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Seattle excells at the following....

growing weary of hearing how awful the deli and the bbq are in seattle and following the excellent lead a little way down the board, i suggest indicating those areas (and there are several) at which our overgrown lumber town offers world-class cuisine. my initial offerings:

vegan/vegetarian fare - unmatched anywhere i know - vegie bistro (6th/king), moonlight cafe (20th/jackson) - globe cafe (14th/pike) - cafe flora (madison valley) - even many resaturants not specializing in vegie fare can easily accomodate which rarely happens elsewhere

northwest seafood - seems like a no-brainer for mussels, geoduck, razor clams, black cod and did i mention salmon - ray's (shilsole bay) remains my top choice but i have been pleased with cutter's (pike palce market), oceanaire (a chain but excellent) and the local anthony's group.

vietnamese - some of the best in this country - than brothers (several) for pho; tamarind tree (hidden at 12th/jackson) for everything else

"alice waters" northwest regional - union (1st/union) remains the top of this list and steelhead diner (1st/pine) fresh out of the gate but there are many talented players

artisanal breads - sure, no rye bread (to match the no pastrami?) but some of the best chewy, crunchy loaves at tallgrass (ballard) and, wonder of wonders, superb delivered loaves at dilaurenti's and even (gasp!) qfc

coffee - no one does it like we do, eh? (double tall half-skinny unleaded no-foam, please)

local produce in season - no one can match us for plums, cherries, peaches, mushrooms, apples, hops, tulips (not food but gorgeous) and on and on...

comments and emendations gratefully sought....

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    1. Eritrean and Ethiopian (e.g. Mesob, Meskel, Dahlak). According to some Ethiopian community boards there are more restaurants here than in NYC or DC. Perhaps only LA has more.

      Szechuan. The recent additions of Szechuan Chef and Bamboo Garden in Bellevue are making vibrant, amazing food with extensive menus. 7 stars remains a favorite.

      Sushi. Nishino, Shiro's, Saito's, Maneki, etc. I am sure there will be some detractors from bigger cities citing their favorites, but high quality sushi here is also relatively affordable.

      Wine. Local vinters continue to turn out quality bottlings, and seem to be learning more each year. The prices of some of these wines are much more reasoanble than comparable Napa wines, from the fun $15 blends to the high end Cabs (such as the Quilceda Creek, which R. Parker awarded perfect scores to in the last two vintages). There is a recent trend of established winemakers from Cali coming in to work with NW fruit, which is another exciting development.

      2 Replies
      1. re: equinoise

        MMMM yes! I'm going to Dahlak tonite!
        And definetly on the sushi. You cannot get such good cheap sushi in many other places!

        1. re: equinoise

          Good selection of sushi places; Nishino is our favorite but all of htem are quite good. Fish for fish, Seattle sushi restaurants offer better than I've had anywhere else. The above cited restaurants have excellent chefs and they're worth trying.

        2. The Mussels at Maximillien's At The Market are excellent. Seattle's proximity to Whidbey ensures we enjoy the best Mussels in America. Traveling to the Midwest--regardless of how high end a seafood restaurant might be--you won't experience mussels like we do locally.

          1 Reply
          1. I had some of the best sushi I've ever had in Seattle, I'll definitely give you guys a resounding recommendation on that.

            How about American prosciutto and salumi? Apparently your climate is very similar to the climate in Parma, and you guys produce some really terrific artisinal hams from really excellent livestock. We buy it here in New York!

            And lately I've been favoring your gorgeous Pacific Northwest (specifically Washington over Oregon) red wines. Really beautiful stuff, so much more nuanced than a lot of the more common new world/California reds.

                1. re: justagthing

                  Gotta disagree - Fran's blows Dilletante's out of the water.

                  1. re: de_soie

                    But does Fran's have dark chocolate hot cocoa? I loved the Dilettante cafes.

                2. thank you for this thread. ch is more vital than eg these days because more positives are being talked about than having the superstars run down Seattle restaurants. here's what i think are 10's:
                  drunken chicken at monsoon.
                  szechuan crab at seven stars pepper.
                  midnight pork sandwich at paseo.
                  duck noodle at greenleaf.
                  claypot seafood congee and claypot rice at homestyle hong kong

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kirkj

                    Kirk, Seven Stars Szechuan Crab is amazing. It should be on every local & visitor's short list.

                  2. This may be point of contention with some, but I believe the customer service to be top-notch. And yes, I agree the vegetarian fare is superb.

                    1. I think you'd have a hard time trying to beat any of these in any city: la carta de oaxaca, botega italiana, pike place clam chowder, pike place market

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: clearskies0810

                        I just got back from a week in Washington DC and I can emphatically say that Seattle excels in cocktails. I'm so happy that we are at the forefront of the return to classical, well made cocktails.

                        1. re: Lauren

                          Oh great point. They really do, don't they? So many good options for cocktails around Seattle. Dahlia Lounge, St. Cloud's for brunch drinks....ah, the memories. Thanks!

                          1. re: Lauren

                            Departing DC for a week in Seattle shortly (we do have a FEW good cocktail slingers here...IndeBleu in DC, PX in Alexandria).

                            Question: Any other recs for downtown/Belltown drinks at nice places, especially weeknight friendly with dinner in or nearby? Staying at Pine and 7th, and up for walking a half-dozen blocks.

                            1. re: tmentzer

                              Vessel and Zig Zag are consistently the best cocktails in the city. Both within a half dozen blocks.

                              1. re: hhlodesign

                                Crush currently has some good drinks such as the one with tarragon foam on top. (seating limited, best to call ahead)

                              2. re: tmentzer

                                Union (Union and 2nd) also has some interesting house cocktails, plus a good bar menu (changes nightly); go there after wetting your whistle at Vessel (try saying that 5 times fast after a few drinks) with the Vessel 75 or (if they have it) the Marmalade Sour.

                                1. re: tmentzer

                                  I'm a Zig Zag partisan for cocktails. Best in the city, for sure - and you won't find more knowledgable bartenders anywhere.

                                  The Palace Kitchen isn't quite as focused on creative cocktails, but has executed everything I've ever ordered perfectly - Pimm's cups to sidecars to juleps to martinis and manhattans - and my wife won't order a gin and tonic anywhere else (something about the tonic water they use and the right balance of ratio, glass size/shape, and ice). I believe well-executed cocktails are a hallmark of Tom Douglas' restaurants. (Better food than Zig Zag, too, though we love the Zag's panzanella)

                            2. local produce.... huckleberries. *sigh* so good.... Our farmer's markets kick ass.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: malarkey

                                Agreed on the beer, local produce, wines, seafood...but also I've noticed that Seattle has tons of great breakfast and brunch spots.

                                1. re: karen2006

                                  I haven't lived here long but a friend took me to breakfast/brunch at Bing's in Madison Park which was great. What else would you suggest I try out?

                                  1. re: Mark Nobe

                                    Weekend brunch at Cafe Campagne at the Pike Place Market