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Eastside Envy

It seems that most of the discussions focus on the downtown Seattle scene. Lynn's bistro, Rikki Rikki and Bis on main can all hold their own. Any other votes for good eastside joints?

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  1. Daniel's has great beef. The new Brix in Kirkland is also quite good.

    1. I like Rikki Rikki and Bis on Main. I think you named the only restaurants I remember from the Eastside.

      1. It's been mentioned a few times before, but Spice Route in Bellevue is better than any Indian restaurant I've been to in Seattle. They have unusual menu items and everything I've tried has been tasty.

        Szechwan Chef and Bamboo Garden are great as well.

        12 Replies
        1. re: creepygirl

          Where's Bamboo Garden? You named the other 2 restaurants that get me to the Eastside.

          1. re: landguy

            Off 2nd in downtown Bellevue. It has its own thread here-definitely check it out.

            1. re: landguy

              The address is 202 106th PL NE, 98004 Bellevue. Website is www.bamboogardendining.com.

            2. re: creepygirl

              Do you order off the menu at Spice Route? The lunch buffet is mediocre at best.

              1. re: fooey

                I agree with fooey; I was not at all impressed with their lunch buffet. I even developed a mild case of heartburn - something that has never before happened to me at an Indian restaurant.

                1. re: fooey

                  Yes, I order off the menu, mostly the more unusual items. Can't remember all the stuff I've enjoyed, but I know I've liked the chettinad, some kind of vegetable dumplings, and the tamarind eggplant dish.

                2. re: creepygirl

                  I think Udupi, Kanishka, and Mayuri are even better than Spice Route.

                  1. re: HungWeiLo

                    I hate to judge an Indian restaurant by the lunch buffet, just because that typically compiles the most popular Anglo-friendly items at the expense of the specialites--at spice route the dinner clientele is all Indian. And of course, any steam-tray buffet runs the risk of being not-as-fresh as a la carte items.

                    It's tough to compare Udupi to Spice Route. Udupi is a south indian vegetarian specialist, that also serves a gujarati-style vegetarian buffet. I think their dosai are competent to good, but not much in comparison to the dosai specialists in the NYC area. Haven't yet been to Kanishka or Mayuri.

                    Spice Route offers an impressive variety of regional items. They do dosai and other starches/breads quite well, and they also make n. inidan mugali style stuff better than almost anywhere i've been in the region. What's really great there are the other regional south indian items, especially the Tamil nadu stuff, that you can't get anywhere else. Try the chettinad dishes and other items that are relatively unfamiliar.

                    1. re: equinoise

                      What attracted us to Spice Route was their Indo-Chinese specialties. After the Hakka people migrated to India, they created a whole new cuisine. We loved the Cauliflower Manchurian there. BTW, Inchin's Bamboo Garden in Redmond is another Indo-Chinese restaurant. We prefer SR.

                      1. re: kirkj

                        I must say that the indo-chinese at Spice Route was the only part I didn't like : the "chili chicken" and the gobi manchurian were both taking more to the corn-starchy chinese american side than the spice-laden Indian side. Again, this is again comparing against my favorite indo-chinese back east.

                      2. re: equinoise

                        I went to Mayuri (the buffet place by Trader Joe's, not the grocery/chaat) and found it decent, not great for what it was. I appreciated the inclusion of some kind of mushroom pakora and a couple decent veg curry type dishes, and the chutneys and hot sauces were defintely good. But the rest of the stuff was pretty standard quality versions of standard buffet items (butter chicken, tandoor chicken, naan, rice pudding, etc.) Not a bad value, it more just confirms that I am not an indian buffet fan.

                        1. re: equinoise


                          I agree, I have been to Mayuri for buffet in the bast and thought it was good but nothing special. However I just went there for dinner the other night and was very impressed. They offer almost any dish in a Thali form - so it comes with many other little dishes - and it is reasonably priced and comes with a variety of great, fresh, tasting foods. I would definitely suggest giving them a shot for dinner. I generally like the quality of food at dinner better than buffet at most places but I found the difference to be striking here.

                  2. I like Kanishka for Indian and Tropea for Italian, both in Redmond.

                    1. Porcella Urban Market for lunch

                      1. Facing East, near downtown Bellevue has excellent Taiwanese food.

                        1. Cafe Juanita is always delicous.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sip

                            I agree - for me it beats every other restaurant we've been to in Seattle proper.

                          2. I just tried Wonton City on 156th the other day (next to Paldo World). It's pretty good, but I suspect they get their wontons frozen from one of those handmade wonton shops in Vancouver - which means they've got better wontons than every place in Seattle with the exception of Mike's in the ID.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: HungWeiLo

                              wonton city does NOT get their wontons frozen from vancouver - the owner lady (who is also the cook/hostess/waitress etc) makes wontons all day in the front during her downtime. she puts the extras in those giant freezers and if you are lucky, she will have a couple spare tins of them to sell, but they go quickly.

                              she makes good rice porridge too!

                              1. re: clearskies0810

                                Absolutely handmade wontons...On the several occasions when I've eaten there, she's been making them right in front of our eyes. Just went there for lunch today and it was just as delicious as the many times before. I'm going to try to go there more often in hopes they make it through this horrid recession...

                            2. jeffj100,
                              I don't get the meaning of "Envy" in the title of this thread. Are you indicating an inferior Eastside envying Seattle? Or a wish for the opposit?
                              In either case, envy invites comparison. I live on the Eastside, but find myself driving across more often than not. I regard Yea's and Szechuan Chef pretty highly, but everyplace else that I can think of are outdone by Seattle competitors.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: kirkj

                                I think just between Udupi and Spice Route, the eastside is better for Indian as well. Not to mention Mayuri, Preet's and the others in Redmond, plus Naan-n-Curry in Renton.

