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Originally published November 14, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified November 14, 2008 at 11:08 AM

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Seattle Muy Macho $ MEXICAN The down-home menu at this sit-down cafe includes burritos, tacos, taquitos, traditional entrees such as chile...

Seattle

Muy Macho $

MEXICAN The down-home menu at this sit-down cafe includes burritos, tacos, taquitos, traditional entrees such as chile rellenos and enchiladas with mole, stews such as pozole and menudo, and tlayudas (a Oaxacan snack similar to a tostada). Open daily. Reviewed 11/7/08 by Sharon Chan. 8515 14th Ave. S., (South Park) Seattle (206-763-3484).

Pan Africa Market $

AFRICAN Besides standard Ethiopian fare, this understated cafe offers dishes hailing from, among other places, Mozambique, Senegal and Zanzibar. Vegan, beef, lamb, chicken and seafood choices are available. Don't miss the succulent chicken piri piri, which tickles the taste buds with strong lime and chili flavors. Breakfast, lunch and dinner; closed Mondays. Reviewed 10/31/08 by Sanjay Bhatt. 1521 First Ave., (Pike Place Market) Seattle (206-652-2461).

El Camión $

MEXICAN This taco truck is a great place to grab a quick bite or get a cheap, filling meal for the whole family. It serves familiar fare (the usual burritos and taco fixings), as well as a few pleasant surprises, such as fresh-grilled fish tacos and tamales wrapped in banana leaves. Reviewed 10/17/08 by Warren Cornwall. Open daily. 11728 Aurora Ave. N., (near the north end of the Home Depot parking lot) Seattle.

Maki & Yaki $

JAPANESE Tasty teriyaki, katsu, udon, tempura, gyoza and more are served in myriad combinations with mounds of sticky rice. Pretty bento boxes and a long list of sushi rolls raise the fare above that of the typical teriyaki joint. Open for lunch and dinner; closed Sundays. Reviewed 10/10/08 by Lynn Jacobson. 4525 Martin Luther King Way S., (MLK corridor) Seattle (206-708-6090).

Serendipity $

ECLECTIC This homey cafe succeeds with a family-friendly atmosphere, great service and a mac-'n'-cheese dish to die for. There's also a play area for kids and gelato bar. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reviewed 10/3/08 by Raina Wagner. 3222 W. McGraw St., (Magnolia) Seattle (206-282-9866, www.serendipityseattle.com).

Bottega Italiana $

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ITALIAN Satisfy your cravings for gelato here — made daily, with about 20 flavors to choose from. Some are changed seasonally; others are year-round staples. There are also slightly more elaborate desserts such as a gelato-filled croissant, and some panini options. Open daily. Reviewed 9/26/08 by Janet Tu. 409 N.E. 70th St., (Green Lake) Seattle (206-524-4416, www.bottegaitaliana.com). There another location at 1425 First Ave. (206-343-0200).

Pacific Cafe Hong Kong Kitchen $

CHINESE Enjoy crowd-pleasing versions of cha chaan teng, a type of fusion cuisine popular in Hong Kong. French toast with a peanut-butter center shows up alongside more traditional Chinese dishes. There's also soup noodles, rice dishes, oven bakes, steaks, red-bean shakes and addictive fried chicken wings. Open for lunch and dinner; closed Tuesdays. Reviewed 9/12/08 by Nicole Tsong. 416 Fifth Ave. S., (Chinatown International District) Seattle (206-682-0908, www.pacifichkcafe.com).

Chinoise Café $

SUSHI AND PAN ASIAN Sometimes you just can't decide. Thai? Sushi? Chinese? That's what's great about Chinoise Café in Upper Queen Anne. You can find a little bit of everything in one spot. Old staples such as Pad Thai and General Tso's chicken can be found next to creative sushi rolls. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 8/29/08 by Jon Fisch. 12 Boston St. (Queen Anne), Seattle (206-284-6671, www.chinoisecafe.com). There's a second location at 2801 E. Madison St. (Madison Park), Seattle (206-323-0171).

Wedgwood Broiler $

AMERICAN Wedgwood Broiler, a burger joint and diner, does the basics beautifully. The Hamburger Dip is delicious. Make sure to check the special board on the way in. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed by Danny O'Neil 8/22/08. 8230 35th Ave. N.E., (Wedgwood) Seattle (206-523-1115; www.wedgwoodbroiler.com).

Thai Thai $/$$

THAI Thai Thai in White Center stands out for its varied menu, fresh ingredients and distinctive flavors — not to mention reasonable prices and hospitality. With more than 100 numbered items, all of the Thai standards are represented — and then some. Red curry chicken with rice is a standout. The lunch combinations are a ridiculously good deal. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 8/15/08 by Julie Hanson. 11205 16th Ave. S.W. (White Center), Seattle (206-246-2246).

Inchin's Bamboo Garden $$

INDIAN-CHINESE It's a take on pan-Asian food — Chinese cuisine blended in with Indian spices and cooking techniques. Not to be missed are the Burnt Garlic Chili Fried Rice and the Lat Mai Paneer (cubes of deep-fried Indian cheese mixed with onions, ginger, garlic and peppers). Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 7/25/08 by Tan Vinh. 16564 Cleveland St., Redmond (425 284-0670 or bamboo-gardens.com).

Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream $

ICE CREAM The ice cream — bridging old-fashioned classics such as chocolate with modern, edgy flavors such as sundaes topped with salt and olive oil — is ultrarich, creamy and slightly soft. The unusual flavor combinations are worth a thoughtful lick. The most vivid are Vivace coffee with ground beans; scout mint with chunks of chocolate cookie; and cardamom speckled with ground seeds of the pod. Open daily. Reviewed 7/18/08 by Sharon Pian Chan. 1622-½ N. 45th St., (Wallingford) Seattle (206-547-5105, www.mollymoonicecream.com).

Señor Moose Café $$

MEXICAN There's a rich selection of dishes from central Mexico — with plenty for seafood lovers; people craving pork, chicken or beef; and enough selection to keep the vegetarian in your party happy. But don't miss the moles. Not too sweet, not too mild. Just right. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reviewed 7/11/08 by Warren Cornwall. 5242 N.W. Leary Ave., (Ballard) Seattle (206-784-5568 or senormoose.com).

La Casa del Mojito $$

LATIN The cafe is more than a cocktail factory, offering an intriguing menu of Venezuelan and Cuban dishes. Try the Pescado de Tito, spice-rubbed tilapia resting on a delicious bed of sweet onions, or the Pabellon, a traditional Venezuelan dish with beef. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 6/27/08 by Jonathan Martin. 7545 Lake City Way N.E., (Roosevelt) Seattle (206-525-3162, www.lacasadelmojito.com). There's a second location at 5253 University Way N.E., (University District) Seattle (206-524-4615).

Northshore Hawaiian BBQ $

HAWAIIAN Plate lunches come with two scoops of rice, a dollop of macaroni salad and your choice of entrees: huli huli chicken, kalua pork, grilled mahi-mahi and so on. There also are burgers, noodle dishes, tripe curry and oxtail soup. Of the meats, best was the pork adobo. Open daily. Reviewed 6/20/08 by Lynn Jacobson. 110 Boren Ave. S., (First Hill) Seattle (206-621-1121).

Little Coney $

BURGERS This iconic Ballard restaurant with a Puget Sound view has cheap soda-shop fare, including cheeseburgers, corn dogs, fish and chips, chowder and terrific soft-serve ice cream. Open for lunch and dinner daily. Reviewed 6/13/08 by Raina Wagner. 8003 Seaview Ave. N.W., (Ballard) Seattle (206-782-6598).

Santorini Pizza & Pasta $

ITALIAN-GREEK This family-friendly neighborhood spot has been charming folks with generous pizza and Italian-Greek entrees since 1994. Nightly specials, entree-sized salads, open-faced sandwiches and a limited kids menu round out the menu. Save room for the homemade tiramisu or baklava. Takeout available. Open for dinner; closed Sundays. Reviewed 6/6/08 by Ian Ith. 11001 35th Ave. N.E., (Wedgwood/Meadowbrook) Seattle (206-440-8499, www.santorinipizza.com).

Royal Grinders $

AMERICAN/GELATO The grinders are toasty, tasty and filling — with meats and vegetables evenly layered on soft French bread crisped in the oven. But save room for the gelato. The selection is extensive, ranging from the classics (Italian chocolate flake, hazelnut and panna cotta) to the more adventurous (strawberry jalapeño). Open for lunch and dinner daily. Reviewed 5/23/08 by Nicole Tsong. 3526 Fremont Place N., (Fremont) Seattle (206-545-7560, www.royalgrinders.com).

The Monkey Bridge $/$$

VIETNAMESE The mainstays found in most local Vietnamese restaurants are here, with solid renditions of pho (rice noodle soups), banh mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwiches) and bun (rice noodle bowls). An array of entrees with rice, such as curry chicken, is also offered, as are dinner specials, including salmon or sea bass. Open for lunch and dinner; closed Mondays. Reviewed 5/9/08 by Janet Tu. 1723 N.W. Market St., (Ballard) Seattle (206-297-6048, www.themonkeybridge.com).

India Bistro $

INDIAN Enjoy fresh, aromatic, well-seasoned food at this friendly bistro. The menu is a big one, from the signature dishes (tandoori-grilled seafood in citrus sauce and rack of lamb masala) to smaller entrees of lamb, tandoori chicken and Indian vegetarian standbys. Gotta love that naan. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 5/2/08 by Raina Wagner. 6417 Roosevelt Way, No. 105, (Roosevelt) Seattle (206-517-4444, www.seattleindiabistro.com).

Willie's Taste of Soul Bar-B-Que $

SOUTHERN BARBECUE Tasty, tangy barbecue baby backs, barbecue chicken, barbecue pork, barbecue brisket ... you get the picture. Choose between mild, medium and hot sauce. A half-dozen classic Southern sides include potato salad, greens, baked beans and yummy yams — buttery and sweet. Reviewed 4/11/08 by Lynn Jacobson. 3427 Rainier Ave. S., (Rainier Valley) Seattle (206-722-3229, www.williestasteofsoul.com).

Barriga Llena $

MEXICAN If you want a good torta — a classic Mexican sandwich — head for this tiny storefront locale where it's all tortas, all the time. The chorizo and carne asada torta (a combination called the Argentina) is the clear winner. The "others" on the menu include quesadillas and hot dogs. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 4/4/08 by Raina Wagner. 7815 Aurora Ave. N., Seattle (206-782-1220, www.labarrigallena.com).

Phayathai Cuisine $$

THAI The food here reaches beyond the humdrum Thai basics offered everywhere. Try chili prawns, steamed salmon, roasted duck curry and Yum Woon Sen noodle salad. Open for lunch and dinner daily. Reviewed 3/28/08 by Nicole Tsong. 8917 Lake City Way N.E., No. 4, (Lake City) Seattle (206-729-2295).

Tigertail $$

CONTEMPORARY ASIAN At this neighborhood bar, booze rules, if only because the drinks list is longer than the brief, appealing menu of Asian-inspired small plates. Potstickers and braised pork belly are among the don't-miss dishes. Daily happy hour; open till 2 a.m. Reviewed 3/21/08 by Providence Cicero. 704 N.W. 65th St., (Ballard) Seattle (206-781-8245, www.tigertailbar.com).

Sunney's Cafe & Restaurant $

KOREAN/JAPANESE Uncomplicated, welcoming versions of Korean favorites and a smattering of Japanese choices are served at affordable prices. Traditional dishes shine, such as the sizzling seafood pancake and bubbling seafood tofu soup. Open for lunch and dinner; closed Sundays. Reviewed 3/14/08 by Nicole Tsong. 4736 University Way N.E., (University District) Seattle (206-522-3500).

Squid & Ink $

VEGAN Tofu, seitan and tempeh sub for meat in the American-style fare at this offbeat and off-the-beaten-path cafe. Breakfast goes until 4 p.m.; dinner until midnight. All-day eats include salads, tortilla-wrapped steak siertare and sweet-potato fries. Beer and wine, limited cocktails. Closed Mondays. Reviewed 3/7/08 by Providence Cicero. 1128 S. Albro Place, (Georgetown) Seattle (206-763-2696, www.myspace.com/squid_and_ink).

Sugar Bakery + Cafe $

PASTRIES AND MORE At this pink-striped confection of a place, you can enjoy brioche rolls, cupcakes, shortbread, both sweet and savory scones and quiche. Cakes come whole or in mini-slices. Try the rich, gorgeous chocolate truffle cake. Closed Sundays. Reviewed 2/22/08 by Leigh Haddix. 1014 Madison St., (First Hill) Seattle (206-749-4105, www.sugarbakerycafe.com).

Blue Moon Burgers $$

AMERICAN Indulge in a classic, overstuffed, two-fisted hamburger. They use natural, hormone-free beef, wild salmon and no trans fats. "Other stuff" includes Gardenburgers and hot wings. Open daily. Reviewed 2/15/08 by Providence Cicero. 703 N. 34th St., (Fremont) Seattle (206-547-1907); 920 Republican St., (South Lake Union) Seattle (206-652-0400); www.bluemoonburgers.com.

Hawaiian Breeze $

HAWAIIAN From the friendly "Aloha!" greeting, to the seating (in a tastefully tiki-fied storefront), to the eating (loco moco, saimin noodle bowls, plate lunches bearing scoops of steamed rice and macaroni salad), it's a virtual island idyll. Beer and wine. Lunch and dinner daily. Reviewed 2/1/08 by Providence Cicero. 1719 N. 45th St., (Wallingford) Seattle (206-632-2583, www.hbreeze.com).

Trattoria Roma $$

ITALIAN The lengthy menu revolves around pizza, pasta and salads made with good ingredients and lots of integrity. Beer and wine. Call or order online for delivery, or eat in the cozy back room. Lunch and dinner daily. Reviewed 1/25/08 by Providence Cicero. 4705 Aurora Ave. N., (Fremont) Seattle (206-547-9992, www.romatrattoria.com).

