When to Go: between 3–6 p.m. for happy hour, which offers discounted small plates of nachos, deep-fried green beans, waygu beef sliders, and cheese quesadillas, along with discounted draft, well, and wine drinks.
While You’re Waiting Enjoy one of the 22 rotating on-draft microbrews, which come in sizes ranging from the small “schooner” to the pitcher.
Inside Tip Late risers can still enjoy breakfast—it’s served until 2:30 p.m.
The Story: Leon Torrey’s first experience in the restaurant business was as a dishwasher salesmen. It didn’t take long before he decided to trade in his tie for an apron and open Egg Cetra, which would become a hugely popular breakfast restaurant with three local locations. After more than 20 years of success, he decided to branch out and try his hand at classic pub staples, founding Blue Star Cafe and Pub in 1997. It wasn’t too much of a departure, though—he still kept the breakfast and lunch favorites that made Eggs Cetera such a hit. Today, his daughter Wendy carries on the torch.
Quote That Best Sums It Up “I avoid the trends and focus on offering consistent comfort food with homemade ingredients.” - Founder Leon Torrey
The doors aren’t even open when the crowds start to gather for happy hour at Jak’s Grill. The West Seattle location only has 20 seats, and come 4:30 p.m., the scramble can resemble a game of musical chairs. If you’re lucky enough to nab a seat, you’ll be treated to a full hour of food and drink specials. The Jak’s burger is the top-ranking item on this truncated menu, described by the Seattle Times as “the kind of burger your neighbor grills on the Weber during the July Fourth weekend.” The smokey half-pound patty is topped with the basics: tomato, lettuce, and onions, with cheese available for an extra dollar.
Burgers aren’t the only well-grilled treat on Jak’s menu. You’ll also find prime top sirloin, new york strips, and even filet mignon—all aged a minimum of 28 days and cooked simply without pretension. And while you won’t get an elaborate plating or fancy garnish, you will get a bearnaise or demi-glace, a large cut of steak, and hearty portions of salad, veggies, potatoes, and fresh bread to round out your meal.
Weekend brunches also bring long lines to Jak’s reservation-free dining rooms. During this time, you can nab a burger, a steak sandwich, or a jazzed up breakfast benedict served atop Jak’s famous potato pancakes. As if that weren’t enticement enough, a brunch happy hour rewards early birds with discount mimosas and breakfast basics.
When to Go: Dine to a soundtrack of live piano tunes Tuesday–Saturday evenings.
Where to Sit: Ask for a table close to a window for breathtaking views of Lake Union at sunset, or request outdoor seating for harbor-side dining.
Inside Tip: Check out the seven-day-a-week happy hour for generously portioned bar snacks—such as prime steakhouse sliders or marsala chicken skewers—that can curb the sticker shock of the pricey dinner menu.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Scope out the 360-degree view of Seattle from the periscope at the top of the Museum of History & Industry (860 Terry Avenue, Lake Union Park).
After: Take in a classic performance at the Seattle Shakespeare Company (305 Harrison Street).
Executive Chef Josh Colberg isn't content to just make a version of northern Italian cuisine—he wants to make his version. That's why a majority of his dishes at La Galleria contain elements made in the same kitchen, from his marinara sauce and creamy tomato bisque to gnocchi that fellow Seattle chef Tom Douglas praised as "properly airy." Classic Italian mains are canvases for the chef's reinvention, from prosciutto-wrapped beef with three-pepper seasoning to veal cooked in sage butter sauce.
Dinner is only further elevated with an accompaniment of hand-selected wines imported from Italy and sourced from Washington, Oregon, and northern California. Chandeliers and candlelight give the dining room a romantic vibe and the latest sports and spaghetti-eating competitions flicker across an HD TV in the bar area.
Manhattan's eccentric interior resembles a Victorian hunting lodge at first blush?but then it becomes apparent that the horns on the mounted ram's head transform into golden machine guns. This twisted taxidermy is actually a sculpture by Peter Gronquist, and it's one of several pieces of dining-room decor that demand a double take. What appear to be floral patterns on the wallpaper are actually baroque deer skulls, and the vintage photograph inside the north wall's gold frame is constantly changing, displayed by a projector. Even the bar holds curiosities behind its cowhide panels: it was once an apothecary's shelf, used for arranging remedies at a time when whiskey was thought to cure headaches and long boat rides were prescribed to treat scurvy.
In this Wonderland-like setting, the aromas of steak and contemporary comfort food permeate the airspace. Staples such as the Painted Hills Cheeseburger pair 1/2 lb. of Painted Hills beef and bacon with Beecher's flashship cheese, caramelized onions, and creole aioli for toppings. As evening rolls around, dinner entrees combine a 5 oz. filet mignon and cajun grilled prawns southern-style surf and turf with white cheddar grits and pork belly collard greens. Lavish dishes have been enjoyed by Bill Gates and other figures of affluence, according to The Daily Meal, which is why Manhattan is one the restaurants featured in Where Billionaires Eat.
"Fumaça" means "smoke" in Portuguese, and it's an apt name for this steakhouse. The obvious connection is that the cooks roast their meats in a mesquite charcoal grill, which releases aromatic smoke as it intensifies the flavor of the cuts. But there's another reason why smoke is especially relevant: it travels, far and freely. Fumaça's menu does the same, gathering dishes from Colombia, Peru, Puerto Rico, and of course, Brazil.
Inside the restaurant's sleekly modern confines, Peruvian halibut ceviche can be ordered alongside pork belly rubbed with Caribbean spices, or a Puerto Rican octopus cocktail salad. The ingredients defy international boundaries even further—many of them are local, such as the grass-fed and organic meat, whereas others come from as far away as the Amazon. But while the protein might be from the northwest, there's no denying that the rodizio dinners are a Brazilian invention. Guests sample different cuts of beef, poultry, lamb, and pork during the extravagant all-you-can-eat meal. There's also a long list of wines and cocktails, including specialty drinks made from tropical fruits including guava, passion fruit, and grapes that were wearing sunglasses.