Three Versions of Enchiladas–New Mexico, El Paso, and Mexico Style

Saveur Magazine, in “The Texas Issue” of July 2009 recognizes two facts that I use as assumptions on this web site: that El Paso has its own regional style of Mexican food and that enchiladas are one of the distinguishing features of this cuisine. On page 47 of the issue Beth Kracklauer relates the story of visiting the Gonzalez family of Las Cruces (who are friends of the Jurado family, long time operators of Casa Jurado in El Paso).

The family demonstrates how to cook enchiladas three styles (New Mexican, El Paso style, and Mexican) starting with a common pan of chile colorado sauce warming on the stove. The sauce “consists of nothing more than dried chiles, olive oil, garlic, and sea salt, and it’s going into all three kinds of enchilada.”

Red enchiladas served at Chope's Restaurant in La Mesa, NM

Red enchiladas with a chile relleno from Chope’s Restaurant in La Mesa, NM (New Mexico style)

To make New Mexico style enchiladas the cook lays the tortillas flat, each tortilla dipped in chile colorado and topped with a sparse scattering of cheddar cheese, and on top of each stack of tortillas goes a fried egg.

Red enchiladas served at Su Casa in El Paso, TX

Red enchiladas served at Su Casa in El Paso, TX (El Paso style)

The El Paso style enchiladas are rolled and set side by side in a baking dish, coming from the oven with shredded white and yellow cheddar on top. It was explained that “You’d never get this in Mexico. There, cheese is just a garnish, used very sparingly.”

Red enchiladas served at Birrieria Diaz in Bethany, OK

Red enchiladas served at Birrieria Diaz in Bethany, OK (The Mexico style enchiladas described in this article)

The northern Mexico style enchiladas are rolled, but only lightly dusted with crumbly cotija cheese and accompanied by fried diced potatoes and a tangy cabbage and radish slaw.

The author concludes that though the basic ingredients are the same, the three versions are decidedly not. “The differences between them come down to subtleties of technique–an extra dip of a tortilla in hot oil, another ten minutes on the stove to reduce the sauce, a pinch of cumin tossed in at the end–the kind handed down intuitively, from mother to daughter to grandson.”

I would add my own comments to this article by saying that I think cooks trained in different traditions of Mexican cooking sometimes make other changes as well, such as the chile used (especially for New Mexico cooking), the oil used (vegetable versus lard), other ingredients added to the sauce (cumin, etc.), and other factors.  Moreover, green chile is probably more popular in Mexico and New Mexico, while red chile seems to be the norm in El Paso.  The story in Saveur Magazine, though, gives a very good description of the differences in the three styles of enchiladas served in the El Paso area–El Paso, New Mexico, and Mexico.

Restaurant Guide–Seattle

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Washington


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Bellevue

Cafe Ori–14339 NE 20th St. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm).  Cantonese style–excellent and authentic. Portions and prices are right to make this a frequent stop (not just a special occasion restaurant). (3-24-17)

Din Tai Fung–700 Bellevue Way NE (Chinese) Open daily until 10 pm. Specializes in Taiwanese and Shanghainese cuisine. If you follow the on-line reviews, this is the place to go in Bellevue for Chinese food. The problem is that they usually have a waiting line (but I experienced this at several restaurants, and I would say it is normal for good restaurants in the Seattle area). Soup dumplings (xiao long bao) are a specialty of the restaurant, and are best when eaten right after they are served (so you will probably have to wait in line for a table to get the best experience with this). (3-24-17)

Facing East–1075 Bellevue Way NE (Taiwanese) Open daily (closed from 3:00 to 5:00 pm).  Authentic Taiwanese food.  There is a debate whether this or Henry’s is the best. (3-24-17)

Istanbul–405 Bellevue Way NE (Turkish) Open daily except Sun evening.  Flavors are so good people put this on their regular rotation. This is a casual place with good prices. (3-24-17)

Top Gun–12450 SE 38th St. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 4:30 pm).  Dim sum at lunch every day. I felt that this was the best dim sum place in Seattle (but parking is usually difficult). (3-24-17)

Uwajimaya Cafe–699 120th Ave. NE (Japanese) Open daily (open until 8:00 pm).  The old Takohachi from the International District moved here (had a ramen drawing in front of the store). I don’t know if they are still here, but there are several eating places in the food court (reviewers say it is hit or miss if you don’t know anything about them). As far as the grocery store is concerned–I have never seen such a good selection of Asian foods and other items anywhere (although this refers mainly to the downtown Seattle location). (3-24-17)

Black Diamond

Europa–29030 216th Ave. SE (German) Closed Sun (closes at 8 pm weekdays).  Reviewers say this is food like you would find in Germany.  Dinner plates look very large from the photos, but lunch specials are also available. (2-15-17)

