With a palette of fresh local ingredients, The Islander's culinary team paints a menu of upscale dishes, carrying diners on a journey from the pubs of Middle America to the Great Plains and back to the coast. On the outdoor deck, stunning views of the Cascade Mountains and the town center keep guests grounded as fresh catches of wild salmon, prawn, and dungeness crab attempt to carry them out to sea. Indoors, flags of the world reminisce over the melting-pot nature of the menu, where half-pound burgers rolled in cracked peppercorn occupy the same space as prawn pasta and center-cut new york steaks with tempura shoestring onions. Ace barkeeps mix delectable specialty drinks, and pours of regional and international wines, microbrews, and rare European-style beers complement each dish. Frequent wine and beer tastings continue The Islander's flavor celebration, helping guests explore different pairings and fill their monthly friend-making quota. Sports aficionados, meanwhile, can get their fix by watching nightly games on the sports bar's eight high-definition televisions.
Preparing fresh broth is a daily affair at I Luv Pho, where cooks whip up each steaming, fragrant bowl from fresh, all-natural ingredients. Into the light, aromatic soup go rice noodles and a choice of veggies or protein such as rare beef, shrimp, or fried tofu. From there, a plate of garnishes such as basil leaves, carrots, and bean sprouts, enables diners to flavor their soup however they like or to practice newly acquired floral-arranging skills. While pho is the restaurant's specialty, diners can also feast on a variety of Vietnamese specialties including rice dishes, egg noodle soup, and vermicelli bowls.
Decked out in retro kitsch ranging from vintage lunchboxes to video-game memorabilia, Lunchbox Laboratory celebrates the art of burgers and the culture of nerds in equal measure. Its meat-based creations have inspired both devotion and hyperbole: Seattle Times' Providence Cicero described one dish, the Burger of the Gods, as a "double-fistful of deliciousness"—a fitting descriptor for the gargantuan blend of sirloin, rib eye, and prime rib slathered in gorgonzola sauce.
True to its name, the restaurant also loves to experiment with ingredients. Another burger, the Dork, takes its name from its blend of duck and pork—Seattle Magazine calls its "one of the most satisfying burgers in the city." The burgers are backed up by signature dishes, including Hong Kong–style buffalo wings and Goldfish mac and cheese. A range of milkshakes, such as the liquor-infused Drunken Elvis, are served in laboratory beakers stolen from sleeping chemists.
Across its three locations, Lunchbox keeps diners entertained with bowling lanes, billiards, and classic '80s video games. At the 5,000-square-foot South-Lake Union location, an experimental cocktail bar serves as a centerpiece.
Angostura bitters, Art in the Age root, Carpano Antica vermouth, Buffalo Trace bourbon, a bing cherry, and an expert bartender—the ingredients in 1Hundred Bistro & Bar's signature Manhattan, like the ingredients in its many dishes, sound delicious alone but add up to something even better. Elsewhere on the menu, a cabernet-horseradish aioli performs the extraordinary feat of challenging sliced prime rib as the most delicious thing in the prime rib dip. And the Bistro's macaroni and cheese stars a Vermont white cheddar, mingling with smoked pepper, while the simple bowl of popcorn gets dressed up with truffle butter—which is what the queen uses to lubricate her skateboard wheels.
Broiler Bay is a self-proclaimed mom 'n' pop burger shop serving up juicy charbroiled patties that Seattle Magazine considers to be among the Best 5 Burgers Under $5. Unlike many other burger joints that dress up their meat with unusual accouterments and bright red lipstick, this eatery outfits its burgers with simple, distinctly American garnishes, such as chili, bacon, and swiss cheese. For a complete meal, add a shake or malt blended with hard ice cream, and a side order such as the hand-made onion rings, called "tender, flavor-packed bangles" by a writer for Seattle Weekly.