Hi all...I grew up in Seattle and am returning for the first time in about a year after moving to Miami. I know the standard fare (Canlis, Rovers, Tom Douglas' places etc...) but was wondering if anything new and noteworthy has opened over the past year or so. I'm also curious as to what the place of the month is in the International District and if someone could recommend a scenic lunch spot between Seattle and the Canadian Border. Thanks a lot for your help.
scscr, I've been having some great dining experiences at 94 Stewart. (They have a panko crusted, avacado & crab appetizer that is totally addictive.) Their wine list is reasonable and has just won a national award. Harvest Vine offers some of Seattle's finest food. As to the ID district, Seven Stars is truly Chow-worthy. An old standby that many locals never experience is the upstairs bar at Maximillien's at the Market. Their mussels are amazing. (Maximillien's also has an excellent from-the-menu Sunday brunch.) Enjoy!
For a lunch spot between Seattle & Canadian border, I would recommend stopping in Bellingham as it is about the halfway point, plus is one of the nicest towns north of Seattle. As well, I-5 runs right through it, so it will be easy to get on and off. I lived there for college, and haven't been back there in almost a year (actually I'm going this weekend!), so I know there are many new places. For tried and true, I would recommend Colophon Cafe - great sandwiches/soups- it's located in the Old Fairhaven area of Bellingham which is a really nice part of town. There are numerous other restaurants in that area, too, and shops/bookstores/coffee shops, so I am sure you will find something there. http://www.colophoncafe.com/ Also, if you really want to stretch your legs, I recommend checking out some of Bellingham's great parks - Boulevard Park, the Chuckanut Drive area (you can drive this route between Mt Vernon and Bellingham instead of I-5), and Larrabee are my favorite places & all have amazing scenery - the bay and such.
You might try Union (at 1st & Union downtown)--it's hands down our favorite--full dinners, but we also like to sit at the bar where you can also have the bar menu + the full menu. If you see the tairugai (sp?) (clam muscle w/lemon & olive juice), the fried quail w/napa cabbage slaw (now if KFC tasted like that I'd eat fast food!) and anything with octupus. We love Mistral, but it's 2x the $$. Zoe is great (2nd & Lenora, I believe), never had a bad meal or a bad drink (and Mondays used to be 1/2 price wine night, maybe still are).
I agree with Maximillien's, and there's also Place Pigalle (in the Market down the hallway (trust me) between the Joe & Don's butcher & the fish-throwing guys. Romantic, french, fresh food, etc., etc. Also Cafe Campagne (downstairs from Campagne), although that's old school so you probably know that one.
If you want to get into neighborhoods, you could hit Serafina (on eastlake) for good rustic Italian (pasta with sage brown butter sauce, yum) or Eva in Tangletown (basically 55th & Meridian in Wallingford)--our favorite neighborhood place that we walk to 2-3 times/month. Their soups are especially good, as is the salad with warm bacon dressing (I know, that can be overdone, but theirs is great). Good choice of entrees, from a pasta (housemade noodles) at least 1 chicken (and I'll say, I never order chicken out except there--it's way better than I could ever make!), usually a rabbit or pork and a ribeye (which is huge)
I am going to have to try 94 Stewart, other CHs are raving!
Have fun, and eat well while you're here!
If you're looking for an amazing dining experience, go to Mistral.
I haven't been yet but I've heard good things about Sitka & Spruce. Matt Dillon is the chef and I always enjoyed his food when he was at the Stumbling Goat.
As for the ID, I just had a wonderful meal at Made in Kitchen. They have an Asian menu with a heavy focus on southeast Asia, specifically Vietnamese. Having travelled for 8 months in SE Asia last year, I can wholeheartedly recommend this place.
Off the top of my head, some newly-opened restaurants include:
Sitka and Spruce
Tilth (opened about a week and a half ago)
Boat Street Cafe (reopened, and reincarnated)
Less recent but still newish (i.e., within the last five or so years):
Elemental at Gasworks
In the ID, you should definitely try Green Leaf and Tamarind Tree (if you didn't go before you moved). Also make a trip out to Bellevue to try Szechuan Chef. I stand by earlier comments that this is the best Szechuan food in the Seattle area.