or Burmese food, or just can't contain your cravings for a Cuban sandwich, read on.

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Are there any spots serving Laotian food?
Yes! My husband’s family is Lao, and when they visit we always go to Viengthong, near where MLK meets Rainier. They just underwent a remodel, but I’ve been assured that the food is still great. I also really love Amazing Thai Lao Cuisine, also down south, particularly for the Lao menu.

Have you compiled all your recommendations somewhere?  
Unfortunately, we didn’t start right away, but we have months’ worth of recommendations in our Eat & Drink section, or you can check out the latest Q&A compilation here.

Pescetarian friendly soup dumplings?
Oooh, this is a tough one, because these almost always have some pork. I did a little research and it looks like Ping’s Dumpling House has a shrimp soup dumpling available. Dough Zone has some great pescatarian-friendly steamed dumplings, but none are soup-filled.

Best burger in Magnolia?
Red Mill is an obvious choice, for that fast-food style of burger. Otherwise, I’d head up to Queen Anne later this summer because the couple behind Eden Hill is opening a new spot in the former Cupcake Royale that will offer their excellent burgers—and it’s worth the short drive out of Magnolia.

Any rec for waterview restaurants for anniversary lunch?
If it’s on one of these gorgeous sunny days, I say pack an epic picnic with lots of charcuterie and fancy cans of wine and head to somewhere like Golden Gardens or Gasworks. Otherwise, if you can wait, Aerlume near Pike Place Market is launching lunch the first week of June, and the views are lovely there.

Best Saturday brunch spot in West Seattle that’s kid friendly?
I love the brunch at Ma’ono—it’s incredibly kid-friendly, but you guys will enjoy yourselves, too. Luna Park and Easy Street Records are both fun, casual, diner spots for the whole family. And if the weather’s nice, sitting outside at Marination Ma Kai is the perfect kid spot, because they can roam while you’re enjoying your sliders.

Where to find haupia cake or poi mochi?
There’s actually a local company called Seattle Poi Company that makes poi mochi. They don’t have a storefront but show up at street fairs and farmers markets and, according to Instagram, occasionally in the parking lot at Cakes of Paradise, which is a delightful family-run Georgetown bakery that sells great haupia cake.

Best taplists/bottle lists for craft beer?
This is a good reminder that our July issue will feature our annual beer awards… I love the options at Growler Guys on Lake City Way, Chuck’s Hop Shop (either location) and Beer Star in White Center.

Do you have any favorite Filipino food spots?
For really inspiring, unique Filipino food in a tasting menu format, I hope you’ll check out Archipelago. For a much more casual experience, I love Fil Cuisine in Kent. And I’m so excited for Musang’s brick and mortar location—in the meantime, continue to check out their pop-ups.

I’m looking for a place that we can take our 8-year-old but is delicious and still a little special.
8 is such a great age, and I would argue you could take a well-behaved, adventurous eating 8-year-old anywhere in the city. Pasta is always a huge hit, at least with my 7-year-old, so somewhere like Spinasse, or the new Il Nido in West Seattle, would be such a treat. Somewhere like Lark or Loulay feels special, and the food is very approachable and delicious at both.

Favorite wine shop?
I end up at DeLaurenti a fair amount because it’s so close to my office, and I love Champion Wine Cellars in Greenwood because they’re incredibly knowledgeable. If you’re looking for natural wines, check out Vif in Fremont and Left Bank in South Park for their well-curated selections.

Best restaurant in Belltown?
I ate at a new Thai restaurant called Bangrak Market last week in Belltown before a show, and had a surprisingly delicious meal there. The menu is very broad, but every dish we had, even down to the pad thai, which I generally find underwhelming, was amazing.

What are some actually good (not tourist traps) seafood restaurants?
I always recommend Rock Creek and White Swan Public House in this category, as I think both are off the tourist radar (probably because they’re not located on the Elliott Bay waterfront). If you’re looking for oysters, it’s still hard to beat Walrus and the Carpenter.

Good vegan restaurants in Edmonds?
I don’t know of any dedicated vegan restaurants in Edmonds, though I would recommend Ono Poke for their vegan bowl, which features super tasty tofu, seaweed salad, cucumber kimchi and more.

Good spot for Burmese food? (San Francisco transplant craving tea leaf salad)
I wish I had better news here, as I also moved here from SF and fell in love with Burmese food there, but as far as I know, the answer is no. You can buy those tea leaves at a couple of grocery stores in the greater Seattle area and make your own at home, but please, if you’re listening and considering opening a Burmese restaurant, do it!

Best restaurant in U Village?
Just a few years ago, the food options at U Village were abysmal, and they just keep getting better and better. I usually end up at Din Tai Fung because I’m a slave to the soup dumplings, but I love the fried chicken sandwich from Ma’Ono at Rachel’s Ginger Beer, too. I’m so excited that Mr. West will be opening there soon!

Best spot in Greenwood for happy hour?
I kind of love Gainsbourg, which has $2 French fries and discounted drinks and even escargot on their happy hour menu from 4 to 6 p.m. Also, the Baranof has happy hour basically all day, and $2 Jello shots, if you’re looking for that kind of scene.  

Best place to get a real Cuban sandwich?
Geo’s has a pretty great Cubano, which is served with Cajun fries, and I also really like the Cuban sandwich at Café con Leche, but they have such difficult hours to get in, since it’s basically only open for lunch much of the week.

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