If you have a little time, take the 44 bus to Wallingford, where there are higher-end options all the way between I-5 and Stone Way. Although these are also pricier. You can also go to downtown Seattle.
Do's on the Ave:
Aladdin Gyrocery - unrivaled falafil
Pho Than Brothers - best pho on the Ave
Caspian Grill - Persian food
Taste of India - it's on Roosevelt+52nd - you'll need to walk it off afterwards anyway
Orange King - strangely addictive burgers
Shinka - I like their teas and bubble teas/shakes
Tandoor - I like it, but haven't been there in a long time.
Shalimar - Haven't been there since they remodeled.
Taco del Mar-type place close to Aladdin's - I forget the name.
Also - try the restaurant that sits on the corner of the Ave and 50th. It's a very bad location of business, and no restaurant there ever lasts very long. But they compensate by usually having very interesting food there, and usually at a decent price. It's currently a Caribbean place (Pam's? - haven't tried it yet), but it's also been a conveyer belt sushi joint and a Vietnamese place before that.
Don'ts on the Ave:
Thai Tom - overrated; Thaiger Room if you must have Thai
IMPORTANT - be sure to check http://www.thesurvivalkit.com/uwind.htm for coupons. Almost all Indian places (as well as other restaurants) have coupons there. It's usually 1 free dinner with the purchase of another dinner and 2 drinks, or some discount off lunch.
I've had nice food & thoughtful service at the Indian restaurant across University Way from the old school just north of 50th ..this is NOT Cedars which a few on this post recommend BUT I think serves tasteless mush. I wish I could remember it's name, sorry. I've taken my mother there and she loved it. It's a nice follow up to a morning at the farmers market.
How about this place? I've been wanting to go since Nancy Leson wrote about it.
(If you go, let us know how it is
Cedar's would be an obvious choice.
I personally love Jack's Chinese and Pam's both just north of the main Ave area.
My veggie friends all tell me Araya on 45th is great, but I never end up going (there are just so many other Meat options...)
I was really disappointed with Bombay Grill the last time I went for lunch.
I ate at that spot - Chilis - before that article came out. Its true - its great! I couldnt believe what a delicious and cheap find. You get so much food. I always walked by it, thinking it was only a little convenience store. Its not necessarily a good spot for a chatty lunch. There is absolutely no atmosphere. Its best for taken out in my opinion.