An editor's guide to eating around town
If you're always like, "I can't figure out where to eat, and I don't even know of any sandwiches named after Shawn Kemp", rest easy, because Seattle editor Bradley Foster is about to drop recommendations for his favorite restaurants/dishes around town faster than Shawn Kemp can say, "Please stop suing me for back child support payments and give me some of that sandwich I've been hearing so much about."
Best Late-Night Eats: The proliferation of sweet pizza joints makes this category almost impossible, but you can't go wrong at Big Mario's, a dive-y pie slinger in the heart of Pike/Pine, coincidentally the City's go-to nightlife corridor.
Best Sandwich: Yes, it's also a laid-back bar, an experimental kitchen, and a wine shop, but, at it's heart, Delicatus is an unparalleled sandwich slinger specializing in oven-roasted behemoths like the roast beef/horseradish aioli Reign Man.
Best Dish: In a city of constantly rotating seasonal menus, super-chef Tom Douglas is nice enough to keep his Plin, a Piedmontese-style ravioli filled w/ roast pork in a sage butter sauce, on the Palace Kitchen menu year-round
Best Italian: Maybe it's the surprisingly quiet residential location, maybe it's the evocative flavors of the seasonal Northern Italian menu, or maybe it's just the restaurant's sepia-toned lighting, but dinner at Cantinetta has an almost unreal quality. Don't miss it.
Best Chinese: Arranged in seven old-fashioned train cars, Orient Express would be awesome even if it weren't slinging legitimately tasty pan-Asian eats
Best Mexican: Possessed of one of the city's sweetest patios, as well as one of The Town's better bartender margarita's, cozy, brightly colored El Camino specializes in handmade South-of-the-Border classics with occasional nods to the Northwest via ingredients like wild king salmon
Best Burger: Places like Lil Woody's, Marjorie, and Uneeda Burger all do a great job, but Seattle's best burger might just be found at Bellevue's John Howie Steak, where a 60/40 prime chuck & Kurobuta bacon Juicy Lucy is stuffed w/ cheddar & jack, then topped w/ sweet onion jam mayo & crispy fried onions
Best Fine Dining: The finest of Seattle's relatively few fine dining destinations, Canlis is worth it for its unusual views alone, but it also brings it with an unbeatable version of Seattle's signature Dungeness crab cakes, and possibly the city's best steak
Most Romantic: Once you enter from an alley through an unmarked door, would you rather duck into a subterranean dining room where burlesque dancers swing above your head, or rise to a roof-top deck overlooking Pike Place Market and Elliot Bay? That choice is the first that will confront you at The Pink Door
Best for Partying: It might seem like just a boisterous after-work spot in burgeoning South Lake Union, but the spacious, brick-walled Re:public is also one of the city's sweetest restaurants, with a small line-up of can't-miss gastropub-style eats
Best for Work: Impress your boss/co-workers by picking a bottle of something red from RN74's giant mechanical menu board, then tuck into some Hudson Valley foie gras sliders and duck-fat-poached filets on the expense account
Weirdest Food: Sure, Maneki serves some of the best sushi around, but it's also the place to go for Asian oddities like octopus-stuffed donut holes
Best Wings: Well-worn sports hang The Attic is famous for being just steps away from the beach at Madison Park, and for its deep-fried wings w/ buffalo sauce topped with a smattering of sesame seeds/chives, and served with the classic -- blue cheese & celery sticks
Best Donuts: Local institution Daily Dozen Doughnuts may only make four varieties of its bite-size treats (plain cake, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, and chocolate frosting w/ sprinkles), but the super-thin crust formed by their extremely hot oil and the fact that they're always super-fresh more than makes up for it.