Steak and sukiyaki. Pizza and chitterlings. Seattle Times food critic Providence Cicero’s list of the 10 best new restaurants has something for everyone. Chances are one of them is in a neighborhood near you.
STEAK AND SUKIYAKI. Pizza and dosa. Chitterlings and charcuterie de poisson. This year’s best new restaurants cover a lot of culinary ground. Chosen from restaurants reviewed in the past 12 months, they also span the metro area, from Bainbridge to Bellevue, Mount Baker to Greenwood. Chances are one of them is in a neighborhood near you.
(Listed alphabetically, with excerpts from original reviews.)
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“Lengthy fermentation [and] a wild yeast starter the chefs have been nurturing for years … ” (April 27)
A new contender for the area’s best pizza emerged when Brendan McGill opened Bruciato in Winslow, a spacious and permanent home for the periodic pizza pop-ups held at his flagship restaurant, Hitchcock, across the street. Pizzaiolo Brandon Thompson tops expertly blistered, Neapolitan-style pies with things like duck eggs, pork belly, rapini and clams, ingredients as often as possible sourced from local farms, fields and waters. The wood-fired oven does wonders, as well, for roasted vegetables, braised octopus and baked meatballs. Aperitivi, amaro, grappa and cocktails help fuel the fun.
Where: Bainbridge Island; 206-201-3462; pizzeriabruciato.com.
“Donnelly’s instinct for how ingredients and flavor components complement and counterbalance each other is as true as a compass pointing north.” (Jan. 19)
Beef and bison. Lamb sausages. Braised wild boar. Roasted venison. Eric Donnelly’s meaty menu at FlintCreek is the flip side to his seafood and fish-focused RockCreek. The bi-level space brims with energy generated by a fully visible kitchen and a prominent bar, where skilled bartenders might read you the “Riot Act” — in the form of a rousing cocktail made with rye, sweet vermouth, Benedictine and absinthe.
Where: Greenwood; 206-457-5656; flintcreekseattle.com.
“ … elegant simplicity and painstaking precision … ” (May 25)
Toshiyuki Kawai grew up in Osaka with a passion for cooking. Here, working at Luc and Book Bindery, he developed a style that merges Japanese simplicity and French flair. It suits his unassuming neighborhood restaurant, Iconiq. He braises beef tongue in red wine and soy sauce and drapes beet risotto in ginger foam. Seared scallops ride a wave of salted plum broth. The signature clam chowder calls for whole clams, bacon, miso — and daikon instead of potatoes. Dinner begins with a gratis amuse-bouche. It often ends with Kawai strolling through the compact dining room, making sure everyone is happy. (The restaurant has closed temporarily but expects to reopen soon.)
Where: Mount Baker; 206-568-7715; Iconiqseattle.com.
“ … defining Southern food for Seattle.”(June 22)
Oxtail. Swamp cabbage. Chitterlings. Gumbo. Edouardo Jordan takes a deep, delicious dive into Southern foodways and their African roots at JuneBaby, his follow-up to Salare. Here you’ll find big-hearted home-cooking full of refined tweaks: smoked carrots with collards in tahini sauce; slivered and fried pig ears with a swirl of pecan butter; charred okra and peanuts in a smoked chili vinaigrette. BBQ is the Saturday night special; Sunday’s fried chicken is easily the best in town. Every night there is phenomenal cornbread; outstanding biscuits; and, for dessert, cakes, pies and cobblers that define their genres.
Where: Ravenna; 206-257-4470; junebabyseattle.com.
“The best sauces … unfold like a blossom in the mouth.” (Aug. 10)
The dosas catch your eye immediately. Almost every table at Kathakali orders one or more of those large, golden brown wraps. They come plain, buttered or with fancier fillings like green jackfruit and coconut or masala-spiced potatoes and pesto. A dance native to the Southern Indian state of Kerala inspired the restaurant’s name. The décor and the cuisine also reflect the region. Chef Ajay Panicker’s complex, vivid curries — made with meat, seafood, tofu or vegetables — demand to be scooped up with buttery Malabar parotta, the best of several house-made breads.
Where: Kirkland; 425-821-8188; kathakali-juanita.com.
“Proville cooks fish simply but accessorizes it extravagantly.” (Feb. 16)
JJ Proville spent his teen years in the French countryside, and his early years as a chef in Brooklyn, but from the moment he jumped off a boat into Desolation Sound with an oyster knife in his teeth, Pacific Northwest seafood has held him in thrall. It all comes together at L’Oursin, where Proville applies French savoir faire to salmon, scallops, sea urchin, Dungeness crab and more with spectacular results. His business partner, Zac Overman, devises alluring seasonal cocktails and curates a list of natural wines, ensuring diners drink as well as they eat.
Where: Central District; 206-485-7173; loursinseattle.com.
“ … a cavalcade of precious and pristine ingredients … ” (Sept. 7)
Chefs Dylan Xu and Grant Lin present an exquisite omakase. Rife with rare ingredients like uni, osetra and A5 Wagyu beef, it’s an experience undeniably worth it for those with the wherewithal to indulge. But some of those same luxuries are priced a la carte on the dinner menu, and the chirashi bento on the weekday lunch menu is an affordable treasure chest of raw fish and other delights. No matter how much diners are willing to spend, beautiful tableware, composed service and a gracious atmosphere are part of the package.
Where: Bellevue; 425-999-3338; minamotowa.com.
“Vance uses forthright flavors with a subtle hand, creating robust yet elegant food that enhances a list of beers and ciders you’ve probably never heard of.” (Dec. 1, 2016)
Few beer bars produce food as inventive and carefully wrought as No Anchor. Chef Jeffrey Vance smokes and pickles mussels, cures salmon with IPA and spruce tips, sauces sweetbreads with brown butter, and tints his pelmeni dumplings ruby-red with beet juice. Owners Chris and Anu Elford enhance the creative cuisine with an equally adventurous, constantly rotating roster of craft beers, spirits and cocktails.
Where: Belltown; 206-448-2610; noanchorbar.com.
“Schroder … employs smoke and char, sweet and sour, salt and sizzle with restraint and finesse.” (Oct. 6)
Seven chickens, five salmon, one lamb, half a pig. That’s roughly what Mark Schroder butchers each week for his spare, 17-seat restaurant, Opus Co. He cooks the meat and fish, and vegetables too, over a wood fire or in its embers. The challenge of using the whole animal leads to brilliant ideas like lamb “spam” — ground trimmings mixed with cured belly meat — and a crunchy pig-ear salad sparked with pickled spring garlic and chile paste. His plates are loosely structured arrangements of surprising ingredients that play well together, more jazz improv ensemble than symphony orchestra. His magnum opus is the multicourse “Feast,” $50 per person and truly a dining deal.
Where: Phinney Ridge; 206-420-8360; opuscorestaurant.com.
“ … using savvy technique to unleash deep flavor from great ingredients.” (Sept. 14)
The very polished food at Jason Wilson’s newest venture in the Lincoln Square expansion has more in common with his first, now-closed restaurant, Crush, than his steakhouse, Miller’s Guild. In spirit, The Lakehouse is a direct descendant of Jeremiah Towers’ Stars, that late-20th-century exemplar of farm-focused California cuisine. Wilson first made his mark here at the Seattle Stars, coincidentally also in an urban shopping mall — Pacific Place. The Lakehouse possesses the same brio, the same air of effortless sophistication. It’s Stars for a new age.
Where: Bellevue; 425-454-7076; thelakehousebellevue.com.