The inside of ViaVita Café & Wine Bar traces the timeline of a single day. Floor-to-ceiling windows cast morning light onto a display case of pastries and cheeses—an addendum to the counter that bears morning coffee orders. Nearby, granite-topped tables sit far enough apart to suggest an open, Parisian patio, but close enough together to support a cross-stream of chatter over lunchtime sandwiches. The day ends on the other side of a semicircular wine bar. There, walls wearing distressed paint encapsulate a rustic alcove, where hanging plants and Greco-Roman-style pottery evoke the dining room of a hillside villa.
The decor and seasonal menu at ViaVita Café & Wine Bar champion a European-flavored escape, where diners can stop at any time for a meal, a snack, or a glass of wine. From the crepes and omelets of brunch—served with duck-fat potatoes and chocolate-orange butter—to afternoon paninis and dinners of pan-seared Alaskan salmon, meals realized by imaginative chefs spark and fuel long conversations. Imported and domestic beers, as well as wines from small vineyards on multiple continents, complement the diverse bouquet of flavors and pair especially well with cheese and charcuterie boards. During special events, guitar music acts as a soothing soundtrack for bites, and sommelier seminars instruct patrons on how to age libations without sending them to PG-13 movies alone.
If you do a double take upon reading the name on the door of New York Cupcakes, you're not alone. Many of the shop's customers wonder why this quaint cupcake shop in Bellevue Square is named after a city on the other side of the country. The answer is simple: that's what the shop was called when current owner Lisa Waxman Johnson first fell in love with it and decided to buy it; the former owner, Lisa says, meant the name to be an homage to the birthplace of the modern cupcake trend.
Lisa's cupcakes may not be made in New York, but their modern flavor combinations and chic decorations would make the fashion-forward Big Apple proud. The cupcake roster includes no fewer than 60 tempting options, with favorites that include Cookie Dough Delight, Royal Red Velvet, and Oh My Blueberry Pie. Several flavors draw inspiration from New York landmarks and icons, such as the New York Black & White, a half-chocolate, half-vanilla cupcake inspired by the city's beloved black and white cookies, or the Coney Island Coconut, a nod to the palm trees that line Brooklyn's beaches. The mouth-watering confections have earned numerous accolades by those impressed by their style and substance?each batch is made fresh daily using local eggs and butter.
The culinary artists at Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar grant palates the royal treatment with their smorgasbord of fresh, regionally sourced seafood and oysters, hearty steak-house cuisine, and all-star wine list, which earned the restaurant the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. With a storied resum? that includes manning the kitchen at the prestigious Palisade Restaurant, as well as appearances on Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Presents: American Gladiators, executive chef and owner John Howie focuses his culinary aesthetic on the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest while he experiments with exotic flavors from around the globe. His menu of refined dishes and homey meals furnishes stomachs with alluring flavors from both land and sea, as tasted in the sockeye-salmon poke, dungeness-crab risotto, and fire-grilled filet mignon.
Each Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar location surrounds guests in a cozy cocoon of blond woods and warm light?an ideal setting for polishing off plates of shellfish stews, steak and potatoes, and fresh ice cream and chocolate truffles. While admiring each restaurant?s sleek interior, diners can also enjoy the many notes found in Seastar?s 14-page wine list.
At first glance, the kitchen of Trophy Cupcakes and Party could be taken for that of a gourmet restaurant. Pure Madagascar-Bourbon vanilla and Valrhona cocoa from France line the shelves, and local sweet-cream butter, free-range eggs, and fresh fruit fill the fridge. These are the ingredients Jennifer Shea uses to craft her daily rotating cupcake flavors, from chocolate nutella to gluten-free cherries jubilee. With the help of husband Michael Williamson, she distributes her decadent handheld desserts to four Seattle boutiques, which have garnered press attention to rival that of the city's finest eateries. Martha Stewart gushed about Jennifer's innovative and widely varied flavors, and Seattle magazine's readers dubbed them best cupcakes 2011-2014.
To complement their cupcakes, Trophy Cupcakes stocks a curated selection of party supplies. A cocktail-style party room in Wallingford Center, which can accommodate up to 30 guests, is available to rent for birthday parties, baby showers, and superhero business meetings.
Decked out in retro kitsch ranging from vintage lunchboxes to video-game memorabilia, Lunchbox Laboratory - Bellevue celebrates the art of burgers and the culture of nerds in equal measure. Its creations have inspired both devotion and hyperbole: Seattle Times' Providence Cicero described one dish, the Burger of the Gods, as a "double-fistful of deliciousness"?a fitting descriptor for the gargantuan blend of beef slathered in gorgonzola sauce.
True to its name, the restaurant also loves to experiment with ingredients. Another burger, the Dork, takes its name from its blend of duck and pork?Seattle Magazine calls its "one of the most satisfying burgers in the city." The burgers are backed up by signature dishes, including Hong Kong?style buffalo wings and cheddar American mac and cheese. A range of milkshakes includes Butterfinger, Nutella, and Nesquick chocolate, along with booze-infused shakes such as the Drunken Elvis. Across its three locations, Lunchbox keeps diners entertained with bowling lanes, billiards, and classic '80s video games.
Like the Danube River itself, the cuisine at Danube Bistro Restaurant winds through various parts of Europe, making for a menu as eclectic as it is satiating. Italian and German wines complement family-style cuisine of those same two nation. These two formative influences result in entrees such as house-made lasagna filled with a choice of meat, seafood, or vegetables. In true international style, Hungary scores some influence on the menu as well, with a goulash studded with chunks of beef simmered in a paprika sauce.
Once patrons enter the family-owned restaurant through its fountain-marked entrance on the ground floor of the Avalon Apartments, they'll notice the care the proprietors have taken to make the restaurant a relaxing dining experience. Patrons can sup indoors on one of the restaurants two floor, or choose to take their meals on the outdoor patio, where large red umbrellas and an invisible force field shield meals from the sunlight.