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Feedback on dinner choices for Seattleite

Hey there. I lived in Boston for nine years but live in Seattle now and haven't been back in quite some time. I will be hosting a small group (six to eight) of people for dinner on an upcoming Friday night. We are staying in the Kenmore Square area but are willing to travel. I did some research and came up with a few choices, and was hoping for feedback or additional suggestions.

TW Food (comments on the 7 course tasting menu would be GREAT)
Bondir
Puritan & Co

My main focus was on finding something that would be high quality without being feloniously expensive, and ideally something that I wouldn't easily find here in Seattle.

It does look like reservations for eight might be a problem at these places, they appear quite popular, hence my request for other suggestions... but feedback on these would be great.

Thanks!

Oh, and Oleana and Catalyst have come up in discussions as well.

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  1. Oleana is amazing.

    1. I don't know much about Seattle - but I can say that the food at Bondir and Oleana is delicious and quite unique. Neither would be well-suited for those who aren't at least slightly adventurous eaters. Both are very, very difficult to get reservations at - depending on your date flexibility, I'd start with that.

      I definitely wouldn't put Catalyst in this group - it's good, but nothing amazing.

      1. Right in Kenmore Square you have Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster Bar, both very nice.

        1. I second the suggestion of Island Creek Oyster Bar.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Kat

            Interesting suggestion about Island Creek. There are some people in my group that are into raw shellfish. Personally we get fantastic oysters here in Seattle, some of the best in the world, and they aren't really my cup of tea, but our group is coming from all over the place and so this might be a very good choice.

            Oleana strikes me as sort of similar to a restaurant we have here, Golden Beetle.

            Any opinions on Helmand? That seemed pretty unique...

            1. re: rramstad

              Island Creek is likely to have some west coast oysters as well as New England oysters. Generally they have 10-12 varieties daily. They also have some great fried oyster sliders. I love their trout, and their cocktail program is top notch. Service at all the associated places in Kenmore (Island Creek, The Hawthorne, Eastern Standard) is some of the best in the city.

              1. re: rramstad

                Your oysters and our oysters are quite different, and both worth trying on their respective home turf. (If you like oysters.)

                1. re: rramstad

                  welcome back, r. Love your new home as we visit often. Oleana's chef/owner, Ana Sortun, is a Seattle girl. I highly doubt anyone in Seattle is doing food like she does. VERY unique spicing and combos. It is the #1 place I rec in Boston for serious foodies.

                  I think Seattle has a lot of Asian influences in its plethora of great restnts, so I would esp suggest Oleana for that reason; stay away from the Asian ( though Myers and Chang is a fav spot..) Helmand is good but has nowhere near the varied flavor experiences that Oleana has. plus Oleana has a very unusual and special dessert menu.

                  After Oleana, i'd go Strip T's. It used to be very Asian influenced but has broadened out quite a bit w/ a lot of creativity on the plate (but not well communicated on the menu reading.) HUGE CH fanbase- do a search. If Strip T's can't take 8, then ICOB is simply a fun place for all. great service, a few great dishes, big but intimate.

                  bondir is VERY simple, spare. no/almost no wine, cheese, cream, spices to pump up flavors. and it's tiny; I doubt they'd do 8.

              2. if you can stand the noise and the no reservation after 6 pm policy, Ribelle has excellent food at very nice prices. The chef worked for David Chang in NYC. I paid 80 dollars for dinner for 2.

                3 Replies
                1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                  I like Helmand and I think they can handle 8. Size can be a problem: Coppa is great fun but not sure about 8 and the same is true of Toro. Maybe Myers & Chang, Sweet Cheeks (don't recall much barbecue in Seattle) or Prezza would be not "seattle light" but sufficiently different.

                  1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                    Ribelle just started taking reservations! FYI

                    1. re: addiez

                      thanks though i was there on wednesday night and was told that reservations were taken only till 6 (or maybe 6 30) though things couldd have changed.

                      i like helmand and doubt that there is good afgan in seattle though there was and probably is in SF.

                      ribelle and strip t's have the same chef.

                  2. I travelled to Seattle earlier this summer (loved the food, loved the city). I think the places you have picked are great choices for what our city offers. I might switch the tasting at tw food out for a meal at strip t's (outside of the city in Watertown) as the food and experience are really unique, although totally different in ambiance compared with tw food. Also, I might suggest thinking about Craigie on Main instead of Bondir, but neither would disappoint. I know icob and eastern standard were mentioned, both are good, but you have places like them out by you (ex. Walrus and Carpenter). Hope you enjoy!!!

                    1. The Helmand is great - has a nice semi-private space for a group of 8, takes reservations, has gracious service, unique Afghani food, and is reportedly connected to the Hamad Karzai family. I have never been disappointed there. They have wine but no spirits.

                      ICOH is unique Boston and a favorite for me - and they will have some NW oysters options, but their own are the stars - the bartending and service there are outstanding. It will be much more lively and expensive.

                      Toro is another favorite for me -with no more than 4 people - and a LOT of patience.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: rlh

                        I always understood the owner to be Karzai's brother

                        1. re: rlh

                          But they might not be serving their own thanks to the bed contamination.

                          Don't know how long that lasts....

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            Thanks for the heads up - looks like it will be at least another couple of weeks from local news articles (Patriot-Ledger) last week -3 cases of reported illness among over 400,000 oysters sold from that area -wow.