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Renton Update: Please post favorite places

u
utekai Aug 24, 2008 07:59 AM

Not many recents posts on the Renton area. Would like to get some of your favorite eateries.

The Whistle Stop Ale House (did I get the name right?). Beer selection is great. Haven't had the food.

Saigon Pho (across from the coffee place in the old gas station with coffee so good it will wake the dead). I love this place and go here all the time, everytime I'm in town. Good pho, reasonable prices. Small seemingly family run.

Red Housee (name???). Plenty of beer varieties.

Stanfords: pricey but always good.

Azteca: Pretty basic stuff, nothing special, but ok.

California Pizza Kitchen: I like. Seems a little pricey for pizza, but a good menu.

Claim Jumper: Why do I even write about this place. Too high prices and almost a bad experience every time. From the warm tea that the waitress pee'd in to warm up, to the inchworm making it's way across my mashed potatoes. The Claim Jumper is worth the mention just to state how bad and overpriced this place really is. No kidding, when I pointed out the inchworm, the waiter said, "Don't worry, it comes from the Kale." He did take my plate away, then didn't offer to bring another. Nothing but a sorry from the manager. Uh no free dessert or meal, NOPE, nothing but a sorry. Apparently this type thing happens too much for them to comp a meal.

Newport Bay (name???). On the corner. This is a pretty boring seafood place. Nothing special.

Here's my short take on Renton, and you can see I'm woe-fully devoid of great eateries. I'll provide another update in a few days as we check out some more restaurants in Renton.

  1. u
    utekai Dec 14, 2008 07:32 PM

    Back in town for a few days, and here's an update:

    Saigon Pho: ok, they seem to have peaked and slacked off somewhat. Really getting average to perhaps even lesser. Next time going to Pho Hoa to give it a whirl.

    Melrose Grill: Wow! I like this place. Great steak, and they care how they cook it (I mean really, really care and they get it right), a rather decent wine selection, and nice little touches that show they care about the food. I will continue going here. Always leave satisfied. If you nit pick, go elsewhere, but if you just like a damn good steak and a nice accompanying wine (or a 9 lb Porter), go here.

    Finnegans: in downtown Renton, apparently under new ownership. It's a friendly place, and if you're local, you probably may visit, if coming to Renton, not really worth it. Decent beer selection but out of Guiness on my last visit ... uh, how can that be, a bar named Finnegans and out of Guiness beer? Some of my co-workers really like the food, but I think it's just regular bar food with a slight upscale twist. I go there for Manny's.

    Red House: well if you like bottled beer in wide selection of choices or Washington wines, and eclectic dishes (Elk for instance), this is worth a stop. I like it, and will return, more than just once. Even though I'm a Manny's and 9 Lb. Porter fan in draft form (can't get it any other way), I stop by here to get stuff like Smoked Porter from Alaskan Brewing or an Oak-casket aged Yeti (which you just gotta try). Even though you can get Yeti in lots of places (if you know where to get great beer), somehow this place is still worth a stop.

    1. b
      bikerchick Oct 24, 2008 12:31 AM

      The Whistle Stop: food is hit and miss. Turnover in the kitchen is HIGH. The burgers aren't bad most of the time, other items are sometimes good and sometimes iffy. The wine list is deplorable. The tap beer selection is great. Fran is the best bartender in Renton.

      The Red House: Great menu, great wine list, great beer selection (many in bottles, a couple on tap). Owned by Gene Sens, Renton's best restaurateur. I wish I went there more often. :)

      Omar Al Kayyam on Sunset: Seconding ericf's comments. One of Renton's best kept secrets. The interior isn't anything to brag about but the food and service are very good. They almost "went away" when the transit bill was on the ballot last year because it would have put a HOV/Bus exit ramp off I-405 where Omar is currently located.

      Armondo's: don't bother, but he also owns The Melrose, which is a nice steak house. I even took a visiting Texan there once and he loved it.

      Fin N Bone: Great Happy Hour, I don't know much about their regular menu, but I've eaten a few reasonably priced meals pieced together from the bar menu at Happy Hour and liked what I got. Decent wine list, although I haven't been in almost a year. http://www.finnbone.com/

      Bella Napoli in downtown Renton, next to the Civic Theater, is good but the prices seemed a little high. I haven't been in a while so they very well could have adjusted to the community.

      I've been to Saigon and I've been to Pho Hoa and they're both ok but I just tried the Pho place that's in the mini-strip mall attached to the downtown Renton Safeway. I think it's called Thai #1 and Pho Cafe and I liked it better than Saigon and Pho Hoa, although I like the Moonlight Cafe up on 23rd best (Central District, not Renton).

      Hong's Garden is great, for takeout too (I have them programmed into my cell phone, I can stop by on the way home from work).

