IN THIS FREQUENTLY UPDATED LIST, Seattle Times restaurant critics Bethany Jean Clement and Tan Vinh share the places they’ve reviewed recently that they’ve loved best — the ones they think you really should try.

The sweet-chili chicken wings (top) at Paju are “party-sized” and come with Wet-Naps, which you will need.  (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)
The sweet-chili chicken wings (top) at Paju are “party-sized” and come with Wet-Naps, which you will need. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Some of Seattle’s most exciting food is happening at brand-new, modern Korean Paju

by Bethany Jean Clement

Two chefs from a Michelin-starred background found a small Lower Queen Anne storefront. What they’re doing there — and the value for the prices — is extraordinary.


The chilled mussel roll at Champagne Diner is like a lobster one, but far less expensive — two for $13.95 — and arguably more interesting. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)
The chilled mussel roll at Champagne Diner is like a lobster one, but far less expensive — two for $13.95 — and arguably more interesting. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

Seattle’s dreamy Champagne Diner is old school carefully balanced with new

by Bethany Jean Clement

Interbay’s new sibling to Pioneer Square favorite Damn the Weather might not always be perfect, but it’s a damn lovely place to be.


Núodle’s Lanzhou-style beef noodle soup comes with a heap of daikon, cilantro, chives and scallions, along with more beef slices than our restaurant critic had ever seen in any regular size bowl of pho. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)
Núodle’s Lanzhou-style beef noodle soup comes with a heap of daikon, cilantro, chives and scallions, along with more beef slices than our restaurant critic had ever seen in any regular size bowl of pho. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

Bellevue has fallen in love with Nuodle and its unique hand-pulled beef noodle soup

By Tan Vinh

The hand-pulled beef noodle soup at Nuodle in Bellevue tastes like a Northern-style Hanoi pho on steroids, in all of its pungency and savory-ness. Its pliant noodle is reminiscent of the al dente texture you might get at a legit Italiano ristorante. This, folks, is worth the line you might have to wait in to eat at Nuodle.


The jibneh saj wrap at Yalla combines stretchy-melty cheese, black sesame, cucumber, tomato, whole green olives and fresh mint inside pliant house-made saj bread, griddled until just blistering. In the back: Yalla’s traditional fermented beet-turnip pickles, which will let your mouth know that you are definitely alive. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)
The jibneh saj wrap at Yalla combines stretchy-melty cheese, black sesame, cucumber, tomato, whole green olives and fresh mint inside pliant house-made saj bread, griddled until just blistering. In the back: Yalla’s traditional fermented beet-turnip pickles, which will let your mouth know that you are definitely alive. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Seattle’s tiny walk-up window Yalla serves big, beautiful Arabic flavors

By Bethany Jean Clement

Chef Taylor Cheney’s from California, grew up in Tacoma, and has an impressive résumé that includes Lampreia, Harvest Vine, Marjorie, Mistral Kitchen and La Bete. Here’s how she ended up serving super-tasty Arabic cuisine through a walk-up window on Capitol Hill.


Certain Yelpers would like to indignantly inform you that the pasta at chef Mike Easton’s new Il Nido costs more than twice as much as at his original Il Corvo — but for the likes of this fazzoletti, strewn with morels and centered with one bright-orange, olive-oil-poached egg yolk, it’s worth it. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)
Certain Yelpers would like to indignantly inform you that the pasta at chef Mike Easton’s new Il Nido costs more than twice as much as at his original Il Corvo — but for the likes of this fazzoletti, strewn with morels and centered with one bright-orange, olive-oil-poached egg yolk, it’s worth it. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Stellar Italian food in a Seattle landmark setting: The beauty of Mike Easton’s Il Nido

By Bethany Jean Clement

James Beard-nominated chef Mike Easton had no intention of opening a bigger, dinnertime Italian restaurant — then he found the Seattle landmark Alki Homestead. Now the lovely Il Nido has found its nest there.


Clockwise from front, xiao long bao, Mama’s House special bao with pork, shrimp fried rice, seafood dumplings, and pan-fried pork dumplings with chives at Mama Dough in the Great Wall Shopping Mall in Kent. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)
Clockwise from front, xiao long bao, Mama’s House special bao with pork, shrimp fried rice, seafood dumplings, and pan-fried pork dumplings with chives at Mama Dough in the Great Wall Shopping Mall in Kent. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Better than Din Tai Fung? There’s a new king in the Greater Seattle soup dumpling race.

By Tan Vinh

Fightin’ words! Our critic thinks this Kent restaurant makes better pork soup dumplings or xiao long bao than Din Tai Fung or Dough Zone.