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Best Kept Secrets on the Eastside

Given that the Eastside is being populated with the PF Changs and Spazzo's of the world (not to knock them, they have their time and place), I would love some rec's for any hidden gems to try over on this side of the water.

Thai, Italian, Bahn Mi, Cuban, Mexican, Best Sandwich...come on, what does the Eastside have that I have been missing out on?

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  1. There is a strip mall in Redmond (although it feels like it's in Bellevue) that is cheap ethnic food heaven-- on a 152nd between 24th and 25th NE. There you will find Malay Satay Hut, Mayuri Foods (an Indian grocery, with a bakery and Indian sweets/chaat store next door--forget the bakery to the extent they do Western stuff, but the Indian things are good but the Indian things are good), Kabob Palace (Pakistani) and a Brazilian bakery that I have yet to try but have heard good things about. Highly recommended. On the high end side, you can't do better than Cafe Juanita in Juanita. Trellis in Kirkland is also a good choice.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PAO

      Mediterranean Kitchen in Bellevue, get the Grandfather Chicken!

    2. Well, there are certainly some good options on the Eastside, just not as many as in Seattle.
      For Thai, Issaquah's Noodle Boat is considered by some to be the best Thai on the Eastside or in Seattle. It is very good and I have liked some of the more unusual dishes a lot - check out the menu if you have a chance.
      For Italian, Cafe Juanita is awesome. Tropea in Redmond might be the best standard Italian place i've been to on the Eastside. Calabria was good in Kirkland but i'm not sure if they had to close when those business were kicked out.
      Bahn Mi is a rare thing on the Eastside for some reason. Pho Express in the Totem Lake area of Kirkland though does a very good one. Nice baguette, very flavorful meats, they can be a little heavy with the butter spread though and I don't believe that they smear any pate on the bread.
      I don't believe there are any Cuban places on the Eastside.
      Mexican food is a little iffy. I enjoy Ooba's in Redmond. Also I think that of the standard Americanized Mexican places (one taco, one enchilada combo) that Mi Tierra in Woodinville is the best. I will also admit that I like Cactus for what they do. Not sure if Barrio opened up their Bellevue location yet but I know that the Seattle restaurant got mixed reviews but with some high praise. To be honest, Baja Fresh is quite a bit better than what often passes for Mexican around here (I am from Southern California so that means I am immune from getting flamed for that statement!)
      I am a big fan of sandwiches so here goes: The price is borderline ridiculous, but the sandwiches in Bellevue at Gilbert's on Main (check the hours they are open before going) are outstanding. The reuben is better than I Love NY deli in Seattle or any other reuben in the city. The sandwiches at Goldberg's Jewish Deli are not amazing but usually quite good. Twisted Sandwich in Woodinville has solid flavors placed on a tasty homemade bread. The hidden gem sandwich on the Eastside... the Taiwanese sandwich with egg at Cafe Happy in Kirkland. After Paseo, and Salumi, this is my favorite sandwich.
      Other Eastside places of note: Meze in Kirkland (fantastic hummus, everything else is okay), Taj Palace in Bellevue is my favorite Indian place, Seoul Hot Pot (in that same strip mall that PAO suggested) serves really high quality Korean, Bamiyan in Issaquah serves better Afghan food than Kabul in Seattle, i'm sure there are other places i'm forgetting but this post is long enough.

      1 Reply
      1. re: eat.rest.repeat

        My goodness, thank you so much! It sounds like you love food as much as I do! You've tried it all!!! I will make a list (and check it twice) from your rec's.

      2. There's the stuff that always gets listed, so I won't rehash here, but some that I don't see as often:

        Kafta sandwich at Persian Grocery-Deli on Main St.
        Swedish pancakes with lingonberry jam at Pancake Corral on Bellevue Way
        Dumplings at the little noodle place in Lake Hills
        Tacos and the torta at the place outside of the mall (to the east) in Crossroads
        Ooba Tooba
        Facing East

        I'm personally a big fan of Garlic Crush, but I realize it's nothing incredibly special (although I like it alot more than Med. Kitchen, which gets fawned over)

        This doesn't consider much on the Redmond (Microsoft) side of Bellevue, where there are decent places like Taj Palace, Spice Route and Kiku Sushi

        20 Replies
        1. re: GreenYoshi

          Oh yeah, Won Ton City in Lake Hills. The wonton mein is not too far from what I had in Hong Kong.

          1. re: eat.rest.repeat

            I second Won Ton City...Please keep them in business. I love their wonton noodles....and the vinegar they serve with them. Yum!

            1. re: soypower

              Soypower, sounds like we could be related. My sisters and I get teased for "drinking vinegar."

              1. re: ethereal

                I do practically drink the vinegar they serve at Wonton City. Truly amazing stuff!

                1. re: soypower

                  Speaking of drinking vinegar...http://www.portlandmonthlymag.com/eat...
                  You could most likley find some at uwajimaya

              2. re: soypower

                This is the first I've heard of Won Ton City? Do they serve xiao long bao with that vinegar?

                1. re: equinoise

                  Nope. A very limited menu. The won tons and sui kau are great. The congee is very good as well. But the menu pretty much consists of that and also some chinese donuts.

                  1. re: eat.rest.repeat

                    Won Ton City closed.
                    Was worth the trip.
                    Boo hoo!

                    1. re: pmelvoin

                      Noooo! I'm so disappointed! I noticed that Yang's dumpling house moved to Kirkland though.. Still not much consolation for losing WC.

            2. re: GreenYoshi

              ooo, I have heard of the Kafta sandwiches at Persian Grocery, but I had forgotten about that. I will have to try! I do yoga on Main just down the way!

              1. re: kgreig

                One note, I've occasionally had times there where my sandwich has come out a little greasy. I don't know what it is, (probably just the fact that they don't make tons of sandwiches, so the process isn't super refined) just note that a place like that can have it's off days.