      And for the Red Robin fans, Renton now has a Red Robin... at The Landing, near the new Target et al.

      1. h
        haster Oct 24, 2008 12:12 AM

        Yeah, Omar's is great (for Renton)

        Other Renton places I like:
        Taqueria Guaymas: carne asada tacos ftw, good ceviche, and other more authentic mex items
        La Hacienda: more of a family run sit down place, but I like them a lot more than the Azteca's of the world. Javier's Special is my fav there
        Nan-n-Curry: good indian-paki food.
        Whistle Stop: service can get a little dicey at lunch time, but good burgers and sandwiches.
        Speaking of Sandwiches, Jersey Mikes is pretty good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: haster
          r
          Renton_chow Dec 9, 2008 11:27 AM

          La Hacienda: I've been a few times and while the food is okay, I don't think it is a very good value.

          Mucho Beuno: This Mexican place is in the bright yellow building at Park and N 3rd. They have decent food and a buffet (haven't tried it) but the best reason to go here is the happy hour! All appetizers are 50% off and there are great drink prices, too. Happy hour lasts from 2-7pm, Monday-Friday. The bar is dimly lit and definitely does not have expensive decor, but the staff is fast and friendly! It's the perfect, no-frills neighborhood bar that you just visit to unwind for happy hour.

          Stir: This Chinese place on Sunset, right where Maple Valley Highway goes under 405, has the best fried rice in Renton! It's not the generic, Canto-American fried rice with peas and carrots.

        2. e
          ericf Oct 23, 2008 01:31 PM

          I have worked in Renton for 20 years. A place that I used to go to often but hadn't for years is Omar Al kayyam on Sunset. It has what I think is some of the better lebanese/ middle eastern food in the city. I just had the hummous, falafel and lamb shishkabob and all were great.

          1. n
            noodlenoodle Oct 16, 2008 03:26 PM

            Pho Hoa in Renton - nice avocado bubble tea and excellent Pho

            1. g
              GreenYoshi Oct 16, 2008 02:41 PM

              Cedar River Smokehouse is pretty good.
              The BBQ aficionados (snobs) will not dig it, but its pretty good stuff for Seattle.

              1 Reply
              1. re: GreenYoshi
                e
                equinoise Oct 16, 2008 03:28 PM

                Hong's Garden, 64 Rainier Ave., is above average Cantonese, esp. for this area. My take on it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/514058

              2. l
                laurahutch Aug 27, 2008 03:41 PM

                Must admit it's been a few years since I've dined there regularly but I used to live in Renton so have a few thoughts. If Southcenter area is considered Renton enough, Grazie, on Southcenter Parkway by the Men's Wearhouse, is pretty good. Not stellar but decent and the atmosphere is very NOT Southcenter.

                The Apogee is the local tavern in the Fairwood area. It's definitely tavern food with no frills but I like it. Can't beat the burger basket with fries and the personal combo pizza. Yummm...

                And I have to say, if you're going to mention Azteca, then I must admit a guilty pleasure is Red Robin. (Up on in East Hill in Kent and one on Southcenter Parkyway.) I know, I know! It's like the Gap of food places but when you want a greasy burger, they're tough to beat. Order side of ranch with your fries and you have the perfect decadent low-brow meal.

                1. jodymaryk Aug 25, 2008 08:43 PM

                  We live in the Highlands and agree that there isn't to many good places, however, there is more then there used to be and hopefully it will continue to grow. Here is the places my hubby and I like:

                  Dog and Pony, 4th (?) and Park (south of Boeing)-great selection of microbrews on tap, about 35 and mostly northwest. Great pub food, sassy service and nice patio in the summer where your dog is also welcome (gates on both sides of patio open to let your dog in and they have bowls of water for the pups). This is kind of our go to place when we eat out on a whim. It is a great neighborhood place with gas fireplace, sofa, arm chair in one corner. We are glad it is not within walking distance or my hubby would have a running tab there!

                  Naan N' Curry - Great Indian food and the 5 star is HOT!

                  Pabla Indian Cuisine (by Fred Meyers) is vegetarian and also has a Indian grocery/bakery attached to it and is where I can find all of my ingredients for Indian cooking including premade/frozen samosas, 4 to a ziploc for around $4. I throw them in the freezer then thaw and reheat in the oven. Way easier then making my own. Oh yes, and paneer cheese that has already been cubed and fried and frozen, one pound bags for about $5. Again, throw in freezer then straight into dishes I am cooking.

                  Melrose Grill - we only ate here once last year but it was a great steak house. Not cheap but I thought everything was wonderful including the service. My husband and our two friends all had steaks, with choice of potato (garlic/cheese mashed were to die for), choice of salads and wonderful homemade rolls. I had New Zealand rack of lamb, to die for! I would definitely go back again for a nice steak dinner. The building is an old historic building and has the nice, dark wood setting that I like in a steak house.

