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New-ish on Queen Anne (SEA)

As quickly as restaurants come & go up here on Queen Anne, here's a list of new,
new-ish, and soon-to-open eateries on Queen Anne:

Listed walking from from North to South:

Opal 2 W. Boston Street (world cuisine): no website
Portage 2209 Queen Anne Ave (American French): www.portagerestaurant.com
Sorrentino 2128 Queen Anne Ave (Italian): www.sorrentinoseattle.com
Julia's 1825 Queen Anne Ave (American): website not yet updated
Bricco 1525 Queen Anne Ave (Italian inspired wine bar): www.briccoseattle.com
Betty 1509 Queen Anne Ave (American/Italian): no website

Lots of new construction, remodels, and "holes-in-the-wall" popping up. Did I miss any? There's a new sushi take-out place across from the Market on QA Ave but not sure of the name/address...

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  1. Noticed another one yesterday across the street from the Marqueen Hotel at the bottom of the hill. Ascada, "An Upscale Bistro". Hmm, is this the same as the
    Ascada in Bellevue?

    1 Reply
    1. re: fooddawg

      Okay..Opal has a website now: www.opalseattle.com
      Menu not online yet. The space and the concept look promising, though I could do without the headlights from passing cars sweeping through the windows. Maybe drapes are in order?

      1. re: malarkey

        According to a blurb on Seattle Weekly, an Andrew Leonard & Tyler Anderson are sharing chef duties.

      2. Opal had a "soft" open last night and I managed to score a table at the bar. The food ranged from solid to great, with the salmon appetizer nearing fantastic. The menu is less international than the original concept had led me to believe, but it still offers a good range of tastes. One thing I noticed, the descriptions on the menu are very brief - the food that comes out is far more complicated and includes items not mentioned on the menu, so definitely ask about specific dishes if you have allergies or aversions.

        Obviously there are a few kinks to work out (earnest but inexperienced servers, reservation system so far nonexistent, the usual first night stuff), but the bar was hopping and the chef shows a lot of promise. All in all, a good addition to the hill. I'll be interested to see how it fares once Betty gets up and running.

        4 Replies
        1. re: qalaur

          I have tried this place twice now and they still need to get their service fixed. Tried to sit in the bar one evening and had to eventually walk out as no one would serve me. Interesting design as well for some of the deuces are extremely tight to get in to and out of. Not sure why since this was built from the ground up in its remodel. I think I'll give it a while although on QA it is always touch and go with how long a restaurant will last.

          1. re: TacoBusHound

            four of us went to Opal just last night (June 21st) and you are right, they need to fix the service. Our waitress came off as though it was her first night waiting tables anywhere.
            Food was good, but we prefer Portage across the street. We were all wondering if it would last, too.

            1. re: browqueen

              Unlike some places where the food sounds great on the menu but disappoints when it arrives, Opal seems like the opposite, with the food happily exceeding my expectations from reading the menu. The Louisiana prawns came in an unexpectedly rich cassoulet-like broth dotted with tiny tomatoes, the house cured gravlax on goat cheese mousse and crispy potato galette were a healthy portion and nicely garnished and the chocolate velvet dessert w/ huckleberry mousse and Guiness ice cream was truly decadent. Pork belly could have been crispier/more caramelized but was still satisfying. Was too full to try any of the "large bites" (entrees), next time for sure. Presentation was excellent, service was quite good and the place was comfortable and stylish, a step up from the usual hard-chair bistro. If this place were in Belltown it would blow away of lot of the local competition imo.

              1. re: barleywino

                Tried Opal for the first time last night and was blown away by the food. Every single bite except one was exquisite in sophistication and balance and pleasure (that one bite was the overly chewy marshmallow on the otherwise delightful PBJ dessert).

                The service was excellent.

                In fact, the only impediment to returning is the price.