Des Moines

Salty’s–28201 Redondo Beach Dr. S (Seafood) Open daily (restaurant closes at 8 pm, but the cafe/bar serves until 9:30 pm).  After hearing about the great seafood in the Northwest, I have to say this was one of the few places which really delivered for me.  However, I only recommend the plain fish dishes (not the ones with fancy sauces). (2-15-17)

Edmonds

Hosoonyi–23830 Hwy. 99 (Korean) Closed Tue.  Excellent food, but reviewers also say it has excellent prices. (3-25-17)

Enumclaw

El Camino–1225 Griffin Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily except Sun lunch.  I did not eat here, but I walked in, looked at the menu, and vowed to return because at last I found authentic Mexican food in Enumclaw. (2-15-17)

Griffin & Wells Cafe–1239 Griffin Ave. (American) Closed Sun & Mon.  Specializes in sandwiches, but has flavorful and very well prepared dinners also. Reviewers say this place is making a name for itself, and that Enumclaw needed this place. (2-15-17)

Teriyaki House–1040 Stevenson Ave. (Japanese) Closed Sun.  Teriyaki restaurants seem to be a particular phenomenon in southern King County, and I have tried several.  This one is my favorite. (2-15-17)

The Kettle–1666 2nd St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon).  Omelettes, muffins are very good. (2-15-17)

Federal Way

Kokiri–32703 Pacific Hwy. S (Korean) Open daily (open until 10 pm).  There are numerous Korean restaurants in Federal Way–this place has a reputation as being one of the best.  Note: in Feb. 2017 Yelp reports this as being temporarily closed. (2-15-17)

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue–32225 Pacific Hwy. S. (Hawaiian) Open daily 10 am to 9 pm). The highest rated place I have found in south King County for Hawaiian style lunches.  Note: for large dinners and luau style food you might want to try Pac Island Grill at 2012 S. 320th St. (2-15-17)

So Moon Nan Jib–33324 Pacific Hwy. S. (Korean) Open daily (open until 11 pm except 10 pm on Sun).  Reported by many to be the best Korean restaurant in Federal Way (which is known for its Korean food). A key phrase for me in the reviews is that it is “home style.” Korean BBQ is the specialty, but they have a wide variety of dishes. (2-15-17)

Issaquah

Jak’s Grill–14 Front St. N (Steaks) Open daily except Mon lunch.  Although I have never eaten here, I know it is good because of what I have heard about it from other people. This is a fairly expensive steak restaurant–it is not a fancy one where you are paying for the atmosphere, but you are paying for good steak (or other items they serve). (3-25-17)

Max’s World Cafe–212 Front St. N (Indian) Closed Mon & Tue.  Fresh and flavorful Indian food which is very consistent because this is a small restaurant (apparently it has 3 tables and 6 bar seats). Serves Goan style Indian food (probably not something you will find at very many restaurants). (3-24-17)

Noodle Boat–700 NW Gilman Blvd. (Thai) Open daily until 8:30 pm (closed for lunch Sat & Sun).  Best Thai I’ve had in the U.S. The food is not Americanized, so I think it tastes best when it is ordered the the spice level that complements the flavor (ask the chef to make it the right level, and it is not always extremely spicy). (3-24-17)

Taqueria La Venadita–730 NW Gilman Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily 10 am to 10 pm.  Supposedly the most authentic Mexican rest. in the Seattle area. Mostly tacos, burritos, and Mexican “street food,” though. (3-24-17)

Kent

Fil Cuisine–23843 108th Ave. SE (Filipino) Open daily (closes at 8 pm except Sun at 7 pm).  Seems to be the best of several very good Filipino restaurants in the area. Reviews say the food here is home style. (2-15-17)

Imperial Garden–18230 E. Valley Hwy. (Dim Sum) Open daily (open until 10 pm).  Large dim sum menu, but selection is reduced after 4:00 pm. (2-15-17)

Pho Saigon–25632 Pacific Hwy. S (Vietnamese) Open Daily.  Does not have the variety of dishes found at Green leaf in Seattle, but has food so good I find very little reason to go into Seattle if I am on the south side. (2-15-17)

Punjab Sweets–23617 104th Ave. SE (Indian) Open Daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Vegetarian Indian restaurant.  Malai kofta is good. (2-15-17)

Kirkland

Cafe Happy–102 Kirkland Ave. (Chinese) Open Mon-Sat (open until 8:30 pm).  Vegetarian Chinese food and boba drinks (I think people will really like it even if they are not vegetarian). (3-25-17)

