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Seattle's Hottest New Restaurants

By Leslie Kelly
October 29, 2013
Photo by: Geoffrey Smith

Whether it's a hidden spot for snacks in the red-hot Pioneer Square hood or a humble mom-and-pop Korean kitchen, Seattle's already vibrant culinary landscape got even more interesting with the arrival of these tasty new venues.

  • Photo by: Rob Sumner

    Witness is a spirited place on Capitol Hill with a Southern accent. Y’all need to get a load of the Dixie poutine, a bacon gravy-doused, pimento-cheesed-up rendition of that French Canadian fry dish. Talk about playing with boundaries. While the now-classic combos of chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits are tempting, don’t overlook the pork and beans - it's nothing like the canned version eaten around the campfire, but rather an uber-rich chunk of belly slow cooked with fat corona beans. All those rich dishes make a mighty fine base for exploring the many bourbons behind the bar. And three cheers for the appearance of a Ramos Gin Fizz, a New Orleans classic not often sipped in the Pacific Northwest. 

    410 Broadway E., 206-329-0248

  • Photo by: Rob Sumner

    Part of the exciting revival going on in Pioneer Square, E. Smith Mercantile is a swanky shop that's got a sort of speakeasy in the back. You’ve got to love a place that features cocktails made with pre-Prohibition recipes from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The snacks providing ballast for the booze are 21st century all the way, focusing on local, organic ingredients. We’re a fan of the anchovy-adorned deviled eggs and the prosciutto- and preserved lemon-stuffed dates. They've just added breakfast as well.

    208 First Ave. S., 206-641-7250

  • Photo by: Rob Sumner

    Taking over the space that was once a vegan shoe store is a pretty bold move, but the crew at Martino's have got the chops to convince customers of its delicious mission. Between the three partners in this venture are four successful gastropubs and a pizza place. This deli offers a lineup of updated riffs on classic sandwiches - try the Smoked Club or the Bar-B-Cuban - and serves nightly specials such as ribs. There's also a good selection of local microbrews on tap.

    7410 Greenwood Ave., 206-397-4689

  • Photo by: Rob Sumner

    A snug spot in Madison Valley, Bar Cantinetta rips a page from the successful playbook of many watering holes in Italy, emphasizing antipasti. Those small plates change frequently to show off seasonal ingredients, though we hope the Painted Hills steak tartare is a constant. Pastas are housemade and finished with brilliantly flavored sauces. Everything on the menu seems to have been created to sync up with the well-chosen, most European wine list.

    2811 E. Madison St., 206-329-1501

  • Photo by: Rob Sumner

    Korean mainstays including bibimbap and kalbi beef are done right at Kimchi House, a mom-and-pop in Ballard, a neighborhood once known as the Scandinavian center of the city. Service is friendly and meals are priced right, with most items ringing in at $10 or less. The restaurant’s house kimchi is a fine fermented accompaniment to the fare. Bring cash, as this House doesn’t take plastic.

    5809 24th Ave. N.W., 206-784-5322

  • The gorgeous Westward on the shore of Lake Union has a knockout view of the city, and a dock to tie up your yacht while you dine. The nautical theme floats throughout the place, from the lively oyster bar manned by champion shucker David Leck and tiny gourmet store known as Little Gull to chef Zoi Antonitsas' Mediterranean-inspired menu. Don’t miss the big flavors of the teeny fish like grilled sardines with a creamy eggplant puree or the Moroccan seafood stew. The braised lamb shoulder for two is like a dream version of DIY gyros. Cocktails are as pretty as they are tasty. The smoked clam dip with super-thin chips have been an instant classic.

    2501 N. Northlake Way, 206-552-8215

  • Photo by: Geoffrey Smith

    Chef Ethan Stowell’s latest is also his teeniest place yet, a slender dining room where nearly everyone has a view of the compact kitchen. There are big flavors coming out of mkt. The Italian-inspired menu uses fresh techniques from the Old World - we dig the savory ices - to flatter the fab ingredients. Albacore tuna crudo, Dungeness crab salad brightened by apples and the fried quail are among the standouts, along with the sublime housemade ravioli. Go early or late to snag one of the 28 seats.

    2108 N. 55th St., 206-812-1580

  • The Walrus & The Carpenter’s little sister next door might have been envisioned as a passing-through kind of place to chill while waiting for a coveted table at the wildly popular, seafood-driven Walrus, but Barnacle Bar's got such character, you might not be in a hurry to leave. The cheerful space, done up in whites as crisp as linen, is a fun place to sip a well-mixed cocktail while savoring one of the fish-tastic apps such as octopus terrine. There’s also an extensive lineup of charcuterie and cheese. Sure, we’ll have another round.

    4743 Ballard Ave. N.W., 206-706-3379

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Places Mentioned

Witness

Southern American • Capitol Hill

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Barnacle

New American • Ballard

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mkt.

New American • Wallingford

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Martino's Smoked Meats & Eatery

New American • Phinney Ridge

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Bar Cantinetta

Italian • Central District

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