Open for dinner only, Shiro’s serves chawanmushi, tempura, and sushi. Entrées are $15 to $25
"I love to dine at Shiro's. Always the most impeccable sashimi and an elegance both in setting and service," said Holly Smith of Café Juanita in Kirkland, Wash.
"Renée Erickson brings oyster bar love to Ballard. The Norwegian Wood cocktail (Aquavit, Applejack brandy, sweet vermouth, and Yellow Chartreuse) is my fave to sip with grilled sardines. And there is always an inspired seasonal salad to enjoy!" said Kathy Casey of Seattle’s Dish D’Lish.
Open for dinner and late night, The Walrus and the Carpenter has plates ranging from $10 to $15.
"I adore raw oysters and steak tartare, so Renée's restaurant is a sure bet for me! A glass of rosé and a bright space that always feels at once comfortable and transporting," said Holly Smith of Café Juanita in Kirkland, Wash.
"A special retreat for a day or weekend getaway. The menu is Northwest-focused and ultra-local; specifically to Whidbey Island. [It’s] also a great restaurant to experience molecular gastronomy," said Thierry Rautureau of Rover's and Luc restaurants in Seattle.
The Inn at Langley’s Northwest menu features dishes that start at $25.
"The Inn at Langley is such a special escape from the Seattle area. Put yourself in Matt Costello's hands and enjoy a menu that is inventive while still holding firmly to seasons and supporting local farmers," said Holly Smith of Café Juanita in Kirkland, Wash.
Chefs and locals alike enjoy the Northwest and American fare at Sitka and Spruce.
"Good friends of ours who make quietly stunning food with impeccably sourced foods. You can't really go wrong with anything on the menu, but get the chickpea purée if it's on the menu and don't miss their house sourdough bread," said Jason Stratton of Spinasse and Artusi in Seattle.
The Italian specialties including the pizza at Bar Del Corso get rave reviews.
"This neighborhood pizzeria is a gem. The pizza is incredible; light, with an amazing crust. Keep your eye on the specials board, which had incredible fried squash blossoms along with prosciutto and potato croquettes on my last visit," said Jason Stratton of Spinasse and Artusi in Seattle.
Monsoon serves a mix of Asian fare, including classic Vietnamese dishes and dim sum.
"The dishes here are absolutely dynamic and exciting. Equal parts elegant, sophisticated, and complex, I end up at Monsoon when I want to relax with a claypot of tender young chicken braised with lemongrass and jalapeño and a bottle of German riesling,"said Jason Stratton of Spinasse and Artusi in Seattle.
The menu at Palace Kitchen is devoted to American dishes, with a focus on Northwest cuisine.
"I need to make sure to have a couple of Seattle restaurants listed and I should definitely start off with my favorite restaurant from the guy that put Seattle food on the map, Tom Douglas," said Ethan Stowell, who owns a quartet of Seattle restaurants: Tavolata, How to Cook a Wolf, Anchovies & Olives, and Staple & Fancy Mercantile.
Canlis serves Northwest fare, seafood, and modern American dishes.
"The Canlis brothers and chef Jason Franey are trying, and succeeding, to do one of the hardest things I can think of in the restaurant industry. They are taking one of the country's most classic restaurants and turning it into one of the most progressive," said Ethan Stowell, who owns a quartet of Seattle restaurants: Tavolata, How to Cook a Wolf, Anchovies & Olives, and Staple & Fancy Mercantile.
Chef Thierry Rautureau of Seattle’s Rover's and Luc restaurants is a fan of Book Bindery’s modern American cuisine.
"Elegant, hip, deliciously hand-crafted food. Absolutely love the duo of rabbit,"said Thierry Rautureau.
Lola is the place for Greek and Mediterranean fare in Seattle, according to Thierry Rautureau of Rover's and Luc restaurants in Seattle.
"One of Tom Douglas’ many delicious restaurants. Greek-inspired Mediterranean flavors. Love the lamb skewers," said Thierry Rautureau.
Modern Northwest cuisine is the specialty at Madison Park Conservatory, which has a balcony overlooking Lake Washington.
"A perfect spot for a cocktail on a summer evening," said Thierry Rautureau of Rover's and Luc restaurants in Seattle.
"Jerry Traunfeld does a great job creating Indian-inspired dishes with our bounty of Northwest ingredients, " said Thierry Rautureau of the chef heading the kitchen at Poppy.
Dinette features a globe-trotting menu of American, European, and international favorites like croque monsieur and La Quercia prosciutto.
"Their menu items are simply prepared to show the beauty of the ingredient," said Thierry Rautureau of Rover's and Luc restaurants in Seattle.
The inexpensive modern American sandwiches and subs at Dish D’Lish are favorites of chefs and locals on-the-go.
"When flying out of Sea Tac, we go to Dish D’Lish to load up with healthy goodies to eat on the plane like hard-boiled eggs with bacon salt, salads, breakfast sandwiches, etc.," said Don Curtiss of Chef Don’s Kitchen.
On the menu at La Isla is Latin American, Caribbean, and Cuban cuisine.
"Although La Isla is just a few blocks away from Volterra, we were introduced to this delicious Puerto Rican restaurant by a good friend from Los Angeles who researches all of the Puerto Rican restaurants on the West Coast. We’ve been regulars ever since," said Don Curtiss of Chef Don’s Kitchen.
An eclectic mix of Mexican and teriyaki is on offer at La Carta de Oaxaca.
"We love having Oaxaca just a few doors away! Delicious guacamole and chips, fresh salsas, enfriojoladas, picaditas, pork with mole," said Don Curtiss of his favorite menu items.
"Outstanding cocktails with great seasonal menu" are what keeps Don Curtiss and others in-the-know returning to Tavern Law.
"We live in Magnolia, so this is a casual spot to take out-of-town visitors for a quick breakfast or dinner with a nice view. They have the best milkshakes in town, and their seasonal fruit slumps with Olympic mountain ice cream are always a hit!"said Don Curtiss of Chinook's, which features a menu of Northwest specialties.
Korean-inspired urban fare is what Revel and Quoin are all about.
"I love their menu-staple, savory pancakes with unique toppings (like their pork belly, kimchi, and bean sprout) and house-made dipping sauces. And for brunch I love their chop suey with a kimchi bloody mary!" said Kathy Casey of Dish D’Lish.
"So happy Ethan Stowell has a restaurant in my 'hood! I love the dark and warm environment with an open kitchen. Their pre fixe menu for $45 is a steal! It’s up to the kitchen’s fancy on what you have, but I’ve never been disappointed," said Kathy Casey of Dish D’Lish, who heads to Staple & Fancy Mercantile, one of Stowell’s four Seattle restaurants.
With a second location set to open in Kirkland later this year, Volterra Restaurant serves home-style Italian favorites.
"This wonderful restaurant brings the warmth and charm of Tuscany to Seattle's Ballard area. I love their bruschetta Volterrana, "oil" soup, and fresh pasta with lamb ragu," said Kathy Casey of Dish D’Lish.
Northwest fare made with organic ingredients is the source of chefs’ crushes on Crush.
"I love to sit at the counter in front of the open kitchen and watch chef Jason Wilson and crew create their magic. This neighborhood restaurant has a seasonal menu, featuring local growers and producers. It’s the perfect spot for that special date night," said Kathy Casey of Dish D’Lish.
Liberty is a favorite Seattle sushi spot for Kathy Casey of Dish D’Lish.
"This is the spot for craft cocktails without the attitude! From the wide-array of Japanese whiskeys, creative cocktails to barrel-aged specialties, this Capitol Hill bar gives a great neighborhood vibe as soon as you walk inside. Delicious sushi, too!" said Casey.
"Chefs Dana Tough and Brian McCracken are seriously talented. From a menu staple like tagliatelle to a seasonal foie gras terrine, make sure you finish off your dining with a tasty dessert like parsnip sponge cake, banana crumble, and coconut ice cream," said Kathy Casey of Dish D’Lish about one of her favorite places, Spur Gastropub.
The Asian and Vietnamese fare at Green Leaf is noteworthy, according to Kathy Casey of Dish D’Lish.
"I am a huge Green Leaf fan and love the Vietnamese pancake with shrimp and pork for sharing with friends — tearing off pieces, filling with fragrant herbs, and then dipping into sauce; it’s a totally hands-on deal!" said Casey.