The broad, straightforward name of Lee's Asian Restaurant heralds a menu that visits just about every corner of its namesake continent. Prawns are cooked in an Indonesian-style marinade, eggrolls and sea scallops get Vietnamese treatment, udon noodles hail from Japan, and other meat and veggie entrees are dosed with the fire of classic Thai or Szechuan cuisine. The wide reach seems to be astoundingly successful. Among other satiated reviewers, the Seattle Times praised the "sophisticated and worldly" menu, whose text can be unscrambled into a helpful travel guide; they just about promise that Lee's will leave guests "smiling and munching all the way to the bottom of the enormous platters." Beyond the unassuming awning, red paper lanterns and teacup lights cast a honeyed glow on a large wood bar backed by wine racks. Warm sake offers an appropriately Asian alternative.
Despite there being three restaurants, each Salty's boasts a waterfront view. The Seattle location looks out on Elliott Bay and the city's skyline, the Redondo Beach location has views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, and the Portland spot oversees the Columbia River. And customers don't have to fret about getting a window spot—the spectacular sights are viewable from nearly every seat in the house.
About the only thing longer than the menu is the list of awards. A plethora of critics and publications have heaped praise on Salty's on Alki, naming it everything from the Best Place to Bring a Date (West Seattle Hearld) to Best All-You-Can-Eat Buffet (Seattle Weekly). Wine Spectator has given the Seattle location an Award of Excellence every year from 2003–2013, and Seattle Magazine also named that branch the restaurant with the best view from 2009–2011.
Salty's on Alki’s brunch, replete with a huge all-you-can-eat buffet, has been lauded by publications ranging from OpenTable to Seattle Magazine. It’s not hard to see why. Every Sunday (and Saturday at the Seattle and Portland locations), the staff situates trays and trays of prawns, salmon, dungeness crab, oysters, and other fresh seafood next to made-to-order omelet stations, waffle bars, hand-carved meats, and every dessert Betty Crocker could ever imagine. It's even got a make-your-own bloody-mary bar, where patrons can whip up custom hangover cures.
The sounds of gently lapping waves and the fresh scents of sea breeze follow visitors as they head up the wooden steps that lead to Thailanding On Alki. Within the beachside restaurant, diners enjoy robustly flavored, yet balanced dishes, from garlicky Thai-style chicken wings served with sweet-and-sour sauce to sir-fried glass noodles tangled up with crisp veggies. Patrons may also snag seats on the balcony overlooking Alki beach, sipping from a Singha beer or a young coconut while watching seagulls practice their aerial tricks. Seafood dishes help diners to further appreciate the water’s depths, and a rainbow of curries enchants palates with accents of coconut milk, roasted duck, or pumpkin.