WINNOWING DOWN THE list of especially amazing things that I ate out and about over the course of 2022 to just under a dozen for my year-end restaurants story was very difficult. (Yes, it’s only November, but my editors want this in your hands in time for celebratory holiday-time dining.) In fact, the long version would include virtually everything on my Instagram in 2022 (minus, of course, the dishes I made myself, and the cats).

11 best dishes of 2022 from restaurant critic Bethany Jean Clement

There’s just not enough space and time to pay tribute to all the excellence in food our city and region continually provide, which, truly, is a great problem to have. But it’s guilt-wracking that omissions in coverage tend toward the longtime favorites — it feels like taking beloved restaurants, and the marvelous people who run and staff them, for granted.

This year’s list really, really should include the baccalà mantecato fritters at Bar del Corso (where chef Jerry Corso steadfastly makes some of Seattle’s very best Italian food), the chocolate malt at Voula’s Offshore Cafe (a fantastic diner in a city sadly lacking in that department), the springtime kakiage at Kamonegi (still serving chef Mutsuko Soma’s wonderful handmade ni-hachi soba noodles and more), the gorgeous passion-fruit pandan cake at Ba Bar (an absurdly photogenic addition to the longstanding menu of Vietnamese favorites), the chicken liver mousse served comically in a bright-yellow Ricard ashtray at L’Oursin (which has become maybe as beloved for French food here as Le Pichet), and … I have to stop somewhere!? 

OK, wait, one more — well, actually, three: If you’re in Bremerton and want some amazing quesabirria tacos, head directly to La Poblanita Tienda y Taqueria; in Seattle, try the ones at Carmelo’s Tacos in the Hillcrest Market on Capitol Hill or on 12th Avenue by Seattle University; and in Yakima, Sunnyside or Pasco, hit up the hot deli counters at Fiesta Foods.

Sorry, also, though, something/anything from the glorious dinner I had at Musang in February absolutely should have been included, along with all the congratulations to chef Melissa Miranda on being named one of Food & Wine’s 11 best new chefs in America this year (righteous!). 

What a privilege to have so much greatness all around. We’re so lucky. Let’s go, and eat, and say thank you to our treasured places, old and new. Cheers, everybody!