St. Dames delivers eclectic menu for herbivores.

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From the moment my partner and I walked into St. Dames restaurant in Rainier Valley, it was clear we’d be in for an offbeat experience. The glow of candles in the otherwise dimly lit dining room and the crimson-painted walls hinted at intrigue, quite a surprise for an establishment located in a rather quiet stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.

Everywhere there were tchotchkes. St. Dames delivers something else unexpected — an eclectic menu for herbivores.

Co-owners and life partners Sarah Murphy and Amy Weems, both vegetarians, have conceived dishes that deliver on their goal of offering satisfying global comfort food made with organic, local ingredients that’s suitable not just for vegetarians but for vegans and diners who are allergic to gluten.

Vegans and the gluten-free have come to appreciate the kitchen’s willingness to adapt just about every menu item to their dietary requirements at no extra charge. (Although this is not a gluten-free kitchen, many dishes have no added gluten ingredients anyway.)

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St. Dames also has become popular with families, who often turn up in big numbers for weekend brunch.

The menu: Starters, including samosa-style hush puppies that are crispy on the outside and pillow-soft on the inside ($6.75) and a belly-warming African peanut soup with diced yams on special that night ($6.75), both were hearty and filling.

The most popular entree is the portobello cheese stake sandwich on a house-made baguette ($11.75).

We ordered the roasted squash stuffed with wild rice, mushrooms, vegetables and a roasted cauliflower salad on the side ($11.25) and the kale ravioli in goat-cheese sauce with a side of roasted yams ($12.25), the only nonvegan menu choice.

What to write home about: The lightly spicy peanut soup was a great meal by itself, and the samosa hush puppies were perfectly executed.

The setting: Woman-centric kitsch rules here.

Summing up: Two generous starters and two even more filling entrees came to $37, plus tax and tip, with leftovers to take home.

Tyrone Beason: 206-464-2251 or

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