Yay! I'm back in Seattle and I'm excited to see dear friends and visit a few old haunts. A popular question while living here, or when I have friends coming to town, is where are my favorite places to eat. I often have difficulty answering, mainly because I hate having to compete for a seat and second, I appreciate a certain level of anonymity, especially for breakfast spots when I just want to be able to roll in casually without having to primp myself, just hiding under a baseball cap. But since I no longer live here, I will happily share a few spots that I've been craving, aside from the usual suspects listed in all the "top lists" and guidebooks, including a few of my secret spots that for some reason tend to fly under the radar.
Voula's Offshore Cafe (North Lake Union/Wallingford) - Not exactly a secret, especially after it was featured on the Food Network. This family-owned institution has a special place in my heart. The guys behind the counter and the waitresses running around all treat me like extended family. And Niko's hash browns are both plentiful and wonderfully crispy. My main issues with the place are figuring out whether to dive right into my usual Smokey the Salmon, indulge in a Chinese Pancake or try one of their tasty specials.
Bay Cafe (Fisherman's Terminal/Magnolia) - This place is the culmination of just about everything I want in a restaurant: good food (including hash browns!), great view, excellent service, easy parking, and decent prices. If it's in season, I usually go for the halibut & eggs. The prime location where the Alaskan fishermen dock (including those on Deadliest Catch), gives the restaurant prime access to fresh halibut, and other seafood. If not, the California Scramble is a solid choice. Many of the staff have worked at the restaurant for over a decade, and some over generations including a mother-daughter waitressing team. The decor is really no-nonsense. It's about the food, silly, but you get so much more. Sometimes super-quickly, too.
Dahlia Bakery (Belltown) - The casual darling of the Tom Douglas empire. I stop here as often as I can for one of the best breakfast sandwiches in Seattle. Their housemade English muffins w/ organic eggs and artfully put-together combinations that change weekly make this place so irresistable in the morning. And if I feel even more indulgent, I grab one of their famous Triple Coconut Cream Bites -- ok, two.
Le Fournil (Eastlake) - Home of my favorite chai in Seattle and their Croque Fournil Special (ham, egg & swiss on a toasted croissant) make this a dear spot to stop and sip for breakfast. They also have a delightful selection of pastries and sandwiches, so it's good for lunch, too.
Art of the Table (Wallingford/Greenlake) - Quite possibly, my ideal dinner spot. A quaint, tucked away restaurant with some of the most clever dishes I've ever had that is truly dear to my heart. I love Chef Dustin Ronspies' cooking, especially his creative Monday Happy Hour. You never know what you're going to get, but rest assured, it'll be good. My recommendation: get one of everything.
Tidbit Bistro (Capitol Hill) - I fell in love with this darling place when it first opened in the sleepy part of North Capitol Hill, but so did everyone else, and it had to expand into a larger space in the more bustling Pike/Pine Corridor of Capitol Hill. The food is still wonderful and the owners still dear. I still love their food, especially the divine grilled Cesare Salad (actually better than mine) and Mushroom Crostini. One of the best happy hour deals in town, before 6:30p.
There's more, stay tuned . . .