Started by Hawaii transplants Gertie Han and Karl Krautheim more than 50 years ago, Oh! Chocolate is now run by the couple’s two daughters, who uphold Gertie and Karl’s reputation for quality as they handcraft French–style chocolate morsels. USA Today named the neighborhood establishment one of Seattle's foremost chocolatiers for its “old-fashioned… melt-in-your-mouth” creations, which include raspberry, cabernet, and mango-habanero truffles, as well as caramels with a sprinkle of sea salt harvested from one of the peninsula's naturally occurring saltshakers. Oh! Chocolate’s warm and inviting Madison Park location spreads cocoa-themed knowledge with a slate of classes in which small groups of students glean valuable information such as tempering methods and ideal placement atop a just-fluffed pillow.
Emerald City Smoothie's menu showcases a variety of frosty cups of drinkable fruit blended to order. Smoothies come in couture 16-, 24-, and 32-ounce containers and prices range $4.25–$6.25, depending on the number of add-ons. The peanut passion is a popular option, bringing baseball's chosen legume to bat with a team of bananas, strawberries, and protein. Acquaint innards with antioxidants as you sip the sambazon smoothie, which deploys cold açai berries, cranberries, and strawberries to fight the hand of time's middle finger. Kids’ options ($3.95 each) include the chocolate champ, a chocolate, peanut butter, milk, and protein mishmash.
The inside of ViaVita Café & Wine Bar traces the timeline of a single day. Floor-to-ceiling windows cast morning light onto a display case of pastries and cheeses—an addendum to the counter that bears morning coffee orders. Nearby, granite-topped tables sit far enough apart to suggest an open, Parisian patio, but close enough together to support a cross-stream of chatter over lunchtime sandwiches. The day ends on the other side of a semicircular wine bar. There, walls wearing distressed paint encapsulate a rustic alcove, where hanging plants and Greco-Roman-style pottery evoke the dining room of a hillside villa.
The decor and seasonal menu at ViaVita Café & Wine Bar champion a European-flavored escape, where diners can stop at any time for a meal, a snack, or a glass of wine. From the crepes and omelets of brunch—served with duck-fat potatoes and chocolate-orange butter—to afternoon paninis and dinners of pan-seared Alaskan salmon, meals realized by imaginative chefs spark and fuel long conversations. Imported and domestic beers, as well as wines from small vineyards on multiple continents, complement the diverse bouquet of flavors and pair especially well with cheese and charcuterie boards. During special events, guitar music acts as a soothing soundtrack for bites, and sommelier seminars instruct patrons on how to age libations without sending them to PG-13 movies alone.
The culinary artists at Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar grant palates the royal treatment with their smorgasbord of fresh, regionally sourced seafood and oysters, hearty steak-house cuisine, and all-star wine list, which earned the restaurant the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. With a storied resumé that includes manning the kitchen at the prestigious Palisade Restaurant, as well as appearances on Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Presents: American Gladiators, executive chef and owner John Howie focuses his culinary aesthetic on the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest while he experiments with exotic flavors from around the globe. His menu of refined dishes and homey meals furnishes stomachs with alluring flavors from both land and sea, as tasted in the sockeye-salmon poke, dungeness-crab risotto, and fire-grilled filet mignon.
Each Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar location surrounds guests in a cozy cocoon of blond woods and warm light—an ideal setting for polishing off plates of shellfish stews, steak and potatoes, and fresh ice cream and chocolate truffles. While admiring each restaurant’s sleek interior, diners can also enjoy the many notes found in Seastar’s 14-page wine list.