Your Seattle Restaurant Questions Answered: Best Banh Mis,Casual Date Spots and Laotian Food

Plus: Where to eat in Maple Leaf
| Updated: August 28, 2019
Lucinda Grain Bar is a great spot for a casual date, according to our editor-in-chief Chelsea Lin

With so many restaurants to choose from, and many more sprouting up every week, choosing where to dine out in Seattle can make for some overwhelming decision making. Luckily, our editor-in-chief Chelsea Lin has you covered with some of her recommendations from birthday outings to Bellini cravings through our weekly Instagram Q&A.

Have a question for Chelsea? Submit here.

Best restaurant for 21st birthday for a guy? 

I guess this depends on how rowdy you want to get… Someplace like Rhein Haus or Flatstick Pub would be fun because there are drinks, food AND an activity to do. 

Best banh mi? 

I have two favorites: Lan Hue in the International District, which make their own everything, and Yeh Yehs up in Lynnwood. But because I work downtown, I’ve been spending a lot of time at Mr. Saigon, and both the banh mi and spring rolls there are solid. 

Any good Laotian food in Seattle?

Yes! I love Lao food. Vienthong is probably my favorite, though there are a few spots that serve Northern Thai food from that’s really similar to Lao food: Check out Isarn and Pestle Rock, too. 

Best takeout food in Rainier Beach? 

Rainier Restaurant and BBQ is some of the best Vietnamese food in town… Some of the dishes, like a whole fried catfish for example, isn’t great when ordered as takeout. In fact, I’d always advise against deep fried anything not eaten immediately. But grilled pork chops or stir fried ong choy or combo rice plates—those are all great options. 

What’s a good spot for a casual date with my partner in North Seattle? 

I recommend going to Lucinda Grain Bar, which is chef Edouardo Jordan’s newest spot in Ravenna. It’s the easiest to just walk into, the drinks are great, it’s dark and romantic, and the food is perfect for sharing. Don’t skip dessert! 

Where are the best Bellinis? 

Bellinis are one of those drinks that remind me of places like the Olive Garden and hotel bars, and I don’t mean that in a bad way… I went down a rabbit hole trying to research this and couldn’t find one I’d recommend to you. So putting the call out there to you guys. Where are the bellinis at? 

New and very good neighborhood (read: possible to park) place for b-day dinner for 2 in Seattle? 

Have you been to Iconiq in Mount Baker? It isn’t necessarily new (new-ish?), but it’s a delightful neighborhood spot, feels very special and parking is generally a breeze. 

Best boozy shave ice joint in town? Research time!

The only one I know about is at Marination Ma Kai, which I’m guessing you probably know about… But demand is there, make it happen! 

Any restaurants of note in or near Maple Leaf? 

I live in Maple Leaf, and really, really love Kona Kitchen, which is exactly the kind of family-friendly neighborhood spot everyone needs in the neighborhood. Flying Squirrel Pizza is super good. And the Shambles opened last year, which is probably the best food/bar combo in the ‘hood. I just wish they were open later.  

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