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). (2-5-19)

Din Tai Fung–700 Bellevue Way NE (Chinese) Open Daily. 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). (3-2-19)

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. (3-2-19)

Istanbul–405 Bellevue Way NE (Turkish) Closed Mon; closed Sun evening.  Flavors are so good people put this on their regular rotation. This is a casual place with good prices. (3-2-19)

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). (2-5-19)

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). (3-2-19)

Xiao Chi Jie–278 106th Ave. NE (Chinese) Closed Sun (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  This is “Chinese street food” with a small menu of bao, bowls, and jian bing (crepes). It is highly rated, but may be expensive even for something this good (according to reviewers). (3-2-19)

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. (2-5-19)

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). (5-1-19)

Edmonds

Hosoonyi–23830 Hwy. 99 (Korean) Closed Tue.  Excellent food, but reviewers also say it has excellent prices. (2-5-19)

Noodle Hut–8418 Bowdoin Way (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). (Moved from Everett). (4-18-19)

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. (5-27-19)

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. (5-27-19)

Pho Real–1118 Stevenson Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  People say the pho and vermicelli bowls are authentic and have a very good flavor. (5-27-19)

Teriyaki House–1040 Stevenson Ave. (Japanese) Closed Sun.  Teriyaki restaurants seem to be a particular phenomenon in southern King County, and I tried several. This one was my favorite. (5-27-19)

The Kettle–1666 2nd St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon).  Omelettes, muffins are very good. (2-5-19)

Federal Way

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. (5-1-19)

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. (5-1-19)

SuRaSang Korean–1636 S. 312th St. (Korean) Open Daily.  Reviews of the food are equal to or better than So Moon Nan Jib but it seems to be in a sketchier area. Most of the really good dishes are things I have never heard of, which makes me think they serve some of the more authentic dishes that you cannot find at most restaurants. (5-1-19)

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). (5-16-19)

Max’s World Cafe–212 Front St. N (Indian) Closed Mon (now open for breakfast & lunch but soon will have dinner hours).  Fresh and flavorful Indian food which is very consistent because this is a small restaurant. Serves Goan style Indian food (probably not something you will find at very many restaurants). (5-16-19)

Noodle Boat–700 NW Gilman Blvd. (Thai) Dinner daily, lunch Mon-Fri.  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). (5-16-19)

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. (5-16-19)

Kent

Bahn Sip Song–1734 Central Ave. S. (Lao) Open Daily.  Several reviewers say it serves authentic Lao food. Papaya salad and larb are recommended items. They also have Thai food which is served on the lunch specials (and are said to be good food at a good price). (5-1-19)

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. (5-1-19)

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. Beijing duck is their signature dish but it has to be ordered a day ahead of time. (5-1-19)

Pho Saigon Garden–25632 Pacific Hwy. S (Vietnamese) Open daily (closes early on Sun).  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. (5-1-19)

Punjab Sweets–23617 104th Ave. SE (Indian) Open Daily 11 am to 8 pm.  Vegetarian Indian restaurant. Malai kofta is recommended. Has thali. Sweets (desserts) are what sets it apart from many other restaurants (in addition to the fact that many restaurants do no seem to have the food quality that they have here). (5-1-19)

Szechuan First–18124 E. Valley Hwy. (Chinese) Open Daily.  I’m not sure if everything here is authentic but some of it seems to be, and it gets good reviews. (5-1-19)

Kirkland

Beijing O’Chef–206 Main St. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  This seems to be authentic northern Chinese (Beijing style) cuisine. Ratings are excellent for it. (3-2-19)

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). (2-5-19)

Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen–170 Lake St. S. (Thai) Open Daily.  Seems to be very authentic, but many of the reviewers say they do not really like Thai food all that much except for here (I know that Isan style is different from mainstream Thai so this may be one of the reasons). Some say the reason this is different is that it is street food. (3-2-19)

Note: Cafe Juanita (Italian) is probably the most well known and highest rated restaurant in Kirkland, but is $$$$

