Purple Cafe and Wine Bar: Downtown Seattle

Editor’s Pick

$$ Wine Bars/Small Plates

There’s nothing else like it downtown: no other place casual enough for dropping in, festive enough for an occasion, visible enough to remain on the radar, and proffering a vast menu of populist comfort foods rigorously embellished by mayo and melted cheese. We’re talking pastas, sandwiches (a very nice breaded shrimp and pickled fennel number), salads, and pizza; evenings, there’s a grandma’s kitchen full of comforting mains. And wine, rivers of it, is offered in flights or 80–plus by–the–glass selections, with cheeses or with nosh trios you assemble yourself. Nothing rises above the culinarily predictable, but sitting in the soaring glass–skinned chamber centrally anchored by a massive tower of wine, amid the clattering urban jumble of shoppers and theatergoers and business folk at Fourth and University—you feel you’ve located the beating heart of downtown. The more rustic Woodinville original and the more suburban Kirkland and Bellevue branches cater to families and gambolers at a more relaxed pace.

Last updated: 03/04/2014