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Seattle's Underrated Restaurants


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I expect that, more often than not, those types of recommendations are based on the "in theory, were I to go to Pike Place Market for brunch, I would..." scenario than on actual recent experiences.

Hmmm. I wouldn't assume such a thing.

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I expect that, more often than not, those types of recommendations are based on the "in theory, were I to go to Pike Place Market for brunch, I would..." scenario than on actual recent experiences.

Hmmm. I wouldn't assume such a thing.

Me neither. I have the bills to prove otherwise.

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Had dinner at Cafe Campagne for the first time in many years while in Seattle a week ago and I have to say that the food was remarkably good, particularly the oysters we were served and the steak frites, which is among the best pieces of meat I've had out in a very long time! And for $20, that is saying something. We also had the steak tartare which I thought was good but nothing spectacular--I wish I'd skipped it and had the pate which I love.

Service was not good. Not good at all. But the food was good from start to finish. I think this place is often overlooked by locals, so I thought I'd make mention of it.

I forgot to mention we encountered some poor service as well during a brunch last August at Cafe Campagne. Food was wonderful, as always, but our server was really rude/clueless, and I was there with Russian business guests, which was very embarrasing for me. But I wrote a letter, and they sent a gift certificate for me to come back. I believe they have hired a brand new house manager, so hopefully they have turned the service around. It was truly a sour experience, though, that I haven't returned since.

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One restaurant I really enjoy is Mori's in Greenwood (accross the street from Fred Meyers).

It may not be "high end" Japanese cooking, but what they do serve is the closest thing to a home cooked Japanese meal I've encountered in Seattle. This place is not pretentious, just a comfortable local hole in the wall with good food (I tend to gravitate towards little local restaurants...)

I am a big fan of their Chawan Mushi and Udon.

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since it hasn't been mentioned in a while ...

i utterly adore Eva. that's doubly impressive, because i really can't stand Tangletown, geographically.

we had an impromptu dinner there the other night, wonderful as always. (a healthy whack of coconut milk in the sauce for my mussels always helps. but even the mac and cheese was this lovely, decadent thing.)

but what i truly adore is their wine list, which is always fun and innovative and has one of the best selections of half bottles i've ever seen. and their service is impeccably pleasant and professional, and the vibe manages to be refined and yet totally casual.

i'm totally remiss, because i need to be visiting them far more than i do.

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Just curious.....why?

the only thing worse than being surrounded by endless waves of yuppies in houses (i.e., Greenlake) is being trapped in an incomprehensible maze of yuppies in houses. it's like the triple-A team for Wallingford. and physics dictate that Kirkwood Place should not be able to intersect with Kirkwood Place. as a New Yorker, i have an irrational belief in the virtues of grids.

ok, ok, so my 'hood of Maple Leaf isn't much better, but we do have the occasional crackpot and cranky, old-time Seattlite to keep things lively. people always say to me, "oh, wow, you're so close to Greenlake." and i always reply, "really? wouldn't know."

also, i can't stand most of the Tangletown restaurants aside from Eva. like Luau -- what's up with THAT? and if i want to go have a burger at the Elysian, the original still has that would-be-grunge charm that makes me remember why i once liked living on Capitol Hill.

this all sorta summed it up for me.

Edited by jbonne (log)
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Just curious.....why?

the only thing worse than being surrounded by endless waves of yuppies in houses (i.e., Greenlake) is being trapped in an incomprehensible maze of yuppies in houses. it's like the triple-A team for Wallingford. and physics dictate that Kirkwood Place should not be able to intersect with Kirkwood Place. as a New Yorker, i have an irrational belief in the virtues of grids.

ok, ok, so my 'hood of Maple Leaf isn't much better, but we do have the occasional crackpot and cranky, old-time Seattlite to keep things lively. people always say to me, "oh, wow, you're so close to Greenlake." and i always reply, "really? wouldn't know."

also, i can't stand most of the Tangletown restaurants aside from Eva. like Luau -- what's up with THAT? and if i want to go have a burger at the Elysian, the original still has that would-be-grunge charm that makes me remember why i once liked living on Capitol Hill.

this all sorta summed it up for me.

Ouch.

My block of "Greenlake" includes at least 4 homes occupied by the same families (or now single women in 3 cases) for 35 or more years. One definitely qualifies as a crank. We have fundamentalists living next door to homosexuals, young families, sex offenders (darn, the "tantric therapists" moved out a couple of years ago), and even some people of color. I have the option of two regular bus routes to downtown - and I put transit to use. I can walk to the grocery store. I'd be willing to bet you dinner that my house's square feet and property size is smaller (and thus, more conservation-friendly and less yuppie) than yours. Now, if only my nearest restaurants were places I enjoy eating, it would be more on-topic.