Kaname Izakaya and Shochu Bar $$

JAPANESE Come here for the real thing: from-scratch stock and fresh noodles, saba shioyaki, gobo (burdock root), kaki fry (panko-crumbed oysters), sukiyaki and shochu (similar to vodka). Open for lunch and dinner; closed Sundays. Reviewed 1/11/08 by Nicole Tsong. 610 S. Jackson St., (Chinatown International District) Seattle (206-682-1828).

The Other Coast Café $

DELI SANDWICHES With a location in Ballard and downtown, The Other Coast Café is broadening Seattle's sandwich horizons. High-quality Boars Head meats are generously piled on these wonderfully messy East Coast style sandwiches coming in 6 inch or a ridiculous 12 inches. The fantastic, toasty Reuben with pastrami sliced razor-thin may just have you leaving with a Brooklyn accent. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 1/4/08 by Leigh Haddix. 5315 Ballard Ave. N.W. (Ballard), Seattle, and 601 Union Square (Downtown), Seattle (206-789-0936 in Ballard, 206-624-3383 downtown; www.othercoastcafe.com).

Salvadorean Bakery $

SALVADOREAN More than just pupusas (though those here are top-notch), this restaurant and bakery turns out great chicken soup, tamales and other specialties from El Salvador in a bright, whitewashed setting. Baked goods can be froufy or simple. Pick one up on your way out, for later, when you finally get hungry again. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reviewed 12/28/07 by Leigh Haddix. 1719 S.W. Roxbury St., (White Center) Seattle (206-762-4064).

Julia's Indonesian Kitchen $

INDONESIAN Pretty batik prints decorate this homey bungalow where Julia and her friendly Indonesian family will welcome you warmly and introduce you to Javanese delights like lumpia, risoles, rijstafel and Ayam Goreng Kremes, whole fried chicken buried under "extra crispy bits" and served with the house special chili sauce, sambal terasi. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 12/21/07 by Providence Cicero. 910 N.E. 65th St., (Ravenna) Seattle (206-522-5528; www.juliasindokitchen.com).

King Falafel Grill $

MIDDLE EASTERN/MEDITERRANEAN Quick eats reign supreme. But order the gyro, falafel and kababs as a plated meal, without their pita cloak, and the complex flavors really emerge. Other specialties include lamb shawarma and kabab mashwy. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed Dec. 14 by Nicole Tsong. 8102 Greenwood Ave., (Greenwood) Seattle (206-783-1445).

The Frontier Cafe $

AMERICAN This casual cafe caters to the on-the-run crowd with house-made pastries; bagel-and-egg sandwiches; barbecued pork, chicken and brisket; gumbo and vegetarian options (red beans and rice, mac 'n' cheese). Open for breakfast and lunch weekdays only. Reviewed 12/7/07 by Providence Cicero. 621 Third Ave., (Pioneer Square) Seattle (206-340-4401, www.thefrontiercafe.com).

Villa Victoria $

MEXICAN This takeout joint is known for its tamales; try the chicken with Oaxacan mole or the cheese and jalapeño. Check the rotating menu behind the deli case, especially for the chilaquiles, a Mexican sour cream casserole and local favorite. Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Reviewed 11/30/07 by Tan Vinh. 3829 S. Edmunds St., (Columbia City) Seattle (206 329-1717).

Shoofly Pie Company $

BAKERY/CAFE My, oh my, can they do pie. Voluptuous fruit pies, lofty cream pies, key lime, lemon meringue and yes, shoofly, too, are among the sweet renditions. Savory offerings include quiche and chicken potpie. Reviewed 11/16/07 by Providence Cicero. 4444 California Ave. S.W., (West Seattle) Seattle (206-938-0680).

Souped Up Cafe $

AMERICAN The menu features plenty of expertly made soups made with local, organic ingredients and intriguing sandwiches and salads. The creamy winter-squash soup was especially lovely. Open daily. Reviewed 11/9/07 by Nicole Tsong. 7900 E. Green Lake Drive N., Suite 106, (Green Lake) Seattle (206-525-0362).

Zayda Buddy's Pizza $

MIDWESTERN This is the place to go if you want to sate a hankering for Tater Tot Casserole, like your grilled cheese made with Velveeta and served with Pringles, and know what makes a pizza Minnesota-style — that would be a thin crust cut into squares. The pizza, with its kicky tomato sauce, tastes even better while sitting in a spacious wood booth lit by a black-metal light fixture and drinking a cocktail made with fresh-squeezed juice. Open for lunch and dinner daily. Reviewed 10/12/07 by Nicole Tsong. 5405 Leary Ave. N.W., (Ballard) Seattle (206-783-7777).

Caffeine Cafe $$

AMERICAN/ECLECTIC This appealing cafe offers weekend brunch items (such as frittatas, waffles, French toast and an eggy delight called the "Two-Eyed Monster"), salumi and cheese plates; a soup and quiche of the day; great Zoka coffee and free Wi-Fi; a happy hour with beer and wine; and hot and cold sandwich choices written on a chalkboard over the coffee counter. The sandwiches are excellent, especially the killer Three Cheese Melt. Open for breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch. Reviewed 9/28/07 by Leigh Haddix. 1809 Minor Ave., (South Lake Union) Seattle (206-838-7441, www.acaffeinecafe.com).

Miro Tea $

CAFE/TEA BAR Beverages at this trendy tea bar include more than 250 loose teas, as well as iced tea, tea lattes, smoothies and chai. A light menu features crepes, both savory and sweet, and sandwiches of the sort that require two hands to hold. Try the spinach-stuffed crepe with Serrano ham and fried egg or a wrap with matcha roasted chicken. Cookies, cakes and croissants also are available. Reviewed 9/21/07 by Providence Cicero. 5405 Ballard Ave. N.W., (Ballard) Seattle (206-782-6832, www.mirotea.com).

Boulangerie Nantaise $

FRENCH If the sight of a menu made up largely of ham, butter and cheese gets your spidey senses tingling, then you should head straight for this French bakery. Try the Brittany, with ham and Gruyère on a baguette; the brie-and-beurre (yup, butter) sandwich; or the tempting quiche specials. The freshly baked array includes crunchy, sweet almond croissants; beautiful apple turnovers; and chewy brioche variations. Organic breads can be had on their own or in a sandwich. Open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Reviewed 9/14/07 by Nicole Tsong. 2507 Fourth Ave., (Belltown) Seattle (206-728-1874, www.boulangerienantaise.com).

Shultzy's Bar & Grill $

AMERICAN Regulars might not recognize their favorite U District sausage joint, which has doubled in size and sports dark Brazilian cherry wood floors, a fireplace and a zinc-topped bar. Fear not: The menu features the same fine brats, dogs, burgers, gumbo and more, all at student-friendly prices. Open daily; bar menu and breakfast are coming soon. Reviewed 9/7/07 by Providence Cicero. 4114 University Way N.E.; (U District) Seattle (206-548-9461, www.shultzys.com).

Columbia City Bakery $

BAKED GOODS, SANDWICHES A rotating menu, posted on a blackboard, includes a mix of muffins, scones, cupcakes and croissants. The savory croissants, both vegetarian and meat, are the biggest hits. Get there early, because after lunch most of the best pastries and stuffed croissants are often sold out. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reviewed 8/31/07 by Tan Vinh. 4865 Rainier Ave. S., (Columbia City) Seattle (206-723-6023).

