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The vibrant color at Circadia. 

Walking into Circadia, the downtown restaurant I review in our May issue, feels instantly vibrant—and as you settle in you realize why: It’s full of color. Champagne banquettes and teal wall coverings with textural embellishments across the spectrum of those complimentary hues play very nicely together, at once serene and festive.

And unabashedly un-Seattle. As it’s developed over the decades, the Seattle Look in restaurants has tended toward the coolly industrial, with woodsy naturals and all those famous shades of gray. (And enough exposed ductwork overhead to evoke a sort of factory chic.) Matt Dillon and Renee Erickson vaulted farmhouse whitewash to fashion—see Sitka and Spruce, see the Whale Wins—and a throwbacky Mad Men aesthetic has ushered in a midcentury neutrals vibe.  

But some restaurants just boldly declare their colors, and it’s refreshing.

Consider the reds of Dahlia Lounge; the butternuts of Lola. The perpetual golden sunset of Toulouse Petit. The bright oranges and yellows of Poppy, the Santorini blues of Omega Ouzeri, the imperial red against placid blue at Lionhead, the deep-sea tiled blues of Barnacle.

Blues and greens, indeed, appear to be on the ascendancy. Kedai Makan with its vivid green-blue walls. Manolin’s cerulean subway tile. The seaworthy greens saturating Bar Melusine. Stateside’s symphony of seafoam.

Are we seeing the start of something?

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Editor’s Pick

Stateside

$$$ Vietnamese 300 E Pike St

From the sidewalk it looks like a casual Vietnamese cafe, but Stateside is in fact a singular extraordinary destination, capturing French colonial Indochina ...

Editor’s Pick

Bar Melusine

$$$ French, Oyster Bar, Seafood, Small Plates 1060 E Union St

Seattle seafood legend Renee Erickson has reprised her Ballard oyster bar, the Walrus and the Carpenter, in this breezy Capitol Hill bar splashed with sprays...

Editor’s Pick

Manolin

$$ American/New American 3621 Stone Way N

It’s a known fact that rockfish ceviche and plantain chips taste their brightest and best within quarters as cerulean and sparkling as a wave breaking on a t...

Editor’s Pick

Kedai Makan

$$ Malaysian 1802 Bellevue Ave

Once a popular Malaysian walkup window, now a proper restaurant just off Olive Way, Kedai Makan’s cacophonous energy recalls the Southeast Asian night market...

Editor’s Pick

Barnacle Bar

$$ Small Plates 4743 Ballard Ave NW

At Boat Street Cafe, the Walrus and the Carpenter, and the Whale Wins, Renee Erickson has showcased two distinct gifts: sourcing and presenting perfect seafo...

Editor’s Pick

Lionhead

$$ Chinese 618 Broadway E

Who knew that one of Seattle’s pioneers of Northwest cuisine—both at his former post at the Herbfarm and his current one at Poppy next door—would be so skill...

Editor’s Pick

Omega Ouzeri

$$$ Greek 1529 14th Ave

The blanched, lofted space splashed with Santorini blue and pulsing with noisy Pike/Pine vitality is home to the Greek flavors of owner-host Thomas Soukakos’...

Editor’s Pick

Poppy

$$$ Continental 622 Broadway E

So casual and clattering is this hard-edged room with concrete floors and raw beams and giddy splashes of popsicle brights, a person wandering in off the str...

Editor’s Pick

Toulouse Petit Kitchen and Lounge

$$ Southern/Creole/Cajun 601 Queen Anne Ave N

Don’t let the thickly gorgeous filigreed decor or the crush of posturing singles or the fact that it’s open all day and half the night signal the place is le...

Editor’s Pick

Lola

$$$ Greek 2000 4th Ave

Tagines and garlicky dips, mezes and moussakas and glistening lamb kebabs—this all-day restaurant beside the lobby of the Hotel Ändra is Tom Douglas’s tribut...

Editor’s Pick

Dahlia Lounge

$$$ American/New American 2001 4th Ave

Remember when innovation took the form of a little garlic whipped into the butter, fusion was pineapple on a pizza, and all the whimsy you got was folded ins...

Editor’s Pick

The Whale Wins

$$ French 3506 Stone Way N

Another white restaurant from the extraordinary Renee Erickson (the Walrus and the Carpenter) wears all the buoyancy and cheer of a country cottage. Add in t...

Editor’s Pick

Sitka and Spruce

$$$ Small Plates 1531 Melrose Ave

It’s a food lab, it’s an artist’s garret—it’s genius chef Matt Dillon’s sun-drenched farmhouse dining room, where you can spy the food merchants of Melrose M...