Inside Marlena's Mediterranean Kitchen, Persian rugs hang from yellow and cherry-red walls, and lamps splash soft lighting across colorful pieces of Turkish artwork. In that spirit, the menu is populated with traditional Istanbul dishes, particularly mezes: a selection of small, finger-friendly plates, such as feta on tomato slices and stuffed wine grape leaves. Guests can also order an array of savory entrees, including kebabs loaded with tender pieces of marinated chicken, lamb, beef, or fish.
It takes a deep understanding of spices to make a mean kabob, just as it does to cook a complex curry. Impressively, Habibi Mediterranean & Greek Restaurant does both. The menu of Mediterranean staples—falafel sandwiches and lamb shish kabobs among them—also features popular Indian dishes such as beef or fish in a homemade curry, with the fieriness adjusted to your liking.
The kitchen here is a versatile one, producing eastern eats for breakfast as well as lunch and dinner. A morning meal of shakshuka pairs pita bread with eggs poached in a spice-heavy tomato sauce, whereas lunchtime heralds gyros and french fries. Lamb shanks are hard to pass up at dinner, but then again, so is the shrimp biryani and sneaking licks from a neighbor's plate. Regardless of the meal, all the meats are Halal and guests can balance out their dishes' nuanced flavors with cold sips of watermelon or mango smoothies.
The chefs at Thai Gold Triangle Restaurant reach for traditional ingredients such as coconut milk, lemon grass, chili, and curry as they cook up the authentic cuisine of Thailand. The menu at this family-run eatery starts with shareable appetizers such as fried or fresh spring rolls and garlicky chicken wings, then moves on to stir-fried noodle dishes, fried rice flecked with eggs and spices, and curries of the red, green, and panang varieties. The kitchen can substitute tofu or veggies to make any dish meatless.
The most geographically and culturally authentic bites at CurriBox are lemon and mango pickles imported straight from India. But the restaurant's cooks masterfully conjure traditional Indian flavors just fine with more local fixings, which they assemble into nearly 75 dishes. A clay tandoor oven bakes all roits and naans, as well as boneless chicken, which the culinary team stirs into mildly spiced butter cream. Other entrees incorporate CurriBox's housemade ingredients, from hand-crafted cheese cooked in spiced gravy with peas to marinated lamb doused with nuts and fresh cream sauce. Besides dine-in feasts, CurriBox's cooks prepare food for takeout and even cater feasts for weddings, birthdays, or birthdays for each taste bud.
With a central counter lined with swiveling stools, a bunch of cushioned booths along the opposite wall, and tile floors, Geraldine's Counter could be any old diner. But Geraldine's doesn't do things like any old diner. Instead, natural light pours through the lively storefront's wall of windows, illuminating the bright green and yellow walls that surround weekend brunch crowds and suppertime diners. And the food is no exception to the cozy spot's cheerful spin on classic comfort. Called “the best French toast in the city” by Seattle magazine, the diner’s acclaimed dish is served with 100% pure maple syrup and comes topped with seasonal fruits. Along with breakfast items, which are available all day, the restaurant features such downhome cooking as a corned-beef sandwich atop rye bread from a local bakery, broccoli fettuccine alfredo, marinara-topped meatloaf, and the pie of the day à la mode. On Thursday nights, Geraldine's provides some extra comfort with buttermilk-fried chicken with mashed potatoes and half-price bottles of wine.
Meet the Owners: Co-owners, life partners, and vegetarians Sarah Murphy and Amy Weems are both food-industry veterans. Sarah used to run the deli at the Seward Park PCC, and Amy worked as a bartender at the Brave Horse Tavern.
Why You Can Feel Good Eating Here: Not only do the chefs source local ingredients whenever possible, they also compost their waste, recycle their oil, and use green cleaning products. Furthermore, they treat high-fructose corn syrup like it insulted their mother: by shunning it.
Where to Sit: Grab a romantic, candlelit table near one of the two walls of windows, or snag a spot at the giant horseshoe-shaped booth embellished with religious iconography.