Blue Stone Bistro is a tasty break from the neighborhood’s fancy fare.

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Blue Stone Bistro, a winter newcomer to Capitol Hill, is staking a claim as an increasingly rare specimen: the dressed-down, no-frills eatery in a gentrifying neighborhood where pork belly, chia seeds and craft cocktails reign supreme. But, look beyond its rather divey exterior and you’ll find a spick-and-span interior with tasty homestyle Korean fare.

The menu: Diners will be hard-pressed to find a better lunch deal on the hill than the Lunch Special ($6.50-$7.50), offered between 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Meat eaters have four chicken options (teriyaki, chicken salad, katsu or breast), served with rice, salad and gyoza or an egg roll. Vegetarians can sub in fried tofu with a veggie egg roll.

Other entrees are available throughout the day: sweetly marinated kalbi short ribs served with grilled onions ($17); yakisoba noodles stir-fried with tofu, kimchi or meat ($8-10); and a spicy beef-brisket soup stewed with royal fern, napa cabbage and bean sprouts. If you enjoy eating cephalopods as much as I do, try the calamari fries ($7) — affectionately nicknamed “tentacle fries” by some — or squid tossed in a spicy Korean sauce ($13).

Blue Stone Bistro


1631 E. Olive Way, Seattle; 206-726-0141

Hours: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Sunday

Etc: major credit cards; no obstacles to access; street parking; no alcohol

Prices: $-$$

What to write home about: The bibimbap ($10-$12) comes in its customary hot stone bowl with julienne vegetables, such as daikon radish and shiitake mushrooms, carefully arranged on top. Ask for the (free) fried egg on top, squeeze a generous helping of gochujang hot sauce and stir to scrape up the crisped bits of rice along the bottom of the bowl.

The setting: A small, trapezoid-shaped restaurant that still manages to seat 25 people on a happening stretch of Olive Way.

Summing up: An order of bibimbap ($10), kalbi ($17) and a kimchi-scallion pancake ($11) came to $38 before tax and tip, and fed two.