Jhanjay Vegetarian Thai Cuisine $

THAI/VEGETARIAN Super-fresh Thai vegetable dishes with steamed or fried tofu are served up in upscale surroundings. Noodles, stir-fries, salads, soups and curries are fragrant and well-spiced. You may feel like licking your plate clean. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 8/17/07 by Leigh Haddix. 1718 N. 45th St., (Wallingford) Seattle (206-632-1484).

Hiroki Desserts $

DESSERT Cases of tempting cakes, luscious cookies and soft breads greet you at the door. Have a seat and a pot of hot tea with one of the many sumptuous desserts. Try its signature green-tea tiramisu, frangipane pear chiffon cake or Hawaiian haupia cake. There are limited savory items on the weekends, including a scrumptious turkey curry roll. Hours vary; closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Reviewed 8/3/07 by Nicole Tsong. 2224 N. 56th St., (Wallingford) Seattle (206-547-4128).

Calamity Jane's $$

AMERICAN A friendly, casual hangout, where you can eat fine comfort food and sip cool cocktails with names like "Rattlesnake Venom" and "Bordello Elixir." The menu features burgers and weekly specials such as meatloaf, baby-back ribs and all-you-can-eat spaghetti. Open for lunch and dinner, brunch 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Reviewed 7/27/07 by Leigh Haddix. 5701 Airport Way S., (Georgetown) Seattle (206-763-3040).

Kokoras Greek Grill $/$$

GREEK Excellent gyros and souvlaki, along with falafel, are offered in Olympian portions and various permutations: stuffing a sandwich, topping a salad or sprawling across a platter of Greek fries. Dinner platters are preceded by a sizable salad. Lunch portions and prices are a bit less. Consult the white board for daily specials such as lamb-stuffed bourekia. Reviewed 7/20/07 by Providence Cicero. 6400 ½ California Ave. S.W., (West Seattle) Seattle (206-913-0041, www.kokorasgreek.com).

In the Bowl Vegetarian

Noodle Bistro $

THAI Vegetarian cravings come first at this cozy spot. Several dishes revolve around soy-based "meat," such as a duck salad, chicken-nuggets appetizer and beef noodle soup. Don't want "meat"? Fried or fresh tofu are alternatives. The menu also includes the standard variety of red, green and yellow curries; stir-fries; and fresh veggie rolls that come with a delectable homemade peanut sauce. Open for lunch and dinner daily. Reviewed 7/13/07 by Nicole Tsong. 1554 E. Olive Way, (Capitol Hill) Seattle (206-568-2343).

Mi Chalateca $

SALVADORAN At this Central American cafe, try the pupusas (the Salvadoran national snack). Corn-flour tortillas — stuffed with some combination of beans, cheese, pork or zucchini — are then fried and served with tangy slaw and hot sauce. The most impressive entree is the molcajete, which comes with grilled steak strips, sausage, green onions, nopal (cactus), avocado and cheese. For dessert, don't miss the yucca pancakes soaked in honey. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reviewed 6/29/07 by Tan Vinh. 9710 Aurora Ave. N., (Aurora) Seattle (206-524-3046).

Gorgeous George's

Mediterranean Kitchen $$

MEDITERRANEAN George Rashed's welcome is as hearty as his food. Garlic, tahini and lemon rule, and the menu is unapologetically meat-heavy, with the focus on lamb and chicken in sandwiches and marinated kebobs. Portions are massive. Don't miss the hummus and zabra (fried cauliflower), and salad dressing is remarkable. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 6/22/07 Leigh Haddix. 7719 Greenwood Ave. N., (Greenwood) Seattle (206-783-0116).

Baguette Box $

SANDWICHES Behind the sedate brick façade is a hip, primary-hued urban eatery dispensing elegant baguette sandwiches assembled in minutes. Look for lamb with cucumber-yogurt, roasted peppers and harissa oil; salmon gravlax with sauce gribiche; or tarragon-flecked tuna salad with capers, cornichons and hard-boiled egg. Eat at the counter or the communal table, or take a sandwich, soup or salad to go. Open for lunch and dinner daily. Reviewed 6/15/07 by Providence Cicero. 626 N. 34th St., (Fremont) Seattle (206-632-1511, www.baguettebox.com).

Kurry King $

INDIAN/ASIAN Take a fragrant, delicious trip through an international array of curry choices: green Thai chicken with bamboo shoots; creamy, peanutty masman chicken; mild Japanese yellow curry with beef. There's also yellow curry with chicken, pork or chicken meatballs and a vegetarian version with chickpeas. Portions are enormous. For the curry disinclined, try the Kung Po chicken, General Tso's chicken or tofu mushroom stir-fry. Appetizers include scallion pancakes and spring rolls. Open 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays. 5503 Airport Way S., (Georgetown) Seattle (206-767-8075).

Snoose Junction Pizzeria $

PIZZA Sold whole or by the slice, pizza is the crux of the menu. The pliable crust has a cracker-ish snap; the red sauce is spunky and toppings top-notch. Salads, calzones and hot sandwiches are commendable, too. Chase them with beer, wine, fountain drinks or bottled sodas. Toddler toys, pinball machines, a digital jukebox and two TVs make the place lively. An easygoing staff tolerates the high-jinks well. Reviewed 6/1/07 by Providence Cicero. 2305 N.W. Market St., (Ballard) Seattle (206-789-2305, www.snoosejunctionpizzeria.com).

Stell's Burgers & More $

AMERICAN/GREEK Some come for the Black Angus beef burgers (the signature patty topped with provolone and pastrami is a fave), others for the "more:" salads, souvlaki, gyros and other hot sandwiches, all garnished with house-made sauces and dressings. Owner Stellios Makratzakis is the affable presence behind the counter. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday; dinner only Sunday. Reviewed 5/25/07 by Providence Cicero. 3310 Third Ave. W., (Queen Anne) Seattle (206-282-4005).

Mike's Noodle House $

CHINESE Noodle soups shine and fresh, plump dumplings are truly outstanding. Try the beef-brisket noodle soup, with melt-in-your-mouth meat; or the sui kau and wonton soup, bursting with the taste of shrimp, pork and mushroom. The menu also includes congee (a savory, breakfast-y, blended rice soup), noodle dishes and "chief specials" (as the menu calls them). Open daily. Reviewed 5/18/07 by Leigh Haddix. 418 Maynard Ave. S., (Chinatown International District) Seattle (206-389-7099).

Rowdy Cowgirl BBQ $

BARBECUE Yee-ha! This barbecue joint has spunk to spare, but the kitchen can be uneven. The menu features classic smoked meats. Try the pulled-pork sandwich, with its soft bun, tender meat and tangy sauce. Good sides include sweet-and-smoky baked beans and a toothsome succotash. The "Whole Hog" includes two sides. Order "Cowgirl Up!" and get a drink and dessert at an extra cost. Reviewed 5/11/07 by Nicole Tsong. 3620 Stone Way N., (Wallingford) Seattle (206-954-1100, www.rowdycowgirl.com).

