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May 22, 2007 12:13 PM

Eating on Mercer Island

Are there any good places to eat on Mercer Island? Also, any good grocery stores?

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  1. I've been working on the island for six months now, and I am still asking the same question. My current answer is "not really", but I haven't exhausted all avenues.

    Here is what i've found at least acceptable:
    -Little Tokyo Teriyaki on SE 78th is probably the best of the few 'yaki joints, with various combos, yakisoba, gyoza, etc. The other place on SE 27th, Gourmet Teriyaki, is pretty poor.
    -Next door to Lil' Tokyo is Alpenland Deli, which does a brisk lunch business and sells german and swiss products. I've had their sausage, roll and kraut combo, which was pretty tasty (esp. the kraut which is cooked with bacon), but a poor value at $10, which is a common theme on the island.
    -Pan Proem Thai, further south on 78th, I've had twice and it was well-made and fresh, while offering a very conservative and short menu of standards. I've had the phad thai, with perfectly textured noodles, and this spicy eggplant dish which is one of those permanent "specials" listed on the board, a la other thai restaurants. I got both at 4 stars and was surprised that no punches were pulled. Thai on Mercer, which has a whole mess of credentials in its window, has an embarassingly bastardized menu including black bean sauce, peanut sauce and even caesar salad. I walked out when I saw it.
    -I Love Pho is a whitewashed Viet place which purges/waters its fish sauce for the xenophobe palate, and charges you nearly $10 at lunch for the privilege. It makes a pretty fat BBQ pork skewer, I must admit. Its pho is passable, but why bother when 12th and Jack is 10 minutes away?
    -The Roanoke bar serves a palatable lunch, but nothing worth making a trip for.

    I look back over my words and find them harsh, but a worker's lunch must be dependable and represent value. It is hard to believe that with the concentration of wealth on the island there isn't better food, but it appears so.

    5 Replies
    1. re: equinoise

      I completely agree...when I was working on Mercer Island there was NOTHING. Here in Seattle I'm used to $5 pho...$10 always seemed a little ridiculous to me. Since I stopped working there almost a year ago several new places have popped up, but I think they are all chains (although I do dig Noah's Bagels...yum!).
      Oh yes...I'm talking about the area surrounding the Island Crest Way exit. I'm sure there are other places to get food on MI, but I never had time to try to find them.

      1. re: equinoise

        No longer true.

        Did the OP say they were looking specifically for lunch?

        Bennett's is a recent addition to the island. I think I first dined there last fall, so it's not brand new. Not sure their schedule, but they are open for dinner. The food is pretty good generally, and down right delicious compared to what's available on the rest of the island. It's in the new building across the street from I Love Pho.

        Roberto's is next to I Love Pho and serves marginal pizza and pretty good salads.

        Thai on Mercer is the next shopping center over and serves consistently respectable Thai.

        Also, if you're up for a bit of a trek, the new Mexican place on the south end of the island isn't bad.

        Grocery stores, they are all chains. QFC is probably the most respectable (north and south end) of the bunch.

        1. re: ethereal

          Thanks for all the recs so far! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night, any help would be appreciated =) I'm living on MI for the summer and don't want to have to hop on I-90 east or west just to eat. Oh yeah - any happy hour recs would be appreciated too!

          1. re: ethereal

            I second Thai on Mercer. They make a great "Thai caesar" salad dressing. When I left the Island my folks still lived there and I would have them send me bottles in care packages.

            It's been years since I lived there but back in the day happy hour was good at the bar above Tru Value on the north end. Don't remember the name of it but it is literally above the hardware store. Down-to-earth place, good for a pitcher of beer and a game of pool.

            Used to do standard grocery shopping at the QFC on the south end out of convenience but look for good deals on fish at the Albertsons on the north end.

            1. re: creativeusername

              Really? I think Thai on Mercer is middling at best, and I'm not one to hate any local business owner. I've tried a couple of things and none have had the fresh bright taste that I like to see in Thai food, it's all been mediocre.

              Take the time to go a few blocks down to Pan Proem (down by the Rite Aid)

        2. There used to be a nice, little family run Japanese place called Haruko (i think, or maybe Hanako). They were going to move a couple years ago, and I haven't been since.

          Anyone know if they're still good or even if they reopened on the island?

          3 Replies
          1. re: GreenYoshi

            There's a new Japanese place on the south end, but I haven't been and don't recall the name.

            1. re: ethereal

              The new Japanese place next to the southend QFC is called Yuzen. Went there for the first time yesterday and thought it was good. Definitely beats fighting traffic to get to Seattle, when you need a quick Sushi fix.

              Bennett's is pretty good too, as someone else mentioned. They are open for dinner everyday and brunch on weekends. There is takeout from their deli for lunch on weekdays.

            2. re: GreenYoshi

              Is that the Japenese place on 78th by the Rite Aid? I used to work next door and as far as I know they are still open. They always seemed to be doing a hoping business when I saw them open.

            3. The Roanoke Inn has a pretty good breakfast, surpisingly.

              I second that Harukos used to be very good. I haven't been since they left the old Winchell's donut location.

              I am a fan of the pretzel rolls at Alpenland at lunchtime. They are only served on Thursdays. The salads and sandwiches are decent.