Original Pancake House–130 Parkplace Center (Pancakes) Open daily (breakfast & lunch only).  Blueberry, cherry kijafa crepes (Scandinavian). Also in Ballard. (3-25-17)

Newcastle

Yea’s Wok–6969 Coal Creek Pkwy. SE (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed 3:00 to 5:00 pm).  Cantonese, Mandarin, and Sichuan (all of them are excellent, and each one has an expert cook preparing it). (3-25-17)

Redmond

Kanishka–16651 Redmond Way (Indian) Open Daily (closed from 2:30 to 5:00 pm).  Probably the best Indian restaurant I have tried anywhere.  Has both vegetarian and meat thali sampler plates. (3-24-17)

Malay Satay Hut–15230 NE 24th St. (Malaysian) Open Daily.  Look for daily specials. Definitely one of my favorite restaurants in the Seattle area. (3-24-17)

Sichuanese Cuisine–15005 NE 24th St. (Sichuanese) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  Reviewers say this is the “real deal” in Sichuanese food, and it certainly seemed this way to me. The ma po tofu is swimming in oil, and delicious. (3-24-17)

Renton

Taqueria Los Potrillos–2800 NE Sunset Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily (open until 3 am Fri-Sun).  This section of highway is lined with Mexican restaurants, but I never knew which one to try. Many reviewers say the best one is actually a taco truck called Los Portrillos, serving a good variety of very good tacos at amazingly cheap prices. (2-15-17)

Seattle

Green Leaf–418 8th Ave. S (Vietnamese) Open Daily.  My favorite straight Vietnamese restaurant in Seattle (Monsoon is my favorite for high end Vietnamese/ French fusion).  Green Leaf offers a large number of dishes that I have not found in any other Vietnamese restaurant I have visited (Tamarind Tree is close, but I liked Green Leaf better). Now has a second location at 2800 1st Ave. (3-25-17)

Henry’s Taiwan–522 S King St. (Taiwanese) Open Daily.  More authentic than Facing East but some think Facing East is culinarily the better choice. It is probably a good idea to look at the reviews and decide what you want to order before you go because most people are not familiar with the food and it is not explained very well on the menu (according to some reviewers). Also at 4106 Brooklyn Ave. NE (near the University). (3-25-17)

Ivar’s Acres of Clams–1001 Alaskan Way (Seafood) Open Daily (open until 10 pm).  Tourist restaurant, but some items are quite good (also it is worth eating on the waterfront if you have never done so).  The Copper River salmon here (available in late May/early June) is the best I have had anywhere. (3-25-17)

Kisaku Sushi–2101 N. 55th St. (Japanese) Closed Sun. lunch & Tue.  This is not the kind of sushi restaurant that is normally found across the country.  This is high end, very professionally prepared sushi (but not at exorbitant prices).  It also has a large menu of cooked Japanese items.  Both the sushi and regular menu are the best I have had in Seattle. (3-25-17)

La Carta de Oaxaca–5431 Ballard Ave. NW (Mexican) Closed Sun; closed Mon lunch.  Supposedly has authentic Oaxaca style food, but in any case it has mole and the reviews are good (it has had excellent reviews for a number of years). (3-25-17)

Little Ting’s Dumplings–14411 Greenwood Ave. N (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Authentic northern Chinese style dumplings, onion pancakes, hand shaved noodles. Multiple sources indicate this is one of the best, if not the best in Seattle. (8-26-16)

Maneki–324 6th Ave. S (Japanese) Dinner only (closed Mon).  My second favorite Japanese place (behind Kisaku).  However, this is located in the International District, is a very old and well known restaurant, and is probably more fun because of the large crowds who come as much for the atmosphere as the food.  I definitely recommend this restaurant also. (3-25-17)

Matt’s In the Market–94 Pike St. (Northwest) Closed Sun (and closed between 2:30 and 5:30 pm).  Small upscale restaurant that many times has more people who want to eat here than they have space to accommodate (but if you are able to get a table you will be richly rewarded with some of the very best food in Seattle).  The view of Pike Place Market out the window is great, but this is a bonus (the food is the reason to come here). (8-26-16)

Monsoon–615 19th Ave. E (Vietnamese) Open daily (open until 12 am).  This is an upscale French/Vietnamese fusion restaurant that makes the Vietnamese food even better (rather than dumbing it down to a “fusion” style that I find in a lot of restaurants).  One of the few places with outdoor seating that I found to be very comfortable. (3-25-17)

Pike Place Chowder–1530 Post Alley (Seafood) Open daily 11 am to 5 pm.  Based on the Yelp rankings this is the best place to eat in Pike Place. Serves several flavors of chowder, and you can either get a sampler plate or pick the one that suits you. (3-25-17)