                                A lot more recs in this thread. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/418623

                                1. re: kirkj

                                  I was trying to get some thoughts on Eastside dinng for foodies as many of the posts focus on DT Sea. I will be trying both Yea's and Szechuan Chef soon. Thanks.

                                  1. re: jeffj100

                                    Don't forget to try Bamboo Garden and Facing East as well.

                                2. Spice Route I agree is good. For other amazing amazing Indian food for SUPER cheap - bet ya' gotta drive to KENT for it - is Punjab Sweets. The name makes it sound like it only sells delicious indian sweets, which it does, but holy cow their food is amazing. $4-$8 too. Same family owns Preets in Redmond:

                                  Also, no one mentioned Iris Grill in Issaquah - this is one of the most underrated / recognized restaurants on the eastside (Issaquah's Gilman Village

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: jamesbra

                                    Punjab Sweets is a great place! and the family is really nice too. What is Preets like? It sure would be closer for me than going down to Kent.

                                    1. re: jamesbra

                                      What about JaK's in Issaquah too? Proof that one doesn't have to drive across the bridge for a good steak.

                                    2. Shamiana in south Kirkland off 70th!

                                      1. Ditto Nanette: JaKs serves up a steak superstar! Luckily there's one here in my 'hood too.

                                        1. I think the Herbfarm is missing on this list.

                                          How about the Pomegrante Bistro?

                                          1. Oh yeah - some things are so obvious you almost forget...Bis On Main - www.bisonmain.com - holds it's own with all restuarants on the Eastside...and on the westside i.e. Seattle.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. Just tried Moghul Palace for lunch the other day. For a buffet, it was great. Wonderfully fresh naan. The buffet had 2 or 3 meat selections which were pretty flavorful. Really enjoyed it, but I can't recall the exact details.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: soypower

                                                Yeah, I was glad to see they've re-opened after being lost to construction a few years back in their old spot north of Bellevue Square.

                                                I know buffets don't quite let Indian cuisine shine, but it's probably my favorite one of the moment.

                                                1. re: soypower

                                                  OMG !! I've been HOPING that they would re-open ! where are they located ?
                                                  my sis and I used to LUV to hit their lunch buffet every so often. mmMMMMmmmm
                                                  My abs fav Indian place is "Taste of India" on Roosvelt in the University District (sorry... Seattle side of the lake) ...I could just drown in their hot chai !

                                                2. TRELLIS in Kirkland needs to be on any Eastside best list. Best Chinese -- Sichuanese Cuisine in the back of the Sears lot in Redmond. Most authentic Sichuan food in US imho.

                                                  1. Just went to Monsoon east in Old bellevue for happy hour last night. Enjoyed it so much that I ended up going there for lunch today. Last night I had a delicious Champagne cocktail with some creepy looking basil seeds along with the calamari, lemongrass chicken skewers and tuna tartare with taro chips. Calamari was perfectly fried and had an interesting aioli/vinaigrette for dipping.

                                                    This afternoon I had the shrimp vermicelli bowl and was floored by the freshness of the shrimp. Also the egg rolls were very good. The wrappers had a great consistency that reminded me of homemade when it's done very well.

                                                    I kept eyeing the dishes at another table and can't wait to go back to try more.

                                                    Monsoon East
                                                    10245 Main Street, Bellevue, WA 98004

                                                    1. I go to a class at UW Bellevue every so often and always make a point of stopping somewhere in Bellevue for lunch. Facing East is so far my favorite, and I've also had decent meals at Toy's Cafe, Cafe Ori, and Szechuan Chef. My boss is from Hong Kong and tells me that many of the Chinese restaurants in Bellevue are actually Taiwanese.

                                                      Today I discovered El Comal, which is in the same strip mall on 8th as Little Hot Pot. It is a Salvadoran restaurant owned by the same people as (or at least affiliated with) White Center's Salvadoran Bakery, and the food is pretty good. They have the expected pupusas and tamales as well as a menu of interesting-sounding Salvadoran entrees. It's not taqueria cheap, but I didn't feel like the prices were unreasonable.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: lavaca

                                                        The Chinese restaurants you listed all have mostly Cantonese-speaking waitstaff and kitchen staff, so I don't think they're Taiwanese. Facing East has an all-Taiwanese menu, but the staff is almost all Cantonese-speaking (they also speak Mandarin).

                                                        El Comal is now on my to-do list.

                                                        1. re: HungWeiLo

                                                          To be more specific: the places she identified as being Taiwanese-style are Yea's Wok and Shanghai Cafe. I can't exactly say I'm qualified to tell the difference, though.

                                                          (She recommended Toy's to me after I went to Cafe Ori. That being said, my co-workers from Hong Kong seem to enjoy Pacific Cafe more than anywhere else.)

                                                          1. re: HungWeiLo

                                                            I went to El Comal and was very impressed at the quality of the pupusas. Thick, well-formed and in tact, but not overly greasy, we had the ayote, frijoles and chicarron and they were all great. The curtido had ample bite and spice, and was finely shredded. We also had the canoa, which was fine but the pupusas were outstanding. Just a clear step above Mi Chalateca and that quasi-nameless place in Burien. A return is in order.

                                                            P.S. As noted El Comal is in a strip mall also including Little Hot Pot, Saffron Kebab (persian), Fuji Teriyaki and Domino's. It's the kind of suburban ethnic agglomeration that only happens in America, and warms my heart.