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Originally published December 28, 2012 at 5:00 AM | Page modified December 28, 2012 at 1:33 PM

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A look back in hunger: The best bites of 2012

From “best riff on fried chicken” to “best reason to eat your veggies,” here is restaurant critic Providence Cicero’s wrapup of her regional faves.

Special to The Seattle Times

Where to find the best bites

Anthony’s Seafood Grill

3000 184th St. S.W. (Alderwood mall), Lynnwood; 425-771-4665; www.anthonys.com

Belle Clementine

5451 Leary Ave. N.W., Seattle; 206-257-5761; www.belleclementine.com

bin on the lake

1270 Carillon Point, Kirkland; 425-803-5595; www.binonthelake.com

Blind Pig Bistro

2238 Eastlake Ave E., Seattle; 206-329-2744; www.blindpigbistro.com

Canon

928 12th Ave., Seattle; 206-552-9755; www.canonseattle.com

Chan

86 Pine St., Seattle; 206-443-5443; www.chanseattle.com

Green Leaf

2800 First Ave., Seattle; 206-448-3318; www.greenleaftaste.com

Grub

7 Boston St., Seattle; 206-216-3628; www.LetsGoGrub.com

Hunger

3601 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle; 206-402-4854; www.hungerseattle.com

Inn at Langley

400 First St., Langley (Whidbey Island); 360-221-3033; www.innatlangley.com

Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen

5309 22nd Ave. N.W., Seattle; 206-783-2668; www.kickinboot.com

LloydMartin

1525 Queen Anne Ave. N., Seattle; 206-420-7602; www.lloydmartinseattle.com

Ma’ono

4437 California Ave. S.W., Seattle; 206-935-1075; www.maonoseattle.com

Moksha

515 Bellevue Square, Bellevue; 425-427-5787; www.mokshadining.com

Oddfellows Café

1525 10th Ave., Seattle; 206-325-0807; www.oddfellowscafe.com

Oola Distillery & Tasting Room

1314 E. Union St., Seattle; 206-709-7909; www.ooladistillery.com

Restaurant Marché

150 Madrone Lane, Winslow, Bainbridge Island; 206-842-1633; www.restaurantmarchebainbridge.com

Restaurant Zoë

1318 E. Union St., Seattle; 206-256-2060; www.restaurantzoe.com

Rione XIII

401 15th Ave. E., Seattle; 206-838-2878; www.ethanstowellrestaurants.com/rionexiii/

Terra Plata

1501 Melrose Ave., Seattle; 206-325-1501; www.terraplata.com

Trace

1112 Fourth Ave., Seattle (in the W Hotel); 206-264-6060; www.traceseattle.com

Zamorana

17722 Vashon Highway S.W., Vashon; 206-356-5684

Most Popular Comments
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Ugh, hippies are so annoying. I'm hungry! MORE
I'm amazed by your love of Chan's. It was fine, but it wasn't quite Korean the way I am... MORE
Please change this "cutesy" headline. The people who eat at these restaurants... MORE

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Providence Cicero takes readers on a tour of the tastiest items she encountered in a year of reviewing restaurants..

Sexiest small plate: Valdeon ice cream and dates stuffed with bacon and chorizo are a great way to start a meal at Hunger in Fremont.

Runner-up: Sam Crannell’s seared foie gras, with black cherries and maple syrup pooling in the crevices of a crisp waffle at LloydMartin on Queen Anne. It’s not a dessert, but it could be.

Best bite on a bun: Tamara Murphy’s water buffalo burger with talleggio cheese and oven-dried tomato at Terra Plata flaunts a jaunty skewer of pickled vegetables.

Runner up: Mark Fuller’s dreamy steamed pork buns (manapua) at Ma’ono; Heong soon Park’s bulgogi sliders garnished with kimchi at Chan in Pike Place Market.

Best in the raw: Charles Walpole’s hamachi crudo with Serrano chilies, apple and chives at Blind Pig Bistro.

Runner up: Chan’s Korean steak tartare, zingy with jalapeño, garlic, sesame and soy sauce.

Best combination of three ingredients or less: Brandon Kirksey’s Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe at Rione XIII — fresh noodles, black pepper and Pecorino cheese — couldn’t be simpler or more divine.

Runner-up: Blind Pig Bistro’s Fat Bastard oysters garnished with grapefruit and pimenton ice.

Best fried-chicken riff: It’s easy to see why this breakfast stack of fried chicken and poached egg with hollandaise over sautéed kale, bacon and crisp roasted potatoes was the dish that clinched the romance between Hunger chef Jaime Mullins-Brooks and her co-owner husband, Brian Brooks.

Runner-up: Chan’s searing chili-glazed fried chicken wings.

Best incentive to eat your veggies: Any of the peak-of-the-season salads at David Sanford’s congenial restaurant and supper club, Belle Clementine.

Runner-up: Horseradish coleslaw at Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen.

Best incentive to drink your veggies: James Sherrill’s asparagus soup at Restaurant Zoë, graced with smoked steelhead, crème fraîche and toasted pumpernickel crumbs.

Runner-up: Steven Ariel’s lacinato kale soup with pancetta and lemon crème fraîche at Trace in the W Hotel.

That’sa some meatball award: Rione’s marinara-slathered prosciutto meatballs.

Runner-up: The garlic-and-herb laced beef-and-pork meatballs at Oddfellows Café.

Best excuse for a mall crawl: At Bellevue Square’s Moksha, Lamb Karaikudi, a South Indian stir-fry with garlic, chilies, curry leaf and fennel, is full of fire and spice.

Runner-up: Lush crab and corn chowder at Anthony’s Seafood Grill in Alderwood mall.

Best reason to get on a ferry: Jorge and Effie Garnica’s robust tacos and tamales at Zamorana on Vashon Island.

Runners-up: Greg Atkinson’s saffron-spiced Provençale fish soup floating an airy halibut quenelle at Restaurant Marché on Bainbridge Island; Matt Costello’s tasting menu at the Inn at Langley.

Best late-night nosh: Green Leaf’s delicate bahn xeo pancake overstuffed with pork, shrimp and bean sprouts.

Runner-up: A stack of smoked cheddar and tasso ham grit sticks at Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen.

Best swig from a bottle: Canon’s La Bicyclette cocktail, a blend of gin, sweet vermouth and St-Germain aged in French oak, is individually bottled and meant to be sipped sans glass.

Runner-up: Oola Distillery’s Waitsburg Bourbon Whiskey. (Caution: only do this at home!)

Most addictive snacks: Moksha’s fragile, cumin-flecked papadum served with three chutneys.

Runner-up: Terra Plata’s truffle-salted waffle chips; Hunger’s harissa fries.

Best reason to save room for dessert: Sharon Woo Fillingim’s pumpkin layer cake with chocolate ganache and cream-cheese frosting is just one of many good reasons to splurge on dessert at her restaurant, Grub.

Runners-up: Preserved kumquats atop pistachio-crusted lemon chevre cheesecake at bin on the lake; panna cotta napoleon with roasted strawberries and pineapple “caviar” at Restaurant Zoë.

Providence Cicero, Seattle Times restaurant critic, co-hosts “Let’s Eat” with Terry Jaymes at 4 p.m. Saturdays on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. Listen to past shows at www.KIRORadio.com/letseat. Reach Cicero at providencecicero@aol.com.

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