                1. re: GreenYoshi

                  was it any sandwich in particular that seemed to come out greasy? I have heard so many great things about it, I will be sure to cut them some slack if it's not stellar the first time. Besides, I love the Mom and Pop stores. I'd rather have a greasy Persian sandwich than a dry Subway any day!

              2. re: GreenYoshi

                Was in Bellevue today on Main and looked for the Persian Grocery-Deli. It looked closed down. A google search shows one in Kirkland (Totem Lake). Does anyone know if this is the same place and they just moved? I was really looking forward to a good sandwich.

                1. re: eat.rest.repeat

                  It's still open, well, at least as of a couple weeks ago (maybe not on weekends?)

                  Up on Main and 108th or so, right?
                  By the Toy's chinese.

                  1. re: GreenYoshi

                    Yep, it's still open. I was by there the other day. You have to get past the murky exterior, and go inside...the food will make you forget about the dingy storefront.

                    1. re: kgreig

                      When I checked it out, they had a note up about how they're moving and changing the name, I think to Persepolis or Persepolis Grocery or something like that. If they're closed up, check to see if there's a little note in the window.

                      1. re: seattledebs

                        The space that housed Persian Grocery is now truly vacant. Does anyone know the whereabouts of Persepolis or whatever other current form they are in?

                        1. re: equinoise

                          I went yesterday to their new digs to check them out.
                          It's now called Perseopolis Grocery and they are now located at
                          13112 Northeast 20th Street
                          Bellevue, WA 98005-2045
                          (in that big office park with King's Chinese next to Himitsu, the Japanese/Korean place)

                          The sandwich wasn't quite as good as I had remembered, but it was still solid. I think that you now have to ask for the spiciness specifically which was part of the problem, but it wasn't just that. Something seemed different about the meat and the way it was cooked or flavored.

                          Also, I had to ask if they still served sandwiches, since there was no indication that they do so.

                          They gave me a nice little lentil soup, on the house, which was FANTASTIC. I hope they start selling that.

                          Still one of my "Best Kept Secrets of the Eastside"

                          1. re: GreenYoshi

                            Thanks for the update. It's a further trek for me now, but probably still worthwhile. Maybe I'll roll out today.

                            1. re: equinoise

                              I made it to Persepolis yesterday for lunch. The sandwiches (kotlet and chicken kabob) were as good as I can remember from the old location--I love the tang of housemade yogurt sauce and the sliced pickles combined with the savory meats. As Yoshi pointed out, it is not readily apparent that the sandwiches are offered--the flip-book picture menus on the tables show other items. While the grocery items seem about the same, the prepared offerings seem to have expanded to include polo (rice pilaf) and kebab platters, as well as, oddly, Thai food.

                              I also concur with Yoshi that the orange-hued lentil soup was outstanding. I noticed a group of men, awaiting their sandwich orders, making an appetizer of persian style sliced mortadella, tomato, pickles and sprigs of fresh tarragon wrapped in lavash bread. It looked so inticing that I bought my own ingredients to try at home.

              3. One place that doesn't seem to get mentioned often is Ginza in Bellevue. They do Japanese small plates and have a huge menu. I especially liked the tea smoked pork belly and the pumpkin fried rice.

                Tasty Thai in Factoria does a delicious Mussamun curry, and Zenyai Noodles (in the Bellevue Trader Joe's shopping center) has a cracktastic crispy garlic chicken. Also, Can Am Pizza, in the same shopping center, has really good Indian pizza.

                3 Replies
                1. re: creepygirl

                  My mouth is literally watering for the crispy garlic chicken. Is it served on noodles, or just a la carte chicken?

                  1. re: kgreig

                    The crispy garlic chicken is served with rice.

                  2. re: creepygirl

                    ehh... I used to like Ginza alot more.
                    Something seems to have changed with them.
                    Best Japanese in the downtown area, but that doesn't say a whole lot....

                  3. Any Pho rec's? I am taking my brother for some this weekend, and he's quite the expert...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kgreig

                      probably too late for you kgreig, but I always liked Saigon City.

                    2. I had the chance to try Spiced tonight. It's a new Sichuan place across the street from Crossroads Mall. This marks another worthy entry into the Sichuan scene alongside Bamboo Garden, Szechwan 99, and Szechwan Chef.

                      It's a pretty small place with an enthusiastic following. Best of luck getting a seat.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: HungWeiLo

                        Thank you very much for this piece of info. I just noticed that Spiced had opened up and was curious. Especially since I have found Szechwan Chef's quality to have seriously declined. Has anyone else been to the Chinese place in North Bend? I don't recall the name but I was very pleasantly surprised. Good hand shaven noodle dishes amongst other things.

                        1. re: eat.rest.repeat

                          Where is the Chinese restaurant in North Bend?

                          1. re: Jane917

                            Found it. It is Yum Yang. Its in the strip mall with the Safeway near the Outlets.

                        2. re: HungWeiLo

                          Szechuan Chef is under new ownership and the food is not the same - actually pretty awful on my last visit.

                          1. re: FoodDee

                            Szechwan Chef has always been at the bottom of the "acceptable or better" Chinese on the eastside. Sad to hear that I can disregard them now.

                            1. re: FoodDee

                              I am really sorry to hear this. When I was still working over there this place was outstanding. Where did the former owners go? Do you know?

                              1. re: malarkey

                                I understand that they have a history of selling a restaurant to their employees, then opening another one, so maybe we'll see them again.

                                I recall some postings on their behalf by their web developer; maybe s/he will see your inquiry and have some info to share.

                                1. re: malarkey

                                  If you haven't figured it out, I believe they are now at Spicy Talk in downtown Redmond. :)

                                  1. re: gck

                                    We tried Spicy Talk last night - I thought something was familiar.

                                    They're having a "dumping festival" right now. $5 for 15 dumplings, steamed or pan fried.

                                    1. re: HungWeiLo

                                      Familiar, but did you think they were as good? We thought something was "different" besides the shorter menu.

                                      1. re: FoodDee

                                        We thought the quality was still there, but I'll have to go back a few more times for a fair judgment.