Portage Bay Cafe–4130 Roosevelt Bay NE (New American) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily).  Fresh and sustainable food that has been getting good reviews for a number of years (most people go for breakfast or brunch). (3-25-17)

Queen’s Deli–9808 14th Ave. SW (Cambodian).  Small hole in the wall place with good food. There are also Cambodian rests. in Tacoma (where there is a large Cambodian population). (8-26-16)

Rocking Wok–4301 Interlake Ave. N (Taiwanese) Closed Tue.  Seemed to be authentic Taiwanese food, and I really enjoyed it. Located in an old house–all the dining rooms are very small. Some say it is better than Din Tai Fung because it is cheaper and the food is just as good. Serves congee (at least some of the time). (3-25-17)

Shanghai Garden–524 6th Ave. S (Chinese) Open Daily.  This was my favorite restaurant in Issaquah (because of the variety of choices, the price, and the comfortable setting). Bean curd sheet rolls, hand shaven noodles, hot and sour soup are very good. (There is a link to my review of the Issaquah location, which is now closed). (3-24-17)

Shoreline

Old Village Korean–15200 Aurora Ave. N (Korean) Open Daily.  Reviewers say to get the grilled meat because the table grills use charcoal briquettes that give it an excellent flavor. (3-25-17)

Snoqualmie

Gianfranco–8150 Railroad Ave. SE (Italian) Dinner only (open daily).  I think this is quite a special Italian restaurant, serving an outstanding “penne Gianfranco” dish with gorganzola and seasonal specials such as Copper River salmon. (3-25-17)

Tukwila

Bai Tong–16876 Southcenter Pkwy. (Thai) Open Daily.  Quality is in the same league as Noodle Boat in Issaquah, and Bai Tong has a larger menu with items that will appeal to just about everyone (including those who do not like it spicy).  This restaurant was started to serve the Thai pilots and airline personnel who flew into the Seattle airport. (2-15-17)

Marwa–15035 Tukwila Intl. Blvd. (Somali).  Authentic and very good Somali food, but it is a hole in the wall. (2-15-17)

Salaama–13820 Tukwila Intl. Blvd. (Somali) Open Daily.  From reading the reviews it seems to be more upscale than Marwa (not as much of a hole in the wall), but the food is comparable. (2-15-17)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Chowhound (Seattle)

City-Data “What are Your Favorite Restaurants in Seattle?”

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Washington)

Zomato (Seattle)

Restaurant Guide–Washington

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Seattle Metro


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Anacortes

Adrift–510 Commercial Ave. (American) Open daily except Sun dinner.  Food is fresh and locally sourced–specializes in seafood and breakfast items (opens at 8 am).  (12-11-15)

Naung Mai–3015 Commercial Ave. (Thai) Open daily (open until 10 pm).  Good reviews. (12-11-15)

Bellingham

Anthony’s–7 Bellwether Way (American) Open Daily.  I have been to a couple of the Anthony’s restaurants and found them to be a good place for seafood–salmon, etc. (but reviewers say go to Chuckanut Dr. in Bow for more high-end seafood). (12-11-15)

Dragon River–1319 Cornwall Ave. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  Chinese food from Heilongjiang Province in northeast China.  Food is excellent.  Some recommend dishes with yu xiang sauce. (12-11-15)

Bow

Rhododendron Cafe–5521 Chuckanut Dr. (Seafood, American) Closed Mon & Tue.  Somewhat upscale, specializes in seafood.  Salmon is one of the best choices. (12-11-15)

Bremerton

Suzy’s Kitchen–2665 6th St. (Korean) Closed Sun.  One of the top rated restaurants in Bremerton–consistently excellent reviews. (2-4-16)

Camas

Natalia’s–437 NE 4th Ave. (Russian) Breakfast and lunch only (closed Mon).  Reviews are mixed because it now has new owners.  However, those who order off-the-menu specials say they are very good.  Most people like breakfast the best. (3-19-17)

Centralia

La Tarasca–1001 W. Main St. (Mexican) Closed Tue.  This restaurant is worthy of a stop according to reviews that have been coming in for a number of years. The most recommended dishes are the ones with any kind of sauce–mole, chile verde, etc. (3-19-17)

Cle Elum

Best of Thai–321 E. 1st (Thai) Open Daily.  Good and authentic Thai food.  Most people say, though, to order the food on the low end of the spicy scale (or else it may come out too hot). (3-19-17)

Ellensburg

Yellow Church Cafe–111 S. Pearl St. (New American) Open Daily.  Mainly soups and sandwiches, but very upscale with its bread being a customer favorite. (3-19-17)

