Coho Cafe's two locations help their diners fight the weather—whatever that might be. In the winter, large rock fireplaces send heat bouncing off curved architecture and metal art while stomachs warm with Southwestern spices. In the summer, cool Pacific breezes fan guests on the outdoor patios while they sip cocktails and sink into cod tacos. But no matter what the temperature outside, there's an undeniable flair to the restaurant's Northwestern seafood. It's something viewers of KING 5's Evening Magazine have noticed too—they've lauded Coho for having the best New American cuisine in western Washington four times since 2008.
The cornerstone of these accolades is the kitchens' culinary restlessness. The executive chefs of both locations revamp the Fresh Sheets menu of weekly specials every two weeks to make use of seasonal ingredients and flavors. What results are bold plates such as pit-roasted salmon cooked over apple wood, and stir-fried coconut green curry with prawns and ginger-jasmine rice. Each bite pairs with a Northwestern wine as well—a fitting drink for any season.
Not much has changed since Lovie Yancey opened the first Fatburger in 1952. Since then, the chain has expanded, but the food has stayed the same: 100% USDA lean beef burgers grilled to order and hand-scooped ice-cream shakes. Each restaurant stays true to Yancey's vision, even down to retro-influenced digs with jukeboxes blasting old school favorites designed to make listeners flash enthusiastic thumbs-up signs. Inside the kitchen, cooks stack burgers from 2.5-ounce burgers to 24-ounce triple burgers on toasted regular or gluten-free buns as fresh onions crisp inside fryers filled with cholesterol-free oil. Diners can also enjoy Fatburger’s signature chili made with a secret blend of herbs and spices or milkshakes topped with dollops of whipped cream that resemble fluffy, white clouds shaped like marshmallows.
The perfumes of curry spices permeate the air at Tandoori Fire Bar & Grill along with the lilting sounds of Indian music. Chef Alex, who according to the staff was named 1 of Seattle’s top 10 chefs by Seattle Times food critics, earned his chops in Greece before sharpening his Indian-fare skills in California, where he opened the original location of Tandoori Fire Bar & Grill in 2004. His menu includes classic Indian dishes such as curried mussels, as well as fusion plates of murg-bahar-battered calamari and tandoori-chicken-alfredo pasta.
Rust-red tiles lead the way into Nirvana Indian Cuisine's elongated dining room, which swirls with the zesty fragrances of authentic Indian fare. The friendly waitstaff carries hefty portions of tandoori meats, curries, and samosas to resting spots on black-clothed tables flanked by red chairs. Glasses of sweet or salty lassi add dimension to each table's spread of savory meals, most of which can be transformed into vegan entrees, and appetizers and bread keep stomachs from wailing the same annoying yet catchy pop melody.
Specializing in bombastic American fare, Chef Chris Nelson curates a menu of mouthwatering sandwiches, burgers, steaks, and salads. A bar remedies mouth droughts with a rotating selection of 12 draft beers, and big-screen televisions broadcast sports while the pool table extends hospitality to colorful balls.
For more than 40 years, Robert C. Mathwig has owned Family Pancake House and defended his sanctuary for the fluffy breakfast staple against the ravages of time, stringently maintaining the same wholesome business practices that set the cozy eatery apart from the competition on its very first day. The kitchens still make most of the menu from scratch, sourcing as many ingredients as possible from local suppliers to ensure that each order arrives to its table at the peak of freshness. The whole menu of breakfast treats and savory later-day meals is available all day long, with fluffy pancakes, crepes, and omelets sharing space at diners’ tables with grilled cheeses and breaded pork chops.
Family Pancake House takes its friendly moniker to its logical conclusion by acting as a supportive family for the community that has kept the eatery's doors open for nearly half a century. The company routinely sponsors youth sports teams, and employees often volunteer their leftover flour supply to sweaty-palmed gymnasts.