Without a doubt the Seattle culinary scene is a destination unbeknownst to itself. Often overshadowed by the ever-popular and trendy Portland, Seattle is making a name for itself in the Pacific Northwest. The juxtaposition of old and new is what makes this city’s food scene even that much more desirable. Recently we had a chance to explore a little and here’s just a hint of what Seattle has to offer.
Born in an abandoned laundromat in Seattle’s Madison Valley Neighborhood, Café Flora continually ranks as one of the city’s Best Vegetarian Restaurants. In 1991 when the farm-to-table concept was crafted, sourcing organic and sustainable produce from local farms, composting kitchen waste, and maintaining an on-site herb garden was pretty revolutionary. Today, owner Nat Stratton-Clarke maintains the mission with visits to three farmers markets a week to seek out new seasonal produce for the restaurant’s ever-changing menu. The focus on food transparency comes full circle with staff visits to local farms to see where and how the food is grown.
Local sourcing extends from the food into the design of the environment. The rustic and casually sophisticated space boasts salvaged woods, and familiar farm elements like barn doors, an old beehive and berry crates. Natural light pours into the glass enclosed atrium, and exposing a cozy community atmosphere.
Housed in a former printing press building, Bar Melusine is one of three well-known Capital Hill restaurant properties created by James Beard recognized chef, Renee Erickson. The French-Atlantic inspiration all starts in the name, not surprisingly named after the mythical French water Spirit, Melusine.
The bright, colorful space feels appropriately fresh and eclectic, lending itself to both an airy brunch atmosphere and tranquil evening hangout. Seas of greens and hues of teal in the herringbone Moroccan tiles are balanced by crisp, clean whites that cover the space and subtle brass accents. Long, wood banquettes provide communal seating while smaller benchettes create space for a more intimate dining conversation. Vintage salvaged lighting hangs over the white and grey marbled waterfall island. The French-Atlantic branding and design is thoughtfully translated into every element even right down to the menu.
Frankie & Jo’s
This uber trendy and pint-sized plant based ice cream shop instantly transports you to a warm beach with its palm tree wallpaper and bright pink accents. Chef and owners Kari Brunson and Autumn Martin created the “mindful” food concept after Martin, who’s also a pastry chef, discovered a dairy allergy when she was in culinary school. After much research and development the duo landed on a non-dairy formula you’d be hard pressed to guess wasn’t ice cream. With unique flavors like beet rose strawberry sorbet and chocolate date ice cream, this little space screams (ice cream) and originality from the top of Capitol Hill.
Named after the chefs’ grandmothers, the concept is a throwback to the lost art of food made entirely from scratch. The soft palette and mix of prints and color creates an eclectic yet simple design aesthetic, a far stretch from the spaces original 1900 roots as a mechanical plant. The brass mirror menu, blush concrete blocks, and pop of orange exude just enough energy without being over the top.