A pair of restaurateurs opened Pair Food & Wine so they could pair local and organic food with local and imported wine. The meat and dairy on the seasonal menu comes from Washington farms, and the produce might even come straight from Pair's back garden, harvested by the tiny farmers who live behind the sidewalk planters. While the wine list is lengthy, the bar-food menu is short, containing just a snack-size handful of dishes. "But each one," wrote the Seattle Times in 2009, "falls in line with Pair's penchant for making simple dishes elegant."
Tempero do Brasil transports diners' taste buds to the northeastern state of Bahia and beyond with a menu of authentic Brazilian fare. Feijoada, a savory black bean stew and the national dish of the Portuguese-speaking republic ($17), swims with ham hocks, sausages, and beef and arrives with an entourage of rice, sautéed collard greens, and orange slices. In the traditional moqueca de camaräo ($18) expertly trained prawns and vegetables perform a smoldering samba amid coconut milk, lime juice, and palm oil and the festa ($15) loads sautéed mushrooms and parmesan cheese into a baked-squash boat and sends it sailing into tomato-sauce seas. Seal the meal with a dose of caramel-flan dessert ($5) trained in the art of capoeira. Tempero do Brasil showcases live Brazilian music Saturday nights, filling the air with the distinctly South American sounds of the bossa nova and the glockenspiel.
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.
Unlike some other places with the Dante name, this Dante's is only three levels. Spanning 5,000 square feet, the space is home to pool tables, air hockey, foosball, darts, pinball, and vintage arcade games. Oh, and there are drinks, too. Drop in to watch a game on the 75" projector screen, sip on beers from the bar, or head to the giant dance floor to shake a leg. From the menu, theme-fitting burgers and sandwiches include the Exorcist burger with bacon, pepperoncini, cheddar, and swiss, as well as fire wings that come with veggies and the unyielding desire not to leave any bites uneaten.
Tony and Thurston Tsui created Thurston's Bistro and Lounge by applying a simple recipe: great food, drinks, and music. In the kitchen, they cook everything from a classic French filet mignon in bordelaise sauce to mac and cheese in a homemade cheese sauce filled with buttery bites of lobster and crab. Meanwhile, bartenders prepare craft cocktails with house-made syrups and infusions. Local musicians such as vocalist Kate Rowley and pianist Matt McKlousky entertain four nights a week. On Saturdays, they relinquish the microphone to other patrons for an evening of karaoke.
While guests ogle the boats and kayaks passing by outside, Chef Manual Frias stays in the kitchen, cooking up inventive takes on American comfort food. He seasons New York strips with house-blended rubs, smothers meatloaf in bourbon mustard glazes, and stirs bacon, pulled pork, and prosciutto into his aptly named three pig mac and cheese.
To complement each hearty dish, the tenders of Eastlake's tiki bar pour local microbrews and whip up tasty cocktails like the John Daly, a blend of lemonade and wild tea-flavored vodka. Though the deck and patio are seasonal, the dining room, complete with its own bar, is open all year. Here, rounds of trivia test knowledge every week, while flat-screens TV show the day's biggest sports games or rowdiest congressional boxing matches.