        2. The new sushi place is Calva Cafe. They serve sushi, Chinese food, and bubble tea. They have a few tables and a sushi bar but are very geared for takeout. Food is middling-okay but also inexpensive. If you want better sushi for lunch than you'll get from the Met Market cold case, go to Calva. Their Chinese food is also fat-free and msg-free (per the menu) and tastes a little unusual -- it's not the normal corn-starch-syrupy-sauce crappy takeout, but it's not as good as Chinoise, for example, and I wouldn't call Chinoise great.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Rev

            Chinoise used to be much better or maybe it was the lack of other places that made it good. Ototo blows them away on sushi and frankly is less expensive. I guess I better get over the initial shock when I saw that Pat's was now serving Sushi...although obviously Calva had already taken over.

            1. re: TacoBusHound

              Betty apparently opened on Monday! Has anyone been? I drove by last night around 9pm and it looked to be about 1/3 full. The space looks enormous with LONG rows of tables/chairs. Too big? Excited to try it and report back but will wait for them to settle in....

              1. re: fooddawg

                Tried it last night... JUST like Crow, which in my mind is a very good thing for those too lazy to stumble down the hill. I had a late reservation and the dining room was only about a quarter full, but the server claimed they had been packed earlier. The bar was still full, as was the eating bar in front of the kitchen (a la Crow), as we left around 11. They had this chicken morel dish that was insanely good, hopefully it will earn a permanent spot on the menu and be Betty's prosciutto wrapped chicken. Steak and frites was also phenomenal. Same reasonable prices as Crow, same straightforward yet creative style of food, super nice servers... I couldn't stop commenting about how now I'll never have to leave the hill!

                1. re: qalaur

                  Thanks for the update. I really like Crow but would gladly abandon it for it's twin on top of the hill. Now I have Bricco, Betty, and the 5 Spot within easy walking distance. I suspect I'm going to get really fat!

                2. re: fooddawg

                  We stopped in for lunch yesterday. I'm all for having another lunch option but worried that, like Barbacoa, this will be too much for them to continue with before long.

                  The lunch menu is mostly salads and sandwiches but they do offer the steak frites and a clam linguine for those seeking a heftier lunch. Prices are similar to what you'd pay for the specials at the Hilltop but I get a better wine selection at Betty. I had an open faced portabello sandwich with thin aioli, asparagus, and roasted red peppers with a small mixed greens salad on the side. Tasty, good for a light appetite. He had the pastrami which came with so-so cole slaw but very tasty fries.

                  Looking forward to trying them for dinner. It a nice space, quite large, beautiful muted sage colors on the walls.

            2. Went to Betty last night and was very pleased. It is just the type of place we have wanted on the Hill for a while. Good bar, interesting comfort food at a decent price, well prepared, and a lively atmosphere. We sat at the food bar, which probably added to the atmosphere for us. We love to watch them cook while sipping a cocktail. Jerry from Harvest Vine is now at Betty, and it's great to see him again! It's a small menu, so if it does not change frequently it will get tired (one of the things that happened to us with Crow). The service was prompt and reasonably attentive. The place was full, but we left relatively early (we were done by 8:30). Parking is way better at the top of the Hill. I wouldn't say it's a destination place, but a great neighborhood restaurant. We will return enthusiastically.

              In contrast, we are not impressed with Portage after two visits. Their price point is too high for a neighborhood place ($30 entrees) and the food is not innovative enough to be a destination or worth the money. We would choose to go elsewhere for a bigger night out. Odd selections--like Minnesota fish over local.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cocktailhour

                love Portage! Also, it is a great place to go for appetizers (very generous) and drinks, and their wine by the glass is a huge pour for the price. Betty needs a better wine by the glass list, other than that, love Betty as well, but have heard mixed reviews from other pals regarding service.
                Our service was fine, and it is great for lunch.

              2. Via Trib is now open. Anyone gone yet?

                3 Replies
                1. re: malarkey

                  My buddy who lives on Galer invited me to go last night but we couldn't make it. I am going to try to get there tonight. I have been many times to Capitol Hill location (as recently as 2-weeks ago) so I have been awaiting it eagerly. A server at the C.H. location told me maybe 6 months ago that they would have a rooftop deck. I will report ASAP.

