by Chelsea Lin - 273 Reviews - 109 List
When looking at the year in review, it's important to reflect on the good things more than the bad; consequently, let's not focus on the restaurants that didn't make it (R.I.P.) and instead celebrate the fact that monthly openings in Seattle normally outweighed the closings. Here's a look at a few of our favorites from this year, in no particular order:
Updated: December 14, 2009
What can be said about this little Ballard darling that hasn't already been mentioned by every media outlet in the city (and country)? The unsuspecting restaurant--from Orangette blogger Molly Wizenberg and her chef hubby Brandon Pettit--offers seasonal, wood-fired pizzas with very few extras; just make sure you have enough time to spend on the two-hour wait for a table and enough room after dinner to enjoy one of the gray-sea-salt-topped choco-chip cookies.
This Ballard bistro is a nod to every inviting cafe in Montmartre, with a little bit of Seattle-style sustainability thrown in for good measure. The restaurant boasts a black-and-white dining room decked in Parisian flea-market finds, but the real draw is the back bar, where the kitchen serves up casual French fare--mussels, croque monsieur and salads full of the produce grown on the property's rooftop garden.
Vegan cooking is one of those things that can either be awe-inspiring or awfully bad depending on who's behind the stove. Fortunately for Seattleites, Plum features one Makini Howell--a vegan chef who's already proven she knows what she's doing at her other restaurant Hillside Quickie. She turns out decidedly unpretentious (but seriously delicious) dishes like po' boys, burgers, kebabs and more, all meat-, dairy- and egg-free.
Ethan Stowell is the veritable King Midas of the Seattle dining scene, so it's no wonder that this Capitol Hill eatery--Stowell's fourth--is golden. Those who like the prominent chef's small plates and pastas will appreciate the market-driven menu of seasonal items, though unlike his other endeavors, the focus here is clearly seafood. Look for unusual options like geoduck crudo and tagliarini with sea urchin.
Since this warm, welcoming place opened at the very beginning of 2009, it may now seem like old news to the many Wallingford residents who think of this as a second home. And with a menu full of simple Italian dishes--ranging from persimmon salad to potato gratin, handmade pumpkin mezzaluna to pork cheeks--dining here is sort of like eating at home, if you happen to live with an Italian grandmother (who is a much better cook than you) and a sommelier who knows how to pick the perfect local and Italian wines.
It may be too early to call this Lower Queen Anne stunner one of the best restaurants of 2009--after all, it only opened weeks before the year's end--but we're going to go ahead and prophecy that Toulouse Petit only gets better with time. You can get breakfast, lunch and dinner here, but the French-Creole cuisine is best enjoyed after dark, when you dine by the light of the hundreds of candles that line the walls.