                            2. Crossroads Mall has an amazing food-court, ripe with locally owned ethnic food options.

                              My home base used to be Issaquah, which has solid food options;

                              Jak's – Top steaks
                              Shanghai Garden – Almost identical to the ID location, for barley green hand-shaven noodles
                              Shusiman – Upper-end sushi
                              iSushi – More reasonable, conveyor belt sushi
                              Flying Pie – Arguably the best pizza in the region next to that great Korean BBQ restaurant
                              Taqueria La Venadita – Tacos al Pastor!
                              Noodle Boat – Great Thai food and deep menu
                              Pho Hoa – Issaquah valley's only Pho option
                              Bangalore Cuisine - Better than average indian food

                              Factoria is home to Top Gun, if you are in the mood for Dim Sum.

                              Cafe Juanita, 'nuff said.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: phinious

                                I canNOT wait to try Taqueria La Venadita! I just looked online for a website or reviews and came across a pic of their menu (attached). Definitely looks like the real deal!

                                 
                              2. I have an Eastside related question: Does anyone know what is up with The Stone House? It is one of the top rated Eastside restaurants on Yelp yet I never hear it get mentioned on Chowhound. Plus, a little while ago I saw someone actually did mention it and stated that it was really good and then someone else posted a reply saying that that poster needed to divulge their relationship to the restaurant. I interpreted this as someone knowing that the Stone House was up to something fishy. Is this the case? Thanks for any info.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: eat.rest.repeat

                                  I can't speak to the food, as I've never eaten there, but I do know that they are under new ownership (within the past 6-9 months, probably). The chef/owner is Ryan Donaldson, a seemingly ambitious young chef. I think his father is his financial business partner, but he runs the restaurant by himself for the most part. It's a very cute spot, great for a date night if you're on the eastside. Nothing fishy going on that I know of. More info here: http://www.stonehouseredmond.com/The_...

                                  1. re: eat.rest.repeat

                                    I've personally witnessed a few individuals personally connected to restaurants who created accounts here solely to trump their own businesses. Many times, it's quite obvious. When I read the posting that you pointed to, it had the signs of this - although one can't be sure.

                                    I remember that the Indian restaurant in Redmond Town Center (Mehfil) was definitely guilty of this.

                                    1. re: eat.rest.repeat

                                      I recently ate at the Stonehouse and didn't think much of it. I was rather dissappointed because I'd heard great things about it. The ambiance was nice, but the food was on the salty side and the dishes were just okay. The value wasn't there and the meals left dissatisfied.

                                      Thanks for all of the great eastside recommendations. I'd thought that I knew most of the best places, but you've all named some that I need to try.

                                      1. re: Yum.Drool

                                        Who new we had so many treasures in the "burbs, huh?

                                        1. re: Yum.Drool

                                          I would respectfully disagree with the sub-par review on the Stone House. We have had excellent and interesting food there at dinner time. I would say we were less thrilled with lunch as it was pretty standard soup/ salad/ sandwich fare. The dinner menu was very creative and tasty. The outdoor seating option on a warm summer evening is also delightful, albeit a little close to the street. The service is very friendly and we love the place. It's very small so good to have a reservation.

                                          1. re: grlred

                                            I also disagree as we had dinner there last year. What I rave about though is the dessert, it's a Bananas Foster Bread Pudding with fresh coconut shavings and amazing butter rum sauce. I have no relationship with the restaurant, here's my review on Yelp:

                                            http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-stone-hou...

                                      2. Izumi in Kirkland for Japanese and Bis on Main in Bellevue for high end eats, kgreig.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: firecracker

                                          Izumi in Totem Lake is phenomenal... Zagat rated and lives up to the reviews. Affordable sushi, great quality of fish. Good ratio of fish to rice - light on the rice unlike the sushi places in the mall or the supermarket. Don't waste your time at a table, sit at the Sushi bar. Shito-san is worth it!

                                          1. re: bnelson

                                            I second Izumi.
                                            I had the opportunity to chat with Mrs. "Owner" when I lunched there some time ago.
                                            They use Konbu and Katsuo for their stock for noodle soup and miso soups.

                                        2. I second the Meditteranean Kitchen....great lebanese food...the best in all of Seattle, IMO.
                                          And I heard that Monsoon ('upscale' vietnamese) opened on Main St. in 'old' Bellevue.
                                          And of course, don't miss Pomegranate in Redmond.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: staffstuff

                                            I recently discovered that there is a branch of Meditteranean Kitchen in Kirkland on 124th.

                                            1. re: FoodDee

                                              Wow, I had no idea! Thanks for the tip!

                                              1. re: FoodDee

                                                My understanding is that it is actually less expensive than the one in Bellevue. Is that true?

                                            2. Issaquah has a few offerings:

                                              Jak's for steak, Sip for something more refined, XXX for burgers and rootbeer, Issaquah Brew House for a pint of Rogue, Stan's BBQ for BBQ, and of course Boehms for a chocolate dipped ice cream covered with nuts.

                                              My mother raves about Taqueria La Venadita, but I've not been.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: nanette

                                                So I just went to XXX last week, and I was sorely disappointed.
                                                The rootbeer was still delicious, but the burgers are now a sloppy (expensive) mess.

                                                The burgers looked like preformed frozen patties and they didn't even have a nice char from the flattop. Just kind of an underdone blandness.

                                                It's still kind of a fun place with all the car show stuff and the rootbeer's good, but the food's a pass for me now.

                                                1. re: GreenYoshi

                                                  XXX is only good for taking funny pictures of friends holding humorously large portions of food in their hands. Nothing more.

                                                  1. re: GreenYoshi

                                                    Oh no, that's horrible. I was there last summer home visiting and it was still good. Thanks for the update, thankfully Boehms up the road still merits a visit.

                                                    1. re: nanette

                                                      XXX burgers aren't worth the risks of eating hamburger.