                  1. re: klsalas

                    Let us know. I've passed by several times to/from home since the "official" open on Thursday. Fairly empty around 5:30pm but full by 7pm both nights. Looks like they were unable to put in a rooftop deck. Also, there's a space being renovated a couple doors down, on the corner. Rumor has it that Top Pot Donuts was interested.....

                  2. re: malarkey

                    Went last night - the pizza is fantastic, just like the Cap Hill location. However, it is disorganized as all get out and the service is pretty awful. I'm sure it's just a very green staff and it'll get better, but wow, it was bad. Our waitress was dismissive and gave the impression of being too overwhelmed to bother with friendliness. The hostess was stomping around (and I mean stomping - nice new wood floors being assaulted by her clunky heels) looking frazzled. The guy who served our wine, who I think was in charge, seemed nice enough but a little chilly and bored with it all. I don't know... the attitude might work on Capitol Hill, but I think a warmer approach is needed for Queen Anne. Hopefully it was just the leftovers from a busy first weekend and it'll work itself out. Although for that tasty pizza I'll put up with a lot.

                  3. Have eaten in Opal 3 times so far - two of the larger bite items and some of the smaller plates. Good to great food comparable to some of the best in Seattle (Union etc). The duck three ways (foie gras, breast and confit) is highly recommended.

                    I have tried Julia's for lunch - it's ok - nice location and interior but $17 dollars for a lunchtime crab cake sandwich, chips and soda is too pricy for the quality and quantity. Essentially diner / pub food and a couple of the local pubs (Paragon and Hilltop) and the 5 Spot diner do it as well and cheaper.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ronans

                      We also went to Via Trbunali on the weekend. We went early and there were lots of families with kids. I am sure it will be more adult-oriented later in the evening. We found the staff to be very helpful, just not very knowledgeable about the menu. The crust was not as crisp as I expected, but that will proably improve over time. They had a loft with a few tables where we sat. The waitress had to go up and down a steep set of stairs a million times.

                      1. re: cocktailhour

                        Hey all, I went Saturday night around 5:30p, which is a bit early but I know from experience with the Capitol Hill branch that you need to beat the rush. I went with my wife and friends and had a great dinner.

                        First the decor. You enter into the main dining room. There is no front room/back room set up like in Capitol Hill. There is no garage door for more of an open air dining experience in the front as with CH. The bar is in the back here. They kept the high ceiling as with the CH location. This room is a bit more austere with white walls and dark shelves and beams. They do not have the stained glass light boxes on the walls. The chandelier's and re are the same. At the back near the bar there are stairs going up to a loft seating area overlooking the main dining room. I saw no roof deck and no obvious access though I didn't look around up there. The pizza oven is directly adjoining the back of the main dining room and bar so that just about everyone can get a look at the oven.

                        In terms of the food, we had only pizza and wine this time. I had the Napoletana which is my regular pizza. It was pretty much exactly as it is at the other location. My wife had the salsiccia. They were both great. We had the house sangiovese which is our usual wine and it was as enjoyable with the pizza as it always has been.

                        I'll admit the pizza's do get a soggy in the middle. The crust is just so thin that after a few moments the sauce softens the pizze up in the middle. It's no big deal to me though. You cut your own pizza so I cut smaller sections and use the NYC fold. If the pizze is two soggy in the middle for the fole I flip the center back towards the crust. I still think it is the best pizza in town.

                        As for the service I did not find the staff to be inexperienced at all. I recognized the manager, the cook, and two of the waitresses from Capitol Hill. The lack of friendliness is a comment I have heard a lot about Via T and I don't understand it. Although I now consider myself to be a quasi regular at the Capitol Hill location and as such probably get a more enthusiastic welcome than if I was not a regular, I never recall having been treated coldly there and in fact a few of my favorite servers in town are there. I especially like Kevin. Anyway, I suspect the thing is they just don't lay it on thick. To me there is a fine line between being genuinely friendly and welcoming and coming across as fake. The service at ViaT has always been in the prior category to me ... professiona, not excessive. They will ask about appetizers and desserts but there is never a hard sell on anything, they don't hover, and the food and wine come out promptly.

                        The only downside is that with ViaT now so close I will probably go too often ... and I won't get to the CH location as much.