Hygge kib7aa

The perfect hygge stageset, courtesy LloydMartin.

Image: Facebook

For this month’s issue of Seattle Met I wrote about hygge, the Danish concept of down-to-earth authenticity and cozy well-being that is untranslatable to English, but which even an American can begin to comprehend during an evening spent comfortably indoors, in the company of old friends, eating comfort food, by candlelight—and bonus points for a snowstorm out the window. “Deepen all that to a soul level, bake it into an attitude—and you’ve got hygge,” I wrote.

Which Seattle restaurants wrap diners in that kind of coziness? Here are a few you’ve got two more weeks of winter to savor at their hyggelig best:  

Kraken Congee

Not sure it gets more hygge than eating rice porridge and cheesecake in a brick-lined basement. Add in Kraken’s creatively fused congee elements—red curry crab, pork belly adobo—and you’ve got hygge speaking in really smart, tasty Asian dialects. And don’t forget the bar; booze is hugely hyggelig.

Tilikum Place Cafe

Again with the bricks in this Belltown Euro-bistro, which is just small enough to feel cozy and just packed enough to feel vital. There’s a reason for the crowd: This food is magical, all the time, from the sage butter pasta and savory tarts by night to the inventively topped Dutch baby pancakes at brunch. Consistent attention to detail adds the final stroke of integrity that seals in the hygge.

Bottlehouse

This wine bar/urban winery in the heart of Madrona embodies hygge in its space—a house, with snug, wood-hewn rooms—and in its attention to cheese, platters of which waiters will bring over and lovingly deconstruct right down to the curd ratios. Something about its late afternoon happy hour (3pm to 6pm), its late-night weekends, its grilled-cheese-with-tomato-jam sandwiches—and that wine—just screams hygge.

LloydMartin

The owner of this Queen Anne gem, Sam Crannell, is one masterful chef, spinning carefully sourced meats and seafoods and produce into sophisticated but comforting plates—pheasant confit, pelmini with rapini and truffle butter—that render “mouthwatering” less a cliché than a literal fact. Drench it all in amber light and barrel aged Manhattans and…voila hygge.

Rione XIII

Pizza oven. Housemade mozzarella. Brick walls. Two-top boothlets. Vintage room. Glowing pendants. Gnocchi alla Romana. Sure it’s part of a chain, but Ethan Stowell Restaurants is a pretty hygge chain (think Tavolata, think How to Cook a Wolf)—and Rione’s perhaps the most hygge of those. 

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Editor’s Pick

How to Cook a Wolf

$$ Italian 2208 Queen Anne Ave N

Ethan Stowell's tiny neighborhood pocket on the top of Queen Anne whose barrel-vaulted ceiling and coppery light imparts a sense of a glowing hearth. The nam...

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Tavolàta

$$$ Italian Multiple Locations

Ethan Stowell's eldest restaurant is also his most overtly Italian, a house of fresh housemade pastas, tossed simply with elegant enhancements like veal brai...

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Rione XIII

$$ Italian 401 15th Ave E

Ethan Stowell's tribute to the delights of Roman cuisine hit the corner of 15th and Harrison so oldsouled and vibrant it felt essential from its first week. ...

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LloydMartin Closed

$$ American/New American 1525 Queen Anne Ave N

A classy romantic haunt with a cocktail bar vibe and an idiosyncratic culinary aesthetic makes it a kind of Quinn’s, the gastropub on Capitol Hill, for grown...

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Bottlehouse

$$ Small Plates, Wine Bar 1416 34th Ave

Bottlehouse is the sort of place every neighborhood could benefit from. It's a cozy neighborhood hangout, a one-stop shop with a curated selection of wines a...

Editor’s Pick

Tilikum Place Cafe

$$$ Continental 407 Cedar Street

The lived-in ease of this cozy brick-walled boite not only makes Belltown feel like a neighborhood, it leaves you quite unprepared for the exacting food. Che...

Editor’s Pick

Kraken Congee Closed

$$ Pan Asian 88 Yesler Way

A flight belowground, fittingly bricked and mortared, stocked with a bar and a satisfying menu—and about as intense a sense of cozy as one can find in this t...