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For the next two weeks, Seattle Restaurant Week highlights the local dining scene with special $20 lunches, and dinner deals for $35 or $50.
Once an annual promotion that highlighted only high-end restaurants, the current version shows off a wide variety of spots, cuisines, and price levels, from organic Afghan food in Tukwila to Eastside fine-dining.
In expanding the format to include family-style meals and various budgets, as well as weekends, the promotion has evolved to embrace far more of Seattle’s food world, including small catering operators that do takeout, like Fremont’s Soul, and inherently shared meals, as at Ethiopian restaurants like Kaffa and Delish.
The Seattle Restaurant Week website also helps direct people to places fit to their own values, including “Eat Local First,” a designation showing off locally owned places that purchase ingredients from nearby, and Envirostars, for those businesses committed to “increasing their positive environmental impact,” wherever they are in that process.
With so many options for a great meal and only 28 meals on which to use them (a lunch and a dinner each of the 14 days), we have a guide here to help you find the best meals, deals and hidden gems on the list.
Great for a group dinner: Skalka
Since opening almost two years ago, Skalka paired down their broad Eastern European café menu to a singular focus: khachapuri, the Instagram-famous doughy Georgian bread boats with savory fillings. The Restaurant Week menu follows suit, but lowers the price. For either two or five khachapuri, pay just $10 per boat (oddly, the $35 option still only buys you three). For $50 you can try one of each of the five filling options – adjaruli with cheese, butter, and soft egg yolk; chicken; beans with bacon and chilies; stroganoff; and veggie.
Courtesy of The Market via Yelp
Best deal downtown: Market Seattle
Restaurant Week offers the perfect opportunity to check out the brand-new outlet of Edmonds’ cult favorite lobster roll purveyor. The $50 dinner option gets you the famous sandwich, along with a dessert and your choice of appetizer from a menu that includes oysters, shrimp okonomiyaki, clam chowder, and halloumi cheese.
Try a local favorite: Cafe Munir
North Ballard residents already know this Lebanese spot as an easy place to take kids, a sweet date spot, and the place with the affordably fantastic whiskey list. The Restaurant Week menu makes an easy excuse to foray to this corner of the city and offers a road map to the restaurant’s seasonal gems. Choose three of their mezze, including the local pears in tahini and the roasted kabocha with caramelized onions, pine nuts, and crispy onions. For the main, pick the shish tawook to try their simple but excellent chicken skewers or the mudardara for a vegetarian rice and lentil dish.
Buy dinner in pie form: Grayseas Pies
Order ahead of time for the Tuesday pick up from this pop-up pie purveyor. Owner Gracie Santos bakes her Filipino heritage into a 5” mini dinner pot pie filled with chicken adobo and a 5” mini cassava langka pie for dessert, filled with yuca and jackfruit. Pick up happens at South Park’s Tuesday night El Mercadito South Park Farmers Market.
Clarisse L via Yelp
Dine out, get a deal, and stay safe: Yoroshiku
This Wallingford Japanese spot has one of the best COVID set ups, with divided outdoor mini-rooms for each group that shield from the weather and your neighboring diners. Plus, at dinner the $35 option offers three courses with the choice of sustainable bluefin tuna, wild mushrooms, or Wagyu beef as an appetizer, and any of nine ramens as a main – including gluten-free and vegan bowls. The $50 upgrades to an additional ramen with both the Wagyu steak, bluefin tuna, and shaved black truffles.
Get a little of everything: Karachi Cowboys
The $35 dinner menu at this Texas-meets-the-subcontinent spot on Capitol Hill starts with their spiced popcorn and finishes with dessert, but instead of a main dish, diners pick a signature curry for their thali – a dinner platter that also comes with housemade pickles, chutneys, lemon rice, papadum, and a stew.
Gloria Jianmin M. via Yelp
Travel the world in one meal: Nue
The exception to the rule that any restaurant that seems like they are doing too many things probably is, Nue offers tastes of signature dishes from all over the world on a single menu. Their Restaurant Week menu highlights that, with the $35 menu starting in Ireland with colcannon, Beirut with hummus, or Syria with a kale and carrot salad. The second course travels to Trinidad for curried channa and aloo, Croatia for cevapi sausages, or Peru for pollo a la brasa. Dessert gives the option of Danish dream cake or Persian pistachio baghlava.
Spice Bridge via Yelp
Find something for everyone: Spice Bridge
Tukwila’s Spice Bridge Food Hall actually consists of a number of vendors, each running their own business, spearheaded by the Food Innovation Network. With five vendors participating in Restaurant Week, popping down with friends or family and picking up food from two or three different spots makes an excellent chance to try a few different meals.
Since vendors rotate days at the four stalls, you can’t quite try all five at once, but most days have two, three, or four working at the same time. Sample goat dibi with jollof rice and plantains or fish yassa with samosas from Afella Jollof Catering, or try chicken palm nut soup with fufu and drinks from Taste of Congo.
Jazze’s offers a dumpling meal for two, featuring their grass-fed beef mantu in tomato sauce and garlic yogurt, and comes with salad and drinks, while Monique’s Hot Kitchen serves up a Kenyan mashed potato and greens dish called mukimo, in a meal that includes steamed cabbage and a choice of spicy beef or veggie samosa. Theary Cambodian rounds out the group with a big meal for two people that includes Khmer salad with tamarind dressing and chili oil paste, me ga tunk – a noodle dish with chicken and egg – and a combination plate that features coconut chicken, a stuffed chicken wing, and two meatballs, as well as a side of rice, Khmer vegetable pickles and fresh herbs.