              1. We enjoy a slice of hot pizza for lunch at Tony Maroni's. Not so easy to find; easy to like. Nothing fancy, just a good generous slice o' pizza.
                The sandwich and soup special is usually very good at The Roanoak Inn, N.Mercer Way.
                Count me among those who like Thai on Mercer. I've known the proprietor, Eddie, since before he even opened his restaurant at it's previous location.. He tried his menu out on us, then used our comments to refine his menu. His squid filet with peanut sauce is my favorite entree.
                All three grocery stores on the island are good, but for different things. We shop all 3, and buy from whichever one has the better price. Produce at either of the QFC's is always fresher looking, but generally higher in price than Albertson's. But I never met a grocery store I didn't like. Food shopping for me is all about finding the right ingredient at the right price at the right moment.

                1. Here's a list of most of the places to eat in Mercer Island; please add/delete and comment:

                  Albertsons Food & Pharmacy
                  2755 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040

                  Alpenland Delicatessen
                  2707 78th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 232-4780

                  2900 78th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 236-2781

                  Bennett's Pure Food Bistro
                  7650 SE 27th St, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 232-2759

                  Caffe Italia
                  2448 76th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 232-9009

                  7650 SE 27th Street, Suite 120, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  4:00pm-10:00pm (Happy Hour 4:00-6:00pm


                  Coffees A La Cart
                  8309 SE 57th St , Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 232-2692

                  Emerald City Smoothie
                  7803 SE 27th St., Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 275-0222

                  Gourmet Delight
                  7671 SE 27TH St, Mercer Island, WA 98040-2804
                  (206) 232-0580

                  Han's Garden Chinese Restaurant
                  3020 78th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 232-7889

                  Haruko's Japanese Restaurant
                  2440 76TH Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040-2731
                  (206) 236-1557

                  i Love Pho
                  7621 SE 27th St, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 275-4300

                  Islander, The
                  7440 SE 27th St
                  Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 232-6676

                  Johansons Fine Meats & Smokehouse
                  3024 78th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA, 98040
                  (206) 230-0776

                  Little Tokyo Teriyaki
                  2717 78th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040-2816
                  (206) 230-4120

                  Maggie Moos Ice Treatery
                  7808 SE 28th st suite 126, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 232-0974

                  Market House Deli (Closed
                  )7525 SE 24th St Ste 100, Mercer Island, WA, 98040

                  2807 78th St. SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040-2818
                  (206) 232-9175
                  6:00am-10:00pm (Drivethru to 11:00pm)

                  Noah's Bagels
                  7808 SE 28th St, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 232-8539

                  Pon Proem Thai Restaurant
                  3039 78TH Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040-2822
                  (206) 236-8424

                  Qdoba Mexican Grill
                  7650 SE 27th St, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 230-0072

                  Quality Food Centers Inc-Mercer Island #839
                  7823 SE 28th, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 230-0745

                  Roberto's Pizza
                  7619 SE 27TH St, Mercer Island, WA 98040-2804
                  (206) 232-7383

                  Roanoke Inn
                  1825 72nd Ave. SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 232-0800

                  Seven Star Chinese Restaurant
                  2885 78th Avenue SE Suite 101, Mercer Island, WA 98040-2849

                  Shanghai Palace
                  2885 78th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 230-8665

                  Starbucks Coffee (in QFC North
                  )7814 SE 28th St , Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 230-8322

                  Starbucks Coffee-Mercer Island Drive Thru
                  7620 SE 27th St, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 275-3115

                  Starbucks Mercer Island III
                  7695 Southeast 27th Street
                  Mercer Island, Washington 98040 US
                  (206) 230-8847

                  Steves Eatery
                  7814 SE 28th St, Mercer Island, WA 98040

                  7679 SE 27th St., Mercer Island WA 98040-2804
                  (206) 236-2734

                  Thai Kitchen
                  7811 SE 27th St., Mercer Island, WA 98040-2961
                  (206) 232-2570

                  Thai On Mercer
                  7691 SE 27th St, Mercer Island, WA 98040-2804
                  (206) 236-9990 DISCONNECTED

                  Tony Maroni's
                  7636 SE 27TH St, Mercer Island, WA 98040-2805
                  (206) 232-6400

                  Tully's Coffee
                  7900 SE 28TH St Ste 400, Mercer Island, WA 98040-2970
                  (206) 233-2070

                  Wan Lung Restaurant
                  3020 78TH Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040-2823
                  (206) 232-7889


                  El Sombrero Mexican
                  8451 Se 68th St, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 275-4900

                  Georgio's Subs
                  8415 SE 68th St, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 275-3720

                  QFC Quality Food Centers Inc-South Mercer Island #806
                  8421 SE 68th St, Mercer Island, WA, 98040

                  Sahara Pizza
                  8425 SE 68th St, Mercer Island, WA
                  (206) 232-9800

                  Starbucks Coffee (in QFC South)
                  8421 SE 68th St, Mercer Island, WA, 98040

                  Starbucks Coffee-South Mercer Island
                  8415 SE 68th St #100, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 275-1097

                  Toshi's Teriyaki
                  8425 SE 68th St, Mercer Island, WA 98040
                  (206) 232-0233

                  Yuzen Japanese Restaurant
                  8451 SE 68th St Ste 104, Mercer Island, WA
                  (206) 275-3310