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Tastiest mall, right here.

Uh…shopping much this week? Here’s where it’s safe to get hungry.

At Pacific Place downtown best picks include Il Fornaio (one of the best of the Italian chains, here in a few permutations) and the very fine Pike Place Chowder.  

Northgate holds slim pickings, but there is Chipotle (which really does pay attention to its ingredients) and Café Nordstrom (third floor of the store), which does a consistent job of making ladies-lunching food taste interesting.

Bellevue Square, together with the maze of other mall properties connected by skybridges, is at its best at Cactus for margarita noshes, Din Tai Fung for beautiful soup dumplings, and Joey for creative nibbles of all sorts. For pick-me-ups head straight to Specialty’s (those cookies) and the exquisite D’Ambrosio Gelato.

Southcenter has a ton of options but precious few standouts, including Café Nordstrom and Joey, though Nordstrom’s Fruititude is good for fruity smoothies. (French Fry Heaven won’t open till after the holidays, alas.)

University Village is a different story. In addition to existing worthy destinations—including Elemental Wood-Fired Pizza, Pasta and Co. for takeout, Pallino Pastaria for better-than-standard fast-food pastas, and Veggie Grill for vegans—U Village has in recent weeks become home to Eureka for burgers and brown booze, Liam’s from the Beecher’s Cheese people, and Molly freakin’ Moon’s. Joining them today comes another Joey---this one Joey Kitchen. Another Din Tai Fung will be right behind it.

All that and a Specialty’s too? That’s what I call Christmas shopping.

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