                                                2. Preets in Bellevue for authentic Indian food
                                                  Cafe Ori for HK comfort food, especially the delicious and cheap pork chops
                                                  Tortas and tacos at the truck at the gas station at NE 24th St & 148th Ave NE
                                                  Momoya Sushi in Kirkland - best QPR for sushi I have found on the Eastside, definitely a hole in the wall place
                                                  O'Ginger in Issaquah - great, inexpensive Thai with some SE Asian dishes thrown in

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: gck

                                                    Oh that is good to know about the taco truck. I have always wanted to try it, especially since there is ALWAYS a line there. I am a young-ish female and have been a little intimated by the line of all men there. But, I guess I need to bite the bullet and give it a try!

                                                    I am surprised by the votes for Jaks. Am I the only one that thought it was over-priced? People love that place!!!

                                                    Where is Taqueria La Venadita??

                                                    1. re: kgreig

                                                      Jak's is not overpriced for the quality of beef that they serve at the price that they charge.

                                                      I've always seen a number of women at the taco truck - although usually accompanied by men...but don't worry, it's perfectly safe there - it's not like you're in Rainier Valley or something.

                                                      1. re: HungWeiLo

                                                        good point, I will brave the truck in search of a yummy meal.

                                                        1. re: kgreig

                                                          In my opinion, the truck is only alright. It's what we have to live with on the eastside. Although there's now a Taqueria El Rinconsito on 140th just down the street from there. Haven't tried it just yet - I've been to their other restaurants in south King county, and it's pretty good.

                                                          1. re: HungWeiLo

                                                            I am right by El Rinconsito once a week, so I will pop in there next time. Any rec's on what is good there?

                                                            1. re: kgreig

                                                              I eat everything there. Last I tried, the lengua tacos was pretty decent.

                                                            2. re: HungWeiLo

                                                              I forgot all about TER...Their tacos are awesome and I believe they're open until 2am?

                                                      2. re: gck

                                                        Preet's is in Redmond. I wish they were more consistent - when it's good it's good; otherwise kind of meh.

                                                        Preet's is an offshoot of Punjab Sweets in Kent, which is much more consistent. They have much of the same vegetarian punjabi menu, but the sweets are the real star. Easily the best Indian sweetshop you will find in the Northwest, better than All-India Sweets in Vancouve BC, and even rivals what I've had in the Southhall area of London.

                                                        -----
                                                        Punjab Sweets
                                                        23617 104th Ave SE Ste C, Kent, WA 98031

                                                        Preet
                                                        8440 160th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98052

                                                      3. To stuff your face with decent sushi for little bucks, Marineopolis Sushi Land in Bellevue is great.... it's one of those conveyor belt places.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: Senzinina

                                                          I went to a newer conveyor belt sushi restaurant across the street from the Crossroads mall and I actually thought that this restaurant (unfortunately, I can't remember the name of it) was much better than the Marinepolis' Sushi Land in Redmond's Bella Bottega Mall. If you get a chance, I'd recommend checking it out to compare it to the Marinepolis in downtown Bellevue.

                                                          1. re: Yum.Drool

                                                            I think that's SushiMe.

                                                            1. re: gck

                                                              SushiMe rocks.

                                                            2. re: Yum.Drool

                                                              Agreed. I was basically ignored at the Bella Bottega location. The Lynnwood one across from Alderwood mall is consistently above average. They make a decent takoyaki and a great salmon skin roll.

                                                            3. re: Senzinina

                                                              Sushi Land = dog food

                                                              1. re: Scott O

                                                                Amen

                                                            4. Facing East Taiwanese place. A couple of blocks north of Bell Square, ont he west side of Bellevue way (off the road in a mini-mall behind a bank). Really amazing.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: dnamj

                                                                What do you like to get at Facing East? I will be by there today, coincidentally!

                                                                1. re: kgreig

                                                                  Was just there last night. I like the taiwanese hamburger. And I like their noodle dishes. The beef noodle soup and the vermicelli pan fried noodles are my regulars. My son and husband love the pork rice. We usually add to this whatever looks good from where we stand while we're waiting for a table. Can be fish or calamari or chicken.

                                                                  And my husband loves shaved ice for dessert.

                                                                  1. re: kgreig

                                                                    Taiwanese burger
                                                                    Pork chop with rice
                                                                    Oyster omelette (if they still have it)
                                                                    Fried chicken
                                                                    Three spices chicken
                                                                    Stir-fry clams
                                                                    Tofu / seaweed appetizer
                                                                    A spicy beef dish (can't recall the name)
                                                                    Mango shaved ice dessert in the summer

                                                                    1. re: kgreig

                                                                      Beef noodle soup - we ordered ours with rice noodles instead. Delicious.
                                                                      Clams stir-fried with basil
                                                                      Pickled radish fried rice
                                                                      Sliced lamb in barbecue sauce - don't be misled by "barbecue" in the name. It's rather a savory and dark sauce, which when combined with ong choi, makes a wonderful dish.
                                                                      Salt and pepper shrimp - much preferred over steamed shrimp in wine sauce.
                                                                      Mango shaved ice - an unbelievably refreshing and stunning dessert (only available in the summer)
                                                                      Citrus or kumquat tea - sweet, tart and delicious.

                                                                  2. I went to Noodle Boat in Issaquah based on numerous recommendations and found myself incredibly disappointed.

                                                                    I much preferred the food at Chantanee. Add on the fact that you can get craft cocktails at the bar, and you've got yourself a winner.

                                                                    I'm a fan of the Indian food at Kanishka.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                      You really liked the food better at Chantanee than Noodle Boat? Why was that?

                                                                      I do like the craft cocktail angle at Chantanee, but I thought the food was less interesting than Noodle Boat, and overpriced.

                                                                      1. re: equinoise

                                                                        Granted I only had two dishes but both were very poor -- the khao soi and the eponymous noodle boat. I found the sauces weak and underseasoned, compounded by the fact that the kitchen made an error in swapping the noodles (the thin vermicelli in the khao soi and the the flat noodle in the noodle boat).

