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Wine bars around Seattle


I just came back from Impromptu wine bar in Madison Park. The wine was good but the food left something to be desired. I guess it was a Spain-influenced menu. I ordered the shrimp and octopus salad followed by short ribs with polenta and fried avocado. The shrimp and octopus salad was way over-salted. The shrimp was touch and chewy...so sad. The short ribs came with a really lovely sauce..but the short ribs were so fatty, every bite I took had large pockets of fat...the fried avocado (which sounded intriguing to be on the menu) was basically cut pieces of avocado..."Was it fried?", I asked myself as it wasn't even warm...I couldn't tell. The polenta was very good with the sauce. So this lead me to ask, are there any other wine bars around town that has good wine and food? I've heard about Portalis (sp?). Is it worth a try? Are there any others in the Seattle area?

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  1. I've been to Impromptu a couple of times. I always felt like calling it a wine bar was strange as the emphasis didn't seem to be on the wine.

    I've liked Portalis the few times I've been (although I haven't been since they moved). The menu was small but the food was very well prepared. There is a new wine bar in Wallingford that I'm liking very much. It's called Smash and it's right on 45th, a couple of doors West of the new restaurant Tilth. I love the "tater tots"!

    Oh, and if you want to try a fantastic dish of fried avocado, try it at 94 Stewart.

    1. Bricco, on top of Queen Anne, is excellent. Great wine selection, with a "by the glass" selection that changes daily. I haven't had a lot of their food, but it's Italian/Mediterranean influenced. The Greek salad is fantastic.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dandelion

        Yes, go to Bricco. Of course my taste in wine leans heavily -- very heavily -- toward French and Italian, so I would say that, but still. Aside from the dated electronica background music, there's nothing about the place I don't like. Above average cheese and charcuterie selection, very well-chosen wines by the glass (and an even better bottle list), non-outrageous prices.

      2. The guys behind La Vita e Bella in Belltown have just opened a wine bar in the old Portalis location. I believe it is called Di Vino. So far I have only been on their opening night which was an absolute zoo - so it is too early to comment. I can say that the physical transformation is pretty wild. They went ultra modern and it doesn't look at all like it did when Portalis was there. I'd say it is definitely worth checking out.

        1. Thanks for the suggestions! I will definitely give Bricco a try in the near future.

          1 Reply
          1. re: karen2006

            Definitely get to Bricco. I love love love having a glass of wine with one of their "snack toasts" (I go for goat cheese and carmelized onion and one of my friends always goes for the smoked salmon), these HUGE pieces of broiled french bread with toppings. They're also very helpful in guiding your wine selection and the service is fabulous. Enjoy!

          2. And I'll second Smash . . . we've been going since they opened, and it's a fun place. They have bottles & glasses of wine, but we always do the wine flights--3 wines grouped around a theme (maybe the same variatal from different places, or same place with different variatals, you get the gist). One thing I like is they always have a couple of high-end flights--3 different Betz wines, for example, or 3 different Walla Walla wines. Gives me a good chance to taste some wines before either spending $$$ for a bottle at a restaurant (or for the cellar!)

            We enjoy their food as well--the kitchen has gotten somewhat mixed reviews, but I swear it gets better every time we go. I agree with Lauren, the tater tots are good, as is the fennel salad and the truffle mac & cheese.

            There's another new one in Wallingford (that I haven't' been to yet but got a decent review here) called Perche' No, which is the wine bar sibiling of Perche' No restaurant in Queen Anne.

            1. There is purple wine bar on 4th Ave. I think this location is pretty new but they have others in kirkland and woodinville.

              4 Replies
              1. re: lazysue

                I think Purple is a wine bar in name only. The pre-opening lunch I went to showed promise but, when I went back "for real", I found the staff unknowledgable about wine and it felt like they were banking on high turnover on the tables.

                1. re: Lauren

                  I just ate there this evening (Fourth St location). I didn't choose the restaurant, but I think our host did based on location (across the street from our hotel) more than anything else. I have to say that I enjoyed our meal. Our waiter seemed to know his wines and made several great suggestions.

                  But more importantly, their "sea salt caramels" (served for desert with a lovely tawny port paired on the menu) were the single best thing I've put in my mouth in quite a while. I plan on going back there tomorrow evening...not to eat, but for desert and a nightcap.

                  The waiter said people either love them or hate them, and I can see that. But if you like the sweet-salty combination you absolutely MUST try those caramels. Wow!

                  1. re: janetofreno

                    Are they the caramels from Fran's?

                    I work right next to Purple. They have a wide selection of wines by the glass, but I don't find their selections particularly thoughtful. There are not nearly enough Wash/Oregon wines for my taste. I find the food adequate, but not special.

                    1. re: cocktailhour

                      No idea on the caramels. They weren't identified as such. And I really didn't pay much attention to the wine selection, frankly...since we were with someone who clearly wanted to do the ordering. It was a business dinner of sorts, so I just went with the flow.

                      I'm still sticking with my statement about those caramels. A group of us went there tonight after our reception in the hotel. We'd had plenty to eat at the meeting...we just wanted to get out of the hotel and relax a bit after a rough day. I raved about the caramels, and they all decided they had to try them. Purple worked because of its proximity to the hotel and the fact that the upstairs bar could absorb the 15 or so of us comfortably. And you know what? Those caramels were just as good today, and I looked like a hero for making the suggestion. Sometimes a place where you can relax and have a good sweet bite when you're from out of town is all you need or want.....