While living on Molokai, Bobby and Diane Nakihei couldn’t throw a stone without hitting a plate-lunch special. The classic Hawaiian dish—two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad, and an entree—is served at practically every fast-food restaurant and food wagon across the island. When the couple moved from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest, they began to long for the once-ubiquitous island cuisine. So Bobby traded the stuffy shirt and tie of a bookkeeping career for the patterned, button-down shirts of his homeland and opened Bobby's Hawaiian Style Restaurant, drawing transplanted islanders and locals alike to his plate-lunch specials, which often come wrapped in taro leaves and seaweed.
His cuisine earned the restaurant a spot on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and praise from Scott Gorman of the Herald, who extols it as “prepared and presented with a good deal of authenticity and style.” Revered dishes include Kahlua pig, which Chef Bobby cures with hawaiian sea salt, covers in banana leaves, and roasts for eight hours. The meticulous preparation extends to the rest of the menu, which spotlights the leaf-steamed pork of laulau and the sushi-esque spam musubi. In addition to the cuisine, owners Bobby and Diane showcase Hawaiian culture by offering hula lessons, presenting live Hawaiian music and recycling diners' lawn clippings into grass skirts.
At Ole Soul Creole, the staff whips up tantalizing plates of traditional Creole cuisine, from jambalaya on Thursdays to hearty sides of sweet bread pudding. The menu blends the best influences of Southern and Creole cuisine with dishes such as baby-back ribs, gumbo served over dirty rice, or New Orleans fried catfish.
Blue Heart Art's passionate staffers hand-select every locally created treasure that they stock, which includes photo-enhancing picture frames ($5.99–$15) and fruit-themed towels, ideal for making soaps salivate and subsequently lather themselves ($6.99–$7.99). Like early morning office hours and turtle races, viewing the shop's art and home furnishings may be enhanced by the consumption of coffee. Blue Heart Art's on-site coffee lounge brews fair-trade, Seattle-roasted beans, and head barista Jordan crafts creative potables such as the smooth and sweet raspberry truffle latte ($3.95 for 16 oz.). The café's warm, lounge-like décor—replete with a couch and club chairs—encourages patrons to relax and hug throw pillows.
At The Majestic Caf?, everything is homemade?even the ketchup. Proudly sticking to classics?with a few contemporary twists?it's been lauded by Open Table diners as a "neighborhood gem." The chefs work with small, local purveyors to source super-fresh ingredients that compose each dish. Menus unfold to reveal starters of crispy shoe-string fries drizzled with tangy, housemade gorgonzola sauce, and Majestic white bean and butternut squash hummus with toasted crostini. The signature french dip sandwich, lined with house-seasoned and roasted beef and shredded lyrics to "Da Dip," shares the spotlight with new york strip steak, fish and chips, and St. Louis ribs. Weekend brunch is offered to those who need their morning fix of huevos rancheros, spinach florentine scramble, or the Northwest benedict with housemade crab and bay shrimp cakes, all of which can be paired with bloody marys, screwdrivers, and greyhounds.
The Winchester Pub & Eatery’s resident chefs channel the culinary traditions of English and Irish pubs to craft a menu that merges gastronomic ritual with contemporary flair. Commence noshing with an appetizer of cracked wings; coated in the Winchester’s signature sweet orange-bourbon glaze, the wings traverse tongues with a sense of culinary adventure that surpasses Magellan’s most daring forays into Vietnamese cooking. Bolstered by homemade mashed potatoes and brown gravy, entree plates of bangers and mash put a hurt on pesky hunger pangs, and homemade meatloaf sticks to ribs with a nostalgic embrace. Throngs of beverages—including microbrews, specialty cocktails, and Thomas Kemper root beer—wait in the wings to quench parched palates or spontaneously combusting napkins.
At Blue Mango Bistro, chefs meticulously prepare an elegant spread of seafood dishes, appetizers, and entrees culled from cuisines across Asia, from Korean bibimbap to fried rice and Japanese tempura udon. Guests delight taste buds with flaky fried Pacific cod and chips or crispy chicken katsu, or enjoy a happy-hour feast of wine and sake with noodle stir-frys and spicy tuna rolls. An enclosure of wall-to-wall windows in the dining area surrounds guests with an expansive vista of Possession Sound, garnishing meals with views of passing sailboats and jealous seagulls.