                                                                        Chantanee on the other hand was quite vibrant. I'll give you the price difference, but I'll disagree on the interestingness. The miang kham was excellent, using real betel leaves, and they had one of the better stir-fried beef in holy basil ผัด ใบ กะเพรา เนื้อ preps I've had. I'll admit I was there for the cocktails first and foremost, but I was duly impressed with the food, too.

                                                                        1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                          wowwww, I couldn't disagree any more! I went to Chantenee expecting great things, but was SORELY disappointed. Let's make a deal...I will try Chantanee again if you give Noodle Boat another try? Have cocktails nearby, THEN go to Noodle Boat! :-)

                                                                          1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                            I had a great soup there recently, which they call tom zap. Pork ribs and I think lotus root slices in a very spicy broth laden with galangal. Really great for a drizzly fall day.

                                                                      2. Redmond is Eastside Pacific Northwest? Bellevue? What happened to Wenatchee?

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: kayssurf

                                                                          Wenatchee is Eastern Washington. Redmond and Bellevue are 'the Eastside' as in the Eastside of Lake Washington.

                                                                        2. I never noticed it before, but there appears to be a Than Bros. Pho across the street from Crossroads mall, next door to Spiced. We went there a few nights ago for the most delicious cream puffs you'll ever have and, in my opinion, the best pho in Washington State.

                                                                          1. I really, really like the Shoyu Ramen at the "Food Court" at Uwajimaya in Bellevue.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: ritabwh

                                                                              Mmm.... Takohachi. I kinda wish I had the chance to try it back when it was in the ID.

                                                                            2. I enjoy El Tapatio Mexican restaurant (Newcastle and Bellevue/Factoria) because of their good & fresh food and good prices.
                                                                              I enjoy Gyro World (locations in Bellevue/Factoria and Remond(Bella Botega) for its chicken gyros.
                                                                              There are both local places and are much better than chain restaurants of any kind.

                                                                              1. Not sure if this qualifies as Eastside or Southend, but I recently had dinner at Royal Orchid Thai Restaurant in Renton. They had the best Som Tum I've had in quite a long while. Lots of lime juice and super hot. Also had their pad kee mao which was great. Big plus was that they serve brown rice. Yum!

                                                                                http://royalorchidrenton.com/
                                                                                (can't seem to view their website in IE, but Firefox worked)

                                                                                1. I get sick of all the Thai on the Eastside. Much prefer Bis on Main, Brix Wine Bar (Kirkland), Pizza Bank or Izumi.

                                                                                  1. I'm surprised that there hasn't been more mention of Yea's Wok, a splendid Chinese restaurant in the Safeway strip mall as you enter Newcastle via Coal Creek Parkway off I-405. Wonderfully fresh food, good service, and huge portions. I've been to most Eastside Chinese restaurants- and many in Seattle- and this is as good as we've got. Very good Thai food can be had at Zen Yai in the Bellevue strip mall housing Trader Joe's. Their soups and noodle dishes are especially noteworthy: very creative and boldly flavored.
                                                                                    On negative notes, I am a contrary voice on Daniel's Broiler which I will charitably call a Tourist Trap- naw, heck, I'll go further. After being treated to dinner here in business settings a dozen or so times, I HATE this place. It's a pale shadow of a top flight steak house except for the pricing, which tests the upper limits. And I was disappointed with the new Cafe Juanita. The old one was excellent. The new one is designed for a woman's tastes with meager servings and hoity- toity presentations that left me longing for "real' food at fair prices. On a closing note ,I'm delighted at the opening of so many noteworthy new restaurants on the Eastside.

                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Gobsmacking

                                                                                      I thought Yea's Wok was okay but they are supposed to specialize in Taiwanese food and yet they lack a lot of Taiwanese specialties and don't compare to Facing East in that sense.

                                                                                      What do you mean by the "new" Cafe Juanita? I haven't been in about a year but have not heard anything about changes before.

                                                                                      Has anybody tried Macky's Dim Sum in Issaquah yet? I want to get out there because the review and the pics look pretty good. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html...

                                                                                      1. re: eat.rest.repeat

                                                                                        Thanks to this string, I finally dragged my husband to Facing East tonight. I remember hearing about it before but hadn[t made it in. My husband LOVED the pork burger (I was skeptical about even trying it until I saw the pictures on Yelp.) We also had the clams w/ basil, pork chop, string beans and stewed pork over rice. I loved it all. My husband thought the beans were too salty. The citrus tea looked amazing but our little table wasn't big enough to add one more thing. Can't wait to bring my parents next time they visit. Thanks all for the recos! Next on my list: Won Ton City in Lake Hills.

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Facing East Taiwanese Restaurant %u6771%u4F86%u98DF%u5E9C
                                                                                        1075 Bellevue Way NE Ste B2, Bellevue, WA 98004

                                                                                        1. re: eat.rest.repeat

                                                                                          My 11 year old son (the little foodie) and I tried Macky's on Saturday night. Since we are used to the traditional dim sum coming around on carts we were a little leary... change is hard, you know! But, we were amazingly surprised by the beautiful pictures on the menu that helped us with our selections. Each dish was better than the last as it came out steaming in the little steamers. The food was wonderful and the service delightful! We will definitely be back very soon. Two words, yum, yum!

                                                                                          1. re: mommipastrami

                                                                                            I'll ditto that. Had lunch there yesterday. Food was hot, fresh and tasty and the staff was very friendly.

                                                                                            1. re: krb

                                                                                              Thanks for the reports! I can't wait to try it now.

                                                                                          2. re: eat.rest.repeat

                                                                                            We just tried Macky's and while the service was more attentive than most dim sum places, the food was best described as edible. Each dish we tried had something not quite right. It seemed an Americanized version of the real thing. Noble Court with its wait and sticky tables will remain our main dim sum stop. Too bad as Macky's would have been very convenient..