Roti Cuisine of India $$

INDIAN Taste the myriad tongue-tingling spices of India in a colorful, lovely, low-lit setting. This is a welcoming, family run place with great vegetable dishes like eggplant bharta and spiced okra. Creamy curries heavy on fragrant fenugreek are standard but good, and naan comes 10 different ways. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 4/27/07 by Leigh Haddix. 530 Queen Anne Ave. N., (Lower Queen Anne) Seattle (206-216-7684).

Bakery Nouveau $

BAKERY/CAFE Champion baker William Leaman's bakery and cafe displays a bewitching array of fresh breads, glistening chocolates and pastries, from pretty pastel French macaroons to luscious lemon-filled tarts. Savory fare includes ready-made sandwiches, tartines, pizza and quiche. Coffee and hot chocolate are the beverages of choice. Eat in or take out. Open daily; hours vary. Reviewed 4/20/07 by Providence Cicero. 4737 California Ave. S.W., West Seattle (206-923-0534, www.bakerynouveau.com).

Crash Landing Pizza $

PIZZA At Crash Landing Pizza, there are no preset combinations and topping selection is entirely up to you. But picking out toppings is the only complicated element of eating here, since Crash Landing only serves pizza. And toppings are gourmet, with choices like sun-dried tomatoes and Bulgarian feta in addition to traditional pepperoni and Italian sausage. With a crisp, yet chewy thin New York style-crust and a balanced hand with the toppings, Crash Landing is a nice neighborhood joint that, despite the name, doesn't crash and burn. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 4/13/07 by Nicole Tsong. 702 N.W. 65th St., (Ballard) Seattle (206-706-1480).

La Botana $

MEXICAN Drop in for excellent, authentic Mexican meats such as cochinita pibil (slow-cooked citrus-marinated pork) and al pastor (barbecued pork) in tacos or tortas. Birria de chivo (goat stew) is often a special. Other choices include camarones (shrimp), enchiladas, chiles rellenos, tostadas and tamales, served with warm tortilla chips and salsa under fluorescent lighting and hanging sombreros. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 3/23/07 by Leigh Haddix. 8552 Greenwood Ave. N., (Greenwood) Seattle (206-706-5392).

Krua Thai Family Kitchen $$

THAI The name means "kitchen" in Thai and this can be a busy one at the dinner rush hour. The compact room is cheery and bright. The vast menu is a familiar Thai roster of soups, salads, curries and noodle dishes. Stylish white platters hold house specialties like crab phad Thai and Hoi Tod (mussels pan-fried in batter). Service is swift. Takeout and delivery are popular. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 3/16/07 by Providence Cicero. 2515 N.E. 55th St., (Ravenna) Seattle (206-985-4398, www.kruaseattle.com).

Cafe Piccolo $$

ITALIAN At this inviting neighborhood trattoria, the knotty-pine tables gleam in the candlelight, the pasta and bread are house-made and ingredients are organic whenever possible. Pick a noodle; pick a sauce; add meatballs, sausage or shrimp for an extra charge. Chicken, seafood and steak are pricier options. Wine is affordable by the glass or bottle. Open for dinner and Sunday brunch; closed Mondays. Reviewed 2/16/07 by Providence Cicero. 9400 Roosevelt Way N.W., (Maple Leaf) Seattle (206-957-1333, www.piccoloseattle.com).

Homestyle Hong Kong Cafe $

CANTONESE Call it the stone-pot place. A generous portion of white rice is served with baby bok choy and toppings such as seasoned pork, beef-and-egg, quail, salted fish and dried duck in a hot stone pot. If you let it sit, the hot pot forms a browned rice crust. It's a homey, filling meal, and Homestyle has the method down. The lengthy menu also includes wonton noodles and fresh shrimp-and-chive dumplings. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 2/ 9/2007 by Nicole Tsong. 615 S. King St., (Chinatown International District) Seattle (206-748-9168).

Remedy Teas $

TEA SPREAD Perfect for lunch or tea time anytime, Remedy Teas makes tea hip and stylish. Sandwiches and salads are fresh and tasty, baked goods abound, and all are organic where possible. Don't skip dessert: cakes, tea cookies, chocolate truffles and caramels are excellent, and some are lightly tea-infused. You can also purchase tea by the ounce and take it home with a new teapot or timer, which they also have for sale. Open daily. Reviewed 1/26/07 by Leigh Haddix. 345 15th Ave. E., (Capitol Hill) Seattle (206-323-4TEA, www.remedyteas.com).

Araya's Vegetarian

Place $$

THAI This largely vegan restaurant makes a convincing case that meat really is optional, with its tender-crisp vegetables, elegant presentations, tofu dishes and other vegetarian meat substitutes. The Thai menu is vast, with nearly 60 appetizers, soups, salads and entrees, and the food is fresh and seasoned with a balanced hand. Open for lunch and dinner; closed Sundays. Reviewed 1/12/07 by Nicole Tsong. 1211 N.E. 45th St., (University District) Seattle (206-524-4332).

The Lemongrass Taste

of Vietnam $$

VIETNAMESE This appealing restaurant features traditional southern Vietnamese cuisine. Pick from mango salads, Tamarind Sour Soup and chicken, beef and seafood items that come in a variety of styles including ginger, curry and sweet-and-sour. The Lemon Garlic Beef is a treat. There's also Vietnamese crepes, pho and plenty of vegetarian options. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 12/8/06 by Nicole Tsong. 514 12th Ave., (on the border of First Hill and the Central District) Seattle (206-860-8164).

Phnom Penh

Noodle House $

CAMBODIAN There are two sides to the menu: noodles and rice. Go for the noodles. Super-affordable, tender noodles are served in soup or stir-fried with an abundance of fresh ingredients. A standout is the Cambodian Sate Beef Noodle soup. But don't rule out the rice dishes: The Cambodian Fried Rice is a good option. Though not every dish at Phnom Penh will wow you, the best of them will, and the servings are enormous. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reviewed 11/24/06 by Nicole Tsong. 660 S. King St., (Chinatown International District) Seattle (206-748-9825).

Café Stellina $$

AMERICAN The expanded Café Stellina has acquired the trappings of sophisticated urban dining — a menu of upscale comfort food, white napery, handsome bamboo-inspired tableware and stemless goblets for the imported soda or wine of your choice — but it has the soul of a neighborhood diner. Go in the a.m. for sweet or savory scones or egg-topped breakfast pizzas. Lunch offers fresh soups, salads and light entrees, many meatless choices among them. Reviewed 11/17/06 by Providence Cicero. 1429 12th Ave., (Capitol Hill) Seattle (206-322-2688).

Bing's Bodacious Burgers $$

ECLECTIC Bing's is more bar and grill than burger joint, but burgers are its specialty. They're served with a perfect patty, piled high with onions and other fresh vegetables, and come with addictively crisp fries. There are pricier options like barbecue ribs and a 16-ounce rib-eye, as well as Mexican entrees. And a full section of salads will appeal to the healthy eater. Open for lunch and dinner. 4200 E. Madison St., (Madison Park) Seattle (206-323-8623).

