CHECKED OFF THE Top 10 restaurants named in this month’s cover story and still hungry? Well don’t you live in the right metropolis. Other cities would kill for just a nibble of the soaring excellence that, in our hunt for the Top 10, landed on the cutting-room floor. Seattle has it all and then some—from prix-fixe bastions of the artful composition, as at Art of the Table pictured here, to walk-up stands like Paseo, peddling Cuban pork sandwiches whose savory drips pack more palatable punch than whole platefuls elsewhere. Every month Seattle Metropolitan publishes a selection of our mini reviews of faves (and at any moment you can find the whole list at seattlemet.com). But for our Best Restaurants issue we’ve curated the list to encompass the choicest in town. We call them the Rest of the Best. We think you should call them for reservations.
Italian Everyone looks deadly chic against the windows and cement of this minimalist corner room in Pike/Pine, but the fourth restaurant in Ethan Stowell’s high-end empire (which also includes Union, Tavolàta, and How to Cook a Wolf) is surprisingly down-to-earth and welcoming. It’s all about the food, after all: a broad crudo menu featuring the freshest local shellfish (often swimming-that-morning oysters), and rarely seen seafood flown in from exotic offshore locales, highlighted with Italian embellishments. When the kitchen’s on, it’s off the charts, presenting wonders like Arctic char over fregola pasta, with nettles, currants, and speck; and trafficking in the same acerbic, briny, and tangy flavor families that dominate dinner at his other joints. (If you don’t like anchovies or olives, in other words…this may not be the place for you.) Serves food till midnight every day. 1550 15th Ave at Pine St, Capitol Hill, 206-838-8080; anchovies andolives.com.
Northwest One of the best of the new breed of unrestaurants, this teensy six-table Wallingford room with the butter yellow walls and the World Beat music also serves careful, delectable food: four courses, Thursdays through Saturdays, along a theme that chef Dustin Ronspies shyly narrates from the kitchen door. (This may include a sermonette, be warned, about the virtue of eating communally.) The charming Ronspies is a gifted chef, turning out dishes marked by subtle contrasts and textural interplay: smoky poussin with sweet spring vegetables and yam puree, perhaps, or thin-sliced red and golden beets over whipped chevre on flaky pastry. If the theme is, say, summer solstice, you’ll likely get nasturtium petals strewn across your salad and a “full moon” of honey panna cotta for dessert—fun dishes to speed the bonding with the other foodophiles at your table. Mondays bring small-plate happy hours. 1054 N 39th St at Woodland Park Ave N, Wallingford, 206-282-0942; artofthetable.net.
Continental If Bill Gates wanted to drop in to his neighborhood restaurant, this would be the place: A Main Street storefront, having overcome an initial generic quality, is now the dining room of choice for West Bellevue gentry seeking to entertain, conduct business, or give their own chef the night off. It’s a classy room, determinedly neutral, hung with oversize oils, and staffed by a fleet of pros. The menu holds no surprises—a fish of the day, a rack of lamb, crab cakes, a noble New York steak. The surprise is in the assurance and intention on every plate, from gilded gnocchi in a lemony pea sauce bright with chervil to duck slices fanned over a cloud of truffled mashed potatoes in foie gras sauce. Owner Joe Vilardi, an alum of Il Terrazzo Carmine, knows everyone by name. 10213 Main St at 102nd Ave SE, Bellevue, 425-455-2033; bisonmain.com.
Italian Branzino springs from the same DNA—namely that of Peter Lamb, whose Il Bistro and, later, Queen City Grill now seem but prologue to his latest, opened with partner Michael Don Rico. It’s a square room with high-backed booths and otherwise cozy spaces swathed in autumnal hues—a bona fide warm restaurant in a city smitten with the stark and minimal—where the friendly welcome, rustic fare, and affordable price tags (just one entrée over $24, and most around $18) all lack pretension. (In, yes, Belltown.) Seasoned chef Ashley Merriman keeps her hand firmly on the Italian tiller, turning out a housemade pappardelle Bolognese, a panzanella starring the chef’s handmade mozzarella, a halibut with fresh vegetables in parchment, and a perfect pizza crust—all of which she knocks clean out of the park. 2429 Second Ave between Battery and Wall Sts, Belltown, 206-728-5181; branzinoseattle.com.
Spanish This sweeping bilevel Belltown beaut charms with amber lighting and decor in the burnished terra-cotta hues of a Portuguese sunset. Brasa hosts a mix of barflies attracted by the half-off happy-hour appetizer menu in the roomy bar and epicureans here to savor the smoky cuisines of the Iberian Peninsula. The roast pig, always on offer, is one of the great plates in Seattle: a shallow bowl of moist braised pork along with clams, chorizo, pickled onions, and a big ol’ homemade pork rind—all gloriously swamped together in a fragrant bay-and-paprika broth just begging to be soaked away with big hunks of rustic bread. This plus a glass of Spanish wine off a grand list makes the polished Brasa feel rather like an earthy little dive off the docks of Lisbon—high praise for a place that could easily rest on its blond good looks and noble address. 2107 Third Ave between Blanchard and Lenora Sts, Belltown, 206-728-4220; brasa.com.