An unusually pretty fried eggplant dish from Eight Row.

Image: Amber Fouts

Johnny Mo’s NYC Pie

A United Nations of pizza has sprung up where the original Red Robin once stood in Eastlake, a brick-walled assemblage of both New York–style pies and their deep-dish Chicago counterparts. Due to the strictures of stomach space, most parties must choose just one kind, and the Big Apple’s thin, decently foldable version wins on both texture and wait times. The rest of the menu knows when to stay parlor classic (calzones!) and when to update (a solid local beer list); servers are never too busy to kibbitz with your kids.

Wine Snacks at Petite Soif

Just like its elder sibling, Vif, this spare little bar on Beacon Avenue knows its minimal intervention wines and coaxes memorable plates of food from the humblest of kitchens: The croque forestiere submits smoked ham, king oyster mushrooms, and Sea Wolf sourdough to the unifying powers of melty gruyere and mornay. Any bottle of wine on the shelves is fair game to uncork if you commit to two glasses’ worth, a cool policy that invites drinkers to browse the selection of retail bottles with extra zeal.

Masterful Maki at SanKai

Edmonds’ joy that chef Ryuichi Nakano relocated here—after 16 years at Kisaku in Tangletown—glows like the neta that fills his sushi counter’s glass case. At SanKai, sashimi is every bit as pure and stunning as you’d hope, and specialty rolls taste more inspired than overadorned, especially the crab-topped Great Pacific Northwest maki. Ill-communicated, yet vital intel: The vaunted chef-audience omakase only happens at the six seats directly in front of Nakano-san, and you need to call and request them specifically.

Repeat Dinners at Eight Row

"That’s not at all what I was expecting” is the refrain in David Nichols’s Greenlake dining room, one of the city’s most poised, pleasurable new restaurants. Here, fried eggplant melts like gnocchi, and the dungeness salad refines sturdy winter vegetables into delicate, almost summery compositions. These smaller dishes might precede housemade pasta or detail-oriented duck. Even the space transcends new-construction blandness thanks to supersize white wainscoting and a layout that invites conversation.

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