Bellevue/Kirkland WA suggestions
I am a Canadian chowhound, arriving the weekend of June 21, staying for a few days at the Woodmark Hotel on Lake Washington which I guess is in Kirkland, and spending the days in Bellevue on business. Any suggestions for something special for dinner in the area - regional or ethnic (I like just about everything as long as it is executed well, price is not a limiting factor)??
I will have the Sunday free, so I was thinking of spending the day in Seattle at Pike Place market and around, unless there is more to do and see (and eat) in the Kirkland/Bellevue area that I should know about.
I decided to dine close to Kirkland to minimize the time lost on the freeways, and I was able to try out 2 of the suggestions: Trellis and Cafe Juanita.
Trellis was very good hotel dining: nice bright room with lots of windows overlooking a busy pedestrian crossing where I could watch people following the charming local custom of borrowing bright yellow flags at crosswalk corners to cross the street. I started with a pot of the Young Manila Clams in a broth of crushed tomatoes and bruised basil - it was subtle but nice. Then the lamb cassoulet special: a dish that I like to try because it is simple but hard to do well. High-quality ingredients and well prepared: tasty French sausage, tender lamb, organic white beans, and some fresh greens. Also enjoyed a couple of nice glasses of wine. Service was young, attractive, earnest and professional.
Cafe Juanita was extraordinary: difficult to find but definitely worth it. The room is romantic (wished I hadn't been dining alone), lots of light, had a view into the garden. I appreciated the attention to details: the setting, the artisan breads, the wine list (recommended house wine was a very good Nebbiolo d'Alba which I enjoyed after a starter of Prosecco and parmigiano reggiano). I tried the grilled octopus as a first course: well prepared, but I didn't understand the dish, too many contrasting colors and flavors. Then risotto with Marsala wine and some more parmigiano reggiano - this was ridiculous, I almost cried it was so good. Then the lamb saddle, with chopped olives and white beans: a revelation. Finally an over-indulgent chocolate dessert: chocolate bonet with creme anglais. It was too very rich, I knew it would be, and I will probably have it again when I can find an excuse to get back to this restaurant, which I am already scheming to do.
Thank you very much for the recommendations.
If your still perusing around for suggestions, Bis on Main (main st. old town Bellevue) is one of the areas best. Always good. The Iris Grill in Issaquah - this restaurant keeps getting better and better (try Tim's Cheesecake as well). They have outdoor seating in a very cool part of Gilman Village in Issaquah (mountain views - 10 minutes outside of Bellevue - considered "eastside".
Low key options...
Downtown Bellevue for a quick lunch - huge portions - good food = Meditteranean Kitchen on Bellevue Way (downtown Bellevue). Pagliacci Pizza downtown Bellevue - Pagliacci's best location to date - great local company / local ingredients. Right in the heart of downtown Bellevue.
Ditto the recommendation for Cafe Juanita. It's in Kirkland but can be a bit difficult to find. Your concierge, I'm sure, can provide assistance, Also in Kirkland is Trellis, in the Heathman Hotel, which features local produce, some of which is grown by the chef. I too am very fond of Malay Satay Hut, but have usually found the Seattle branch a bit better than the one on the east side of Lake Washington.
Thank you very much for the recommendations. I have made reservations at Cafe Juanita and Trellis and will make sure to report back. For Malay Satay Hut is it the branch listed on their website as located in Redmond - apologies for being geographically retarded, I am already confused by the whole Bellevue-Kirkland thing, is Redmond on the "east side" as well, and not far away?