Aloha Ramen owners Lorenzo and Reiko Rangel were inspired to open their restaurant after moving to Seattle from Honolulu and noting the lack of ramen-centric eateries, according to an article by The Seattle Times. In lieu of maintaining a lengthy menu of dishes, the restaurant's cooks put nearly all their attention into the traditional noodle dish, which features fresh broth, roasted meats, and garnishes such as bamboo shoots. And similar to the ramen stands of Japan, the tables inside Aloha Ramen bear all the tools and ingredients needed to enjoy a meal, such as ramen pepper and bundles of chopsticks, which are necessary both for eating noodles and for building a protective fort around your pot stickers
When to Go
What to Drink: Setsuna serves a variety of beer, wine, and liquor imported directly from Japan to help make the experience as authentic as possible. Sample some sweet plum wine, grab a bottle of Sapporo lager, or sip on some 12-year Hakushu whiskey.
Izakaya: a Japanese style of dining where dishes are ordered and brought to the table in a consistent, casual fashion designed to encourage sharing.
Hamachi: young yellowtail, popular in sushi.
If You Can't Make It, Try This: I Love Bento (7500 35th Avenue NE) serves up Japanese cuisine such as chicken teriyaki and tuna rolls in an unpretentious setting.
At Moshi Moshi Sushi, a large sakura tree hangs over the dining room, its branches of white LED lights shining like cherry blossoms amid the soft glow of paper lanterns. As patrons bathe in this light reminiscent of a Japanese garden, sushi chefs transform fresh fish—flown in regularly from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market—into maki rolls and sashimi. Meanwhile, bartenders mix several specialty cocktails—such as the Death Poem, a blend of Guatemalan rum, rye whiskey, grapefruit, and cinnamon—to pay homage to Japan’s natural mountain streams of hot sake.
Sushi chefs slice and roll morsels of flavorful fish and fresh ingredients behind the counter in Rumble Fish Sushi Cafe's dining room. Sunlight from floor-to-ceiling windows and round hanging lanterns lights plates of traditional and nontraditional rolls, such as the cream cheese-filled philadelphia roll or the Lion King's crab, avocado, and salmon. On the dining room's lacquered wood tables, other hallmarks of Japanese cuisine make appearances, with yakisoba and udon noodle dishes supplementing appetizers such as edamame, ika salad, and tempura prawns. The large space also accommodates large groups and parties with ample seating, and bar-side dining is a comfortable spot from which to watch games on a wide-screen TV and narrate play-by-plays of the sushi chefs' work.
Featured in Seattle magazine and The Seattle Times, Kaya Korean Barbecue prides itself on its attentive service, posh presentation, massive portions, and a second-story location safe from dinner-interrupting tiger stampedes. Platoons of food soldiers can arm themselves with massive appetizers such as the marinated raw beef ($15.99) before focusing their attention on the feast as it arrives in steaming hot rock bowls. Choose from a variety of dishes ranging from the Angus marinated short ribs ($27.99) to soft tofu soup ($10.99), or go for an authentic barbecue experience by searing enormous platters of sizzling meats on the minigrill located in the center of your table, with selections such as the Kaya combo for four (Angus rib eye, marinated short ribs, marinated sirloin, beef brisket, beef tongue, bean paste stew, and your choice of beverages) ($96.99). Overhanging vents inhale the mouthwatering barbecue odors that would otherwise cling to clothes for days, ensuring that diners are not tempted to try out new recipes at home such as blouse jerky and deep-fried pants. In addition to grilluminating guests, Kaya pours copious cupfuls of Korean rice wine and beer.
Tucked away in the quiet neighborhood of Maple Leaf, Phayathai Restaurant makes the journey worth your while by serving up plates of green curry, tom yum soup, and fried rice. Here are a few things to keep in mind before ordering: