To Drink: Alongside local draught beers from Washington and Oregon brewers such as Odin’s Gift, tenders pour out spirit flights, including the Cooley Distillery Collection with Greenore 8 year, Connemara 12 year, and Tyroconnel single-malt Irish whiskey. In the mixology department, artisans whip up potions such as Liam's Libation: Jameson, banana, spiced syrup, lemon, and bitters.
When to Go: * Saturday and Sunday during brunch, when they serve up boxty, a pancake of potatoes and scallions popular in the north Midlands.
Where to Sit: Grab a sturdy wooden table near the towering stacked-stone fireplace, or belly up to the bar on a cherry-stained stool to admire the dozens of Irish whiskeys and scotches.
While You Wait
If You Can’t Make It, Try This:
If you don’t mind forgoing the food and hopping right into the revelry, head to Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Avenue NW), an Irish-style watering hole that marries exposed brick walls, chandeliers, and live music.
When people walk into Little Euro or Old European Breakfast House for the first time, most of them couldn’t tell you what aebelskivers are. Unlike buttermilk pancakes, croissants, and other imported specialties, they haven’t become a common part of American breakfasts. But once diners sample the ball-shaped pancakes—served with toppings such as blackberry syrup or stuffed with sausage and havarti cheese—they most likely add them to their breakfast lexicons. Beyond their deliciousness, aebelskivers are significant to the restaurants’ staff for another reason. Tami and Dave Sevier own both Little Euro and Old European Breakfast House’s Spokane location. When Tami’s grandmother, Marie Mekkelsen, was 18 years old in 1906, she moved away from her poor family in Denmark to join her brother in America. Before leaving her homeland, Marie’s mother made one last dish for her—her favorite Danish aebelskivers. Marie carried the memory of these unique pastries with her, passing it down through the family. To this day, the chefs use the same recipe Tami’s great-grandmother used in Denmark, crafting them from scratch alongside crepes, belgian waffles, and hungarian goulash with red potatoes. To heighten the authenticity, they squeeze their orange juice in-house rather than buying it from the store. Lunchtime diners also have their pick of sandwiches and housemade soups. Little Euro also has an espresso drive-thru for drivers to grab an on-the-go pick-me-up before sitting through a business meeting or Wagner’s entire Ring Cycle.
Shakabrah Java's short-order wizards whisk together a menu of meaty, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly breakfasts, earning the diner the 2011 award for Best Breakfast from Tacoma Weekly. During morning hours, veggie skillets brim with a kaleidoscopic harvest of yellow squash, zucchini, and tomatoes; chefs can accommodate vegans by replacing the eggs with marinated tofu. Between bites, diners can sip cups of MarketSpice tea that come directly from Pike Place Market, or mimosas, beers from taps and bottles, and wine.
Cuisine Type: Upscale northwest comfort food
Most popular offering: Pork loin, polenta, bacon and cherry sauce
Alcohol: Beer and wine only
Number of Tables: 11?25
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Parking: Metered street parking
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Pro Tip: Make a reservation. Metered street parking till 6 p.m. costs 60 cents an hour.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
Upscale Northwest comfort food, built from scratch with ingredients from local producers where possible.Dishes with few but well sourced ingredients, served with local wines, beers and ciders.
What made you want to work with food? When did you first develop that passion?
I want to teach people that there's so much more to food then just comfort and/or nutrition. Well prepared food will make your day, mediocre food stuffs your tummy and makes you feel guilty. I went to college and started to really like to create different dishes, classic and modern. Why not build a career out of something I love to do?
Are there any dishes on the menu you consider to be a hidden gem?not necessarily the most popular, but surprisingly delicious?
Speatzle. It is actually very popular, but a lot of people don't know the dish. [It] originally comes from countries that have the German language and border the Alps mountain range. It's a dish made with flour, eggs, and milk and [it] tastes great with any protein, vegetable, or simply bacon and cheese.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Willem's interior is simple but well thought of, like the food that gets served in the restaurant. It has a semi private mezzanine that seats 16 people comfortably, great for business meetings [and] private lunches, brunches or dinners.
The inside of ViaVita Café & Wine Bar traces the timeline of a single day. Floor-to-ceiling windows cast morning light onto a display case of pastries and cheeses—an addendum to the counter that bears morning coffee orders. Nearby, granite-topped tables sit far enough apart to suggest an open, Parisian patio, but close enough together to support a cross-stream of chatter over lunchtime sandwiches. The day ends on the other side of a semicircular wine bar. There, walls wearing distressed paint encapsulate a rustic alcove, where hanging plants and Greco-Roman-style pottery evoke the dining room of a hillside villa.
The decor and seasonal menu at ViaVita Café & Wine Bar champion a European-flavored escape, where diners can stop at any time for a meal, a snack, or a glass of wine. From the crepes and omelets of brunch—served with duck-fat potatoes and chocolate-orange butter—to afternoon paninis and dinners of pan-seared Alaskan salmon, meals realized by imaginative chefs spark and fuel long conversations. Imported and domestic beers, as well as wines from small vineyards on multiple continents, complement the diverse bouquet of flavors and pair especially well with cheese and charcuterie boards. During special events, guitar music acts as a soothing soundtrack for bites, and sommelier seminars instruct patrons on how to age libations without sending them to PG-13 movies alone.
At Blue Mango Bistro, chefs meticulously prepare an elegant spread of seafood dishes, appetizers, and entrees culled from cuisines across Asia, from Korean bibimbap to fried rice and Japanese tempura udon. Guests delight taste buds with flaky fried Pacific cod and chips or crispy chicken katsu, or enjoy a happy-hour feast of wine and sake with noodle stir-frys and spicy tuna rolls. An enclosure of wall-to-wall windows in the dining area surrounds guests with an expansive vista of Possession Sound, garnishing meals with views of passing sailboats and jealous seagulls.