Da Vinci Bakery & Café $

AMERICAN At Kaili McIntyre's snug cafe-cum-coffeehouse, the gluten-intolerant can indulge without worry: Everything is wheat-free, from pastries, breads and cakes, to pizza dough and pasta. But anyone would enjoy the lively flavored coffee drinks, fresh soups, hot sandwiches and quiche made here daily. Some products are egg, dairy and soy free, and the facility is peanut-free as well. Open daily, hours vary. Reviewed 11/3/06 by Providence Cicero. 10003 Greenwood Ave. N., (Greenwood) Seattle (206-782-5735, www.wheatlessinseattle.org).

Pam's Kitchen $

TRINIDADIAN-CARIBBEAN This colorful restaurant specializes in roti (your choice of chicken, beef, lamb or goat) and luscious milk-based smoothies (pumpkin, peanut or carrot). The roti can be ordered either wrapped around the meat like a burrito (messy) or on the side (not as messy). Both the goat and lamb were outstanding. Open for lunch (except Sundays) and dinner; closed Mondays. Reviewed 10/27/06 by Stuart Eskenazi. 5000 University Way N.E., (University District) Seattle (206-696-7010).

Ras-Dashen Ethiopian Restaurant $$

ETHIOPIAN There are several Ethiopian choices at the intersection of East Cherry Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, but Ras-Dashen distinguishes itself with friendly service and a colorful atmosphere. The food is traditionally Ethiopian, served on a platter of injera bread and eaten with the hands. Try the comforting shiro wot, a ground chickpea-based dish, or if you don't mind the heat, doro tibs, a chicken dish that comes with a side dose of hot-sauce awaze. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed by 10/13/06 by Nicole Tsong. 2801 E. Cherry St., (Central District) Seattle (206-709-7626).

Belle Epicurean $

FRENCH Some of the city's best French pastries are served here. Croissants, baguettes and brioches, both savory and sweet, including the signature chocolate walnut buns of owner Carolyn Ferguson. Try the ham and Gruyère brioche. All organic, all natural and all butter. But you wouldn't expect anything less from Ferguson, who graduated with top honors from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Reviewed 9/29/06 by Tan Vinh. Open daily; hours vary. 1206 Fourth Ave., (downtown) Seattle (206-262-9404, www.belleepicurean.com).

Sabra Mediterranean Food $

MIDDLE EASTERN Proprietor Zena Lulu, who opened Seattle's first Ethiopian restaurant, opted for the simpler life when she bought Sabra. This deli-style Middle Eastern place is a favorite among Pike Place know-it-alls who love the light-as-air falafels, delicious hummus, delicately spiced shawarma, squash patties and red lentil soup — and who can find it tucked away in the Soames Dunn Building, across from the main arcade. Open daily; hours vary. Reviewed 9/22/2006 by Stuart Eskenazi. 1916 Pike Place, Suite 14, (Pike Place Market) Seattle (206-441-4544).

Kabab House $$

PAKISTANI This tiny restaurant overachieves with its from-scratch Pakistani and Northern Indian specialties. You'll find familiar and delicious choices like masalas, but go for options like Bhindi (okra) or fish masala. The samosas are fragrant and huge, and the grilled lamb is a spicy treat. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 9/15/06 by Nicole Tsong. 8102 Greenwood Ave. N., (Greenwood) Seattle (206-782-9611).

Mr. Villa $$

MEXICAN The food is good, and you'll love the buoyant mood at this neighborhood eatery, where live music kicks things up a notch on Monday nights. Halibut ceviche, skirt-steak fajitas and fiery pork chile verde are tops among the Mexican standards. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 9/8/06 by Providence Cicero. 8064 Lake City Way N.E., (Lake City) Seattle (206-517-5660).

Paseo $

CUBAN Paseo's Cuban sandwiches deserve their legendary status. The best is the Midnight Cuban (slow-roasted pork shoulder), but don't miss the messy prawn sandwich or the tangy black-bean soup. Each crusty creation features cilantro, seasoned mayo, jalapeños, grilled onions and lettuce. At dinnertime, try a plate of fish in red-pepper sauce over rice. There's always a line, and tables are jammed, but you'll squeeze in. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 9/1/06 by Matthew Amster-Burton. 4225 Fremont Ave. N., (Fremont) Seattle (206-545-7440).

Alki Crab and Fish Co. $$

SEAFOOD It's summer year-round at an informal seafood shack that serves combo platters and clam steamers at a bargain price. Just past Salty's on Alki, the view may be the best value of all, if not "the best in town," as the readerboard outside justly boasts. A new outdoor beer-and-wine patio is a destination for the 21-and-over crowd. Reviewed 8/25/06 by Stuart Eskenazi. 1660 Harbor Ave. S.W., Seattle (206-938-0975).

Jack's Tapas Cafe, Mainly Chinese $$

CHINESE Funny name, great food, with an emphasis on dishes from northern China. The menu offers, yes, small plates (Sichuan pickles, spicy pig ears, wonderful sesame-scallion bread) as well as full-size family-style entrees like lamb stir-fried with napa cabbage, or water spinach with garlic sauce. Jack himself may well come by your table to ask if everything is OK. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 8/18/2006 by Matthew Amster-Burton. 5211 University Way N.E., Seattle (206-523-6855, www.jackstapas.com).

Feierabend $

GERMAN/PUB Happy chowhounds hoist fine German beers and food to match in this cozy tavern where a genial staff presides. The menu of small plates and large, seasoned with gusto and served with potent condiments, includes dumplings, potato pancakes, Bavarian pretzels, spaetzle, schnitzel, sausages and bratwurst. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 8/11/06 by Providence Cicero. 422 Yale Ave. N., (Cascade) Seattle (206-340-2528, www.feierabendseattle.com).

Salima $$

MALAYSIAN Salima's spicy and chunky peanut sauce, served with the chicken satay, is a minor miracle. The flaky roti canai with curry sauce is also a must. But even dishes without dipping sauce are great at this friendly halal (no alcohol or pork) Malaysian restaurant. Try the coconut rice, which is surrounded by half a dozen little nibbles like fried chicken, beef rendang and hard-boiled egg. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 8/4/06 by Matthew Amster-Burton. 6727 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S., Seattle (206-722-2443).

Hing Loon

Seafood Restaurant $$

CHINESE Although open since only 1991, Hing Loon is like an old friend, ranking up there as one of the Chinatown International District's most authentic and friendly dining establishments. Choose from an enormous menu or among the 50 or so specials posted on the wall (in both Chinese and English). Seafood is emphasized, but don't be afraid to order the meats, especially the smoked duck special. Soups also come highly recommended. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 7/28/06 by Stuart Eskenazi. 628 S. Weller St., (Chinatown International District) Seattle (206-682-2828).

Mioposto $$

PIZZA This handsome European-styled pizzeria has the mood and attitude right, but the thin-crusted pies can be hit or miss. Best are tomato-sauced versions judiciously topped with quality meats and cheeses. Do have a salad and don't overlook the sandwiches. Lunch and dinner daily; before 11 a.m., stop in for assorted sweets and excellent espresso. Reviewed 7/14/06 by Providence Cicero. 3601 S. McClellan St., (Mount Baker) Seattle (206-760-3400).

