Just in time for the deep, shivery dampness of fall, we get a new hot pot place in the Chinatown International District and lots of coffeehouses and cafes in other neighborhoods. But the big winners are vegans and fans of Mexican food, especially for tacos and tamales. See below.
Ba Bar Green is the year’s big vegan opening, located in the walk-up window at the popular Vietnamese noodle house Ba Bar in South Lake Union. Chef Eric Banh and Chris Michel composed a menu of vegan and vegetarian Southeast Asian comfort fare that includes sandwiches and noodles with plant-based meat, from a banh mi with chorizo-flavored plant protein and a noodle soup with plant-based products such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat, tofu and an egg substitute made of mung beans. Check out the kabocha and sweet potato Malay laksa curry with coconut milk, tofu “cracklins,” cilantro, bean sprouts, green onion, chili oil and rice noodles. Pro tip: Order online if you don’t want a long wait.
Kricket Club is chef Preeti Agarwal’s follow-up to her Fremont Indian restaurant Meesha. It’s a similar concept: tapas-style small plates and entrées served family style. Located in the old Salare space in Ravenna, Kricket Club looks to New Delhi and Mumbai for inspiration for its street food, from the masala potato papadi chaat to spiced chicken paratha flatbread. Bigger dinner portions include a goat biryani and a lentil rice risotto. Cocktails are tweaked with South Asian ingredients including a mezcal drink with pomegranate, harissa and rose. A better deal, though, are the single malts and scotch, 2-ounce pours that cost $2-$3 less than what you would pay at bars on Capitol Hill and in Ballard. The 97-seat restaurant has been packed on Fridays and Saturdays. Save yourself the headache and make a reservation, or go on slower weekdays. If you’re skittish about eating in the dining room, reserve a table in the heated, covered patio.
Rubinstein Bagels by the Amazon Spheres expands with an outpost in the heavy foot traffic area around 15th Avenue East on Capitol Hill, in the former The Wandering Goose space. In our growing bagel scene, owner Andrew Rubinstein is already plotting to open three more outposts next year in downtown Redmond, Shoreline and a third Seattle branch in Eastlake. (For those who miss the stellar fried chicken, cakes and biscuits at The Wandering Goose, that bakery has reopened inside the Tokeland Hotel in Willapa Bay).
One of the best Mexican spots to open this year, Maiz sets up in Pike Place Market, with its prep cooks up early every morning grinding the heirloom and Oaxaca organic kernels for the day’s corn tortilla tacos. A rotating taco lineup of three to four slow-cooked meat options are available daily, from chicken chili verde to machaca shredded beef. Also, they sell some of the best tamales in the city. Maiz comes from the same family behind the Sazon Mexican restaurant in Ballard and Queen Anne. The taco counter sits near new tenant, Seattle Dumpling Company, which does its namesake street food along with beef noodle soup, pan-fried buns and onion pancakes. On a related note, Kitchen & Market, a gourmet shop with cooking demos and meal kits, also opens in Pike Place.
Your new hockey hangout, 32 Bar & Grill, debuts inside the Kraken Community Iceplex in Northgate, a giant eating facility with 300 seats inside and outdoors. My colleague, food writer Jackie Varriano, got the lowdown on the menu, which ranges from grass-fed rib-eyes with chimichurri to line-caught king salmon, along with the usual bar grub of burgers, pretzel knots and poutine. Overseeing the expansive menu is executive chef Brandon Cathey, formerly at the Arctic Club and Patagon at The Charter Hotel downtown. (Also, here are other bars around town where you can catch Kraken games.)
Our roll call of new Korean fried chicken joints grows longer every month, but the latest, Pelicana on Capitol Hill, is the biggest name to open in Seattle since Bonchon opened on First Hill in 2019. The South Korean-based chain known for its sweet and spicy chicken has a huge following in the Asian community, with about 2,000 locations around the world.
Speaking of chicken, The Chicken Supply is getting a lot of buzz on Phinney Ridge, with Filipino-inspired fried chicken with six side options, from pancit noodles to crispy potatoes flecked with Sichuan salt, chilies and fried garlic.
Wait. There’s more … Cookie’s Country Chicken, the popular fried chicken sandwich pop-up that debuted during the pandemic in Pioneer Square, has found a permanent home in the former Golden Beetle space in Ballard. Those much-loved chicken breast sandwiches still go for about 10 bucks. For fans of the thick chicken gravy over lumpy mashed potatoes, there’s now a more gluttonous variation — poutine with chicken nuggets added on. Cookie’s Country Chicken plans to offer just takeout starting this weekend while renovating its 2,800-square-foot dining room.
A la Mode Pies opens a Ballard branch by Katsu Burger off Northwest Market Street. My colleagues Varriano and Jade Yamazaki Stewart just got off their sugar highs after their deep dive into the best apple pie offerings around town, and hint, A la Mode made the cut.
Stumbletown Ballard offers a wide range of $9 sandwiches made with ciabatta bread from the stellar Sea Wolf Bakery.
Made in House in Fremont serves Korean-inspired fare with vegan and vegetarian dishes as well as bibimbap bowls with garlic chicken or bulgogi rib-eye. The café comes from the same team behind the stellar fast-casual rice bowl spot Bopbox in Georgetown.
Seoul Bowl-Westlake opens in the U.S. District Court building, serving a limited menu of rice bowls and Korean fried chicken sandwiches.
IJ Sushi Burrito dishes out Mexican-Asian fusion such as shrimp tempura burritos to students at its latest branch in the University District.
Feed Co. in the Central District expands to Green Lake. The opening was delayed due to a couple of burglaries to their restaurant before the doors even opened. A mile south of that sits Restaurant Christine, with its eclectic menu of frog legs and beef liver. For those less adventurous, there’s always the reliable burger and truffle fries.
Dwellers around Westlake have more curries and biryani takeout options now that MotherIndia Cuisine has opened in that neighborhood.
Suddenly, we are inundated with lobster rolls. The latest: Lobster Daddy opens inside the Belltown bar Black Cat, with a hot and cold version of the lobster roll along with burgers, pulled pork and other sandwiches.
Indigo Cow serves Hokkaido milk soft-serve ice cream out of its walk-up window by the ramen spot Yoroshiku in Wallingford. The owner suspects his shop might be the first Hokkaido-style soft-serve in the United States.
Ideal for this wet and windy season, Happy Lamb Hot Pot opens in the Chinatown International District.
California chain Nékter Juice Bar comes to Broadway East on Capitol Hill with its juice cleanses, smoothies and acai bowls.
On the coffee front: Wunderground Cafe serves adaptogenic mushroom drinks, including coffee with those medicinal extracted mushrooms. In Ballard, the Miami-inspired coffee shop Papá Changó Cafe specializes in pastelitos (similar to an empanada) and serves café con horchata. Coffeeholic, the Vietnamese artisanal coffeehouse that’s been a surprise hit in Columbia City, expands to Greenwood. Caffe Vita at KEXP opens inside Seattle Center, and Leon Coffee House debuts in the University District.