Heels click on concrete underfoot and stainless steel reflects nearby lamps in hazy halos. With its industrial design materials, muted color palate, and low lighting, Urban Coffee Lounge evokes a city at night—albeit a city populated by pastries and overcast with clouds of espresso steam. Beans from Stumptown Coffee Roasters populate espresso shots and lattes, which the café's expert baristas crown with foam swirled into popular shapes including leaves, hearts, and silhouettes of Lyndon Johnson. Pastries from more than 10 Puget Sound artisan bakeries—including Mighty-O Organic Donuts and Finales Gourmet Desserts—fill glass display cases with bagels, scones, and macaroons in flavors such as salted caramel and dark-chocolate raspberry. Urban Coffee Lounge tempers the zing of its coffee with mellow pints of La Fin Du Monde and Scuttlebutt amber ale and wines from 14 Hands Winery and Lo Tengo. Plush leather couches and complimentary WiFi invite guests to stay as they please, and a small stage hosts local bands for evening music performances.
Most people like to have a say in what they’re eating—hence the popularity of buffets, build-your-own-burger joints, and smashed-open gumball machines. Fueled by an understanding of this fact, the Chilly Wave Yogurt staff rotate 15 flavors of self-serve soft-serves, including root-beer float, snickerdoodle cookie dough, and a tart peach mango. Guests can swirl their creations into cups and pile on more than 40 toppings, from Andes mints and marshmallow cream to mandarin oranges and trail mix.
The nonfat and low-fat yogurts are rich in calcium and loaded with probiotics to support healthy digestion, among other nutritional benefits. They contain between 100 million and 400 million live and active yogurt cultures per gram—and the National Yogurt Association only requires 10 million cultures per gram to earn its seal of approval. Except for a single flavor, the kosher-certified yogurts forgo high-fructose corn syrup, and many varieties are gluten-free.
Named for a the eight-spoke Thai horoscope wheel, Noppakao Thai Restaurant puts guests in control of their culinary destiny—even for just one night. The menu introduces diners to some of the finest examples of Thailand's rich culinary culture: from aromatic coconut-milk curries, to savory rice noodle stir-fries and rice dishes of marinated tofu, chicken, pork and trout. Each dish blends Eastern flavor with elegant presentation, with basil leaves, sliced peppers, cashews, and colorful curry sauces layered upon fragrant foundations of jasmine rice. Chefs lovingly craft specialty dishes of lemongrass chicken, garlic pork ribs, and deep-fried duck swimming in red curry, capped off with desserts of coconut milk ice cream and sweet mango sticky rice.
The interior reflects Thailand's island landscape, with towering palm trees, glowing lanterns reminiscent of sea life, and an aquarium. The walls also feature a giant, antique-style treasure map and sketches of jellyfish playing jump rope with pirates.
For more than 10 years, the owners of Royal India Restaurant have enriched diners' taste buds with exotic sauces and potent curries. At both their Kirkland and Lynwood locations, cooks simmer prawns, lamb, and other proteins in curries sweetened by mango or pomegranate, bake marinated meats in a clay tandoor oven, and infuse housemade yogurt with cucumbers to make cooling raita sauce. Vegetarians can nosh on entrees such as chana saag—a dish of creamy spinach, garbanzo beans, and housemade paneer cheese—and sop up sauces with garlic-stuffed naan. As an added convenience, patrons can order online or from their local telegraph office or opt for evening delivery from the Kirkland location.
Owner Mike Salimi mans the counter at Nova Restaurant most days, opening and closing the cash-register drawer and handing over pizzas, homestyle burgers, sandwiches, and seafood to hungry customers. He has finely tuned his pizza recipe throughout the past 20 years, using trial and error to arrive at his current series of steps: hand-making pizza dough, homemade sauce, and toppings that are purchased each day. He also whips together an array of seafood dishes, including oysters, prawns, and Irish-style fish 'n' chips made with halibut or cod and coated in a specialty batter. He hangs colorful abstract paintings on the eatery's yellow walls, which is the closest humankind will ever get to decorating the sun.
Spud Fish and Chips’ Greenlake location has remained unchanged for years, still sporting its mid-century roadside architecture, complete with slanted roof, retro signage and nautical blue and white colors, but locals and tourists alike still flock for the food. This longtime fish house turns out hand-filleted and battered cod, halibut or salmon alongside tasty fries in paper baskets. Eschewing the greasy stuff, Spud’s even serves clam chowder and a seafood Caesar salad, though young snackers can go for soft-serve ice cream while grownups can buy beer by the bottle or relax with a glass of wine. But really, everyone’s just here for the kitschy décor and satisfying fish and chips.