Pure joy will only cost you $2.50 inside the Hillcrest Market (or from its Olive Way–facing walk-up window) on Capitol Hill, where a family-run counter creates Mexico City–style tacos that aren’t just great but divine. Offerings include carne asada, al pastor (for the purists, this one’s not carved off a spit, but the lightly grilled pineapple slice on top is perfect), and one called campechano, which is the divine combo of chorizo, asada, potato, and nopal (cactus), all doused in mild verde and roja salsas and piled upon corn tortillas that are handmade daily.
From the owners of Knee High Stocking Co. (and just around the corner from the East Olive Way speakeasy) comes a walk-up window doling out Filipino-style American comfort food to the bar crowds of Capitol Hill. Lumpia come stuffed with all kinds of meat fillings (or cheese, or veggies) alongside sweet and sour, garlic honey, or cilantro sour cream dipping sauces. For those recovering from a late-night binge, more substantial sammies are to be had—steak smothered with Velveeta, cured pork tocion, pork adobo, grilled cheese—all served on traditional pandesal buns. Spuds come with all matters of toppings (sriracha mayo, duck fat, mushroom gravy, pork). Open late.
Taking cues from the ever-popular Middle Eastern street foods from Mamnoon’s to-go menu up on Capitol Hill, owners Wassef and Racha Harouns have transported this quick-and-casual concept to the Amazon patch of Sixth Ave. The same small plate, or mezze, favorites are here such as the bright quinoa tabbouleh and (yes!) the spicy harra frites with Aleppo pepper, cayenne, and cilantro. A staple of Lebanese street food, their mana’eesh flatbread lineup can naturally be found here too. But folks cluster on the sidewalk for this: shawarma made with chicken or lamb accompanied by pickled turnips, herbs, and a special Mamnoon Street sauce, or pickled pepper and a roasted garlic sauce
Along the Pike/Pine corridor awaits a most delightful cafe filled with fruit tarts, French macarons, a slew of specialty cakes, plus a myriad of other baked goods. But don’t be fooled: This isn’t just a bakeshop. You can stay and dine on savory fare, but should you require a more expedited experience, stop by the walk-up window and order from a short menu of sweets to go. Bonus: It’s open Friday and Saturday until 2am when the dessert hankerings are strong and your desire to bake anything is weak.
Occupying the walk-up counter at 1509 East Madison, a humble spot with a surprisingly noble lineage that includes Little Uncle and Manu’s Bodegita now serves a half-dozen varieties of bagels, plus plenty of schmears. Look for flavors like sesame, salt, pumpernickel, and the classic “everything,” made with spices from Villa Jerada. In other words, don’t come here expecting sugar bomb bagels, though there is a version made with cinnamon and currants. A special caviar schmear is available on Fridays, lovely atop a Maldon sea salt bagel. And now, a little more than a year after Westman's first caused Seattle to lose its bagel-loving mind, production will be able to keep up with demand: Owner Monica Dimas will open Cafe Westman's in Pioneer Square and a commissary-slash-wholesale operation in Seward Park this spring.
Taylor Cheney takes culinary research pretty dang seriously. The Seattle chef has traveled all throughout the Middle East to study the nuance of Levantine cuisine, applying such knowledge to Arabic-style flatbread, or saj, wrapped around the likes of chicken with za’atar spices, labneh, and fermented hot pepper paste. For carnivores, there’s traditionally prepared meats, like hawashi, flavorful Egyptian-style lamb or beef grilled in oil, and musakhan, a traditional Palestinian dish of chicken cooked with sumac-melted onions. An ever-changing cast of Yalla's biggest hot and cold mezze hits can be found too, from charred eggplant salad to hummus. Cheney had run Yalla as a popup with her right-hand woman, Pinar Ozhal, for years before eventually taking over when Tortas Condesa exited the space along East Olive Way.