August 27, 2011

16-20 Seattle Restaurant Reviews

16. Ray's Boathouse
6049 Seaview Avenue NW
Seattle, WA
(206) 782-0094

See attached silly video for a quick shot of Ray’s location. If a tourist wants to know where to go for “good seafood”, I always send them here. Rays consists of two parts: the downstairs is a formal dining room right on the water, literally. We have had several great experiences here, but I would save it for a special event. The lower dining room is very quiet, has consistently great service, amazing views and fantastic quality seafood. Request a table by the window for sure. Upstairs is the café which is more casual but still reliably good – you’ll get more families and big groups here. If you are following my advice, though, you’ll sit in the bar. They have a good happy hour but it is often VERY busy. People wait hours to sit out on the deck, but chances are that you will wait two hours to get out there and you’ll likely need one of the blankets they provide with the breeze coming off the ocean. I usually squeeze in with a group of people at a long table and am happily munching on smoked salmon skewers in a pineapple ring hours before people ever get sat outside.

17. Wild Ginger
1401 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA
(206) 623-4450

Oh Ginger – I love you. I have been to this famous Seattle staple many, many times and never get tired of it. Perfect for a business lunch, romantic date, last stop on a late night out, happy hour in the bar, or for a family birthday dinner; this Asian-fusion will not disappoint. I would definitely dress up if you go here – the ambiance is formal, but the menu is approachable. Start with some selections from the satay bar and if you’re in the mood, order a mango daiquiri – they’re my favorite. Ankor Wat chicken and a side of baby bok choy are other favored choices of mine. This is a sure bet for any special occasion, but make sure to book a reservation any night of the week.

18. How to Cook a Wolf
2208 Queen Anne Ave N.
Seattle, WA
(206) 838-8090

Now that they take reservations, you won’t have to wait in line so long to get in but I still suggest you go on a week night because the space is quite crowded and it may seem a more intimate and relaxed if you aren’t jammed in. However, this place is so popular now that it will likely be busy any night of the week. Don’t worry – it’s worth it! Featuring Northwest/Italian cuisine, there are some interesting items on the menu. Actually, the best thing we received was an accident from the server – she made a mistake and brought us a fennel salad that we wouldn’t have ordinarily ordered but it was fabulous. For this reason, and because the menu is unique, definitely engage the server and ask for suggestions. The menu features a lot of animal protein and may be a little challenging for veggies but I definitely found things to eat and always have a great time. The space has a lot of energy and achieves a casual but distinguished ambiance.

19. Black Bottle
2600 1st Ave
Seattle, WA
(206) 441-1500

I’m just going to tell you what to order:

Broccoli Blasted
Brie Leek French-Country Pesto Flatbread
Roasted Tomato Caprese
Prosecco Rose Valdo

Two people, date night, you’re done. Candle-light, industrial interior, hipster servers – how much more Seattle can you get? This place is crazybusy so bring your patience, put your name on the list, and squeeze in at the bar with some new friends while you’re waiting for a table.

20. Umi Sushi
2230 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA
(206) 374-8717

There is a ton of good sushi in Seattle of course, but Umi is one of our favorites. The space is unique and grandiose, the fish is high quality and the menu is enormous. For best value, catch happy hour (4-8 every day in the bar and “front porch” and late night 11-1). What you do is order a drink and some basic rolls for $5 and $4 respectively and then splurge on the regular menu with some fancy sashimi or a unique roll: Yellow Fever or 007…yum. Umi also has a great private party room that I’ve held events in before. It’s a great space for 6-15 people and all you have to do is call and reserve it. Other Seattle sushi favorites I want to mention include (Wallingford), Nijo (downtown – amazing happy hour), and Kisaku (Tangletown – very traditional).

And that’s it for Seattle for now! As I said before, these are not necessarily the “best” or most famous restaurants in the city, but rather my personal favorites after much research and experience through the years. These are the places I crave and frequent on a regular basis; that I find reliable and unique. There are many, many runners up so if you have any questions or need more suggestions, feel free to ask! Off the top of my head: Pink Door, Steelhead Diner, Capitol Grille, Purple, Fado, 5-Spot (breakfast), Tutta Bella, Barrio, Snooze Junction, Pho Than Brothers, and Café Solstice.

And lastly, some restaurant tips I always abide by:

Good behavior invites good service

Go out on week-nights instead of weekends

Be patient and understanding. Restaurants go on waits for a reason:they are awesome!

Order the unusual – explore and experience new foods

Be responsible when tipping and splitting checks at the end of the evening

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