Seattle’s restaurant scene is at an all-time boom and there are seemingly new places opening every other week. The next time you want to go for a nice date night or try a different happy hour, here are the hottest new places to try…
Hang out at a huge Satay bar at the new Wild Ginger outpost (South Lake Union)
What’s really special about Wild Ginger is the myriad of menu offerings. The restaurant offers a smorgasbord of Chinese, Indian, and Indonesian cuisines under one roof. Owner Rick Yoder tells us about the making of this Seattle institution, “It started with spending time in Southeast Asia and talking friends and family into starting this business. Our first Wild Ginger location opened on Western Ave. here in Seattle in 1989. It was a huge hit and we outgrew that location and moved to 3rd Avenue in 2000. We opened Wild Ginger (WG) Bellevue in 2009 and WG McKenzie just last month!”
If you’re a Wild Ginger regular, you’ll be happy to know that the new outpost retains classics, including Fragrant Duck, Seven Flavor Beef, and Sichuan Green Beans. The McKenzie location also has a huge satay bar and specialty cocktails. Think delicious skewers and Asian-inspired cocktails with special ingredients like shiso leaf and butterfly-pea juice. Chef Gihan Earnest talks about his favorites, “We kept it 60% classic signature dishes and 40% new dishes. Expect Maly Dhal, Lamb Curry, Thai Beef Salad and Street Style Satay. You must try the peanut-herb sea bass and the thai beef salad.” This is a great restaurant to go with a bunch of friends and try out different things on the menu. Don’t miss out on the chicken wings and Rayong mussels!
Wild Ginger | 2202B 8th Avenue, Seattle | (206) 707-0396
Brunch with a Lake Washington view at Magnuson brewery (Magnuson park)
The vibe at Magnuson Brewery is similar to Fremont Brewing Company, with community tables, craft beer, and a relaxed atmosphere. Except this new brewery from the folks behind Dexter’s Brewhouse and Mollusk Breweries comes with a complete (and delicious!) food menu and an unbeatable location at Magnuson Park. Chef Jon Langley’s food is Northwest-inspired with pub favorites. Think fried cheese curds, nachos, and fish ‘n’ chips as well as farm-fresh salads and brunch-friendly dishes. Hello, avocado toast and mimosas!
It’s kid-friendly, and you can get your IPA fix with the lake breeze hitting your face, and still have eyes on your tiny tots frolicking near the water. The cafe is housed in a historic building from the Naval Air Station Seattle which was used for torpedo storage earlier. The simple design using materials such as reclaimed Douglas Fir wood wall and metal elements, allows the original landmark space to shine through.
There is a 2000 ft deck with multiple levels overlooking Lake Washington, perfect for those working up an appetite while exploring the park. After a morning session of paddle boarding, you can get an afternoon pick-me-up here—a delicious cinnamon roll with a cup of coffee. You could share a carafe of local wine with your friends after a sailing trip or a sandwich to go. Their Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich with thigh meat, lettuce, mayo, and pickles, between a toasted and buttered brioche bun. For owner Cody Morris, the real focus at Magnuson brewery is ‘to craft’ whether it be their craft beers from Mollusk brewing or the hand-crafted food, and the lakeside view elevates the entire experience.
While brunch with a side of sunshine is a proposition that can’t be rivaled, Magnuson Brewery with its versatile indoor-outdoor seating is enjoyable year round, rain or shine. With fall on the horizon, the folks are Magnuson are prepared to tent-up the patio area. And the indoor area is cozy enough to enjoy a hot coffee or sip on ‘Southern Tropic’, a frothy IPA, as the rain pours outside.
Magnuson Cafe & Brewery | 7801 62nd Ave NE, Seattle | (206) 525-0669
Immerse yourself in a theatre-dining experience at Cafe Nordo (Pioneer Square)
‘It’s not a theater. It’s not a restaurant. It’s Nordo.’ This is how the brick-box dinner theatre at Pioneer square describes itself. While Cafe Nordo has been around for a while now, they have new theatrical productions almost every week. While the address remains the same, every show here is a different experience. Nordo is the place to go to when you’re bored of the usual fare around you. Go with your friends for a fun, theatrical evening or with your significant other for a one-of-a-kind date. Though the themes and artists and set design may change drastically with each show, you will always find live music, innovative cuisine included in the ticket price, and original storytelling about art+food.
We tried the 14/48 + Nordo: Food Theater Thunderdome and saw flavors and stories come together in an intimate setting. 4 chefs joined hands with 4 playwrights to create 4 mini-plays and a 4-course meal using a secret ingredient. The first play was about a salmon’s journey of swimming upstream called ‘Upstream Dream’ and for the first course, we were served Sous vide oil poached salmon with a seaweed salad. We were hooked on to from the first bite. No pun intended! As the plays went on, the lines between food, performance, and art blurred further. It is all about a communal dining here, and we had a lot of fun discussing the nuances of the shows with our fellow diners. One of the participating chefs, Beth Matthiessen tells us, “From a chef’s perspective, I love this 14/48: Nordo collaboration because it allows us as chefs to be part of the creative team from the beginning. The most exciting part for me is seeing it all come together while standing at the back of the house, watching this world we created come to life.”
Even though the fun summer events are over, you can invoke the fall at Nordo from Sept 20 – Nov 11th. The Witching Hour premieres at Nordo this fall, and the event features a potent potion of live music, horror, immersive set design, and a “monster comedy” that taps into the vein of pop culture satirists like Joss Whedon and Christopher Guest. Included in your ticket price is their ‘4-Curse Meal’ beginning September 20th. Book your tickets here.
Café Nordo | 109 S Main Street, Seattle | (206) 209-2002
Enjoy custom-crafted cocktails at Stampede (Fremont)
After a bunch of bartending stints all over Seattle (including Liam’s, Sexton and Rocco’s), seasoned barman Paul Shanrock decided it was time to open a cocktail club of his own. While Stampede is all about serious cocktails, it comes minus the seriousness. The space is vibrant and kitschy, with a nice outdoor patio with colorful string lights, which is ideal for sipping some exotic cocktails. Nocturnals and the party animals have reason to rejoice as Stampede stays open from 4:00 pm to 2:00 am, seven days of the week (yes, even Sundays!). You can begin the party with a round of passionfruit margaritas or come here for the after party.
The menu is a rotating one, including ten signature cocktails with both hot favorites and new experiments. We tried the Gin Old-Fashioned (Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin, bitters, sugar) and the Faraway Places (Genepy, amontillado, Dry Vermouth) and both for refreshing and well-spiked. The decor is whimsical, to say the least; there are western influences (a nod to Shanrock’s Las Vegas roots), a parlor-style bar with chandeliers, a Hawaiian-inspired tiki room, a spacious patio and even a dinosaur head mounted on the wall. While it seems disconnected in theory, somehow it all works together amazingly to create an eclectic, fun vibe!
At Stampede, the concept of bar food gets a non-traditional twist. They serve dumplings only, and you can choose from shrimp, chicken, pork, and veggie. The dumplings are from Little Ting’s at Greenwood, but Shamrock is working toward making them in-house. We tried the shrimp dumplings and they were fresh and flavourful. The dumplings, which come with a trio of dipping sauces hit just the right spot, and are worth to make a trip by themselves, perfect for a midnight snack-attack. And at $10 for seven pieces, it is one steal of a deal.
Stampede Cocktail Club | 119 N 36th Street, Seattle | (206) 420-2792