Voted Best Tasting Room in the West by Sunset magazine, The Tasting Room works hard to dazzle palates both rookie and oenophile with the best Washington wines, as well as with hard-to-find vintages, limited editions, and artisan varietals. Tastes typically range between $2 and $6 an ounce, with full glasses starting at $4, and showcase pours from Wilridge Winery, Camaraderie Cellars, and other local purveyors. Indecisive imbibers, meanwhile, can take the stress out of decision-making by choosing a wine flight ($5–$15), a simpler and less terrifying alternative to the wine skydive.
At The Scotch and Vine, owners David and Jill Pritchard blend upscale, artisan American cuisine, fine wines and scotches, and local, seasonal cuisine. The staff pours libations from more than 210 single malts, blends, bourbons, and ryes, as well as from a wine list that earned an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. With that deep selection to work from, friendly, knowledgeable tenders help diners pair their dinners with the ideal wine, craft beer, or whiskey. In the kitchen, meanwhile, expert chefs sizzle hearty elk burgers, juicy sirloin steaks, tender seared chicken, and roasted beet salads. This cuisine helped Scotch and Vine earn a spot on King5 Best of Western Washington's 2013 list of the area's five Best New American restaurants.
The strains of Spanish guitar and live blues bands form a classy soundtrack to wine tastings or seminars on Scotch-crafting, while plates of fine cheese from regional farms complement the flavors of smoky spirits, frosty brews, and rich red wine. The bistro's cushy leather booths, accents, and soft lighting evoke the image of a grandfather's cozy study or a precocious 6-year old’s tree fort.
At The Grape Adventure, a wine bar and restaurant that was recognized by the Washington State Wine Commission as a Grand Award winner in 2010, the menu of inventive tapas and upscale American cuisine teams up with a sprawling list of imported and domestic wines to sate hunger and thirst. The tapas-style avocado-hummus plate serves as a pool in which pita chips and tomatoes play ($8.95) and the steak bruschetta drapes seasoned steak and tomato salad over a warmly toasted baguette augmented by a gorgonzola spread ($9.95).
Years before opening Smash Wine Bar & Bistro, Dana Hannon worked behind the scenes, piecing together a vision of perfect portions and wine pairings. In the country-style bistro, Dana's vision now unfurls atop each intimate table and booth. More than 45 different wine selections keep glasses brimming with flavors from grape-bearing countries ranging from France and Italy to Argentina and Narnia. Smash arranges them into 10 different wine flights that play nicely with cheese flights, which feature artisan breads, local honey, and fresh fruits alongside names like "Big Blues," "The Sheep Stands," "Grab Your Goat," and "French Connection." The menu also features several well-portioned specialties such as yukon gold tots with lemon-chive crème fraiche, fig flatbread with Oregon blue cheese, and duck-and-shiitake spring rolls.
Northwestern ingredients swim through Acquabar Bistro and Lounge's menu of homestyle American fare and seafood entrees, and fresh fruit and herbs infuse the bar's list of inventive cocktails. On weekdays, Acquabar's adjacent café specializes in casual lunches such as toasty grilled paninis and espresso with coffee beans from Caffe D'arte, and the restaurant's bistro and lounge invites dinner diners to luxuriate amid modern hardwood décor and feast on regional American entrees including Cajun catfish and po boys crafted from local oysters. Owner and experienced restaurateur David Leong, who was once profiled in Seattle Weekly, also attracts late-night revelers with live music, DJs, and sultry mermaid vocalists.
In 1992, restaurant owner Carlos Kainz and chef Julie Guerrero first joined forces to open a tiny West Seattle bakery and café, a spot that quickly gained traction and outgrow its modest trappings. The duo packed up the winning operation and moved on to a larger space and a larger vision, renaming their venture Dulces Bistro & Wine and crafting an ambitious menu focusing entirely on Latin-fusion cuisine for dinner. Although Guerrero traces her family heritage back to Mexico, many of her dishes, including paella valenciana and boeuf bourguignon, show strong European influences. Unadulterated Latin staples pepper the menu, such as the green chicken enchiladas that serve as a staple in Mexico City and at Sam I Am’s Cinco de Mayo parties.