Inspired by the marriage of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera—two Mexican artists with two very different aesthetics—brother-and-sister team Antonio and Rocio Pina opened Frida’s and filled its menu with a combination of classic Mexican fare and new, regional cuisine. Recipes on the ever-changing menu come from the Pinas’ frequent visits to Mexico. Chefs douse burritos and enchiladas with chipotle chilies and dark chocolate sauce. Chicken, steak, and seafood arrive at tables in a myriad of zesty dishes, and meat-free fare includes crepes stuffed with sautéed veggies. An outdoor patio offers ample sunshine during meals while the restaurant’s interior is decorated with dark-wood accents, decadent chandeliers, and jewel-toned seating which pay homage to the work of its namesake. In addition, a floor-to-ceiling display of more than 280 bottles of tequila, cognac, and wine divides the bar and dining room and can only be passed through via osmosis.
Bob's Chowder Bar & BBQ Salmon has its origins at a farmers' market. The bright-red eatery's owners, Bob and Babs, both worked the market on Saturdays—Babs selling jam and Bob grilling salmon and serving chowder. Soon enough, market goers couldn't get enough of Bob's chowder, so Bob and Babs decided to open their own full-time chowder bar.
In addition to Bob's addictive New England-style clam chowder, the restaurant serves up grilled wild salmon, chicken strips, and fish tacos, and oyster burgers. Crisp and flaky fish and chips are made with Alaskan cod doused in a secret batter and fried until golden.
China City's far-reaching menu spans the delectable gamut of Mandarin, Szechuan, and Hunan cuisines, from piping-hot soups to sizzling platters. Sate seafood cravings with freshly cubed ahi tuna, which mingles with shrimp chips in wasabi mayo ($8.99), or flood belly canyons with cups of hot-and-sour soup ($2.99). Carnivores can sink incisors into the mongolian beef, a sliced flank steak with green and white onions, sautéed in a sweet-spicy sauce ($10.99), or lighty dusted and deep-fried shrimp coated with a creamy sweet mayo and bedecked with honey-sesame walnuts ($14.99). Herbivores can mash molars on mushu vegetables with sliced cabbage, bamboo shoots, and wood mushrooms, sautéed and slathered in a sweet-plum sauce, then hugged by a overly friendly pancake ($9.99).
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.