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). (2-5-19)

Redmond

Kanishka–16651 Redmond Way (Indian) Open Daily (closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Probably the best Indian restaurant I have tried anywhere. Has both vegetarian and meat thali sampler plates. (2-5-19)

Malay Satay Hut–15230 NE 24th St. (Malaysian) Open Daily.  Look for daily specials. Definitely one of my favorite restaurants in the Seattle area. (3-2-19)

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. Was more casual and lower priced than other authentic restaurants in the area. The spice level is also the real deal. (3-2-19)

Renton

Five Sisters Thai Cuisine–14252 SE 176th St. (Thai) Open Daily.  Reviewers say the food is at the same level as Bai Tong (which I think is one of the best in Seattle). (5-16-19)

Himalayan Cafe–202 SW 43rd St. (Nepalese) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  What I know from reviews is that it has an Indian buffet and that it has Nepalese food. It seems that few people have tried the Nepalese food but those who have say it is good. They also like the buffet. (5-16-19)

Renton Bistro–212 S. 3rd St. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Small restaurant with a surprisingly large menu and surprisingly good food (according to reviewers). (5-16-19)

Taqueria Los Potrillos–2800 NE Sunset Blvd. (Mexican) Open Daily.  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. (5-16-19)

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. (4-5-19)

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). (5-27-19)

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. (4-5-19)

Kisaku Sushi–2101 N. 55th St. (Japanese) Closed Sun. lunch (and closed from 2 to 5 pm). 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. (4-5-19)

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). (5-27-19)

Little Ting’s Dumplings–14411 Greenwood Ave. N (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 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. Small restaurant with large demand for its food sometimes means slow service, problems when trying to call in an order, etc. (2-5-19)

Maneki–304 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. (4-5-19)

Matt’s In the Market–94 Pike St. (Northwest) Closed Sun.  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). (2-5-19)

Monsoon–615 19th Ave. E (Vietnamese) Open daily (open until 12 am Fri & Sat). 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. (4-5-19)

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. Has another location at 600 Pine St. (5-27-19)

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). Now has 3 locations. (5-27-19)

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). (2-5-19)

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). (2-5-19)

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). (4-5-19)

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. (2-5-19)

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. Note: now has locations in Redmond, Capitol Hill (Seattle), and Issaquah. (5-27-19)

Din Tai Fung–181 Southcenter Mall (Taiwanese) Open Daily.  This is a chain that is very popular in the Los Angeles area. There are two locations in Seattle and one in Bellevue (I expect that all of them have the same food). Has xiao long bao. (5-27-19)

Salaama–13820 Tukwila Intl. Blvd. (Somali) Open Daily.  There used to be two Somali restaurants in town, but this is the one still operating (and apparently is very popular). (5-27-19)

 

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


Portland Metro

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)

Aberdeen

Breakwater–306 S. F St. (Seafood) Open daily until 7pm (6 on Sun).  According to reviews, the fish and chips and the clam chowder seem to be as good as anywhere in the region. The chowder gets particularly good comments. (2-1-19)

Anacortes

Adrift–510 Commercial Ave. (American) Closed Sun.  Food is fresh and locally sourced–specializes in seafood and breakfast items (opens at 8 am).  (9-30-18)

Bamboo Bistro–3401 Commercial Ave. (Vietnamese) Open daily except Sun lunch.  People say the pho is excellent, but has a good selection of other items that are also good. (9-30-18)

Frida’s Gourmet Mexican–416 Commercial Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Authentic mole poblano and other upscale Mexican food that has rave reviews from people who are familiar with the “real deal” in Mexico. (9-30-18)

Ashford

Copper Creek Inn–35707 SR 706 E. (American) Open daily (closes 7 pm Sun-Thu).  Has burgers, trout, and other popular local dishes. Probably the main draw here is the blackberry pie. (6-8-19)

Wildberry–37718 SR 706 E. (Himalayan) Open daily 12 pm to 9 pm.  The interesting setup here is that you get Himalayan/Nepalese food, with huckleberry pie a la mode for dessert. (6-8-19)

