The Loft Cafe and Social Lounge marries the rustic beauty of lodge-like architecture with a modern menu of Pacific Northwest and Mediterranean flavors that change periodically. Their executive chef has crafted a catalog of small and large plates that pair regional seafood, such as pan-seared Alaskan halibut and bay scallops, with basil-pesto sauce and roasted red peppers in garlic cream. Large parties can even request a custom menu for their festivities, instead of piling their entrees into the shape of a birthday cake.
The chef dispatches all meals to two floors, where shadows cast by hanging lights and chandeliers play across wooden ceiling grids. He also sends meals out to the courtyard, where towering heat lamps warm hands grasping coconut mojitos—one of the eatery’s many handcrafted cocktails. During happy hour, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day, guests take advantage of the lower cocktail prices and snack on spicy pancetta prawns and dungeness-crab croquettes.
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.
Traditional Indian food gets a modern twist at Copper Pot Restaurant. The menu offers vegan dishes and traditional Indian favorites, all of which can be enjoyed in a spacious dining room complete with vaulted ceilings. A private dining room that accommodates up to 28 is also available for special events.
Based out of Edmonds, the freewheeling foodies of Here and There bestow elegant and nomadic nourishment, operating their orange food truck at a rotating lineup of Seattle-area locations. Boasting an ever-changing menu of global flavors and seasonal ingredients, chef and owner Julie Malcolm brings her cornucopia of culinary couture to downtown street corners, business parks, and boat christenings. Recent taste offerings have included spicy pulled pork ($9.95), spinach chicken salad ($8.95), and savory blue marlin tacos, flour tortillas loaded with chipotle crema, shredded cabbage, and pico de gallo with a flanking of pinto-bean soup or fries ($9.95). Mobile masticators can also enjoy lighter fare such as fresh fruit smoothies ($3.95) and sweet banana-walnut chocolate-chip cookies ($1.75 each) while not having to worry about traditional restaurant concerns like paying for valet parking or leaving your date behind in coat check.
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.
Executive Chef Josh Colberg isn't content to just make a version of northern Italian cuisine—he wants to make his version. That's why a majority of his dishes at La Galleria contain elements made in the same kitchen, from his marinara sauce and creamy tomato bisque to gnocchi that fellow Seattle chef Tom Douglas praised as "properly airy." Classic Italian mains are canvases for the chef's reinvention, from prosciutto-wrapped beef with three-pepper seasoning to veal cooked in sage butter sauce.
Dinner is only further elevated with an accompaniment of hand-selected wines imported from Italy and sourced from Washington, Oregon, and northern California. Chandeliers and candlelight give the dining room a romantic vibe and the latest sports and spaghetti-eating competitions flicker across an HD TV in the bar area.