Wild Orchid $$

THAI In the Ballard sub-neighborhood of Loyal Heights is this exotic flower, which offers a menu that's as long as a book and far from ordinary. Unusual dishes feature lamb, duck, salmon or halibut. The sweetest item is the red curry with peanut sauce. Open for dinner. Reviewed 6/23/06 by Stuart Eskenazi. 8010 24th Ave. N.W., (Loyal Heights) Seattle (206-706-6766).

Chef Liao $$

CHINESE Though the menu promises Asian fusion, Chef Liao is more Asian eclectic with an emphasis on Chinese. The pork potstickers are absolutely world-class. The rest of the menu is a little more ordinary. Try the Yummy Yam Fish, stir-fried whitefish and sweet potatoes, which is not as sweet as you'd expect. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 6/16/06 by Matthew Amster-Burton. 6012 Phinney Ave. N., (Phinney Ridge) Seattle (206-789-6441).

El Quetzal $$

MEXICAN El Quetzal has two specialties not often found at other Mexican restaurants. One is breakfast: huevos rancheros, eggs with chorizo, chilaquiles with tomatillo sauce. The other is gigante huaraches, like a cornmeal-crusted pizza with toppings such as cactus or skirt steak (the crispy edge is the best part). Good Mexican sandwiches, too. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reviewed 6/02/06 by Matthew Amster-Burton. 3209 Beacon Ave. S., (Beacon Hill) Seattle (206-329-2970).

Pacific Inn Pub $

PUB Experience the new horizon of dining brought on by the state's smoking ban. This formerly fume-filled bar is now a perfect place to inhale and eat late — food is served until 1 a.m. The menu is split between seafood, salads, burgers and sandwiches, with the panko-battered fish and chips its signature grub. No food item is more than $8, and you will leave stuffed and satisfied. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 5/26/06 by Stuart Eskenazi. 3501 Stone Way N., (Fremont) Seattle (206-547-2967).

Palmyra $$

MIDDLE EASTERN Palmyra serves likable fare in well-appointed surroundings. There is the full roster of Middle Eastern favorites (kebabs, tabbouleh and pita sandwiches packed with falafel and tahini), as well as choice cuts from Greece (moussaka, gyros), Egypt (a lentil-and-rice dish called mojadara) and Italy (chicken Parmesan). Don't miss the zahra, fried cauliflower tossed with yogurt sauce. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 5/5/06 by Matthew Amster-Burton. 1913 N. 45th St., (Wallingford) Seattle (206-632-1534, www.palmyracuisine.com).

East

Pizzeria Guido $$

ITALIAN The menu ranges from antipasti, soups and salads to baked pastas and calzone. Go for the pizza, divided into those with tomato sauce and those without. The crusts are thin (Neapolitan style, for the most part), the ingredients measured. You won't find your 1 ½-inch American version here, adrip and overloaded. Open for lunch and dinner. 15600 N.E. 13th St., (near Crossroads Mall) Bellevue (425-614-0007, www.pizzeriaguido.com).

Preet's $

INDIAN An offshoot of Punjab Sweets in Kent, Preet's serves northern-style Indian vegetarian fare. Highlights include Kadhi, curried chick peas soaked in a milky sauce; mooli parotha, crispy flatbread stuffed with daikon radish; and Mulai Kofta, vegetable balls in curry sauce. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 5/30/08 by Tan Vinh. 8440 160th Ave. N.E., Redmond (425-867-9400).

The French Bakery $

FRENCH This clean and spiffy bakery offers cakes, fruit tarts, quiches, salads, turnovers, baguette sandwiches, and sweet and savory croissants. The best bet is the ham-and-cheese baguette. The crunchy dough's sweetness balances nicely with the salty ham. Portions are generous. Closed Sundays. Reviewed 4/18/08 by Tan Vinh. 219 Kirkland Ave., Kirkland (425-898-4510).

Watercress Asian Bistro $$

CHINESE Cuisines from several regions in China and other Asian countries are featured. The friendly service, earth-tone color scheme and smooth jazz background music lets you know this isn't your neighborhood Chinese joint. Some specialties include tilapia in black bean sauce and crispy duck. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 2/29/08 by Tan Vinh. 16505 Redmond Way, Cleveland Square, Redmond (425-284-3188 or watercressasianbistro.com).

Udupi Palace $

SOUTH INDIAN This restaurant offers hearty, filling vegetarian fare and a great lunchtime buffet. Try the Aloo Gobi, a spicy cauliflower-and-potato curry, or milder options that include lentil dal, rice dishes and crunchy deep-fried pakoras. Order dosas (golden, crispy crepes) off the menu; 20 types are available. Rose-petal-flavored milk is an unbeatable ending. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 10/26/07 by Leigh Haddix. 15600 N.E. Eighth St., (in the Crossroads Mall) Bellevue (425-649-0355, www.bellevueudupipalace.com).

Nara Japanese Restaurant $$

JAPANESE This crowd-pleasing, unpretentious spot near Redmond Town Center offers fresh sushi and Japanese comfort food. Hunker down to a huge bento box, or dive into donburi, udon or delicious tonkatsu. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 2/23/07 by Leigh Haddix. 16564 Cleveland St., Redmond (425-885-0703, www.narajapaneserestaurant.com).

South

BBQ Pete's $$

BARBECUE Brought to you by Ryan Peterson, whose family has served Southern-style barbecue at the Puyallup Fair since 1976, this eatery serves barbecue sandwiches, entrees and combo plates for dine-in or takeout. Meals come with chipotle coleslaw and one side dish. The baked beans and corn muffins are yummy. Open for lunch and dinner; closed Sundays. 6621 S. 211th St., Suite 106, Kent (425-251-0778, www.bbqpetes.com).

Gino's Bistro $$

MEDITERRANEAN/SPANISH This classy neighborhood bistro serves exquisitely prepared Mediterranean cuisine with a Spanish twist. The menu includes pizza (eat in or take out); traditional Italian fare such as lasagna, puttanesca and gnocchi; paella; scampi fresco; and tenderloin topped with Gorgonzola and figs. Open for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 8/1/08 by Nancy Bartley. 4624 S.W. 320th St., Federal Way (253-815-1215, www.ginosbistro.com).

La Casa Bella Italian Ristorante $$

ITALIAN This tiny spot tucked away in a strip shopping center serves big portions of wonderful food. The menu includes entrees with pasta, seafood, beef, chicken, veal, lamb, pork chop and Italian sausage. The Linguini di Mare contained a different seafood delight in every bite. The gnocchi was divine. Open for lunch and dinner; closed Monday. Reviewed 7/4/08 by Cindy Zetts. 31254 Pacific Highway S., Federal Way (253-529-0665,www.ristorantelacasabella.com).