Everett

Anthony’s HomePort–1726 W. Marine View Dr. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Part of a mini-chain of upscale seafood restaurants with great ocean views.  For seafood this is hard to pass up. (2-2-16)

Katya’s Bakery–12811 8th Ave. W. (Russian).  This is a bakery and cafe.  It is the top rated bakery on Yelp, with the food described as being made with fresh ingredients such as real cream and not any shortcuts such as mixes (the specialty is Eastern European pastries).  The cafe serves authentic Russian food that is described as the best you will find in the U.S., although it is a casual cafe and you will get typical dishes rather than elaborate dinners such as might be served in other Russian restaurants.  I don’t know if it’s cheap because it’s so good most people say you will not be able to limit yourself to just a few items (from the bakery as well as the cafe). (2-2-16)

King Noodle House–7815 Evergreen Way (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  Authentic and very good Chinese food.  Specializes in hand pulled noodles. (2-2-16)

New Mexicans–1416 Hewitt Ave. (New Mexican) Open Daily.  New Mexico style food (some say it is not totally authentic but most say the red and green enchiladas are quite good). (2-2-16)

Noodle Hut–13014 Hwy. 99 (Thai) Closed Sun & Mon.  Reviewers say it is absolutely authentic and quite good (and the details make me think they know what they are talking about). (2-2-16)

Thai E-San–1707 Hewitt Ave. (Thai) Closed Sun (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  Isan style.  Note: may be closed but it is not confirmed. (2-2-16)

Yummy Deli–8630 Evergreen Way (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  The menu is simple–banh mi, pho, vermicelli bowls, and bubble tea.  Banh mi is the most reviewed item and what gives this restaurant very high ratings (but the other items seem to be good as well). (2-2-16)

Friday Harbor

Cask and Schooner–1 Front St. (Seafood) Open Daily.  The most recommended seafood restaurant on the island.  Clam chowder, crab cakes, and steamed clams are recommended.  However, the highest rated dishes seem to be the chicken sandwich and the poutine. (2-3-16)

Golden Triangle Thai–42 1st St. (Thai) Lunch Mon-Fri; dinner daily.  Apparently there is only one Thai restaurant in FH, called Golden Triangle but listed as Thai Kitchen on some web sites.  In any case, I’m not positive about the correct address (the other one listed is in the 100 block of 1st St.) but people like the food.  Some say it is overpriced, but it seems that everything on the island is overpriced when it comes to restaurants (so just go to the places that have good reviews, such as this one). (2-3-16)

San Juan Island Cheese–155 Nichols St. (Sandwiches) Open Tue-Sat (lunch only).  This place has excellent ratings, and has just about everything covered.  You can get a snack (wine & cheese), a meal (BLT, tuna melt, salmon chowder), dessert (pumpkin cheese cake), or a picnic basket to take out.  It is pricey, but people say the cheese particularly is really worth it. (2-3-16)

Gig Harbor

Tides Tavern–2925 Harborview Dr. (American) Open Daily.  I was looking for seafood in the $$ or lower category, and this place came up.  For this price you get fish and chips, fish tacos, and chowder (all are said to be excellent).  Chicken pot pie is also said to be excellent. (2-4-16)

Lacey

Cebu–9408 Martin Way E. (Filipino) Closed Sun.  Small family run place.  Food has very good reviews. (3-19-17)

Hot Ginger–1401 Marvin Rd. NE (Vietnamese) Open daily until 10 pm.  New restaurant that opened in Dec. 2015. Good reviews for the food, but sometimes not for the service. Has a large menu, but most reviews are for the pho and the more well known dishes. Some people say the pho is better at the “other” Vietnamese restaurant in town. (3-19-17)

Pattaya Thai–8640 Martin Way E (Thai) Open Daily.  Large number of good reviews.  I think it’s because they make the food spicy (when you want) and they have a great number of choices on the menu. (3-19-17)

Leavenworth

Andreas Keller–829 Front St. (German) Open Daily.  Good for schnitzel cordon bleu, polish sausage (and other sausages), red cabbage, Russian crumble cake, and apple strudel.  However, the prices are high to the point that it gets lower ratings than the other German restaurants, and it may not be suitable for this list because of exceeding the $$ category. (4-14-16)

Bavarian Bistro–801 front St. (German) Open Daily.  Good for jager schnitzel. (4-14-16)

Munchen House–709 Front St. (German) Open Daily.  Good for bratwurst & choice of mustards. (4-14-16)

Lynden

Chandara House–655 Front St. (Thai) Closed Sun.  Authentic and very good Thai food.  Pad thai, noodle dishes, and curry are recommended.  One of the real attractions here, though, is the fact that they have unusual Thai dishes that are not found at many restaurants. (4-14-16)

