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Blind Pig.  Need to try.

Corson Building.  Need to try.

Bar Sajor.  By the Corson people.  Need to try.

Rione XIII.  Ethan Stowell’s new place on 15th.  Superb.  We had a beautiful snack here of a rather special prosecco, carciofi alla judea, and suppli al telefono.  The micro-counter on the sidewalk outside reminds me of the sidewalk parks San Francisco has begun putting in, e.g. right outside Four Barrel.  15th is looking up.

Monsoon, 615 19th Avenue East.  This is a place we’re very lucky to have so close to home, tucked away in the leafy part of Capitol Hill.  Posh Vietnamese, strong on French influences and with a winning focus on high-quality ingredients (painted hills beef, mad hatcher eggs, etc.).  The interior is minimal and attractive; open kitchen behind the bar.  Prices are quite reasonable, but this is very much not a Chinatown dive; date night works here.  Open every day for dinner, and now for lunch as well.  On weekends there’s a lovely brunch, at which one can get dim sum (pieces ordered individually though, there’s not nearly enough volume here for the cart approach), broken rice bowls, banh xeo crêpes, or western things like eggs benedict and waffles, are very finely prepared.  Faves: catfish hot pot, green papaya salad, egg dishes, all the dim sum.  Pretty much everything is good here.

Vios.  Owned by the cheerful, gastronomical and community-minded Thomas Soukakos, this is another local gem.  Greek food, again with an emphasis on simplicity and fine ingredients.  Pleasant interior, with a place in the back for kids to play, and nominally a “market” counter in the front, though market prices are well north of Greek islandish.  For lunch, it’s hard to beat the lamb souvlaki sandwich, loaded with oven-roasted tomatoes, yogurt and parsley.  At dinner, a glass of retsina and a pikilia plate to share would be a good start.

Anchovies & Olives.  This has become perhaps our favorite place, because: it’s somehow light, in that one can go early or late or on a whim and feel instantly accommodated.  The menu is short and sweet, and changes often.  The dishes are interesting and might include things like, for instance, a little slab of grilled mackerel with the skin charred, the flesh succulent, on a bed of chorizo and wild mushrooms or some other such umami-intensive thing.  The wines by the glass are very good.  There’s a painting on the wall they should change.  But otherwise the environment is appealing, dark and casual; the waitstaff hip and pierced, but not overly.

Cascina Spinasse.  Warm buttery light, lovely handmade pasta, an open kitchen with lots of mason jars.  The fonduta with truffles and egg is not to be missed.

Café Lago.  Need to confirm versus Serious Pie, but probably the most expensive pizza in Seattle.  Worth it: very fine traditional crust, correct ingredients, nicely blackened buboes, more on the crisp side than Tutta Bella’s.  There’s a purity about the dishes here; nothing has more ingredients than needed.  The Caesar salad is dead simple and very good.  The lasagna is perfect— nothing but fine handmade pasta, ricotta, and béchamel in multiple layers, and a perfectly textured seedless red sauce on top.  Wine: the rubio san polo goes well.  Also: the Arancia Salata, made with Aperol, Vodka and roasted orange, is delicious.

Osteria La Spiga

Via Tribunali

Tutta Bella

Le Pichet

Cafe Presse

Harvest Vine

Boat Street Café

India Bistro

Volunteer Park Café

Smith.  Poutine!

Pike Street Fish Fry.  The fish and chip and friends are very good here.  Also, the pulled pork sandwich is revelatory.

Malay Satay Hut

Agua Verde Paddle Club.  Decent Gringo Mex with high quality ingredients.  There’s often a long line, but in the summer you can rent out a kayak before a late dinner.


Carta de Oaxaca

Staple & Fancy

How to Cook a Wolf.  My other co-favorite of Ethan Stowell’s, with Anchovies & Olives.

Shanghai Garden

Essential Baking

Armandino’s Salumi

Grand Central Bakery

Columbia City Bakery

La Medusa


Honoré.  I thought we’d never supplant Besalu for the coffee and pastry during the kids’ parkour class.  But this place has done it.  Shorter lines, astounding quiche, beautiful berry-filled danishes and excellent canelles.



De Laurenti

Mutual Fish



Than Brothers

Ballard pizza place next to Honore.


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