Dinner options at O'Asian Kitchen and Lounge range from simplistic stir-fried snow peas to complex dishes such as the spicy golden Maine lobster that's flavored by dried shrimp, chinese sausage, dried black beans, bread crumbs, and hot pepper. Along with tons of traditional lunch options, the culinary team handcrafts more than 60 dim sum items every day, including chicken feet in black bean sauce and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves. Imported and domestic beers, traditional and signature cocktails, and rare Asian teas wash down meals, which unfold in a warm, sophisticated space with an attractive dining area, cosmopolitan lounge, and six private rooms. High-end Japanese vodkas are also available, as well as a selection of sake, which pair well with O'Asian's signature wasabi prawns dish.
Where to Sit: May’s 100-year-old teak house, brought over from Thailand and lovingly reassembled, features a formal upstairs dining area. The romantic space showcases imported redwood furniture and a picture of the Thai royal family. Downstairs, you’ll find a more casual lounge space that’s no less regal, dotted with Thai decor and red and gold accents.
When to Go: May rolls out a truncated lunch menu, but the kitchen serves the full dinner menu well past midnight—the lounge itself closes at 2 a.m. each night.
While You’re Waiting
Galangal root: resembling ginger in appearance and flavor, though with a much stronger taste.
Tom yum: a hot-and-sour soup typically starring shrimp. Seasonings include lemongrass, kaffir lime, fish sauce, and chilies.
Depending on whom you ask, the bar at Hattie's Hat was either hand carved in France, shipped around Cape Horn, or crafted by Chicago's Brunswick Company. Regardless of its origin, the imposing wood structure has been supporting elbows and pints for more than a century. Modern visitors make frequent pilgrimages to the eatery for country-style brunch fare and strong, spicy bloody marys. Diners also descend on billowy buttermilk biscuits swimming in gravy, hearty breakfast scrambles, and grownup grilled cheeses made with tomatoes, grilled onions, and Tillamook cheddar.
Above the booths near the door, a Fred Oldfield mural from the 1950s depicts a serene Scandinavian landscape, conjuring thoughts of majestic fjords and Vikings playing hopscotch with Care Bears. Bustling barkeeps help patrons wake up with Tony's organic coffee and signature bloody marys infused with rosemary vodka, Vida mezcal, or aquavit.
Mai Thaiku, a relocated and reimaged incarnation of the now-closed Thaiku, boasts a new menu centered around the authentic Thai cuisine that Chef Anne Sawvalak grew up eating. This includes fresh salads built from green mango, wok-fried noodles with Chinese sausage or sliced pork, and curries simmered with fresh Thai basil or lime and cilantro. But fans of the old menu need not mourn: while The Seattle Times raved about the charred baby squid skewers, they also lauded the kitchen's willingness to prepare old Thaiku dishes when possible. To help toast favorites old and new, the restaurant also offers a cocktail list that infuses classic drinks with exotic ingredients. The potent concoctions include a martini made with black tea-infused vodka and an old fashioned made with the aphrodisiac yoshimbe, which is limited to one per customer or tired cupid.
This chic lounge and restaurant serves an impressive array of craft cocktails every night until 2 a.m., including rotating barrel-aged drinks. Housed in a two-story 1920s building, the bar complements its vintage surroundings with local and artisan spirits, including more than 50 varieties of bourbon, a handful of mescals, and more than 45 aperitifs and digestifs. Gourmet beverages are paired with inventive meat and seafood dishes, crafted with ingredients sourced from local farmers and abandoned pirate ships.
BalMar showcases many of the building's original features, including exposed brick walls and antique light fixtures. The upstairs has been converted into a party room with a dance floor, where DJs spin every Friday and Saturday night. Huge picture windows overlook the downtown area, and when the weather is warmer, visitors can head to the outdoor patio and enjoy the view.
What to Drink: Though La Isla’s main draw is its 60-plus varieties of rum, they also excel with tropical cocktails such as piña coladas, daiquiris, margaritas. It’s also tough to resist $3 mojitos during the late-night happy hour.
When to Go: Swing by for the weekly Rum Club (Tuesday at 9 p.m. in Seattle, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Redmond). For $25, you get a flight of three or more exotic rums with food pairings. But no matter when you visit, the restaurant stays open until at least midnight—or until the mayor declares it’s bedtime for the whole town.
Where to Sit: If you’re at the Seattle location during the summer months, grab a spot on the dog-friendly patio. All well-behaved (and leashed) pups are welcome.
Sofrito: a Caribbean and Latin American sauce that blends roasted garlic, onions, cilantro, aji peppers, spices, and the Caribbean herb, recao. Sometimes tomatoes are included.
Caipirinha: a Brazilian cocktail made with the sugarcane-based spirit cachaca and lime juice.