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Noble Court Restaurant
                                                                                            1644 140th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98005

                                                                                        2. The Slip in downtown Kirkland is great for burgers and beer. Best in summer when you can sit outside and people watch. Good portion sizes and burgers are cooked to specifications.

                                                                                          Also in downtown Kirkland is a phenomenal Greek restaurant, Santorini. The owner is ALWAYS there - he even closes down every December and January when he makes his annual visit home to Greece. Gyros are yummy, lamb kebabs even more so. Tzatziki sauce is amazing - maybe some garlic? LOVE IT! Go through withdrawal every year when they close up over the holidays.

                                                                                          Santa Fe Mexican Grill in Totem Lake has better food than Cactus in Kirkland, but clearly doesn't have the atmosphere.

                                                                                          Zeek's Pizza in Kirkland on Park Lane is good. Try the Cherry Bomb Pizza.

                                                                                          Cafe Veloce in Totem Lake is great. Large portions, fireplace, great ambience. Food is delicious. Try the Garlic Cheese Bread. They have a Wine Club too.

                                                                                          Franky's Pizza in downtown Redmond is great - closest that I've found to an authentic NY Pizza joint out here in Seattle.

                                                                                          Kung Ho Chinese in Factoria in the Loehmann's Plaza is great. They serve brown rice, have many dinner and lunch options. Usually full of Asian diners, which almost always signifies good eats! Try the Won Ton Soup - it's more expensive than the other soups, but totally worth it. Comes with chicken breast, shrimp, fresh snow peas (they're crispy), fresh carrots, etc. Not too salty like many broths can be. A large bowl could be your whole meal!

                                                                                          Purple is overrated. Good food, small portions, pretentious atmosphere, and what is with the chairs that weigh more than a human being???

                                                                                          Great bakery which also does sandwiches is Hoffman's in the Park Place area of Kirkland across from QFC. Great French Dip sandwich and Egg Salad Sandwich! Homemade soups too. They rotate their sandwiches and soups on the menu, so call ahead!

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: bnelson

                                                                                            LMBO with your comments on Purple, bnelson. I couldn't agree more. I don't even find the food to be "good" - I think it's mediocre at best. Your description of the beyond heavy chairs and stools was right on target. I think they meant to convey the aura of "expensive", but they really convey the aura of "hernia".

                                                                                            I also like Frankie's. Cafe Veloce creeps me out a little, good food, but little critters can skittle across your table thanks to the close proximity of Totem Lake (yep, there is one!).

                                                                                            Santorini's - Greek heaven. Perhaps the best Greek in metro Seattle. So good. I could eat the Tzakziki sauce all by itself. I'm not a lamb fan, but ohhh these guys do it well!

                                                                                            Vovina Martini, Vodka and Wine bar makes great drinks and their food isn't bad either. Small, hip and great service.

                                                                                            1. re: firecracker

                                                                                              Nice to hear that Santorini is stll good. When I worked in Kirkland 12+ years ago I liked it a lot. I've thought about making a trip there over the years but didn't know if it was as good as I remembered. But I have to protest the Cafe Veloce rec...I have attended many a family dinner there and it's always bad. They used to have "Italian Nachos" on their menu for god's sake.

                                                                                            2. re: bnelson

                                                                                              I used to go to Kung Ho often, but stopped 2-3 years ago because I thought the food had deteriorated so far. Is it by chance under new ownership?

                                                                                            3. Lynn's Bistro in Kirkland is one of my favorite restaurants in the area. It is a sort of upscale French place, but the portions are large and I have never been disappointed. They have the best french onion soup I have ever had in or outside of France. Definitely worth a try!

                                                                                              1. I know I'm late to this thread but there are a few places that are occasionally worth going out of the way for in Bellevue, off the top of my head:

                                                                                                Malay Satay Hut in Overlake - I have to second this one even though the quality really varies. When it's bad it's alright, when it's good it's my favorite restaurant on the Eastside easily. Prawns here are almost always good. Off the top of my head the buddhist yam pot, singapore noodles, beef and potato curry, and mango prawns are usually good. Lots of unusual Malaysian dishes too so you know the menu selections aren't compromised. Sambal prawns are good but have a bit of an intense fetid flavor (they're made with Sambal Belacan which is a strong fermented shrimp paste), also if you must try durian you could do much worse than the smoothie here.

                                                                                                Ai Sushi in Crossroads - Pretty much a decent strip mall food court joint so don't expect good service and call 15 mins ahead if you don't want to wait, but the two standout dishes I've had here are Aji Bento special (panko-fried Jack Mackerel with mustardy sauce and a dollop of weird potato salad) and the Una-Don, which my friends and I ate at least once a week when I worked 2 days a week nearby: donburi (rice bowl) with four (deals!) fillets of broiled freshwater eel with lots of good sauce and some seaweed. I love eel!

                                                                                                Shanghai Cafe in Factoria - Hand-shaved Barleygreen noodles!

                                                                                                I agree that the Mediterranean Kitchen is overrated but the homemade Labneh there is so good, better than I've had in the middle east. Although serving it with basil is a weird choice it works because it's almost like tangy fresh mozzarella

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Malay Satay Hut
                                                                                                212 12th Ave S, Seattle, WA

                                                                                                Eastside
                                                                                                East Side Drive NE, Tacoma, WA 98422

                                                                                                Mediterranean Kitchen
                                                                                                103 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: mretik

                                                                                                  FYI: The Labneh is great, but not homemade. Ask them ( I did), they buy it from some retail outlet.

                                                                                                2. I know a lot of folks don't think of Renton as the Eastside, but I tend to.

                                                                                                  In any case, there's a 5 Guys hamburger place in the newing Landing Mall over by Lowe's and Fry's Electronics. Next to the theater. Delicious!

                                                                                                  1. I went to Bamboo Garden the other night and none of the Sichuan dishes I ordered tasted like they had any Sichuan peppercorns in them. What gives?