Dutch Mothers–405 Front St. (Dutch) Breakfast & lunch Mon-Sat; dinner Fri & Sat.  Some say the Dutch food is not all that good except for the desserts.  Breakfast, though, is a different story (there are many positive reviews about the Dutch food), and some of the breakfast dishes look as if they could pass for a dessert. (4-14-16)

Lynden Dutch Bakery–421 Front St. (Bakery) Open 7 am to 5 pm (closed Sun).  Large variety of pastries, especially Dutch desserts.  Muffins, pies, cookies, coffee cake, crepes.  Sells drinks to go with them if you want to eat in the store. (4-14-16)

Mount Vernon

Kyoto–2001 E. College Way (Japanese) Open Mon-Sat 11:30 am to 8 pm (closed from 2 to 5 pm).  Full Japanese menu restaurant that is authentic in a way that makes it delicious and very popular with customers (even those driving through who are used to very good Japanese restaurants).  Ramen, Japanese curry, katsu, tempura, and teriyaki are recommended.  Sukiyaki is said to be very authentic (and recommended).  There are good reviews for the sushi also (but this is not primarily a sushi restaurant). (2-2-16)

Skagit Valley Food Co-Op–201 S. 1st St. (Organic) Open daily 8 am to 9 pm.  In addition to being very popular with reviewers, I noticed this place because of its salads.  Probably the most memorable salad I’ve ever had (because of its freshness and flavor) was in a now closed Mt. Vernon restaurant, and I would definitely seek out other restaurants in the area for the same thing.  The food here is organic, and is not totally vegetarian, but the most popular items are vegetarian (such as the garden burger, salad, etc.).  The emphasis here is on health rather than flavor, but reviewers say in many items the flavor comes through as well.  As the name implies, this is also a grocery store. (2-2-16)

Mukilteo

The Scotsman Bistro–11601 Harbour Pointe Blvd. (Scottish) Lunch Mon-Fri; dinner Mon-Sat.  Mukilteo has several well known upscale restaurants, but this is not one of them (I limit the number of upscale restaurants on this list).  Instead, this is mostly a pub (beer and drinks) with food that is unusually good for this type of restaurant.  This is included because the cuisine here is very underrepresented in the U.S. (and it’s part of my own heritage), and the food seems to be worth checking out.  Reviewers say there are several very good dishes here (steak pie, meat pie, wedge salad, bacon wrapped dates, chocolate ganache).  The food is reasonably priced, and reviewers say the drink selection is enough to make it worthwhile coming.  Some of the menu items appear to not be Scottish but are recommended (such as the ginger chicken curry on Fridays). (2-2-16)

Oak Harbor

Jeda’s Thai–270 SE Cabot Dr. (Thai) Closed Sun.  Good Thai.  Will prepare special requests.  Curries have good ratings. (2-3-16)

Seabolt’s–31640 SH 20 (Seafood) Open Daily.  A lot of good dishes, but the best seems to be the clam chowder. (2-3-16)

Tamayo’s–800 SE Pioneer Parkway (Lao) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm.  Lao restaurant that also serves Vietnamese food (this is the best seller, and many say they have the best pho in Washington).  Lao sausage, Lao curry, and crepes are recommended. (2-3-16)

Olympia

Anthony’s–1675 Marine Dr. NE (Seafood) Open Daily.  Reviews are mixed, but I attribute this to high expectations.  I had good food, and I think the fish is good.  I like plain fish without much on it, and this is a good place for it. (3-19-17)

Dockside Bistro–501 Columbia St. NW (New American) Lunch Tue-Sat; dinner Tue-Sun.  Mostly a seafood restaurant.  I tend not to like seafood too “fancy” (as they do here, with a lot of sauces and extras to jazz it up), but it sounds as if they do it right in this place.  According to reviews the food is hit or miss, but when it is a hit it is really a hit (so it’s worth taking a shot). (3-19-17)

Narai Asian Cuisine–320 4th Ave. E. (Thai) Closed Mon.  Authentic Thai (not like the sweet stuff I find all over WA). (3-19-17)

Tugboat Annie’s–2100 West Bay Dr. NW (American) Open Daily.  Another good seafood place that also has burgers and other items. This is less expensive than Anthony’s, and mainly serves sandwiches, fish and chips, etc. (but reviewers do not recommend the chowder). (3-19-17)

Pasco

El Antojito–1915 W. Court St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Authentic style food. One reviewer found the mole here to be the best they have found outside of Mexico. (3-19-17)

Mi Hacienda–404 W. Lewis St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  The only restaurant I have found in the US that serves Colima style Mexican food.  Seafood specialties along with a unique style of green enchiladas (made with green chile and sour cream). (3-19-17)

Note: Pasco is full of Mexican restaurants, and most have a reputation of being very good (I found Mi Hacienda to be very good).  When faced with such an overwhelming number of choices my strategy was to go to a Mexican market and ask the people there for recommendations (that is, if you want real Mexican food and not Gringo food).