Pabla Indian Cuisine $/$$

INDIAN This is clearly something of a destination: workers in for the lunchtime buffet, shoppers familiar with the staples, and snacks (especially good are the sweets) sold in the adjacent Indian grocery. The menu is all vegetarian and kosher. Standouts include Punjabi Vindaloo (potatoes with a tangy tomato sauce) and Mattar Paneer (cubes of homemade cheese with peas, onions and spices). Open for lunch and dinner daily. Reviewed 5/16/08 by Kim Eckart. 364 Renton Center Way S.W., No. C60, Renton (425-228-4625, www.pablacuisine.com).

North

Yeh Yeh's Vietnamese Sandwiches $

VIETNAMESE The deli's bahn mi sandwiches are big, tasty and messy: a meal by themselves, on 8-inch-long demi-baguettes, each under $5. There's also pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and appetizers such as spring rolls and chicken wings. Reviewed 9/5/08 by Kim Eckart. 19915 64th Ave. W., Lynnwood (425-776-7213).

Larry's Smokehouse $

BARBECUE If you dig first-rate smoked salmon and meats, or want catering or takeout for barbecue with all the requisite trimmings, this is your spot. The pulled-pork rib dinner was the standout. Open Monday-Saturday. Reviewed 8/8/08 by Kyung Song. 17624 15th Ave. S.E., A106, Mill Creek (425-745-3340, 800-247-8207, www.larryssmokehouse.com).

Nakron Thai Restaurant $

THAI While you can't go wrong with the more typical pad Thai, curries and stir-fries, take a chance and give your taste buds an adventure. Go for such dishes as larb gai, a warm chicken salad with lime and cilantro, and tom kah gai, a rich and tangy coconut-based soup. Open for lunch and dinner daily; free delivery within a two-mile radius. Reviewed 4/25/08 by Diane Brooks. 1105 Hewitt Ave., Everett (425-303-8300).

The Everest Kitchen $$

TIBETAN/NEPALESE/INDIAN Indulge in cuisine culled from mountainous regions. The food is fresh with distinct, enticing spicing. Choices include Lamb Sekuwa, Chicken Momo (Tibetan dumplings that were a garlicky delight) and Syaphale (ground meat and herbs wrapped in dough). Lunch and dinner Tuesdays-Sundays. Reviewed 2/8/08 by Nicole Tsong. 14561 Bothell Way N.E., Shoreline (206-440-0321).

Moghul Express $$

INDO/PAKISTANI No tired steam-table stews here: The lunch buffet features nuanced curries; supple tandoori grilled meats; and downy, warm naan. Lamb, beef, goat and prawns are on the dinner menu, along with vegetarian dishes. 100 percent halal, no liquor. Lunch and dinner daily. Reviewed 1/18/08 by Providence Cicero. 6815 196th St. S.W., Lynnwood (425-775-4143).

Walnut Street Coffee $

COFFEEHOUSE Locals come here not just for a java jolt, but for a limited menu of wholesome burritos, soups and assorted pastries sourced from quality local purveyors. The interior resembles a cheery great room. Open daily. Reviewed 11/3/07 by Providence Cicero. 410 Walnut St., Edmonds (425-774-5962).

The Sisters Restaurant $

AMERICAN Decorated with thrift-shop élan, this funky cafe draws a breakfast and lunch bunch as likely to show up in business attire as bluejeans. Wake up with hot cakes, quiches, omelets and other egg dishes; midday come for fresh soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers, with many options for vegetarians. It's impossible to ignore the pastries — so don't. Open weekdays only. Reviewed 10/19/07 by Providence Cicero. 2804 Grand Ave., Everett (425-252-0480).

#1 Donuts & Deli $

BAKERY/VIETNAMESE At this tidy Thrashers Corner storefront, you'll be dazed by all the raised, glazed and frosted doughnuts, the cream puffs, crullers, fritters and bars. But glossy photos on the back wall provide clues to other offerings: banh mi sandwiches, plump spring rolls, terrific egg rolls, sticky rice with Chinese sausage, banh xeo (a pancake packed with shrimp and pork). Finish with a doughnut, or a dozen. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reviewed 10/5/07 by Providence Cicero. 20710 Bothell Everett Highway, Bothell (425-486-5358).

Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream $

AMERICAN Built and operated with an eye toward sound environmental practices, this ice cream factory-cum-cafe occupies a remodeled rambler surrounded by gardens. The menu goes beyond frozen treats, offering house-made soups, entree salads and sandwiches made with organic bread and house-roasted meats. Make sure you leave licking a cone. Reviewed 8/24/07 by Providence Cicero. 21106 86th Ave. S.W., Maltby (360-668-8535, www.snoqualmiegourmet.com).

Don Chuy Latin Cuisine $

LATIN The cuisine at this compact storefront reflects the owners' Mexican and Cuban heritage. South of the Border specialties (tacos, enchiladas, fajitas) are solid, but dishes like tostones rellenos (fried green plantains cupping garlicky shredded pork) and fricase de pollo (chunks of chicken and potatoes simmered in a potent tomato sauce) just might shake you out of your tortilla torpor. Open for lunch and dinner daily; delivery available. Reviewed 8/10/07 by Providence Cicero. 19725 40th Ave. W., Lynnwood (425-778-2489, www.donchuylatincuisine.com).

Sichuan 99 $$

CHINESE While you'll find many hot and spicy dishes on this vast menu, there are plenty that aren't, from tea-smoked duck to chow mein and moo goo gai pan. The house-made tofu and hand-shaven noodles are a special treat. Service is friendly, lunch prices a steal and they deliver. Lunch and dinner daily. Reviewed 5/4/07 by Providence Cicero. 6124 200th St. SW, Lynnwood (425-774-9622).

Così $

AMERICAN/ITALIAN The menu at this sleek, fast-casual restaurant concept features a deliciously crispy, supple flatbread. The rectangular slabs are split and stuffed to make hot and cold sandwiches and also accompany the lavish salads and sturdy soups. There's good pizza plus do-it-yourself s'mores for dessert. Informal enough for kids, sophisticated enough to attract grown-ups without them, but quality can vary among the four local branches. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reviewed 4/6/07 by Providence Cicero. 15522 Main St., Mill Creek (and other locations) (425-337-1303; www.getcosi.com).

Smokin' BJ's BBQ $

BARBECUE Chicken, pork, brisket and ribs are spice-rubbed and gently smoked over apple and alder wood until moist and tender. Slather on the luscious bourbon-and-Coke-spiked barbecue sauce. The meat ends go into a comforting barbecue stew. Add a hot link, fresh coleslaw, pungent potato salad, sweet-and-smoky baked beans or moist cornbread muffins. Open for lunch and dinner; drive-through service only. Reviewed 2/2/07 by Providence Cicero. 17211 Highway 99, Lynnwood (425-743-3500).

InSaDong B.B.Q. Grill

& Sushi Bar $$

KOREAN This spacious booth-lined dining room now sports a sushi bar, but if you want to take advantage of the built-in barbecue grill at your table, come at night. Lunch specials draw business folks as well as moms and grandmas out for fun. Follow their lead and try the seafood pancake, steaming casseroles, noodle and rib combos or a bento box. Everything comes with a parade of complimentary little dishes, called panchan. Reviewed 1/5/07 by Providence Cicero. 19226 Highway 99, Lynnwood (425-778-9292).

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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