Winner of Roast magazine's 2008 Macro Roaster of the Year, Zoka brewmasters travel throughout Africa, Asia, and South America in search of the richest coffee deposits. Customers can sample them all, whether cuddling up with a 12-ounce mocha ($4) inside the dark-wooded walls of Zoka's Greenlake District location, having an intellectual debate with a muffin ($2.50) at the student-filled University of Washington location, or head-banging to the new Slayer espresso machine in the heart of Kirkland.
Antlers, wooden beer barrels, and exposed stone walls line The Lodge Sports Grille’s interior, where a bar crafted from rough-hewn wood shines like a showpiece. Behind it, custom wooden shelves stocked with top-shelf liquor and more than 70 beer taps drilled into stripped logs tempt thirsty patrons. The decidedly lodge-like feel of the restaurant spills over into the menu, which features hearty fare such as half-pound burgers, beer-battered halibut, and steaks aged for 28 days or placed in a time machine and sent 28 days into the future. Along its 40-foot solid maple bar top, patrons lounge sipping fresh, housemade sangria while viewing 60-inch flat-screen televisions which can be viewed from all angles of the house. Those eager to unwind in more natural surroundings may admire the roaring flames of The Lodge's double-sided stone fireplace during daily happy hour sessions and beyond.
Hailing from the Italian island of Sardinia, Fabrizio Loi graduated with honors from Italy's national culinary college. He's put that experience to good use as the owner and head chef at Ristorante Paradiso. There, Fabrizio orchestrates a menu of classic Italian dishes. But instead of strictly adhering to traditional recipes or reading the instructions embedded into every lasagna noodle, Fabrizio puts his own spin on things. Diners reap the benefits of Fabrizio's culinary creativity when they sit down for gourmet pizzas at lunch, or dinner dishes such as cannelloni gratinati—pasta crepes stuffed with ground veal, chicken, and mozzarella and enhanced with a tomato and besciamelle sauce.
With its hand-blown glass light fixtures, beckoning fireplace, and old-growth walnut bar-top, VoVina’ cultivates an old-world elegance. The décor’s chic simplicity carries over into a menu of European- and American-style small plates, such as Angus beef sliders and black truffle tater-tots, crafted to complement dozens of tempting cocktails. The Fountain of Youth blends Bombay Sapphire, St. Germaine, and a touch of green chartreuse, and the Asian Pear arrives shaken and strained over a soft lychee. Further underlining the Jazz Age-feel, the bar touts one of the largest absinthe selections in the area. The legendary spirits are poured plain or blended into beverages, inspiring guests to dance the Charleston atop VoVina’s locally grown, recycled maple tables.
Charlie’s Flame Broiled Burgers evokes stomach growls with juicy and fresh third-pound 100% ground-chuck burgers, Charlie’s secret sauce, and 12 flavors of jumbo wings. Tandem noshers can tango with the signature Charlie burger smothered in Charlie sauce and topped with hot pastrami, or saddle their faces up to the Western-bacon cheeseburger. Manly burgers showcase 2.5 pounds of beef and spend their spare time tinkering with power tools in a shed, and the grilled-chicken burger, salmon burger, and turkey burger satisfy cravings for beef-free fare. Freshly sliced lettuce, tomato, and onions escort the meaty noshes to the table along with a side of steak fries.
The handmade, fresh pizzas and specialty pies at Bella Kitchen are constructed in the classic New York style, which feature foldy-thin crusts, humorously neurotic toppings, and a gruff exterior that hides the heart of a lonely romantic. Signature dough disc selections such as the chicken garlic (with green pepper, tomato, green olive and onion, $9.95—$19.95) or the herbivore-happifying roasted veggie pie (with artichoke, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers, and eggplant, $9.95–$19.95) are sure to please pizza-craving poets. The indecisive, meanwhile, can get pretty much everything atop a super special ($10.95–$19.95). To keep a hand open for impromptu swashbuckling, opt for portable pocket pizza with the spinach and feta calzone ($8.95). Bella Kitchen also sells pastas, subs, and salads.