Port Angeles

Michael’s–117 E. 1st St. (Seafood) Dinner only (open daily).  Upscale seafood–good reviews.  Desserts are somewhat disappointing, though.  Also some say the food is just as good at some cheaper restaurants. (2-3-16)

Pho New Saigon–2365 E. Hwy 101 (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Pho and a number of other dishes, tasting the way they should. (2-4-16)

Sabai Thai–903 W. 8th St. (Thai) Closed Sun (Yelp says open for dinner only).  Has pad prik king, so I think I would like it.  Some say try the halibut. (2-3-16)

Port Townsend

Banana Leaf–609 Washington St. (Thai) Closed Wed.  Plig king, pad thai. (2-16-17)

Blue Moose–311 Haines Pl. (American) Open daily (breakfast & lunch only).  Very popular for breakfast. (2-16-17)

Poulsbo

Pho T&N–16989 7th Ave. NE (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  Seems to be the most highly rated Asian restaurant in town–food is the “real deal.” (2-16-17)

Tizley’s Europub–18928 Front St. NE (German) Open daily (serves breakfast).  Reviews are very good for schnitzel and sausage, and they are said to be authentic by reviewers.  Norwegian food is also on the menu, but I don’t see any reviews for it (available for breakfast and lunch/dinner). (2-16-17)

Pullman

Minh’s Bakery–102 NW Stadium Way (Chinese) Open Daily.  Reviewers say the off the menu items here are the best authentic Asian food in Pullman. (2-16-17)

Note: Minh’s also owns Iron Wok in Moscow, ID

Old European Breakfast House–455 S. Grand (Danish) Open daily (breakfast & lunch only).  Complimentary aebelskivers given to first time visitors. (2-16-17)

Sequim

Dynasty–380 E. Washington St. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Hand shaved noodles are the main authentic dish here.  The American style dishes, though, all have good reviews. (2-4-16)

Los Cabos–1250 W. Washington St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Described by many as the most authentic Mexican restaurant in this part of the state.  One reason is that they pay attention to the little things, such as serving crispy taco shells that they fry themselves (instead of coming out of a box).  Enchiladas have actual Mexican style green sauce (or you can get red, which appears to be more Americanized, but I am only judging by the photos). (2-4-16)

Oak Table–292 W. Bell St. (American) Open daily 7 am to 3 pm.  Popular at breakfast–on the upscale side with big portions.  Omelet, quiche, crepes, pancakes, etc. (2-4-16)

Sawadee–271 S. 7th Ave. (Thai) Closed Wed (and closed 3 to 4:30 pm).  This seems to be the best choice in town for authentic Asian food.  Curries and basil chicken are popular. (2-4-16)

Shelton

Xinh’s–221 W. Railroad Ave. (Asian seafood).  Specializes in local seafood.  Seafood, curry are examples of the Asian styles served. (1-2-16)

Silverdale

Nattamit–9001 Pacific Ave. NW (Thai) Closed Sat & Sun (and closes early–6 or 7 pm).  Good Thai in an area where it is mostly American style.  Panang curry and pad thai are recommended. (2-4-16)

Spokane

Gordy’s Sichuan–501 E. 30th Ave. (Sichuanese) Closed Sun, Mon, & Sat lunch.  For authentic food, you can get off-menu recommendations from the staff. (2-16-17)

Mizuna–214 N. Howard St. (New American) Closed Sun lunch.  Many say this is the best food in Spokane.  Trout, pork, carrot cake.  Specializes in vegetarian dishes.  Has quite a few unusual (international) dishes. (2-16-17)

Old European Breakfast House–7640 N. Division St. (Danish) Open daily (breakfast and lunch only).  Aebelskivers (these also come on a sampler plate).  Most people come for breakfast–I don’t see very much mentioned about lunch. (2-16-17)

Phonthip Style Thai–1006 E. Francis Ave. (Thai) Closed Sun.  Authentic & flavorful. (2-16-17)

Tacoma

Fujiya–1125 Court C (Japanese) Closed Sun (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  A full menu Japanese restaurant (as opposed to the many sushi or teriyaki restaurants in the area).  Best dish here may be the ramen. (1-2-16)

