Food & Drink

The Thrillist Awards: Seattle's Best New Food & Drink of 2015

Published On 12/29/2015 Published On 12/29/2015

It was a record setting year in Seattle. We definitely set the record for the dumbest-play-call-that-led-to-a-Super-Bowl-loss. We scored the hottest summer ever, which was then followed by an extremely long stretch of heavy rain. We also managed the weirdest traffic jam in Seattle history -- it was caused by an over-turned salmon truck. Even with all that under our (now-tighter) belts, we also may have set a record for the most amazing additions to our city. Star chefs returned in top form (Sushi Kashiba, Un Bien), pop-ups went brick-and-mortar (Coyle's Bakeshop, Kraken Congee), and international stars opened local locations (Meat and Bread, CaliBurger). Here's the best of everything new that arrived in Seattle this year.

Courtesy of Nathan Ma

Best new brunch

Salare

Address and Info

Ravenna

With big, bright windows and pops of seafoam green, the dining room seems almost tailor made for mornings. Meanwhile, chef Edouardo Jordan's mix of fancy Northwest ingredients and down-home Southern cooking results in cornbread pudding and blueberry compote, duck hash with pepperonata, and a dozen other hangover-busting dishes to go with your bloody mary.

Courtesy of Eden Hill

Best new upscale restaurant

Eden Hill

Address and Info

Queen Anne

The arrival of chef Maximillian Petty brought in a big gust of fresh Austin funkiness to the Seattle restaurant scene. From the wee digs of what was briefly Entre Amis, Petty puts out dishes with Texas-sized ambition -- the crispy pig head candy bar isn't even the strangest thing you'll see. While the food pushes the envelope, the presentations, service, and ambience make this place a celebration-worthy setting.

Naomi Tomky/Thrillist

Best new bakery

Coyle’s Bakeshop

Address and Info

Greenwood

After building a name through pop-ups at Book Larder, Rachael Coyle opened this temple to butter and flour. The flaky cretzel (a croissant and pretzel hybrid) started out as the star, but since then, savory scones, passion fruit tarts, and chocolate cake have all lured customers into the green seats.

Naomi Tomky/Thrillist

Best new Chinese food

La Bu La

Address and Info

Bellevue

Sichuan specialties like five flavor pork stomach strips and dry cooked frog aren't easy to find in these parts, so lovers of what Bamboo Garden called "the Wild Side" were bummed when that restaurant shut. Thankfully, this year it reemerged bigger, more beautiful, and possibly even better.

Naomi Tomky/Thrillist

Best new donuts

General Porpoise

Address and Info

Capitol Hill

It seems Renee Erickson (The Whale Wins, Walrus and the Carpenter) can do no wrong these days, but nothing is more right than the giant, fluffy donuts at her new shop. Fist-sized and filled with creative jams, creams, curds, and custards, pastry chef Clare Gordon's creations are alone at the top of the local (probably national, possibly global) donut rankings.

Courtesy of CaliBurger

Best new burger

CaliBurger

Address and Info

University District

Seattle might never get an In-N-Out, but now we have something better: the rare imitator that actually improves upon the original. While you'll find all of In-N-Out's classic menu items (no, you don't order animal-style, it's "Cali-style" here), you'll also find better French fries, local Stumptown coffee drinks, chicken sandwiches, and Rachel's ginger beer. Oh, and instead of bible verses on cups, you can get booze in your milkshake.

Best new sushi

Sushi Kashiba

Address and Info

Pike Place Market

Shiro's name is synonymous with great sushi in Seattle, so news that he would be coming out of retirement to open a new restaurant in Pike Place market was met with wide-eyed excitement. It's appropriate, now, that the legendary chef (along with many of his top lieutenants from his previous restaurant) is ensconced in an equally legendary location.

Courtesy of Colin Bishop/Meat and Bread

Best new sandwich

Meat & Bread

Address and Info

Capitol Hill

This famous Vancouver shop slid down I-5 as if it were greased with pig fat -- just like the kind that drips off their signature porchetta and mingles with salsa verde, leaving the cracklings crisp, and soaking into the bread.

Naomi Tomky/Thrillist

Best new lunch

Kraken Congee

Address and Info

Pioneer Square

It took a few pop-ups and an appearance on a television show called Restaurant Startup, but the Filipino-inspired rice porridge shop finally found a permanent home in the former underground lair of Little Uncle. With longanisa (Filipino sausage) lumpia and fish sauce wings on the apps menu and ube (purple yam) cheesecake for dessert, the namesake porridge is just the beginning.

