Best Greek in Town
The sincerest spot in Pike/Pine features sweet-hearted service, crisp white appointments, Santorini blue accents, a loft filled with large laughing parties, ouzo and tsipouro flowing like rivers, and Greek food the way Greeks actually eat it—heavy on the vegetables, heavy on the fish. What it adds up to is an antidepressant in bistro form, presided over by the steady and affable Thomas Soukakos (Vios), who brings out platters of grilled branzino in lemon, oil, and garlic; or clams and mussels in fennel-laced tomato sauce, or simple pita bread with fine and fathomless tzatziki. Oh my god, just go.
Stunning Sandwich Expats
Meat and Bread
Sandwiches remained the draw of the year in this city, but nowhere as concentrated as in the 1200 block of 10th, where John Sundstrom’s Slab Sandwiches shares a lobby with an outpost of the Canadian Meat and Bread. Both win. The latter’s daily headliner, the porchetta sandwich, is an unctuous alluvium of pork shoulder, salsa verde, and crisp cracklings on a very firm roll; there’s a reason it sells out so often. A fat meatball sandwich is also on offer, along with rotating others, soups, salads, and dessert confections. Take out (packaging is spill proof) or, better, eat in: It feels like a New York loft in here.
It’s Not Really a Tavern
Smooth as a Don Draper sales pitch, the luscious Goldfinch is restaurant overachiever Ethan Stowell’s claim upon the increasingly commendable hotel restaurant market. It sprawls across the Four Seasons lobby, its layout of midcentury suspended globes and slatted panels and textured upholsteries making much better sense of the space (and the view) than its former occupant. Ditto the menu, unapologetically comfort focused, with crab cakes and housemade pastas and wild King salmon and a fine Wagyu burger. The kitchen’s interest dials up when orders stray from the well-trod path, so order something like the crisp-fried quail with the cider sauce and you may just forget you’re in a hotel.
Brandi Carlile Meets Michael Pollan
The Carlile Room
Proof positive that T-Doug hasn’t lost his creative juice is the high-spirited Carlile Room, its name an homage to local alt-country singer Brandi Carlile. Yes, at last Seattle has a come-as-you-are nosh stop near the Paramount, but the Carlile’s charms surpass location. Its menu exalts plants in genuinely stunning ways—watermelon chunks unexpectedly piqued with feta, peppers, and pickled onions; sweet creamed corn strewn with flower petals; chickpea-fava fritters composed like a pretty treasure hunt on a plate with peach pickles, herb sprigs, and nuts. Carnivores can augment with smoky or grilled meats—even a fine pepper pot loaded with fish—but apart from the pacing challenges that beset any small-plate restaurant, this busy menu works beautifully as an anthem to meat freedom. (Sort of like the busy decor is an anthem to the excesses of the ‘70s.)
Scene of the Season
Somehow everyone looks like a Romantic poet inside this airy urban farmhouse made of light and raw rafters, and opening off the brick-lined mews of Chophouse Row. They’re certainly eating like sybarites: ham and gruyere galettes and lemon ricotta pancakes with blackberries with good coffee by morning; small plates and meats by evening, like a thick pork chop in changing daily productions, sometimes overwrought. Still, you can count on first-rate pastries, a gentle vibe by the soft light of day (including a breakfast bar weekend mornings), and an amuse-bouche level of culinary reach by candlelit evening. Sound familiar? Chop Shop is brought to you by Ericka Burke of Volunteer Park Cafe.