Indochine–1924 Pacific Ave. (Thai) Closed Mon.  I ate at the location in Federal Way and found it to be a good Thai restaurant (and both locations are very popular). (1-2-16)

Mitapeap–1314 72nd St. E (Cambodian) Closed Mon & Tue.  Authentic Cambodian food.  Noodle dishes are the specialty, but people recommend a wide variety of items.  I would say this has more authentic Asian food than Indochine, but the down sides to Mitapeap include a more hole in the wall atmosphere, the fact that some customers do not seem to get the spice level they want, and some say that they were expecting a lunch menu and did not get one (although I don’t recall Indochine having a lunch menu or at least significantly lower prices at lunch).  In any case, there is not a clear winner for Asian food–just different options. (1-2-16)

MSM Deli–2220 6th Ave. (Sandwiches) Open Daily.  From looking at the reviews, these must be the best sandwiches in the State of Washington.  However, the wait can be long sometimes. (1-2-16)

Pho King–1020 Martin Luther King Jr Way (Vietnamese) Closed Sun (closes at 8 pm other days).  Normally I think there are better things on the menu than pho and bahn mi sandwiches, but reviewers say they are so good here that they are must tries.  Many varieties of pho are available (including vegetarian).  For sandwiches pork is the most recommended. (1-2-16)

Stanley & Seafort’s–115 E. 34th St. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Upscale food that’s a little expensive, but you get a great view of the harbor (and I do think it’s worth getting seafood as much as possible in the Pacific NW). (1-2-16)

Vuelve A La Vida–5310 Pacific Ave. (Mexican).  A lot of places in the PNW claim to be authentic, but reviewers of this place are pretty convincing that it really is (the food is prepared as it would be in Mexico).  Recommended items include the tacos (including the fish tacos), tamales made in house, posole, carnitas, and pollo a la crema.  Some say the mole is not very flavorful, but the fact that they offer something like this would make me want to try it. Chile relleno (Thurs. only) is popular with patrons. (1-2-16)

Union Gap

Los Hernandez–3706 Main St. (Mexican) Open daily (closes at 6:00 pm except 7 on Sat).  Tamales (most people like the asparagus and cheese tamales). (3-19-17)

Vancouver

Abhiruchi–233 NE Chkalov Dr. (Indian) Closed Sun (and closed between 2:30 and 5:00 pm).  The standard for Vancouver restaurants seems to be that they are as good as the ones in Portland.  This one, though, may be even better. (12-9-15)

Farrar’s Bistro–12514 NW 36th Ave. (American) Closed Sun.  Wild caught salmon, chicken pot pie, and probably some other items that are just as good. (12-9-15)

Thai Little Home–3214 E. Fourth Plain Blvd. (Thai) Open daily except Sun lunch.  Most people seem to think this is the best Thai in Vancouver (and it is hard to do better in Portland).  Lemongrass chicken is one of the most recommended dishes, but a lot of the dishes are popular. (12-9-15)

Thai Terrace–700 SE Chkalov Dr. (Thai) Open Daily.  Good Thai, but some dishes are better than others.  Reviewers like pad thai, curries, and peanut sauce. (12-9-15)

Walla Walla

Ming Court–1533 E. Isaacs Ave. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  The place to go if you don’t want Chinese food with MSG. My impression, though, is that you’d be better off with Thai food. (2-16-17)

Thai Ploy–311 S. 9th Ave. (Thai).  May be the most authentic Thai in WW, but people also like Bangkok 103 at 44 N. College Ave. (2-16-17)

Whitehouse-Crawford–55 W. Cherry St. (Northwest) Dinner only (closed Tue).  A highly regarded wine country restaurant. (2-16-17)

Wenatchee

Inna’s Cuisine–26 N. Wenatchee Ave. (Ukranian) Closed Sun & Mon.  Everything here gets good reviews–the food, the service, the setting, and the price. (2-16-17)

VN Pho–1010 Springwater Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  Highest rated Asian restaurant in Wenatchee (they say the food is very good). (2-16-17)

Yakima

Antonjitos Mexicanos–3512 Summitview Ave. (Mexican) Closed Sun night & Mon.  Authentic–chile verde and pozole are good.  One of the best features is the variety of salsas.  Some say the tacos are not the thing to get here (go to Tacos Los Primos instead). (3-19-17)

Bamboo Thai–306 S. 1st St. (Thai) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Reviewers like almost everything, but some say the pad thai is not as impressive as other dishes. Tom kha soup, pad kee mao and curries are recommended. (3-19-17)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Chowhound (Washington)

City-Data (Spokane)

City-Data (Vancouver)

Tao of Chow (Bremerton)

Trip Advisor (Washington)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Washington)

Zomato (Spokane)