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Originally published July 31, 2009 at 5:54 PM | Page modified September 16, 2009 at 10:56 AM

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Region's happy-hour superstars

Seattle is flooded with happy hours.

Happy hours that run late night or start as early as 3 p.m. are common now. Some run straight from opening to closing time, forsaking the sacred rule of never allowing happy hour to upstage the dinner menu.

Taberna del Alabardero

Relaxed European elegance pervades this gracious dining room and lounge, part of a chain with branches in Spain and Washington, D.C. Classic Spanish cuisine is executed with aplomb. Feast on paella, roast suckling pig or veal cheeks; or make a meal of tapas (half off from 4-7 p.m. daily). Lunch and dinner daily.

2328 First Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121

Barolo Ristorante

Forget location, location, location. At Barolo — whose name, menu and wine list reflects its Northern Italian bent — it's all about lighting, lighting, lighting. Elegant crystal chandeliers hang over a communal table. Grappa groupies hang in the bar. Candelabras flagrantly drip wax, lending a seductive mood to the dining room, where housemade pastas (don't miss the strozzapreti), grilled meats and seafood dishes prove consistent in their inconsistency.

1940 Westlake Ave.
Located in the Metropolitan Tower
Seattle, WA 98101


Chef and co-owner Tamara Murphy cooks with French restraint and a lusty Mediterranean abandon. Hope for squid ink risotto, roasted pig, seared scallops and lamb chops on the dinner menu. In the bar, graze on thin-crusted pizzas, perfect frites, a Moroccan steak sandwich and Manila clams steamed with chorizo and chickpeas. Desserts are lovely, but the cheese table is the grandest finale. The wine list is notable for its originality. Open for dinner.

2107 Third Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121

Daniel's Broiler

Classy joint. You could order a seafood special or gargantuan lobster tail, but really - indulge in a porterhouse, peppercorn-studded New York steak, or bone-in herb-crusted prime rib. LBJ-era appetizers: escargot gratine or oysters Rockefeller.

809 Fairview Place N.
Seattle, WA 98109-4419


Hungry crowds come to salsa-dip, margarita-sip and for superb Southwest-influenced fare. Don't miss zarzuela, spice-encrusted Cowboy Steak, Indian fry bread. Mexican standards rise above cliche. Start dinner with tapas; finish with caramelly, three-milk Cuban flan.

4220 E. Madison St.
Seattle, WA 98112-3237

Flying Fish

There's a party going on at Flying Fish, whose lure goes beyond the scene and the seafood to include a world-ranging wine-list, friendly professional service, late-night dining and dazzling desserts. Sip and sup at the big boisterous bar, join the fun in the lively main dining room or watch the action from a balcony table. No matter where you're perched at this seafood-centric soiree, one thing is certain: the energy level will reach critical mass when the guest of honor arrives -- the fish.

2234 First Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121


There's braised octopus for breakfast, lamb tongue for lunch and whole fish for dinner. The pita's warm, the ouzo's cold and Bacchus is doing a brisk business in the bar. Greek? You bet. But Lola-the hot new restaurant adjacent the Hotel Ändra — is not your papou's taverna. This is Greek food Tom Douglas style. Here, high-quality ingredients, straightforward preparations and deceptively simple flavors translate into Mediterranean magic, offering a rousing riff on Greek cuisine. Expect great food, casual sophistication and a savvy crew schooled in the fine art of treating you right. Sharing is encouraged, as is feasting on classic spreads and meze (tzatziki, skordalia, Greek salad, dolmades) and sublime kebabs (chermoula-spiked squid, smoky; lemon-stoked mushrooms; honey-laved chicken). Exotic-scented tagines feature roasted goat with shallots and dates and saffron-kissed seafood. Miss out on the meaty lamb burger, bursting with honest lamb flavor and accompanied by pillowy logs of semolina-crusted chickpea fries — and you'll really be missing out. Note: lunch is a steal, the bar serves late-night noshes and the decibel-count can verge on atrocious. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

2000-B Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121


Felix and Sarah Penn, the pair behind Pair, have poured considerable charm, creativity and know-how into this delicious little bistro, offering a small-plates menu and complementary wine list. Simple seductions include halibut in parchment, herb-scented chicken, Moroccan-spiced eggplant and potatoes, and a Fontina-dressed pasta that may be the best mac 'n' cheese you've ever sampled. Come for a nosh, stay for dessert and know that friendly prices and expert service make this sweet spot all that much sweeter.