Bellingham

Anthony’s Hearthfire Grill–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). (9-30-18)

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. Dumplings in hot chile oil are recommended. (9-30-18)

Muto Ramen–105 E. Chestnut St. (Japanese) Closed Tue & closed Sun lunch.  Specializes in ramen–also has sushi and chicken katsu. Reviews are very good. (9-30-18)

Bow

Rhododendron Cafe–5521 Chuckanut Dr. (Seafood, American) Closed Mon & Tue.  Somewhat upscale, specializes in seafood. Salmon is one of the best choices. (9-30-18)

The Oyster Bar–2578 Chuckanut Dr. (Seafood) Open Daily.  An upscale restaurant with an ocean view. Even though oysters are its specialty, it has a wide range of seafood including Copper River salmon. (6-8-19)

Bremerton

4 Sisters–1600 NE Roseway Ln. (Vietnamese) Open until 8:30 pm (closed Sun).  Pho is popular, but also has other dishes. The people leaving the most positive reviews seem to be ones from Vietnam and those who are very familiar with Vietnamese food, so this is a good sign. (2-1-19)

Hit Da Spot–308 N. Callow Ave. (Hawaiian) Open until 6:30 pm (closed Sun).  Reviewers like the Hawaiian plate lunches and poke. Has a larger selection of items than most Hawaiian restaurants. (2-1-19)

Suzy’s Kitchen–2665 6th St. (Korean) Closed Sun & Mon.  One of the top rated restaurants in Bremerton–consistently excellent reviews. (2-1-19)

Centralia

La Tarasca–1001 W. Main St. (Mexican) Closed Sun evening & 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. (4-21-19)

Chelan

Fonda Oaxaquena–127 E. Johnson Ave. (Mexican). Oaxaca style Mexican food with mole, mocaljete, etc. (6-8-19)

Cle Elum

Best of Thai–321 E. 1st (Thai) Closed Mon.  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). (6-8-19)

Dayton

Ray’s Drive In–221 W. Main St. (Burgers).  Reviewers say it is a good place for burgers, breakfast, milkshakes, and smoothies. (6-8-19)

Ellensburg

Cafe C5–213 W. 4th Ave. (New American) Closed Sun & Mon.  Food is high quality (fresh). A couple of items are especially popular–Cajun shrimp (wrap or salad) and the Southwest veggie wrap. (5-30-19)

The Boss–1713 S. Canyon Rd. (Brazilian) Open daily except Sun evening.  This is home style food (not a Brazilian steakhouse). Choices are limited, though (chicken or beef are the main choices). (5-30-19)

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. (5-30-19)

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. (4-18-19)

Jubie’s–2831 W. Marine View Dr. (Caribbean) Closed Sun & Mon.  Food from Trinidad & Tobago. Might be described as street food (not upscale), but reviews are very good and people say it is delicious. (4-18-19)

Katya’s Bakery–12811 8th Ave. W. (Russian) Closed Sat evening & Sun.  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). (4-18-19)

King Noodle House–7815 Evergreen Way (Chinese) Open 11 am to 10 pm (closed Tue).  Said to be authentic and very good Chinese food. Specializes in hand pulled noodles. (4-18-19)

New Mexicans–1416 Hewitt Ave. (New Mexican) Closed Mon.  New Mexico style food (some say it is not totally authentic but most say the red and green enchiladas are quite good). (4-18-19)

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). (4-18-19)

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. (5-9-19)

Golden Triangle Thai–140 1st St. (Thai) Closed Sun (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm). Apparently there is only one Thai restaurant in FH, called Golden Triangle but listed as Thai Kitchen on some web sites. 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). (5-9-19)

San Juan Bistro–155 Nichols St. (Sandwiches) Lunch only (closed Sun & Mon). 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. Cheese boards are popular. (5-9-19)