Funny thing about "Tangletown" - a fairly new moniker - when I first stumbled into the area, it took me by surprise and delight. When I tried to find it again - to do laundry (the place where the bakery is now), I couldn't. I thought of it more as a Brigadoon.

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I thought the term 'Tangletown' had some sort of historical background. I don't think that it's a recent moniker, just that it was revived because the bar used the name.

I too get lost in that neighborhood, especially when I'm cruising through on my way to somewhere's else and use it as a shortcut. I have been absolutely sure that I know where I am many times only to pop out somewhere like the Greenlake golf course when I was shooting for Evans pool. That's really not a shortcut after getting off of the freeway at 50th.

As for Tangletown (the bar), it is one of the most overrated places that I can think of. Great beer, but everything else is the worst. Everyone I talk to KNOWS it, but will still sometimes end up there. It must have some carry-over karma from the Honeybear years.

As for underrated, I still like The Greenlake Bar and Grill. It may be low expectations, but I don't think so. Honest, tasty bar food and a comfy dining room. We'll see what happens to the Eastlake Bar and Grill (used to be Sam's Steakhouse) which they just took over.

If we aren't supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?

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As for Tangletown (the bar), it is one of the most overrated places that I can think of.  Great beer, but everything else is the worst.  Everyone I talk to KNOWS it, but will still sometimes end up there.  It must have some carry-over karma from the Honeybear years. 

The thing about Tangletown is that the menu reads great. As you look down the menu it all looks interesting and good, but the food never seems to match expectations.

I agree with Jbonne's observation about Luau. The food is mediocre---but at least its over priced.

One underrated spot is Jak's steakhouse. Very tastey yet reasonably priced.

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Ouch.

My block of "Greenlake" includes at least 4 homes occupied by the same families (or now single women in 3 cases) for 35 or more years. One definitely qualifies as a crank. We have fundamentalists living next door to homosexuals, young families, sex offenders (darn, the "tantric therapists" moved out a couple of years ago), and even some people of color.  I have the option of two regular bus routes to downtown - and I put transit to use. I can walk to the grocery store. I'd be willing to bet you dinner that my house's square feet and property size is smaller (and thus, more conservation-friendly and less yuppie) than yours. Now, if only my nearest restaurants were places I enjoy eating, it would be more on-topic.

i thought after i posted that my rant might have been a bit harsh. i think this may be tinged by having several acquaintances -- none of whom i particularly like very much -- who live in Greenlake. not so many in Tangletown, but Penelope hit the nail on the head with that review of the Elysian Tangletown. the New Yorker in me cringes when i hear the words "family-friendly" and "restaurant" in the same sentence. i assume this will change with age, but i have this weird thing about really liking to dine around other adults. a couple venues excepted (like Eva), Greenlake's restaurant scene has always struck me as very family focused. that's wonderful for family diners, less so for me.

you might have me on property size, but my house is 950s.f., smaller even than my old Capitol Hill apartment. (but with a bigger kitchen -- priorities first.) there's no question GL is a friendly, convenient and probably even diverse (compared to Bellevue) place to live. it's just a bit too gentrified for my taste. and then there's the bad-food problem, which really is a sticky wicket ...

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As for Tangletown (the bar), it is one of the most overrated places that I can think of.  Great beer, but everything else is the worst.  Everyone I talk to KNOWS it, but will still sometimes end up there.  It must have some carry-over karma from the Honeybear years. 

The thing about Tangletown is that the menu reads great. As you look down the menu it all looks interesting and good, but the food never seems to match expectations.

I agree with Jbonne's observation about Luau. The food is mediocre---but at least its over priced.

One underrated spot is Jak's steakhouse. Very tastey yet reasonably priced.

As far as Tangletown/Elysian goes...well, it's really all about the beer, isn't it? The Elysian is a great brewpub---they keep winning best large brewpub of the year at the Great American Beer Festival---and that's what I go there for. Even having said that, the beer doesn't taste quite as good to me at Tangletown as at the Capitol Hill location (which can be, on a good night, one of the great beer spots in the world). Maybe they're not turning over the kegs quite as fast, or maybe they're brewing on site and things aren't quite perfect. Also, I really don't like that Jasmine IPA---sickeningly sweet. I couldn't even drink it. And they once served me a Sierra Nevada barleywine that could not have been what was advertised. I do really appreciate the family-friendly thing, since I'm usually restricted to such places. I wouldn't say the food is terrible (I once head a cornish game hen thing served on andouille bread pudding that was actually quite amazing) but it does generally taste less exciting than it sounds. Don't get the American Bento, whatever you do! Mostof the sandwiches are OK.