5501 30th Ave. N.E.
Seattle, WA 98105

310 N.E. 65th St.
Seattle, WA 98115

Serious Pie

Light gourmet pizzas fired in a 600 degree stone-encased applewood burning oven feature house-made charcuterie and artisan cheeses from around the world.

316 Virginia St.
Seattle, WA 98121


An ode to the South Pacific, with footbridge to dining room over a saltwater pool. Scenic surroundings outside complement seafood chowder, cedar-planked salmon, tropical sauces, Hawaiian game fish, wood-fired steaks and shellfish. Sunday brunch.

2601 W. Marina Place
Seattle, WA 98199-4331


Been around a while? You've probably eaten at Maximilien. Perhaps you were once a regular, paying homage to tiny, tender snails and a heart-breaking view of Elliott Bay, visible from every creaky, mismatched wooden seat in the house.

81 A Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101

Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria

Certified pizzaiolo Joe Fugere has brought his passion for pizza to Columbia City, where his handsome pizzeria has the official blessing of Naples-based Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana. Each of his "true Neapolitan pizzas" has as its base a slender, beautifully blistered, silky-textured crust. Swiftly baked in a searing applewood-fueled oven, pizzas come adorned with high-quality ingredients. Salads, like the pizzas, are all terrific - and modestly priced. Open for lunch and dinner. Takeout available.

4918 Rainier Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98118

Brooklyn Seafood, Steak & Oyster House

Known since 1988 as a reliable venue for surf and turf - and especially oysters - this amber-lit homage to Old New York has kept its standards up and its menu current without banishing old favorites. Go for such entrees as the filet Roquefort, alder-planked salmon, Hawaiian opah, pork chop with juniper-blackberry jus and, for lunch, the Kobe beef burger. Open for lunch and dinner.

1212 Second Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101-2926

2203 First Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121

1103 First Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101-2909

Metropolitan Grill

Beef and booze are big again. Though competition has never been keener in the steak house arena, the venerable Met Grill is still revered among Seattleites.

820 Second Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104


Dressed with elegant decadence, this dramatic dining room always looks ready for a party. The kitchen merges Southern comfort (gumbo, ribs, fried catfish) with culinary sophistication (house-made charcuterie, oven-roasted shellfish, fresh fish crudo). Energetic staff; full bar. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

1101 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101

Zig Zag Cafe

The Zig Zag Cafe needs to decide whether it wants to zig or zag. If you arrive at the traditional dinner hour, this romantic, amber-lit den tucked into the Pike Place Market Hillclimb has an expectant air. You'll likely find a few people drinking at the bar but a roomful of empty tables.

1501 Western Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101

Chantanee Family Thai Restaurant

This bustling restaurant in the shadow of Bellevue Square is a popular destination for business lunches and family dinners. The dining room is attractive (love the loud tablecloths), and service, courtesy of members of the Chantanee family, never flags even when the place is filled to capacity. The menu offers all of your central Thai favorites and some unusual and authentic specialties such as "miang kham," a do-it-yourself leaf wrap appetizer.

150 105th Ave. N.E.
Bellevue, WA 98004

100 Denny Way
Seattle, WA 98109


At this artsy, urban-industrial haunt, Brian McCracken and Dana Tough dabble in the shape-shifting world of molecular gastronomy, finding new ways to manipulate flavor and texture. But they do so judiciously, not just for effect. Try such dishes as the tagliatelle with parmesan foam or carpaccio with fried béarnaise. The art of alchemy also extends to the bar, where house-made tinctures and bitters flavor classic and contemporary cocktails.

113 Blanchard St.
Seattlle, WA 98121

607 Summit Ave. E.
Seattle, WA 98102

1312 Fifth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101

2505 First Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121

Cafe Ponti

The former lounge at Ponti Seafood Grill is now a cafe, offering a full, cheaper dinner menu that features seafood done with pan-Asian and Mediterranean touches. Try the juicy bacon cheeseburger with fries during happy hour or have the Thai curry penne or linguine with prawns for dinner. Open daily.

3014 Third Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109-1601

Julia's on Queen Anne

Housed in a handsomely restored, antique-filled Victorian, the newest Julia's has plenty of polish but also a relaxed informality. Vegetarians get more than a cursory nod from a menu that is predominantly American, with a faint Mediterranean breeze. Breakfast offers numerous options, some available until the dinner menu kicks in at 5 p.m. Go for lush salads, comfort food like meatloaf or Portuguese seafood stew, and the iconic carrot cake. Breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner daily.

1825 Queen Anne Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109

1600 Post Alley
Seattle, WA 98101-1567

6135 Seaview Ave. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98107


727 Pine St.
Seattle, WA 98104

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