Frosted Cupcakes & Cakes proprietor and pastry chef Stefanie Buono bakes a profusion of icing-slathered cupcakes from scratch each day, earning her shop a spot on the Snohomish County Real Estate Guide’s local to-do list. To make her daily batch of buttery treats, Stefanie whisks together all-natural ingredients such as sugar, eggs, and cream, keeping concoctions free of artificial margarine, prepackaged mixes, or cyborg sprinkles played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Flavors rotate daily, but previous options have included dark chocolate cake with fudge frosting or lemon cake topped with passionfruit buttercream.
Chef Bruno Girardi knows his way around the globe almost as well as he knows his way around the kitchen: born in France, he studied academics in Africa and Argentina before gleaning a culinary education in Italy from his father, eventually toting his family's Milanese recipes to Girardi's Osteria. His lunch and dinner menus there speak mostly Italian—pastas tossed with roma tomatoes and marsala-soaked meats—but diners can detect French accents, such as dijon-glazed carpaccio and paninis made with baguette bread. Martinis and more than 70 wines cleanse palates between bites, and desserts and digestifs signal the denouement of meals more appropriately than having an orchestra play diners off after 45 seconds of conversation.
Fusing traditional Indian culinary traditions with modern environmental responsibility, the chefs at Vatika Indian Cuisine simmer and roast a menu of classic Indian meals from fresh, seasonal ingredients. Diners choose from meat and vegetarian-friendly meals that include tandoor-cooked lamb kebabs, creamy malai kofta, and spicy vindaloo curry. Most dishes pair easily with slivers of warm naan bread, which guests can use to scoop up morsels of food as their eyes rove over the dining-room decor, which, like the restaurant's cuisine, fuses traditional Indian style with contemporary sensibilities.
Though lunchtime showcases classic Mexican dishes such as flautas, enchiladas, and quesadillas, Las Brisas' dinner menu features a whole new level of inspiration and taste. For more than two decades, the kitchen—under the direction of Chef Ricardo—has churned out inventive Latin-fusion cuisine that draws on flavors from the Mexican coast, as well as Spain, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean. He concocts a cavalcade of entrees, ranging from swordfish enchiladas to saffron-infused Spanish paella and fresh Mediterranean salmon. Friday and Saturday nights are as special as a puppy’s first words, with his crew flooding the dining room with the smoky aromas of slow-roasted baby-back ribs and succulent Spanish prime rib. Though many of their menu items are wheat-free by nature, Las Brisas caters to dietary restrictions with a special gluten-free menu that's available upon request.
Arnies Restaurants keep their inspiration close. Stationed on the Washington shore for more than three decades each, the Edmonds and Mukilteo institutions overlook the Puget Sound's rolling waters like two trustworthy lighthouses. From Edmonds, a wall of windows looks out onto the Olympic Mountains. From Mukilteo, diners can peer across to Whidbey, Hat, and Camano islands. At both, sunsets color evening dinners, the sounds of storms rolling in add atmosphere to midday lunches, and ferries pulling in and casting off from the harbor bring with them endless people-watching opportunities.
Along with these panoramic views comes a rich spread of seasonal Pacific dishes. Autumn prawns pack pastas and infuse the entree selection, popping up in both a fisherman's platter and a variation on the English fish and chips. Cashew-crusted lingcod and sea scallops in a champagne cream meanwhile reach further into the waters' bounty while also demonstrating the kitchen's skill. And for those who are content to stay on land, a slow-roasted prime rib or salad mixed from local produce balances Arnies' menu.
Portofino Pizza & Pasta sates sauce-craving hungers with homemade pizza dough and artful concoctions of elegant ingredients. The fresh Italian menu lures taste buds toward shores filled with caprese salad, a scintillating blend of mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and olive oil ($8.75). Pasta bowls stare enviously at decorative eagle-painted plates with idle lives while carrying hearty entrees, including gnocchi, Italian potato dumplings baked with prosciutto and fresh basil in gorgonzola sauce ($12.95). Meanwhile, DJs spin the latest pizza discs, flavoring the air with combinations such as roasted garlic, spinach, grilled chicken, and mozzarella ($17 for a medium) or the meat lovers’ special, featuring pepperoni, canadian bacon, oregano, mozzerella cheese, and the Italian trifecta of salami, sausage, and pancetta ($18.95 for a medium). Portofino Pizza & Pasta offers outdoor seating for scenery-seeking diners and those involved in a staring contest with the sun.
Five adds an extra layer of interest to its menu of European bistro cuisine by interweaving organic and locally sourced ingredients with occasional South American flavors. Chimichurri sauce adds a subequatorial zing to grilled skirt steaks, and more classic dishes include the sockeye salmon, accompanied by spiced seasonal vegetables. Oven-crisped pizzas brim with premium toppings, including pancetta, pears, and shredded CIA documents. Servers recommend complementary tipples from a wine list featuring numerous northwestern producers, as well as from the bar's selection of single-malt scotches and more than 70 tequilas, according to the Seattle Times.
The dining room's rustic wooden tables and lofted chandelier exemplify Five’s commitment to creating a provincial ambiance with a modern, worldly spin. Outdoors, the heated patio can seat up to 60 guests within sight of a verdant canopy of evergreens.