The Bait Shop–175 Spring St. (Seafood) Lunch Tue-Sun, dinner Fri-Sun (to 7 pm).  This restaurant serves fish and chips and chowder. Many say it is the best on the island. (5-9-19)

Gig Harbor

Taste of Peru–5500 Olympic Dr. NW (Peruvian) Closed Mon.  Reviewers say it has very good Peruvian food. Because of the seafood in this area, the ceviche is one of the items that should definitely be considered. (5-9-19)

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. (5-9-19)

Wok on Fire–5500 Olympic Dr. NW (Asian) Open Daily.  This is probably the best Asian restaurant in town. People say they do the Mongolian Grill very well. (5-9-19)

Gold Bar

Zeke’s Drive In–43918 State Rt. 2 (American) Open Daily.  Good roadfood type hamburger place, but has other items such as reubens. Probably the most popular feature is the make-your-own flavor milkshakes. (6-8-19)

Kennewick

Dagupan Grill–3911 W. 27th Ave. (Filipino) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  Some say this is the only legit Filipino food in the eastern part of Washington. Some say come on Sunday because there is a buffet. (2-3-19)

Masala Indian–3321 W. Kennewick Ave. (Indian) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5:00 pm).  One of the few Asian restaurants in the Tri Cities that get good reviews from people who are from Portland or Seattle. (2-3-19)

Lacey

Cebu–9408 Martin Way E. (Filipino) Closed Sun. Small family run place. Food has very good reviews. (5-17-19)

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. (5-17-19)

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. Some also say Olympia restaurants are very bland but this one is like the Thai food you find in larger cities. (5-17-19)

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. (5-14-19)

Bavarian Bistro–801 front St. (German) Open Daily. Good for jager schnitzel and huhner schnitzel (chicken) if you want something other than pork. Side dishes are said to be good. (5-14-19)

Munchen House–709 Front St. (German) Open Daily. Known for bratwurst & choice of mustards. Reviewers say the sausages are better than across the street. (5-14-19)

Long Beach

Malai Thai–509 Pacific Ave. S. (Thai).  Reviewers say this is not big city Thai, but it is good, and particularly for a tourist town. (2-1-19)

Note: See Seaview for more local listings

Lynden

Chandara House–655 Front St. (Thai) Closed Sun. Said to be 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. Reviewers also make the point that it is affordable. (5-14-19)

Dutch Mothers–405 Front St. (Dutch) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun). 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. Dutch pancake is recommended. (5-14-19)

Lynden Dutch Bakery–421 Front St. (Bakery) Open 8:30 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. (5-14-19)

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). (5-14-19)

Rachawadee Thai Cafe–410 W. Gates St. (Thai) Lunch Mon-Sat, dinner Tue-Fri.  Apparently it is an authentic Thai restaurant with about 10 tables (there is frequently a long wait for a table). Has Thai spice levels with the food. (5-14-19)

Skagit Valley Food Co-Op–201 S. 1st St. (Organic) Open daily 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. (5-14-19)

Mukilteo

Red Cork Bistro–11700 Mukilteo Speedway (American) Closed Sat lunch & Sun. Local, all fresh menu. This is not necessarily a seafood restaurant, but many say this is the thing to get (such as the halibut daily special). (5-14-19)

Oak Harbor

Seabolt’s–31640 SH 20 (Seafood) Open Daily.  A lot of good dishes, but the best seems to be the clam chowder. (5-14-19)

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. (5-14-19)

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. (5-17-19)

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). Price is $$$ on Yelp (so it may be higher priced than I would like). (5-17-19)

Hotstone Korean–119 5th Ave. SW (Korean) Closed Sun.  Good reviews, especially for the quality of the meats and the flavors they have. (5-17-19)

Mediterranean Breeze–2302 Harrison Ave. NW (Turkish) Open Daily.  Very good reviews. This is much more than a kabob restaurants–has a large variety of items. (5-17-19)

Narai Asian Cuisine–320 4th Ave. E. (Thai) Closed Mon. I do not know if it is authentic or just not as sweet as most of the Thai restaurants in WA, but it seems to be a good restaurant. (5-17-19)

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). (5-17-19)

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. (2-3-19)

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). (2-3-19)

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).

