In early April, the Seattle City Council passed a resolution that officially recognized changing the name of the area previously known as Lower Queen Anne to Uptown. Although it came as a surprise to some, the Seattle Uptown Alliance has been fighting for this change since the late 1990s.
Councilmember Andrew Lewis says he first learned about the campaign when he was running for office in 2019 and is excited to see what the future holds for Uptown.
“I often describe what the future of Uptown could be as sort of a cross between Belltown and Capitol Hill — something that’s like, a bar district but also an arts district with a focus on the performing arts and big concentrations of mixed housing,” Lewis says.
The area that has been designated as Uptown spans a stretch of Queen Anne that is defined by Aurora Avenue to the east, Denny Way to the south, Elliott Avenue to the west and a zigzag line to the north that roughly follows Roy Street, marking the foot of the slope of Queen Anne Hill.
So what does Uptown have to offer food-wise? We asked Lewis for recommendations, then went to scout the area.
Lewis lives just north of Uptown, and you can often find him at some of his favorite bars and restaurants in the neighborhood. One of his favorite bars to go to is the Sitting Room (108 W. Roy St.). “It feels really comfortable, really homey. I like their house Old Fashioned or sometimes they’ll have a draft beer from Holy Mountain,” he says.
Pre-pandemic, Lewis frequented the Tin Lizzy Bar in the lobby of the MarQueen Hotel (600 Queen Anne Ave. N.), especially for any “gin or botanical drink” that was on the current menu. The lounge is set to reopen Thursday, June 3, with limited indoor seating, and will thereafter maintain regular Thursday-Sunday hours from 4-11 p.m.
Lewis held his election-night party at CÔBA, a hip Vietnamese spot that is open for limited indoor dining and still offering the full menu to-go. His go-to order is the chicken pho ($14) and the crab rangoon ($11).
There are five little purses of Dungeness crab rangoon that come in an order, stuffed with cream cheese, basil and crab, served with a sweet chili sauce. These are a cheese lover’s rangoon, and the dough is light and crisp.
The chicken pho (I ordered extra vegetables for an additional $3) comes with the broth packaged separately from the noodles, chicken and a soft-boiled egg. The broth is rich but not overly complex, making for an incredibly satisfying bowl of soup.
CÔBA — Viet Kitchen & Ales
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, Saturday; 530 First Ave. N., Seattle; 206-283-6614; cobaseattle.com; limited indoor dining and takeout available
Elsewhere in the neighborhood Lewis calls an “arts-infused urbanist district,” I’m looking forward to the addition of Rough Draft Burger Shop, scheduled to open this summer at 819 Fifth Ave. N., right next to Big Mario’s. For now, I finally made it to a pizza place recommended to me by a handful of readers and a Sichuan-inspired spot that opened in June 2020.
5-9 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 20 Roy St., Seattle; 206-453-4375; themasonryseattle.com; limited indoor dining and takeout available
One impassioned reader wrote to me saying this little pizza place was the closest he had found to pizza he ate on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Another said the pizza makes her “swoon.” It also happens to be the spot she and her husband (both teachers) go to decompress if they’ve got an early release day at school. The joint is 21+, making it the perfect place to enjoy an entire pizza to yourself (and beer!) without the threat of a student walking through the door. Alas, I had my kid with me, so we picked up a couple of pizzas and a side of meatballs to go.
The Big Cheese ($20) has layers of aged mozzarella, provolone, grana and fontina over an oregano-heavy red sauce with a kiss of black pepper. The Hot Coppa and Burrata ($22) has a copious amount of garlic, spicy coppa, hunks of marinated tomatoes, and basil. They both traveled incredibly well, keeping that slightly chewy crust wonderfully intact without getting soggy. A quick blast in a 500-degree oven revived the bubbly cheese, but honestly I ate a leftover slice at room temp an hour or so later (weird, I know) and was still pretty happy.
The meatballs are unbelievably tender, served swimming in a slightly spicy red sauce that begs to be sopped up with thick-cut toast. You can order a side of focaccia to go ($3), but I wonder if the play (if you’ve got some mozzarella in the fridge) is to order a side of dough ($3) and make yourself a little meatball pizza if you’re ordering to-go. Whatever you choose, the meatballs are a winner.
4-8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 4-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 114 Republican St., Seattle; 206-485-7102; tygertygerseattle.com; limited indoor/outdoor dining and takeout available.
Garret Doherty and Benjamin Chew of Capitol Hill’s Lionhead opened Tyger Tyger in late May 2020, just across the street from KEXP and Climate Pledge Arena. Things are relatively quiet now, except for the sounds of construction, which makes it quite easy to dip in to the moody Sichuan-inspired space to have dinner or grab takeout. There are juicy pork dumplings speckled with black sesame seeds and doused in black vinegar chili oil ($13); Tyger Tyger fried rice ($13) that hits all texture notes, from crunchy lotus root to fatty, chewy Chinese bacon; and Sichuan spare ribs ($14) lacquered with a sweet and sour glaze. I also ordered the salt and Sichuan pepper tofu ($15). The crispiness suffered due to my drive home, but even with a noncrispy coating, the creamy tofu dunked in the black vinegar sauce was so good we finished the entire box.