I spent a few mornings over the past week digging in the sand at Richmond Beach Saltwater Park. Things don’t really start hopping there until around noon, and at 9:30 a.m. there’s always plenty of parking and wide-open stretches of sand to claim as my own for a few hours. Of course all that digging and pointing at boats, planes and trains means my kid and I work up quite the appetite, and although a friend recently messaged me “good luck” when I asked for some Shoreline restaurant recommendations, I’m here to tell you I have had at least four fabulous options around the nearly 12 square miles that encompasses Shoreline.
Half are open for dining in, but they all adapt to dinners and lunches on the beach, on the couch or kitchen table at your own house, or even on a boat if you should be so lucky to have the access.
11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday for takeout; 19926 Aurora Ave. N., Shoreline; 206-801-7237
Just through the door in this pint-sized space is a 7-foot-tall statue of Jar Jar Binks, the much maligned Gungan from “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.” Luckily, the poke bowls here aren’t quite as polarizing. Located at the northern border of Shoreline (just south of the Costco), Star Poke is open for takeout only. Bowls are priced by the number of fish varieties you pick (range: $12 for one to $14 for three). Choose from ahi tuna, salmon, eel, shrimp or salmon belly (a $2.50 upgrade), then choose from mixed greens, brown or white rice.
The house bowl comes topped with nearly a dozen items from seaweed salad and edamame to crunchy fried onions and pineapple. Choose the “original” with ponzu and sesame oil, “aloha” with Hawaiian mustard and creamy lemon sauce, or “volcano” with spicy mayo and lava sauce, and then wait, perusing the rest of the “Star Wars” décor while they whip up your bowl. No mask? Star Poke sells them, along with tiny bottles of hand sanitizer. My ahi and salmon bowl was substantial, the fried onions and tobiko providing welcome crunch and texture. I opted for everything except the pineapple, because while I’ll eat pineapple on pizza (gasp!), I don’t need it with my poke.
Wake N Bacon BBQ
Noon-9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, noon-8:30 p.m. Saturday, noon-7 p.m. Sunday for takeout; 1437 N.W. Richmond Beach Road, Unit C, Shoreline; 206-542-8881, wakenbaconbbq.com
If you’re heading to Richmond Beach Saltwater Park from the east, you’ll drive right past this little barbecue spot, nestled into a small strip mall. Like Star Poke, pop-culture posters and figurines line the walls. The menu centers around barbecued meats — ribs, chicken, brisket, pulled pork — but there are also burgers, salads and giant brownies.
Unable to choose, I ended up with the Charlie’s Sampler ($69), which came with a half rack of ribs, half a chicken, a half pound of brisket and a half pound of pulled pork plus my choice of three large sides, samples of Wake N Bacon’s four barbecue sauces, pickles and bread. The brisket is so tender it’s hard to keep on a fork while the ribs (rubbed with a wonderful spice blend) fall off the bone. I don’t have strong feelings in general about the use of sauce on barbecue, but the sweet-hot mustardy Carolina Gold is like liquid gold poured onto the pulled pork or chicken. Did we eat barbecue for three days? Yes. But do I have regrets? Absolutely not.
Taqueria El Sabor
9 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday for takeout and limited dining; 15221 Aurora Ave. N., Shoreline; 206-417-3346, taqueriaelsabor.net
In addition to the Shoreline Taqueria el Sabor, there are locations in Tacoma and Kent, each housed in a vibrant orange building. The Shoreline location has a plexiglass barrier between you and the cashier, and the salsa bar has been blocked off — but don’t fret, you can still get your favorite pre-portioned salsas, lime wedges, radishes and pickled carrots. I love the sopitos, which feature a thick corn tortilla with a little raised edge. They’re griddled until crispy and stuffed with your choice of meat plus beans, a little cabbage, onions, cotija cheese and crema ($9.79 for three). They might be considered a snack, but I like them as a meal and will gladly eat all three. Also great are the burritos, offered naked and stuffed with refried beans and rice ($5.69) or smothered with chipotle, chile verde or chile Colorado sauce ($8.79). Add guacamole and sour cream for just $1.25.
Old Village Korean BBQ
11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily; 15200 Aurora Ave. N., Shoreline; 206-365-6679, oldvillagekoreanbbq.com
The charcoal grills inset at tables at this longtime local favorite are once again being lit, although the cashier I spoke with when picking up my order said dine-in business has been slow. Still, there is good Korean barbecue to be had, as well as wonderfully spicy kimchi. The barbecue chicken ($21.95) has just the right amount of char, while the bulgogi ($24.95) was incredibly tender. There are also bento boxes and plenty of cold noodle options for these hot days ahead.