                  Armondo's - Don't love this place but have had worse. There new location is nice and the wood fired pizza is good. Worth a try.

                  Red House - haven't been there but have heard good things

                  Ezell's Fried Chicken - Ok not really a restaurant but damn good fried chicken and the rolls are little tasty nuggets of goodness!

                  Casa Durango - Sunset & Union in the Highlands - Authentic mexican food and good prices. It is always full of lots of Mexicans(always a good sign in my opinion) and there is usually Hispanic TV blasting away with a game show or soap opera so don't go for the ambience. They have pozole and menudo on the weekends also.

                  A new place is supposed to open up this fall in the Highland called The Tea Palace and they have dim sum!! I hope it is good!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: jodymaryk
                    s
                    smalt Aug 25, 2008 08:59 PM

                    Where's the Ezell's down there? Is it off of Renton Ave, north of the Renton city line?

                    1. re: smalt
                      jodymaryk Aug 30, 2008 07:56 AM

                      Ezell's is actually up in the Highlands on 4th. Just go up the big hill and past Greenwood Cemetery. Keep going past the new post office and when you come to the a strip mall on your right, just before the light at Duvall it is in the strip mall. Sorry, don't know the actual address. Funny, it is a few stores down from my Weight Watcher meeting and this week Ezell's was extra smelly good! Haven't caved and bought chicken after the meeting yet. My husband says it is a test!

                      1. re: jodymaryk
                        s
                        smalt Aug 30, 2008 04:17 PM

                        Love those rolls when they're hot!

                        1. re: smalt
                          jodymaryk Aug 30, 2008 06:39 PM

                          Little tender bites of buttery goodness!

                  2. z
                    zoogrrrl Aug 24, 2008 09:28 PM

                    My friends love Blossom. Lunch was a bargain and they can't wait to get back for dinner.

                    1. s
                      smalt Aug 24, 2008 08:55 PM

                      The old Jubilante is now Blossom Asian Bistro, by the owners of Gene's Ristorante and the Red House. Haven't tried it yet, but will at some point...

                      http://www.blossomasianbistro.com/

                      1. barleywino Aug 24, 2008 08:52 AM

                        an Indian friend of mine loves Naan 'N Curry in Renton (an offshoot of the SF Bay area Naan 'N Curry places) and says it is very authentic.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: barleywino
                          e
                          equinoise Aug 26, 2008 12:58 PM

                          I second this. It is an Indo-Pakistani place with several interesting and maybe even locally unique dishes. I really enjoyed the kerala daal, a bitter melon and lentil dish, and I am eager to sample the beef nehari and haleem, Pakistani favorites that were highly touted by the staff there, and in media reports IIRC.

                          1. re: equinoise
                            d
                            delhiboy Nov 25, 2008 08:17 PM

                            I agree $3 a bit too much for rice. I am not a big fan of rice that is why I am very happy that my food does not include the price of rice. Rice may be expensive but their main dishes are much better than reasonably priced and undoubtedly on of the most authentic indian pakistani food served at Naan N Curry. I am from Delhi, where food has its meaning and people who know kareem's in delhi will agree with me.

                          2. re: barleywino
                            n
                            noodlenoodle Oct 16, 2008 02:28 PM

                            Naan 'N Curry charges $3+ for an order of rice. I got ripped off the last time I went there. This place is a rip off.

                            1. re: noodlenoodle
                              e
                              equinoise Oct 16, 2008 03:25 PM

                              I see that N n C does charge $3.25 for "Saffron Rice: Basmati rice cooked with saffron and fresh seasoning." This is arguably a step beyond plain Basmati and worth a bit more. You may disagree.

                              I am not one to pull punches on Seattle area restaurant pricing in general, but looking at the menu as a whole, this one hardly qualifies as a categorical "rip off".

                              1. re: equinoise
                                n
                                noodlenoodle Oct 21, 2008 03:48 PM

                                When I order an order of rice, I don't care if it is "Saffron Rice: Basmati rice cooked with saffron and fresh seasoning." Now, if they gave me a choice, I would probably understand but no choice; it's a ripoff.

                                1. re: noodlenoodle
                                  g
                                  GoDucks Oct 31, 2008 05:11 PM

                                  Yes, charging extra for rice, and for bread, does seem bothersome and does make it add up more than it seems it ought to. The solution? Hit Naan 'n Curry for week day lunch when they throw the rice as part of the lunch special deal. Cuts the cost to about $10 per person and, there is no denying their food is mighty tasty and, yes, H-O-T, if you want it to be.

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