Your Seattle Restaurant Questions Answered: Summer Is Coming

Get out of the house and try a new lunch spot, happy hour or classic Seattle dinner
| Updated: May 22, 2019

Disappointing series finales aside, it's time to look on the bright side. Summer is coming to Seattle and that means graduation dinners, out-of-town visitors and a rosé tasting event from Charles Smith. Take advantage of the sunshine and try something new: maybe burek or Shibuya honey toast or a new happy hour cocktail. Need help finding a new favorite summer spot? Turn to our dining and lifestyle editor, Chelsea Lin, for advice. 

Have a question for Chelsea? Submit here

Best place for a friend dinner date? (Leaving the baby and husband at home!)
Somewhere like Wilmott’s Ghost would be great, because the food is perfect for sharing and the space is just gorgeous. My friends and I love Manolin for ladies’ dinners, and Stateside would be a cool option, too.

Summer is coming! Best foodie spots on Orcas Island?
I’m going to Orcas next week, and I’m already trying to figure out how many times I can get to Brown Bear Baking, which is one of my favorite bakeries anywhere and right in Eastsound. The Barnacle is a delightful little spot for cocktails. This trip I’m actually going to get to Hogstone, which is a wood-fired pizza place; I’m dying to go to the chef’s more fine dining place, Aelder, but that’ll have to wait for another trip.

Where can I get good Lebanese food?
If you haven’t checked out Yalla yet, it’s a new walk-up stand in Capitol Hill with Lebanese flatbread wraps, and the flavors are so good. If you’re looking for more a traditional sit-down experience with a broader menu, I always recommend Café Munir, which is one of the most underrated restaurants in the city.

Best place for family dinner after Seattle Pacific University graduation night? (Open real late)
My first thought was Brouwers Café, because it’s great for a group and open late, but it’s also only 21-and-over, and I’m not sure if there will be any kids in your party. Red Door would be a great option, too, and I think they’re all ages. If you’re looking for somewhere a little more upscale, you’re not too far from somewhere like Joule, where the food and drinks are amazing, but they close a little earlier.

Best restaurants for PNW cuisine for a first-timer to Seattle?
I think you have to go all-in on the seafood here if you’ve never been, and the best place to do that is at Taylor Shellfish. You could start there with oysters and a nice glass of something sparkling, and you can try geoduck if you’ve never had it! Then move on to somewhere near Pike Place Market for dinner, like Matt’s in the Market or Sushi Kashiba.  

Any good crepe places in downtown Seattle?
The only crepe place I know of downtown is the little stand La Creperie Voila by the convention center. If you’re outside downtown, I love Café Javasti up in Wedgwood and Maple Leaf, and Eastern Café in the ID does a great job, too.

Any burek places in Seattle?
I hope you’ll forgive my ignorance, but I’m assuming borek, byrek and burek all refer to the family of flaky doughs filled with meat, veggie, fruit or cheese filling… There’s a place in the U District called Byrek and Baguette that has an assortment of these pastries, plus baguette sandwiches. But I also really love the options at Turkish Delight near Pike Place Market.

Best bakery to buy baguette?
Columbia City Bakery is my very favorite, but Tall Grass Bakery is a very close second.

Best new cocktail lounge or bar in downtown Seattle?
We took an office outing to the Fog Room last week, which is on the 16th floor of the new Charter Hotel, and it’s got a very chic, very un-Seattle vibe with a good view, and good cocktails. Ben Paris, which is another new hotel bar, has great cocktails in a much more intimate, very stylish space.

Best matcha desserts?
Nana’s Green Tea is the place I’d head to first, because they incorporate matcha into almost everything there, from the simple rolled cakes to the impressively constructed parfaits. It’s also worth noting that Raised Doughnuts is now selling cakes as well, and one of the flavors they have is matcha.

Is there a place that sells Chicago style Italian beef sandwiches?
So, there are places that sell great Italian sandwiches, and places that sell great beef sandwiches, but to my knowledge, there’s not a place where you can get that very quintessential Chicago-style sandwich. If I’m wrong, PLEASE someone correct me.

Best restaurant to take out of towners who are a mix of pescatarian, vegan and carnivore?
Homer is a great restaurant for people with dietary preferences, I think, especially if you’re in a mixed party. I also recommend Samara, as the vegetable dishes there are very, very good. I even want to call out Windy City Pie, because I was talking to the owner yesterday and he said they have a number of options for vegans.

Breakfast place that serves Dutch babies?
Tilikum Place Café makes my favorite Dutch baby, and you can generally get sweet or savory variations. That place is just so consistently awesome, and underrated in my opinion.

Any good wine tasting events coming up?
Charles Smith is throwing their annual rose party on June 1, which will take place at the Jet City tasting room in Georgetown. I have friends who went last year and had a great time. And Reverend Horton Heat is playing, which makes me so happy.

If you could pick only one restaurant to eat at, what would it be?
Like… right now? Or I had to eat all my meals there forever? If it’s the latter, probably somewhere with an incredibly long menu. But if it’s now, or for any special occasion, I’ll always choose Wataru for sushi.

Best bakery for a birthday cake, U District?
So, I’m going to recommend the SweetSide, which is technically Wallingford, but close enough. They do gorgeous cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes, you name it.

Haven’t been impressed with the fast casual lunch options in South Lake Union, any recommendations?
Have you been to G.H. Pasta Co.? I had a great meal there, and I worry if it was closer to my office I’d be there all the time. Ba Bar is one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants period, though I suppose it may not fall in the fast-casual category. And I really like Mamnoon Street as well.

Best place for Shibuya honey toast?
There are a few places I know that make those elaborate brick toasts… I’d head to HardWok Café first. And bring a friend, they look like they shouldn’t be attempted alone.

Best happy hour in northeast Seattle?
Junebaby actually does a great happy hour, which they call moonshine hour, from 3 to 5 p.m. on weekends. The Maple in Maple Leaf does $2 off basically everything on the menu from 4 to 6 p.m. and all day on Mondays. Shelter Lounge near Green Lake has a decent assortment of discounted drinks and snacks from 4 to 6 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to close.

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