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                                                                                                    Bamboo Garden
                                                                                                    202 106th Pl NE, Bellevue, WA 98004

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: lavaca

                                                                                                      Go to Lao Sichuan (Sichuanese Cuisine) in back of Sears in Redmond. No shortage of Sichuan peppercorn there!

                                                                                                      1. re: lavaca

                                                                                                        There is also no shortage of said peppercorns at Spiced. It is used liberally in many of their dishes, including ma po tofu and Chong Qing chicken. Be forewarned that the spiciness level will absolutely blow your mind, not to mention other body parts.

                                                                                                      2. Don't know how long it's been opened, but there's a Henry's Taiwan inside Bellevue's Paldo World now.

                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                        Paldo World
                                                                                                        1720 Highway 99, Lynnwood, WA 98037

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: HungWeiLo

                                                                                                          This place is highlighted in a new article in the PI (online) about East Side Chinese

                                                                                                        2. I think it's appropriate to add Li's Dumpling and Noodle House in Bellevue to this list. I really enjoy their spicy beef noodle soup, seafood noodle soup and soy bean paste noodles. And of course, their dumplings are fabulous. Handmade noodles and dumpling wrappers have great texture and flavor.

                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: soypower

                                                                                                            And they've got a much expanded menu now, but I find that they are really only good at things that involve dumpling wrappers or noodles.

                                                                                                            And I seem to have trouble getting out of that place for less than $45-$50 for 2 people.

                                                                                                            1. re: HungWeiLo

                                                                                                              I love the generic "reviews" page on their site..."Anytown's" best....so awesome!

                                                                                                              http://lisdumplingandnoodlehouse.com/...

                                                                                                              1. re: equinoise

                                                                                                                Yeah...people shouldn't have their 15-year-old nephews do their company websites...

                                                                                                                1. re: HungWeiLo

                                                                                                                  I heard that Li's has been sold and is now called Little Taipei. They still have dumplings, less expensive, but also less tasty. My hubby's supposed to get some to go for me today...

                                                                                                                  1. re: foodAdenturous

                                                                                                                    My Taiwanese friend told me the same thing. Not bad, but not as good. And also not Tawianese, despite the name, she said.

                                                                                                          2. I haven't seen anyone mention Pasha Grill in Redmond Town Center. They serve "Turkish" food, which includes some Mediterranean cuisine, but I like their kofte plate, which is basically grilled beef patties served with rice, salad, and their special sauce, which is something like tzatziki, but not quite. It's one of the places I go to when I'm craving some comfort food (but I'm not of Mediterranean descent. :) )

                                                                                                            I see a lot of Eastern Europeans and their families eat there too.

                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                            Pasha Grill
                                                                                                            16556 NE 74th St, Redmond, WA 98052

                                                                                                            1. I sort of hate to blow the secret of our favorite place... but what the heck...

                                                                                                              The best Italian food our family has ever had outside of Italy itself is Italianissimo in Woodinville.

                                                                                                              http://www.italianissimoristorante.co...

                                                                                                              Most of the pastas are handmade in house (they tell you specifically which ones are and aren't with a little logo on the menu) and they have special Meatball Mondays and Sausage Fridays -- the homemade sausages are to die for. We don't even look at the menu anymore; we just get whatever the specials are. The fish is always extraordinary. The soup of the day always seems to be Shrimp Bisque, in addition to the regular standbys of Minestrone, Pasta e Fagioli and for some reason French Onion (which I haven't tried; seems odd for an Italian place). They have a great house chopped salad which can be either an app or an entree; the dressing is a proprietary house invention that's sort of between a Caesar and a Creamy Italian but better than either. They'll sell it to you by the pint if you ask -- I sometimes buy some and it keeps me in home made chopped Italian salads for weeks.

                                                                                                              They've got an older waiter there who's a little on the heavy side and who seems to have been there forever -- try to get him if you can.

                                                                                                              Someone else mentioned this place in another thread about if you could only have five places in Seattle to go to for the rest of your life and I agree wholeheartedly.

                                                                                                              Dang, now I'll never be able to get a table.

                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                              Italianissimo
                                                                                                              15608 NE Woodinville Duvall Pl, Woodinville, WA 98072

                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                TOTALLY AGREE about Italianissimo. AMAZING

                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                Italianissimo
                                                                                                                15608 NE Woodinville Duvall Pl, Woodinville, WA 98072

                                                                                                                1. re: jiaotzegirl

                                                                                                                  Really interesting how different people's opinions are. Really want to like this place since its close, but both times I've been there the food was mediocre to poor. Someone told me it helps if the waiter knows you - shouldn't be the case.

                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodDee

                                                                                                                    You're absolutely right -- it shouldn't. Only one of them there sort of recognizes us, but we rarely get him.

                                                                                                                    What dishes did you order and what was wrong with them? I've had dishes there I liked more than others, but when I've been less than thrilled it was usually because something just wasn't to my taste, not that it was prepared poorly.

                                                                                                                    1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                      Had the calamari steak - the breading was gummy. Hubby had a pasta with cream sauce - dry almost no sauce. Most recently with a friend - she had a risotto that was so bad she sent it back - absolutely tasteless and the meat that was in it probably should have been thrown out. The pizza I had was soggy.

                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodDee

                                                                                                                        Wow, that sounds terrible. Sounds like you're perfectly justified in your feelings and if I were served food like that at a place, I wouldn't go back either. Most of what you've noted sounds like the food sat too long before being brought out to you. It almost sounds like we're talking about two different places, as we've never experienced anything close to that, even on their busiest nights.

                                                                                                                        I'm not really trying to defend or explain away anything, as I have no interest in the place other than that I'd like to see it stay open so I can continue eating there once or twice a month. This also points up the challenges of discussion boards like this, where everything is based on personal taste, and for every person who recommends a place, someone else hates it.