Naomi Tomky/Thrillist

Best new brewpub

Mollusk

Address and Info

South Lake Union

After years of brewing eclectic beers and serving all kinds of food out of a tiny pod of a place in SoDo, chef Travis Kukull and his brewer partner, Cody Morris, moved on up to this sprawling space. The extra physical room has given both men more room to expand: Morris is mixing in new kinds of beers, including finally getting to brew a much-demanded IPA, while Kukull is able to bring in more of the Asian flavors he added to his resume working at the late Mandalay.

Courtesy of Rina Jordan/Girin

Best new steakhouse

Girin

Address and Info

Pioneer Square

It was a good year to open a steakhouse, so this category came with stiff competition. But neither Seven Beef (from Ba Bar and Monsoon owner Eric Banh) nor Bateau could edge out the strong flavors of kimchi and gochujang that saturate Girin's Korean menu. In-house aged meat comes face to face with all kinds of funky and fermented sauces, adding excitement and spice to the traditional steakhouse meal.

Best new line worth waiting in

Un Bien

Address and Info

Ballard

First, we waited in line at Paseo, then they closed. When Paseo re-opened, we, again, waited in line -- only to be reminded that this wasn't the original, it wasn't quite the same. So when the family behind the original Paseo opened Un Bien, you can bet we got in that line -- along with most of the rest of the city. Thankfully, at the end of that line, we found what we'd been looking for. Those onions. That aioli. That marinated pork.

Courtesy of Honest Biscuit

Best new mobile shop turned brick-and-mortar

Honest Biscuits

Address and Info

Pike Place Market

Anyone who'd tried these biscuits at farmers markets knew just how flaky good they were long before the shop opened up in the Economy building of the market. What they didn't know was how much better they'd be with gravy (vegan or sausage) -- not to mention alongside kale slaw, grits, or pimento cheese, all of which joined the permanent menu at the new space.

Best new Latin American

Arepa Venezuelan Kitchen

Address and Info

University District

The namesake arepa is a griddled corn cake, split open and filled with an infinite combination of meat, cheese, beans, and more. It is the national food of Venezuela, and while easily made in a home kitchen, it hasn't before been easily found in Seattle. With a crisp exterior from the griddle, soft fillings like Venezuelan cheese and black beans or reina pepiada, a Venezuelan avocado and chicken salad are the way to go -- and the reason we're psyched to welcome this piece of Venezuela to Seattle.

Best new place to camp out with your laptop

Miir

Address and Info

Fremont

Start your day with coffee, end it with beer, and take a shopping break in between. If this sounds like the perfect workday, Miir is the place to rest your weary keyboard. The socially conscious outdoors products company might seem like an odd place to type up the Great American Novel, but the bright big windows hold coffee by Kuma and Heart, 28 rotating beer taps, Mighty-O donuts, and soft pretzels.

Courtesy of Herb and Bitter

Best new cocktail bar

Herb & Bitter

Address and Info

Capitol Hill

The patio is sprawling, the wallpaper looks like it came from your grandma's house (and the ceiling from a French chateau), but really, you're here for the liquor. Specifically, the amari and the cocktails that employ it, selected from either the herb or the bitters section of the menu. Either way, it should include the bittersweet Italian herbal liqueur that is the specialty of the house.

Best new brewery

Holy Mountain Brewing

Address and Info

Interbay

The real secret to decoding which of the breweries we already declared the best new breweries of the year is in outgoing editor Bradley Foster's bio at the bottom of that article. He points out that he hasn't actually made it to all of them, because he "has to drive by Holy Mountain to get to most of the other spots on this list." Nobody's passing by the saisons and farmhouse ales here to get to just another IPA.

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Naomi Tomky eats at all the new restaurants to find the best and the worst, but nobody ever asks her about the latter. Follow her on Twitter @Gastrognome and Instagram @the_gastrognome and maybe you'll find out.

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1. Salare 2404 NE 65th St, Seattle, WA 98115 (Ravenna)

Salare is the brain-child of chef Edouardo Jordan. He has brought together the farm-to-table principles he learned at Bar Sajor, his own background of Southern cooking, and his training as an Italian salumist to create a unique neighborhood restaurant.

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2. Eden Hill 2209 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Austin-transplant chef Maximillian Petty brings forward-thinking, creative techniques to this New American restaurant: look for crispy pig head candy bars and foie gras cake batter.