Port Angeles

Kokopelli Grill-203 E. Front St. (Seafood) Open daily except Sun lunch.  High quality seafood but has better prices than some other places. Salmon and halibut are two of the most popular items (salmon chowder is also recommended). (9-30-18)

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. (9-30-18)

Pho New Saigon–2365 E. Hwy 101 (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Pho and a number of other dishes, tasting the way they should. Some say the prices are expensive, though. (9-30-18)

Sabai Thai–903 W. 8th St. (Thai) Closed Sun & Mon (Yelp says open for dinner only).  Has pad prik king, so I think I would like it. Some say try the halibut and the local Dungeness crab dishes. (9-30-18)

Port Townsend

Blue Moose–311 Haines Pl. (American) Open daily (breakfast & lunch only).  Very popular for breakfast. Seems to serve the typical Northwestern huge breakfast portions. Cash or checks only. (2-1-19)

Doc’s Marina Grill–141 Hudson St. (Seafood) Open daily 11 am to 11 pm.  A place to go for basic non-pretentious seafood. Best reviews are for the fish and chips, but chowder is also popular. (2-1-19)

Finistere-1025 Lawrence St. (New American) Dinner Wed-Sun, lunch Sat & Sun only.  Upscale restaurant if you like fancy and original recipes. Seems to be especially known for its oysters. (2-1-19)

Hanazono Asian Noodle–225 Taylor St. (Japanese) Closed Mon & Tue.  Has a varied Japanese menu. I think ramen noodle and yakisoba are supposed to be their specialty dishes, but other items get good reviews as well. (2-1-19)

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.” (2-1-19)

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). Swedish meatballs are popular. (2-1-19)

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. Standard menu items offer food from several countries (Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, and apparently western China halal style food). (5-20-19)

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. (5-20-19)

Tan’ Chinese–1195 SE Bishop Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Tue.  Has xiao long bao and is attempting to be more authentic than American style, but some say it is not like the Chinese food you will get in Seattle. (5-20-19)

Roche Harbor

Madrona Bar & Grill–248 Reuben Memorial Dr. (American) Dinner only (open daily).  Varied menu which includes seafood and hamburgers. Food is not too expensive by San Juan Island standards. (5-9-19)

Seaview

42nd Street Cafe & Bistro–4201 Pacific Way (New American) Closed Mon; Tue is dinner only.  Mostly a breakfast & lunch place (lunch is until 1pm), dinner is until 7:30. Majors in seafood, and reviewers say this is the upscale version. Breakfast seems to be the most popular time, though. Has standard breakfast items (some with seafood), but a very popular item is the beignet. (2-1-19)

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. (2-1-19)

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. (2-1-19)

Pacific Pantry Deli–229 S. Sequim Ave. (Sandwiches) Open 11 am to 7 pm (closed Sun).  Normally I am ho hum about soup and sandwich places, but this one uses all locally sourced ingredients, and has some interesting items such as carrot soup. (2-1-19)

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. People point out that they have high prices, but also good quality. (2-1-19)

Shelton

Somsiri Thai–506 W. Railroad Ave. (Thai) Closed Sat lunch & Sun.  Excellent reviews, especially for the pad thai. (4-4-19)

Silverdale

Family Thai–9601 Mickelberry Rd. NW (Thai) Closed Mon (and closed from 2 to 4:30 PM).  Dishes seem to be northern Thai style. Has a lunch menu including ginger, peanut sauce, basil, and other interesting looking dishes. (9-30-18)

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. Some say it has MSG, though (but tastes good). (9-30-18)

South Bend

Linda’s Fish and Chips–313 Robert Bush Blvd. (Seafood) Open daily 11am to 6pm.  Reviewers emphasize the freshness of the cod and oysters, and that the shrimp is very good as well. Everyone seems to like the fish but some think the breading on the fish & chips is a little greasy. (2-1-19)

