Two of the big openings this month aren’t in Seattle. Nor Bellevue or Redmond as you would normally expect. Perhaps that says something about our evolving restaurant scene. Or maybe it’s another ominous sign the real-estate market around the Emerald City and Eastside has gone bonkers. In any event, expect to see more coverage of our food scene around the South End and North End.
Max’s Restaurant, one of the world’s most popular Filipino chains, just launched in Washington state, bringing its signature fried chicken, as well as specialties such as the pork hock crispy pata, the veggie stew pinakbet and tamarind soup milkfish sinigang. In previous months, Seattle’s new Filipino restaurants have clustered around a 5-mile radius: the fine-dining restaurant Archipelago in Hillman City, the expansion of the hip Hood Famous Café + Bar in the trendy section of the Chinatown International District and soon, Melissa Miranda, one of Seattle’s rising stars, will open her Filipino bistro in Beacon Hill. Read more about the remarkable Miranda here. The Filipino cuisine around here is about to get a national audience. (New York City celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson was spotted around town in January, checking out our Filipino restaurants for a segment for his PBS show, “No Passport Required,” scheduled to air in the fall.) By the way, in Tukwila, Max’s opened a mile south of another heavyweight in the Filipino restaurant chain, Jollibee, which is also famous for its fried chicken.
Hot Pot World Rotary: Imagine conveyor-belt sushi, but with hot pot ingredients, and you get this hot spot. Plates of meat, seafood and veggies rotate past dining tables on a carousel, allowing customers to pick and choose what to dip in their hot stock. There are five stocks to choose from: Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, Korean and Mongolian broth, each served in an individual instead of a communal pot.
This has been a breakout year for hot pot. Two of the biggest restaurant openings on the Eastside are both hot pots in Bellevue. You can read about them here. And later this year, one of the world’s most beloved restaurant chains, HaiDiLao, anchors in downtown Seattle at Pacific Place. If you’ve never been to hot pot, check out our guide here. Your experience will be five times better if you follow these 12 tips.
Maybe your flight delay will be more bearable now that our international airport has introduced a roster of new eateries. Most recent openings are Skillet, Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen, Caffe D’arte, Lucky Louie Fish Shack, Evergreens Salad, Pallino Pastaria, Koi Shi Sushi Bento, Le Grand Comptoir and Camden Food Co.
Catfish Corner Express, an institution in the Central District, returns — this time in the Skyway area.
Mezcal Fresh Mexican Grill debuted 4 miles east of downtown.
Katsu Burger brings its Mt. Fuji sandwich to the South End, an 8-inch stack with three deep-fried patties (pork, beef and chicken), three rich sauces, three cheeses (American, Pepper Jack and cheddar), bacon, pickles and other condiments, all topped with a fried egg.
And Empire Coffee opened in Normandy Park.
85°C Bakery Café opened its fifth Washington branch, about 4 miles east of the ferry terminal. (Eastsiders, your 85°C Bakery is coming to Bellevue this winter.) Remember when this popular Taiwanese import chose Tukwila for its Washington state debut two years ago? Lines to enter went up to 90 minutes long during that first month. The good news is this cult bakery has so many outposts scattered around Western Washington now that lines shouldn’t be a concern (though you might want to give the new Edmonds branch a couple of weeks to be sure). The signature marble taro bun and the milky brioche are the most popular among the 100 different breads and pastries that rotate throughout the day. They also have about 40 different drink options, though for the devotees, there’s only one choice: the iced sea-salt coffee (the bakery’s name refers to the owner’s belief that 85°C is the optimal temperature to brew coffee).
All this buzz has overshadowed another popular Asian chain, the arrival of Milkie Milkie, a Korean dessert shop hawking stuffed waffles and bingsu, the shaved ice.
And speaking of Edmonds, the popular restaurant Dumpling Generation has expanded to Lake Forest Park in the Third Place Books food court. Also, the owner of the old 611 Supreme cocktails-and-crêpe spot on Capitol Hill has opened Local 104 in Lake Forest Park.
Northern Dumpling House is the most promising new spot I’ve hit on the Eastside — four different dumplings (ground pork; ground pork with shrimp or cabbage; shrimp, chives and egg). Order it steamed or pan-fried, though the former seemed to be the way to go here, based on my one visit during its soft opening. The restaurant also does meat on skewers and dan dan noodles.
Smoke & Shine is all about barbecue and whiskey, part of the new wave of pitmasters who are trying to create a new Northwest barbecue style using just local apple and cherry woods to cook their meats.
Twins Asian Bistro does Korean and Japanese comfort food including teriyaki, yakisoba and ramen.
Cielo Cocina Mexicana with its margaritas and outdoor patio sits in the Elements Plaza north of the swanky Bravern.
Bellevue Square lands Thai Kitchen Bird Pepper, from the same family that runs the popular Thai Tom on The Ave.
Mama’s Kitchen does Korean food.
Happy Lemon, the popular bubble tea chain that’s a hit at Bellevue Square, has expanded to Evergreen Village.
Queen Bee, which has two locations on Capitol Hill and Queen Anne, takes its crumpets and coffee across the bridge to Clyde Hill.
On the food-truck scene, In Pizza We Crust is a mobile wood-fired oven, based in Bellevue and focused just on the Eastside. But the owner said she plans to hit Seattle neighborhoods in the near future.
For all your team building and kid birthday parties, Vertex Arena features trampolines, dodgeball and a seven-lane “ninja” obstacle course. The humongous “Air and Battle” facility includes a 2,000-square-foot restaurant with the usual wings, burgers, pizzas and a kids menu. There’s a full bar.
Spark Pizza does a dozen pies including the margherita. It’s run by the owners of Woodblock restaurant nearby.
Ironsteak in the Chinatown International District has expanded to the Eastside.
Flavor of Chengdu opened a mile north of downtown.