Image: Nicole Yeo

IF THERE’S ANYTHING more Seattle than an inventive cafe in a creaky wood-raftered bookstore, we can’t imagine it. Thankfully we don’t have to. Both the original Elliott Bay Café in Pioneer Square —still plugging away in the basement of its vacated building at First and Main—and the light-flooded outpost in the northwest corner of the lofty new Elliott Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill were masterminded by chef Tamara Murphy (the late Brasa, the newcomer Terra Plata) and her chefs. At the new EBC we sampled innovations like albacore-white anchovy sandwiches with celeriac matchsticks; bacon-blue cheese salads; pork-cilantro panini; and terrific buckwheat crepes filled with arugula, goat cheese, ham, and figs, then drizzled with balsamic vinegar. The drop-in spot is more satisfying early than late (it’s only open till 8pm) since the kitchen is likely to run out of things and the menu’s really more lunchy, and since screamingly delish fresh strawberry milkshakes are easier to justify by day. (Drivers beware: Cafe bills don’t count toward validated parking in the under-store lot.)

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