Spokane

Elliotts an Urban Kitchen–2209 N. Monroe St. (New American) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  In addition to the food being very good (according to reviewers), it also looks very interesting. Has items such as scotch egg, green chicken curry, pork belly appetizer, green chile pork, house made chocolate torte, etc. Most reviews seem to be for the Sunday brunch, and this seems to be what diners like the best about the restaurant. (5-20-19)

Gordy’s Sichuan–501 E. 30th Ave. (Sichuanese) Closed Sun & Mon. For authentic food, you can get off-menu recommendations from the staff. Closes at 9 pm, but web site says it closes “later” if there is a demand for it. (5-20-19)

Mizuna–214 N. Howard St. (New American) Closed Sun lunch. Many say this is the best food in Spokane. Idaho trout, pork, carrot cake. Specializes in vegetarian dishes. Has quite a few unusual (international) dishes but many seem to be Italian. (5-20-19)

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. (5-20-19)

Phonthip Style Thai–1006 E. Francis Ave. (Thai) Open Daily. Said to be authentic & flavorful. Food is not sweet like other Thai places in town. (5-20-19)

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. (4-4-19)

Indochine–1924 Pacific Ave. S. (Thai) Closed Mon. I ate at the location in Federal Way and found it to be a good Thai restaurant. Best items seem to be basil, lemongrass, ginger flavored, etc. (instead of pad thai or curry). (4-4-19)

Loak Toung Thai–3807 Center St. (Thai) Closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 3 to 4:30 pm).  Authentic food including the way they prepare the fish sauce. Seems to have both Thai and Lao style food. (4-4-19)

Mitapeap–1314 72nd St. E (Cambodian) Closed Mon. Authentic Cambodian food. Noodle dishes are the specialty, but people recommend a wide variety of items. Down sides to Mitapeap include a 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. (4-4-19)

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. (4-4-19)

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. (4-4-19)

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). (4-4-19)

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. (4-4-19)

Tonasket

Whistler’s Family Restaurant–616 S. Whitcomb Ave. (American) Breakfast & lunch daily, dinner Thu-Sat.  Has some slightly upscale food such as eggs benedict. Otherwise has items you would find in a diner (but these are probably better than in most diners). (6-8-19)

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). (6-8-19)

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. (6-8-19)

Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen–330 W. Main (Middle Eastern) Dinner daily, lunch Sat & Sun.  Food here is very upscale (WW is known for its upscale restaurants). Many dishes are Egyptian, and they are not kabobs but more like a feast people would have on special occasions. Looks like it may be worth a splurge. (6-8-19)

Thai Ploy–25 S. Spokane St. (Thai).  May be the most authentic Thai in WW, but people also like Bangkok 103 at 44 N. College Ave. (6-8-19)

Whitehouse-Crawford–55 W. Cherry St. (Northwest) Dinner only (closed Tue).  A highly regarded wine country restaurant. (6-8-19)

Wenatchee

Inna’s Cuisine–26 N. Wenatchee Ave. (Ukranian) Closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 2 to 4:30 pm).  Everything here gets good reviews–the food, the service, the setting, and the price. (6-8-19)

Om Cooking–104 N. Wenatchee Ave. (Lao) Closed Sun (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Lao food is not as well known as the Thai food that was served here under a previous owner, but patrons are being won over based on reviews. (6-8-19)

VN Pho–1010 Springwater Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  Serves pho, bun, and rice plates, all with good reviews. (6-8-19)

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). (6-8-19)

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. (6-8-19)

EZ Tiger–222 E. Chestnut Ave. (Dim Sum) Closed Sun & Mon.  Serves dim sum, noodles, pho, and some Thai food. Reviews are good, and the food served is said to be real Asian (not Americanized). (6-8-19)

 

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)

Seattle PI (Washington’s Best Road Trip Restaurants)

Tao of Chow (Bremerton)

Trip Advisor (Washington)

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

Yelp (Washington)

Zomato (Spokane)