At Ethan Stowell’s How to Cook a Wolf, opt for a bar seat.

Any shrewd restaurant hopper knows where you sit is right up there with what you order—not for nothing are backroom banquettes and doorway two-tops empty. And the shrewdest of noshers know that the bar, once the turf of happy hour hangers-on and table-waiters, is now the place to perch.

It’s thanks to the ubiquitous open kitchen—and the cocktail counters overlooking them—that saddling up stool-style is occasion to peep some of this city’s finest culinary maestros in action. We’ve put together a list of 15 Seattle restaurants where that’s the case.

So skip the wait, go barside, and make a new friend—the chef.

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