Fall 2012's Most Exciting Restaurant Openings

On the table at one of Mamnoon's tastings

It seems there's a lull every late summer, a time when only a couple of restaurants open their doors. Makes sense: Most hope to open before the big summer eating rush, a time when profits can almost double thanks to extra seating outside, and extra drinking to toast blue skies and sun-kissed skin.

We're just coming out of that lull and we're now on the verge of another swell of restaurant openings. Here are a few of the restaurant's I'm excited about.

Shanik. Hoo boy. If you're one of the very many who make culinary trips to Vancouver *just* to eat at Vij's, you already know that Vikram Vij's wife, Meeru Dhalwala, is opening a restaurant in South Lake Union named for their daughter, Shanik. And I bet you're getting your tent ready to camp out front for a week to get a chance to eat there within a month of its opening. In case there's any doubt: This is the opening of the year, and a huge get for South Lake Union. Expect world-class Indian food, a separate market with foods and spices to-go, and a full bar program overseen by Mike Bernardo, Vij's Wine Director. And expect a ton of national press about this one.

Mamnoon. Unlike Shanik, Manoon's opening has been kept pretty well under-the-radar. But if you've eaten at Melrose Market in the last three months, you've likely noticed the busy, three story construction project across Melrose street. That'll eventually (hopefully before the end of the year) become Mamnoon. Middle Eastern food is sorely under-represented here in Seattle, and the owners of this restaurant are going to impressive lengths to create a world-class restaurant to celebrate the flavors of Lebanon and Syria. Capitol Hill Seattle blog has been all over this opening; read the latest about Mamnoon here. And for a (blurry) look at what the restaurant will look like when it's open, turn to Mamnoon's blog.

The Whale Wins and Joule. One of my favorite restaurants in all of Seattle, Joule, is reopening in, let's hope, the next three weeks or so. I've been keeping track of the opening on the restaurant's Twitter feed, from which I've learned they'll have outdoor seating and, thankfully, the kitchen bar seating will be replicated at the reborn Joule. Those seats in front of Rachel and/or Seif have always been my favorites.* The Whale Wins is Renee Erickson's latest, the menu centered around foods that will be cooked in a wood-fired oven. Coming off of the roaring success Walrus & Carpenter has had, expectations are high. The one thing Renee nails time and again (I mean, besides the food, which I've always found totally delicious at both Boat Street and Walrus) is a light, sophisticated look. At the Whale Wins we can expect a "lively, light filled, cottage-like space." Both restaurants will live in the newly remodeled Fremont Collective (along with the relocated EVO and a skate park in the basement).

Of course this is hardly a complete list of all of the restaurants opening this fall, these are just the biggies. For more details, check out Eater's preview and watch for more here this autumn.