I often get asked what Americans eat besides burgers and hot dogs. The truth is that American cuisine is actually a mix from all the immigrant cultures that make up the U.S. It's actually quite difficult to find a dish that is uniquely "American", without the influence of another country. Our cooking style has a lot of French and Italian influences, and when I cook at home I mix in Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Hungarian, Mediterranean, Middle-eastern, and other styles of cooking.Heirloom Tomatoes at Tilth
Eating out is a great way to explore the variety of cuisines that are offered in our area. We are really lucky to live in an area with such great cultural diversity and so many great restaurants.
In the U.S. there are many chain restaurants such as Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, Maggianos, PF Changs, and many more. These restaurants can be found in every state and major city in the U.S. Often the quality of the food is not so great, and the portion size is HUGE!! Too big for the average eater!!
I prefer to try the smaller, locally owned restaurants, which typically have more limited menus, with more carefully prepared food, and smaller portions.
I'll list some of my favorites here, and I hope readers will add their favorites to the comments section of this blog.
Some of my favorite "New American-Style" restaurants in Seattle & Bellevue:
Small Plates Restaurants--
These restaurants offer small plates of food that are meant to be shared at the table. The idea is to order many small plates to try a nice variety of food. They use fresh, local ingredients. This is one of my favorite types of restaurants.
My Seattle favorites: Pair, Tilth, and Lark. These three are worth a special trip into Seattle!
In Bellevue, there is one 'small plates' restaurant called Black Bottle (no children allowed at this restaurant/bar)
The roasted beet & blue cheese salad at Canlis
Steak is a typical dish in the U.S. and steakhouses are popular restaurants. Steakhouses can be very expensive, and the portions are quite large, so it's often a good idea to share a meal.
In Bellevue & Seattle: Daniel's Broiler and El Gaucho
In Seattle: Metropolitan Grill
In Kirkland: The Keg
If you want a really special meal to celebrate an anniversary or special occasion, there are a couple of amazing restaurants that are nationally known. Be prepared to spend an arm and a leg for a meal at these restaurants ;-) They are both extremely expensive, but both are exceptional and worth the splurge for a special occasion:
Canlis in Seattle
The Herb Farm in Woodinville
We are lucky to have a tremendous variety of ethnic and international restaurants. Please share your favorites with us!
Here are some of my favorites for International Cuisine:
Golden Chopsticks in Redmond Town Center. It's owned by a local family from Hong Kong.
In Bellevue- Cantinetta and Mercato Stellina. Both are owned by the same family and have delicious handmade pastas and pizzas.
In Seattle- Spinasse and Tavolata for handmade pastas, and Delancey for handmade, wood-fired pizza.
In Kirkland- Volterra for handmade pastas, and Cafe Juanita for fine dining.
In Bellevue- Din Tai Fung dumpling house, and our own ELLA member Winnie's 101 Yess Taiwanese bakery
In Bellevue- Caspian
In Bellevue & Seattle- Monsoon
In Kirkland & Seattle- Bahn Mi sandwiches at Plume
In Seattle- Bastille, Cafe Campagne, RN74, Maximilien, and Luc
In Bellevue- Chantanee
In Bellevue- Taj Palace
In Seattle- Marrakesh
In Seattle- Lola
In Bellevue- Flo
In Bellevue, Redmond, and Woodinville- Ooba Tooba's
So, these are my suggestions. What are yours? Let us know your favorites!