                                                                                                                        I haven't had the Calamari steak but from the menu it looks like a sauteed/sauced item, so if it's breaded I could see where the breading could get gummy if it sat too long. Their pizza is pretty authentic Neapolitan/thin crust style, so that could get soggy too after sitting a while. As you know, most Italians sauce their pastas much more lightly than Americans do, so if you're expecting Olive Garden style with a puddle of cream left in the bottom of the bowl when you're done, you'll be disappointed. As for the Risotto, we order one every time we go and while it usually lands at the table tighter than a classic Risotto should, we've never found it lacking in favor and the included flavorings (I favor the tomato and spicy sausage; the family likes the Gorgonzola and mushroom or chicken) always taste fresh and top-notch. I hope you sent yours back with an explanation, or else how are they to know what they're doing wrong?

                                                                                                                        My kids are Calamari freaks and so we also always get the Calamari app; it always comes to the table crispy and meltingly tender. Maybe the Calamari steaks are done differently.

                                                                                                                        I will note that the place has evolved and gotten better over the years. When it first opened in downtown, it was indeed mediocre, I thought. But when it moved to its current location in 2002, it was like it was transformed into a different restaurant entirely. Even so, when I tried the osso buco a few years back I thought it was under-seasoned and bland, but when I tried it again recently it was mind-blowing. So maybe they have had some staff or recipe changes over the years.

                                                                                                                        1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                          We probably will try it again since we have a fairly large gift card that we were given.

                                                                                                                          For the record, I don't eat at Olive Garden so that is not what I base my expectations on. what I have had is just poorly prepared, mediocre food - and yes, the risotto did go back with an explanation, though there was more of a denial of our criticism than an apology. The calamari preparation is pretty classic and is not a typical breading - more a light egg and flour dip then sauteed - very different than a deep fried calamari app. I agree that many of the problems we encountered could have been due to the food sitting too long, but do feel that food that has been sitting long enough to deteriorate substantially should not be served.

                                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                                          Olive Garden
                                                                                                                          4221 196th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036

                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodDee

                                                                                                                            Gave Italianissimo one more try last night and thankfully used up the gift card because we won't be going back again. While the chopped salad was ok, the Calzone we split was almost inedible. The entire crust was soggy. It was like undercooked pizza dough. I basically scrapped the filling out and just ate that. The waitress didn't bother to ask if anything was wrong when she cleared the plate with all the dough on it and I didn't want to put out the effort to explain what was wrong with it. This was our third terrible meal there.

                                                                                                              2. Another Korean place to add to the list - Stone Korean Restaurant.

                                                                                                                It's next to Gyros 2 Go in Redmond (which is another pretty nice place) in that strip mall with Verizon and Value Village.

                                                                                                                It's owned by the same people who own Cho Dang Tofu and Chicky Pub's inside Paldo World in Lynnwood. Prices are a tad above average, but the banchan is very high quality. Portions are a bit on the small side, but is made up by the higher quality. The soondubu was rich and flavorful. Everything was spiced properly. Definitely up there with Seoul Hotpot. Unfortunately no grills on the table so it's all grilled in the kitchen if ordering meats.

                                                                                                                1. Thanks for the tips here and elsewhere! I was in Redmond this week and these came in very handy.

                                                                                                                  I think the first time I went to Mediterranean Kitchen in Bellevue and got the Farmer's Dish was 15 years ago. So I had to go back, bringing my colleagues with me, and a great time was had by all. The Farmer's Dish tastes just as great as ever.

                                                                                                                  Sichuanese Cuisine in Redmond was a great tip! I liked my meal there better than just about any of our local Sichuan places in Silicon Valley. Ants climbing tree is a dish I haven't seen much in my area and it was just wonderful here, and the Sichuan Ravioli soup was delicious too. Spicing was just right to me; the ants had a fine Sichuan peppercorn flavor without it overwhelming everything else.

                                                                                                                  Bai Tong right across the street was another good choice. I was delighted to see Khao Soi on the menu, something I don't see often at home, and it didn't disappoint. Our other choices were solid renditions of popular dishes. Their default spicing was moderate as I was expecting, not near the default spicing at Sichuanese Cuisine. If I had been on my own I might have asked them to kick it up a notch on the tom yum (but not to Thai hot). One of my colleagues comes from a Thai-deprived area so he was particularly happy having a good Thai place so close to us.

                                                                                                                  The conference breakfasts were awful and the hotel breakfast was vastly overpriced. Fortunately I found Mikie's Brooklyn Bagel and Deli on Redmond Way - solid if not spectacular, and just a few blocks from Redmond Town Center.

                                                                                                                  Michael

                                                                                                                  1. In Kirkland there is a Japanese deli that does a range of authentic take out seafood bento boxes complete with artisan garnishes and salads that I can't identify but are yummy. I personally love the deluxe salmon rice box served with ikura. Next door is a tiny hole in the wall Indian restaurant that serves a mean goat curry with a raita that I save for the next day to eat on its own.

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: lsy_eats

                                                                                                                      so, lsy_eats....what is the name of this japanese deli? or are you going to keep it a secret? :-))

                                                                                                                      1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                                        I think lsy_eats is referring to Sen Deli. One of my favorites!

                                                                                                                        1. re: andyeats

                                                                                                                          Yeah, and the Indian place is Kabab House. Good food but better for takeout.

                                                                                                                          1. re: gck

                                                                                                                            Kabab House! It used to be on Greenwood and I miss it so much.

                                                                                                                    2. Gotta add Dough Zone in Crossroads to the list. It's a dumpling spot with really great XLB, pan fried buns, pork chop noodle and a good assortment of cold dishes. Also really like their mixed flavor beef. Pricing is a bit more reasonable than DTF and I find their dumplings to be more flavorful as well.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: soypower

                                                                                                                        Thanks for this tip. DTF is fine for what it is, but sometimes I just want a simple, easy to get to, no line dumpling/bun/noodle meal!

                                                                                                                      2. kgrieg, thanks for starting this great thread! It's been five years since it started, it would be a great time for a refresh since some of the recos below are now closed. Are you willing to lead the discussion anew? I've only been on the Eastside two years so don't have as much Chowish depth of experience as you. Thanks!