Seattle Times readers’ dining dilemmas, solved!

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Questions! You, my friends, have restaurant-related questions, and as The Seattle Times food writer, I (try to!) always (eventually!) answer when you send them in. Here are three recent inquiries, starting with a very broad one — basically, what Seattle restaurant should I go to?

 

Hi, Bethany,

I am coming to Seattle and staying with my cousin on Bainbridge Island. I would like to take her and her husband out for dinner one night. She’s lived here for many years, so I doubt I could surprise her. Do you have any suggestions? Moderate-priced and up. Can be on the island or in Seattle.

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Thanks for any help you can provide,

Michael

 

Hi, Michael,

I’m guessing your cousin and her husband have probably already been everywhere on Bainbridge there is to go, so we’ll set that aside. (For what it’s worth, I finally made it to Brendan McGill’s not-so-new-anymore Bainbridge pizzeria, Bruciato, recently, and it was really good. If you end up there at some point, get the octopus salad!)

Beyond that, there are SO MANY good restaurants here now, it’s hard to know where to go with an open-ended request for a recommendation. Here are a bunch, just off the top of my head — and I know I’m leaving off many, many more great ones. Maybe choose a category, then look at reviews online to see what suits you? Or just pick randomly.

High-end greats: Altura, Canlis, Cafe Juanita, Sushi Kashiba

New standards: Bateau, Joule, The Walrus and the Carpenter, Sitka & Spruce, Upper Bar Ferdinand, Poppy, Lionhead, Mamnoon, Tilth, Monsoon

Classics: Le Pichet (there are so many more, but I’m just going to rest there, as it has been possibly my favorite restaurant in Seattle for forever)

Happening now: JuneBaby, L’Oursin, Opus Co., Adana, Tarsan i Jane, Cook Weaver, Gracia, Manolin

Incredible deals: Kedai Makan, Cafe Presse, Little Uncle, Dough Zone, Xi’an Noodles, Peloton, Ooink, Betsutenjin, Trove Noodle, Ba Bar

… Again, off the top of my head! Hope you and your cousin and her husband enjoy.

 

Michael didn’t write back to say where they went and how they liked it, but Brady, who got the same list from me via Twitter shortly after, said, “In Seattle, a view of SLU thx to @mbarSEA and a terrific meal @MonsoonSeattle thx to @BJeanClement’s advice. Hope to be back soon!” My pleasure, Brady!

After I wrote recently about the greatness of the dumplings at Seattle’s new Dough Zone (also in Issaquah, Redmond and two in Bellevue), Dawn had a question in Facebook comments.

 

Dawn: Anyone try Joyale Seafood or Harbor City? I’ve been dying for dim sum. Man, I miss San Francisco.

Bethany Jean Clement: I LOVE DIM SUM. I haven’t been to Harbor City in a while, but it seems to be the local favorite right now; Jade Garden is also a front-runner. Joyale, I thought, was just OK (I went a couple times and haven’t been back lately). My colleague Tan Vinh and I both liked diner-like Eastern Pearl in Redmond when we went quite a while back. Monsoon Seattle and Monsoon Bellevue do a very good job with their limited weekend dim-sum menus; both are more upscale (meaning both nicer and pricier! Great for a fancy brunch date).

My not-so-secret spot is the bakery/restaurant Regent on Capitol Hill, where they make dim sum to order, only at lunchtime, Thursdays through Sundays; maybe not the most delicate wrappers, but REALLY GOOD. I’ll make Dough Zone a regular, too, now that it’s in Seattle (YAY!). And, of course, Din Tai Fung before or after the movies at Pacific Place.

Everyone says the dim sum is better in Richmond, B.C., and everyone is (sadly) right. Take a trip to Vancouver/Richmond!

These are my long-winded dumpling thoughts! Happy dim sum’ing!

It’s clearly time for Tan and me to do some serious, arduous dim-sum research to come up with some definitive dim-sum answers. Now to a very specific question …

 

Hi there, Ms. Clement!

I would love either a quick recommendation OR in-depth Seattle Times coverage of the best butternut squash ravioli to be had in Seattle. The season approaches! Thanks in advance.

Sincerely,

A Fan and Faithful Reader

 

My recommendation for A.F.F.R. (and other butternut-squash-ravioli fanatics): Sign up for Il Corvo’s daily menu email alerts, read them/be hungry every day, and when Mike Easton’s making B.S.R., run down there and eat it. But Il Corvo is lunch only, and may only have the magic ravioli once in a blue moon, so this isn’t super-helpful.

I took this inquiry to Facebook, where lots of people weighed in (including one who said, “Can I vote for the in-depth coverage?”). I double-checked on their recommendations, and here’s what we’ve got:

“I feel like I had them at Spinasse once …” one FB friend said. “Hard to go wrong there.” True — and you’ll find roasted butternut squash ravioli with candied walnuts and sage on Spinasse’s menu right now.

Chef Tamara Murphy offered, “I don’t usually toot my own horn, but Terra Plata’s butternut squash cappelletti are the best I have had. We make them in the fall.”

“Is Sam at LloydMartin making agnolotti? I think he used to make it with butternut squash, but it’s been a million years since I’ve had it. FYI, he makes really great fresh pasta.” Butternut’s not on chef Sam Crannell’s menu at the moment, but this does sound really great: parsnip ravioli with duck confit, orange, foie gras, bacon and greens. Yes, please!

Ashley commented, “I do believe there is one of these at Rigoletto, which is, to me, one of the most slept-on gems for dinner in S.L.U.!” Their version comes with brown-butter sage sauce and is served over tomato sauce.

And a few people recommended buying them ready-made and cooking them at home — like chef Brad Inserra, of the late, great Brad’s Swingside Cafe, who said to try Cucina Fresca brand (“well made and they’re dedicated folks”) with sweet onion and sage butter, and another person who likes the ones from Pasta & Co.

Now I want butternut squash ravioli. Happy fall!

 

(Edits have been made for clarity or because I thought of even more stuff to recommend!)