Speaking of Tangletown, what about Kisaku? I've only been a couple times, haven't yet had the chance to sit at the sushi bar, but it's been good and I always hear good things. I'm not sure they do an omakase, though.

:wink:

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As for Tangletown (the bar), it is one of the most overrated places that I can think of.  Great beer, but everything else is the worst.  Everyone I talk to KNOWS it, but will still sometimes end up there.  It must have some carry-over karma from the Honeybear years. 

The thing about Tangletown is that the menu reads great. As you look down the menu it all looks interesting and good, but the food never seems to match expectations.

I agree with Jbonne's observation about Luau. The food is mediocre---but at least its over priced.

One underrated spot is Jak's steakhouse. Very tastey yet reasonably priced.

As far as Tangletown/Elysian goes...well, it's really all about the beer, isn't it? The Elysian is a great brewpub---they keep winning best large brewpub of the year at the Great American Beer Festival---and that's what I go there for. Even having said that, the beer doesn't taste quite as good to me at Tangletown as at the Capitol Hill location (which can be, on a good night, one of the great beer spots in the world). Maybe they're not turning over the kegs quite as fast, or maybe they're brewing on site and things aren't quite perfect. Also, I really don't like that Jasmine IPA---sickeningly sweet. I couldn't even drink it. And they once served me a Sierra Nevada barleywine that could not have been what was advertised. I do really appreciate the family-friendly thing, since I'm usually restricted to such places. I wouldn't say the food is terrible (I once head a cornish game hen thing served on andouille bread pudding that was actually quite amazing) but it does generally taste less exciting than it sounds. Don't get the American Bento, whatever you do! Mostof the sandwiches are OK.

Speaking of Tangletown, what about Kisaku? I've only been a couple times, haven't yet had the chance to sit at the sushi bar, but it's been good and I always hear good things. I'm not sure they do an omakase, though.

:wink:

Kisaku is my favorite sushi place in Seattle, with Sanmi sushi a close second. I've never had a bad experience at Kisaku, and the owner is fabulous. There's a warmth, and a neighborhood/community feel, similar to that at Mashiko, but with much better quality fish, (in my opinion). Prices are very reasonable, and service is attentive.

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  • 7 months later...

Had a craving for Aglio Olio after a movie last night, so I headed over to Brad's Swingside in Fremont. Lucky me! The special was Aglio with fresh Dungeness Crab. It was great - they still do have the best Aglio I've ever had (better than mine).

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After steering clear of Place Pigalle for the past 4 or 5 years, I've had a couple of really nice meals there lately. Bill also has a well chosen wine list, and his reserve list has some of the best deals on it in the city. Not necessarily underrated, but it certainly seems due a bit more attention.

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After steering clear of Place Pigalle for the past 4 or 5 years, I've had a couple of really nice meals there lately.  Bill also has a well chosen wine list, and his reserve list has some of the best deals on it in the city.  Not necessarily underrated, but it certainly seems due a bit more attention.

GF and I had a lovely time at the bar 2 weeks ago, celebrating my birthday. the friendly and attentive bartender (Shea/Shay?) steared me towards a 20 yr old Van Winkle bourbon. Damn him! The mussels were very tasty and their presentation was sweet. We will be back.

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After steering clear of Place Pigalle for the past 4 or 5 years, I've had a couple of really nice meals there lately.  Bill also has a well chosen wine list, and his reserve list has some of the best deals on it in the city.  Not necessarily underrated, but it certainly seems due a bit more attention.

GF and I had a lovely time at the bar 2 weeks ago, celebrating my birthday. the friendly and attentive bartender (Shea/Shay?) steared me towards a 20 yr old Van Winkle bourbon. Damn him! The mussels were very tasty and their presentation was sweet. We will be back.

I quite like Place Pigalle; the only reason I don't go more often is that I'm not usually in "the mood" for it if that makes any sense at all. The atmosphere in there is a little weird, I think: small but a bit cold. It's probably the only restaurant where I'd bother ordering chicken since they're one of the few kitchens I've seen that won't cook the hell out of it. The view is lovely there.

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