Downtown Seattle still feels like a ghost town, but maybe the arrival of four new restaurants in this hallway is a promising sign of things to come. We have two hotel restaurants, a seafood cafe inside a museum, and a James Beard Award winning chef’s steakhouse. Our list of openings below.
Oaky’s Tex Mex is the latest of the guys making some of the best Central Texas style breasts in West Washington at Wood Shop BBQ. Their reminder is – big surprise – also on the carnivorous side: grilled and smoked meat, stuffed with tacos, enchiladas, burritos and quesadillas. Owners Matt Davis and James Barrington will prepare at least six meats a day, including grilled flank (carne asada), cured and smoked thighs (chicken verde) and smoked barbacoa brisket. Vegetarians can choose between crispy cauliflower and smoked mushrooms. The 40-seat restaurant with an agave bar is across from its sister restaurant Wood Shop BBQ in the central district.
This row of restaurants on South Jackson Street, off 25th Avenue South, has become a bustling scene thanks to all the new townhouses and apartment buildings, including a 532 apartment complex at the bend of South Jackson Street and 23rd Avenue South. Wiley Frank of the critically acclaimed Little Uncle restaurant is the neighborhood top chef, making stellar tacos and sandwiches at bustling Standard Brewing. Nearby is Temple Pastries, whose furikake, sweet potato croissant is on our list of the best pastries in town. Across from them are two more booming restaurants: Wood Shop BBQ has refreshed its patio for winter dining and will soon be knocking down a wall to add more seating inside. Next door, Reckless Noodle will add a second cocktail bar as it has been slammed with lines of customers waiting along the sidewalk. Wait, there’s more… a block west is newcomer Jackson’s Catfish Corner and an Amazon Fresh grocery store, and joining those tenants later will be a soul food cafe and coffee shop. This ‘cap’ is not made. Rumors say that more restaurants are coming next spring.
The MARLET, arguably the North End’s most popular seafood restaurant, spans downtown Seattle with a 60-seat restaurant inside the Seattle Art Museum. All of his biggest hits are here: lobster rolls, fried soft shell crab, seafood chowder, and fish and chips. And since the chef has a larger kitchen and a pizza oven to play with here, expect new dishes including grilled salmon banh mi, cioppino, and fish pakora. The emphasis is on lunch and dinner, but owner Shubert Ho will add a 9am breakfast once he finds more help with the cooking. It has a 15-seat bar, but with so many office workers working remotely, Ho isn’t convinced there is still a market for happy hour. Ho owns seven restaurants in Edmonds, but his brand remains synonymous with The MAR • KET, a restaurant so popular that Ho removed all seating inside because his team needed every foot of that tiny space to keep up with all of them. lobster rolls and take out. The MAR • KET’s booming business in Edmonds has helped save its other restaurants during the pandemic, Ho said.
Former Canlis Pastry Chef Crystal Chiu Now Heads Up Renewal Kitchen Volunteer park café and pantry. Joining her is another Canlis alumnus, Melissa Johnson, who manages the front of the house. Johnson, who owned a bakery in New York City, also made bagels for Canlis’ pop-up. A dozen baked goods, from muffins to scones, are on offer here, but get there before noon. These are thin picks after the lunch rush. (The coconut and hazelnut cake is to die for.) Other breakfast and lunch offerings include bodega-style egg sandwiches and toast topped with whipped ricotta and roasted squash or topped with ‘a salad of marinated eggs. This Capitol Hill hangout also has local and artisanal produce such as honey, olive oil, and canned seafood on its shelves and has a well-curated range of natural wines and craft beers, including including moss from the stellar Garden Path Fermentation Brewery in Skagit Valley. Freehand Cellars owner James DeSarno bought the cafe from Ericka Burke last year. The local cafe, with picnic tables up front, was a big hit in the neighborhood.
James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina of San Francisco to open Bourbon Steak on October 1 in the downtown area which once housed its RN74 restaurant. Its steakhouse offers hormone-free organic cuts of beef “tempered with herb infused butter then grilled to order,” and will also feature Mina’s lobster pie and black truffle mac and cheese, management said. The closed RN74 was an ambitious restaurant which, to the frustration of the young talents who worked there, became more famous for happy hour – its bar was often more crowded than its dining room. Fans of the RN74 will be delighted to hear this: Bourbon Steak offers a full bar menu with a happy hour burger Tuesday through Friday (4-6 p.m.), and master sommelier Jeremy Shanker has curated a menu of 450 wines.
In downtown hotels, chic W Seattle debuts TRACE market, a casual breakfast and lunch setup with quiche, cinnamon buns, croissants, sandwiches, salads and bowls to go. This is a radical departure from the high end dining the W hotel used to offer. TIDE +, a seafood bistro and raw bar, opens on the ground floor of the downtown Hyatt at Olive 8, featuring lobster mac and cheese, fried halibut and fries, and fresh seafood and shellfish sourced from from Puget Sound. The bar-restaurant can accommodate 85 people inside and 12 others outside.
Kobuta and Ookami imagine the Japanese comfort food katsu fried cutlets with premium Iberian pork and organic chicken. This Capitol Hill restaurant has been popular with young people. Reservations only. No appointment.
Covered coffee company Expands with a second Capitol Hill branch near the corner of East Union Street and 11th Avenue, serving breakfast burritos and panini sandwiches.
Pizzeria La Rocca opens onto Greenwood’s Main Street, featuring around two dozen different Neapolitan-inspired pies. The crust, crispier and more cheesy than the classic style, seems to have attracted many fans to the area. Also a lot of salads and shared plates such as meatballs. The neighborhood pizzeria also serves espressos and croissants in the morning.
SZN in Uptown, the Korean-Mexican fusion, not only the popular Korean tacos, but also burritos, quesadillas, rice bowls and bulgogi fries. Lots of kimchi and meats marinated in Korean spices to accompany black beans, Mexican cheese and guacamole. Also in Uptown is located Thai cashew food, with his signature dishes of Massaman ribs and onions with salmon sake.
In Wedgwood, Sophie’s tacos also offers torta sandwiches and wet burritos.
For those looking for the next bubble tea, check out the Australian chain Yomie’s Rice X Yogurt, who brings his purple rice yogurt drink to the international district of Chinatown. A popular brand with young Asians, Yomie’s drinks are yogurt smoothies with moist rice. The grains are fairer for the texture. If you prefer old-fashioned bubble tea, Yifang fruit tea Taiwan also opens in id.