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3. Coyle's Bakeshop 8300 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103 (Greenwood)

After a couple of years as a pop up shop, Rachel Coyle has opened her brick and mortar location in Greenwood. Stop by to get some of her magical croissant-pretzel hybrids (called cretzels, naturally), strawberry tarts, savory pastries, and brownies.

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4. La Bu La 288 106th Ave NE Suite 200, Bellevue, WA 98004

This beautiful, grand restaurant serves the spiciest Sichuan specialties, the best-textured hand-shaven noodles anywhere, and sides like green onion pancake,

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5. General Porpoise Coffee & Doughnuts 1060 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98122 (Capitol Hill)

Get your sugar fix at this Capitol Hill bakery that specializes in all things doughnut-- frosted, creme, glazed, you name it and General Porpoise has got it.

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6. CaliBurger 4509 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105 (University District)

Who needs In 'N Out when you've got CaliBurger? Cali's got bigger burgers, better fries, and boozy shakes. Say hello to your new Golden State fave.

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7. Sushi Kashiba 86 Pine St Ste 1, Seattle, WA 98101 (Downtown)

You won't find fresher fish than at Shiro Kashiba's eponymous spot in the Pike Place Market. This master chef's new resto offers elegant omakase inspired by locales of the Pacific Northwest —try the Seattle, the Peak, the Alaska, or the Rainer.

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8. Meat & Bread 1201 10th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122 (Capitol Hill)

After years of success to the north, this Vancouver sandwich shop finally made its way to Seattle -- and it brought all of it's meaty goodness with it. Go for the classic porchetta, but be excited for all the rest of the pig-skin crackle that awaits you, slathered in salsa verde.

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9. Kraken Congee 88 Yesler Way , Seattle, WA 98104 (Pioneer Square)

This former pop-up came to be a brick and mortar through an appearance on the TV show “Restaurant Startup.” The Filipino-influence menu offers up several kinds of flavorful rice porridge, like the Pork Belly Adobo. Don't forget to order the spring-roll-like sausage lumpia and leave room for the ube (purple yam) cheesecake.

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10. Mollusk Restaurant & Brewery 800 Dexter Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Here you'll find delicious international eats and unique craft beer options.

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11. Girin Steakhouse & Ssam Bar 501 Stadium Pl S, Seattle, WA 98104 (Pioneer Square)

This hip neighborhood spot in Pioneer Square is a solid go-to for modernized Korean specialties featuring handmade noodles and ssam-style (lettuce wrapped) pork and beef. The pagoda like interior is a comfortable setting for sipping from the extensive makgeolli (a niche Korean liquor made from rice and wheat), soju and sake menu and tucking into spicy, satisfying dishes like Gochujang Chicken Wings, kimchi sausage, and apple grilled pork belly.

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12. Un Bien 7302.5 15th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98117 (Ballard)

Un Bien serves tasty Caribbean-inspired sandwiches, like the Smokin' Thighs (marinated and grilled boneless chicken thighs) and the Caribbean Roast (slow roasted, marinated pork shoulder). Sandwiches at this vibrant island shack spot are served on a toasted baguette, smothered with aioli, and topped with fresh cilanto, pickled jalapeños, and caramelized onions. They can (and should) be ordered with sides of fire-roasted corn and rice & beans.

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13. Honest Biscuits 93 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101

After starting life as a food truck, this purveyor of comfort food has gone stationary with a spot at Pike Place Market. Made with local flour, the fluffy buns come out fresh every day, and are topped with local specialties like Beecher’s cheese and savory Bavarian Meats’s bacon.

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14. Arepa Venezuelan Kitchen 1405 NE 50th St, Seattle, WA (University District)

This no-frills Venezuelan spot uses the arepa as its jumping off point to explore traditional Latin American flavors in tasty, satisfying dishes.

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15. MiiR Flagship 3400 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA 98103 (Fremont)

MiiR's giving Starbucks a run for its money at its Fremont brewing HQ. The concept coffeehouse gives clean water to someone in need for every beverage purchased and features an in-house store stocked with all eco-friendly products, including bikes and canteens.

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16. Herb & Bitter Public House 516 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102 (Capitol Hill)

Italian amari steals the scene at this addition to Broadway’s drinking scene: libations are smart and mature, and the space -- with its dark ceiling and beautiful chandelier -- is impressive, especially the oversized patio with optional covering for those Seattle drizzles. When the weather's nice, enjoy your drink on the oversized patio with a retractable roof that might be one of Seattle's best outdoor drinking spots.

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17. Holy Mountain Brewing Company 1421 Elliott Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119

This is one of our favorite new breweries to visit in Seattle.

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