I recently discovered this site via a link from Tom Douglas' web site, and I gotta say that chowhound.com is very cool. I wouldn't necessarily call myself a full-blown chowhound, but I'm definitely leaning that way more and more as I get more educated about chow (so does that make me a chowpuppy or something?)
Anyway, here are some thoughts on restaurants I like in Seattle:
In the U-District, on the Ave just above 50th, is Mandarin Chef. I quite like the salt & pepper prawns. I also like the chow mein with homemade noodles (the chef spun off from Snappy Dragon, hence the noodles). The smoked duck tends to be kinda dry, but I like the flavor.
Just below Mandarin Chef is Kiku's. This is the *perfect* place to go if you're a starving-student type--huge mounds of good (not great, but good) Japanese food for not much money. (For about five bucks, you get enough for two meals.) It's almost always packed, and deservedly so.
Good, upscale and way more pricey sushi and whatnot can be found at Nishino, on E. Madison.
Farther down on the Ave, Tokyo Garden (across from the U-Bookstore) can be a good source of chicken teriyaki. I say "can" because it's a very hit-or-miss operation with them--but when it's good, it's real good. They tend to have a *very* heavy hand with the teriyaki sauce, so be careful. This is more cheap student food.
Still on the Ave, Noble Palace (I think that's the right name) is another good place. I like the wonton soup, don't like the rice (why can't the Chinese restaurants use the same good rice that the Japanese ones do?)
A bit farther down is Shultzy's, for sausage. Don't bother getting the chili or gumbo.
Indian: I like India House (on Roosevelt, just below 50th); the lamb chops were quite good. ISTR Bengal Tiger being good, but I haven't been there in years (it's farther up on Roosevelt, somewhere around 65th).
Pizza: I have not found any good pizza in Seattle. Piecora's is acceptable, and Pizza Brava can be decent if it's a good night. Strangely enough, pizza that is genuinely good (and I'm speaking as someone from New Jersey) can be found at Village Pizza, in Langley, on Whidbey Island. It's worth the trip.
I like Kau Kau, in Chinatown. Get the roast pig. Your arteries will shriek at you in horror, but ignore them.
The salt & pepper fish was really good at either Hing Loon or Ocean City (I forget which one it was). While the other dishes were happily passed around to the other members of the largeish group I went with, the three of us who got to the fish first hunched over it like jackals on a dying antelope and refused to share with the others.
Good cheesesteaks can be found at Philadelphia Fevre.
Burgers: The best place I've found is Red Mill. Dick's has mediocre burgers, but is a great burger *place*. I've been disappointed with Kidd Valley. The burgers at Costa's (on the Ave in the U-Dist) were decent. The Palace Kitchen makes a good burger, of course.
On the Eastside, I really like Shi Lin (on NE 8th, around the back of Crossroads Mall). Good hot & sour soup, and I *love* the prawns with pea vines.
McMenamin's (near the Seattle Center Opera House) has really good apple cider (the juice kind; I don't like their hard cider). If you value your soul, however, *don't* get the gumbo; it was so utterly bland that I eventually got so tired of shaking the pepper shaker that I just unscrewed the top to dump the pepper in. And that was *after* I added salt and Tabasco.
Steaks: I like the Metropolitan Grill. I also ate at Daniel's Broiler in Bellevue a couple of days ago. It's fine if you don't mind being surrounded by the denizens of darkest Bellevue. The filet mignon was quite good, the sides were unexciting (parmesan mashed potatoes, ooh rah). The waitress in the bar was freakin' worthless.
Upscale: Haven't done much upscale dining recently (e.g., I *still* haven't been to the new Dahlia). I keep gravitating back to the Palace Kitchen.
Non-restaurant: The University District Farmer's Market is wonderful. It's on Saturday mornings from May-ish through October, in the community center lot at 50th & the Ave. In the Pike Place Market, Chukar Cherries has very good dried cherries. Also in the Market, Jack's Fish Spot has good smoked salmon. Get the stuff from the top display case, not the fish that's been sealed in plastic.
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