NFT Seattle Kirkland

Kirkland

Essentials
With a landscape view of the Seattle skyline, apartments and condos here will eat your paycheck like it's a steak dinner. A waterfront and a quiet, romantic lifestyle attracts retirees. Kirkland's pedestrian-friendly (translation: major traffic), village-like character is maintained by the assortment of little consignment boutiques, art galleries, coffee shops, and restaurants. The home of the original headquarters of Costco (hence the Kirkland Signature brand), Kirkland also hosts of the Junior League Softball World Series.

Sundries/Entertainment
Your Sunday plans: grab a newspaper and a latté at Caffe Ladro, take a walk with your dog and feed the ducks at Marina Park, satisfy your stomach with a juicy burger at The Slip, catch a musical performance at the See more.

>Kirkland Performance Center, then grab dinner at one of the many Thai restaurants. For the most authentic Japanese food on this side of the lake, it has to be Izumi, while Anthony's dishes out great seafood. If you must make a fool of yourself, there's karaoke at Pegasus Pizza and the "classy" Tiki Joe's Wet Bar.




         



On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Karen Watson
Photo:  Karen Watson

Santorini Greek Grill
Sometimes the simplest menus offer the best food and that's exactly the case at local favorite Santorini. Outstanding versions of Greek specialties are what are on offer in Diner-like surroundings dressed up with posters of idyllic Mediterranean islands. If you’re obsessed with the meat tornado like my boyfriend, you won't be disappointed with the giant Gyros and side of seriously best ever Greek salad. Vegetarians with big appetites will love the generous portion of falafel served over lemony feta laced rice and a side of warm pillow soft pita. Souvlaki, dolmas, hummus, and baklava complete the list of Greek menu must haves. But because it's small the menu allows the owners, who are Santorini natives and some of the most genuinely friendly people anywhere, to do things right by using quality ingredients and infusing all the food with fresh intense flavors. The prices may be about the same but this ain't no Pita Pit.



Posted By:  Meiwa Chen
Photo:  Meiwa Chen

Marina Park Grill
The Marina Park Grill near the Kirkland waterfront is usually packed in the summer, but I guess it's only for the waterfront atmosphere because the food was quite disappointing and not worth it. It was missing the flavor, that extra garnish, to make you want to come back. Sorry for the mental image, but the ahi tuna in the fish tacos was so dry and stiff I almost gagged on my own saliva while trying to chew it up, and the sourness of the tomato-sauce drenched cabbage didn't really help matters. Rest of the menu is typical American grill fare such as Caesar salad and fish and chips, but while there is an emphasis on seafood at dinner, I'd head down the street to the Fish Cafe. The service and view of Lake Washington is a lot better there too.



Posted By:  Meiwa Chen
Photo:  Meiwa Chen

Blue Fish Sushi Bar & Grill
Ok, so even though a friend more than agrees that this is really not a good place to go for Japanese food, I was asked not to rant about Blue Fish Sushi Bar and Grill because, by a few degrees of separation, he (or she, to remain anonymous) knows the owner. But I just have to. Blue Fish completely butchered the most basic and essential of Japanese dishes. If a Japanese restaurant's shoyu ramen is not remotely authentic, and when their curry comes out as bland, brown mush (it's supposed to smell and taste good, damn it!), then I'm not sure I should try their sushi. Glancing through the long menu made my mouth water, but all I got was tasteless, uh, jaw exercise. Afterwards, I found out why: the owner's not really Japanese. He's Korean.



Posted By:  Meiwa Chen
Photo:  Meiwa Chen

Hanuman Thai Cafe
I will never again go to a Thai restaurant with people than cannot and will not train their palates to tolerate and appreciate spicy food. Ever. Ordering family style of three to four dishes at a spiciness rating of 0-1 stars results in disappointingly bland and overcooked pad kee mao noodles and larb gai salads. But because it is Thai food, and because I am a Thai cuisine fanatic, I'm willing to give the Hanuman Thai Cafe the benefit of the doubt and try it again. Alone if necessary--just to be able to order 5 stars and experience the runny nose and water chugging. This place is tiny, cozy, and quite easy to miss; with less than 10 tables sometimes people sit and wait outside, even eating on the public street bench right outside the entrance door. Desperate measures are taken when people are desperate for spicy food.



Posted By:  Meiwa Chen
Photo:  Meiwa Chen

Downtown Kirkland Parking
Finding a place to leave your car takes practice in Kirkland. Parking times are meticulously enforced in the downtown area, and in some cases done the old-fashioned way: If there's a bright yellow line chalked on one of your rear tires, you've been red-flagged. When the troops come back 2-4 hours later (depending where you parked) patrolling in their little carts and see a car still there with that ill-fated chalk mark, cha-ching, you know you should have moved the car to avoid getting a ticket. But at least the pay parking here, at $1/hr, is more affordable than in downtown Seattle, where a quarter only buys you 10 minutes. Psst... the Municipal Parking Garage under the Kirkland Library gives you 4 hours of free parking, or if you must, all day parking for only $5.



Posted By:  Meiwa Chen
Photo:  Meiwa Chen

Kirkland Marina
The sun's still trying to come out, but the kids are running, parents are picnicking, the dogs is trotting, ducks waddling, and Frisbees are flying at Marina Park on the Kirkland waterfront. This place bustles with activity in the summer, with rich teenagers working on their tans on one of the many private boats docked here, and tourists boarding the Argosy boat for a guided cruise of Lake Washington in order to catch a glimpse of Bill Gates' house. Local residents, meanwhile, rock to the free, live music performances from the Music in the Park concert series held in July and August. Just be careful where you step--the ducks freely leave their muck behind on the grass.



Posted By:  Meiwa Chen
Photo:  Meiwa Chen

St. James Espresso
It took a couple inconspicuous side glances to realize that my fellow lazy Sunday coffee drinkers weren’t upset with me, but at the big screen television monitor I was sitting directly under (Mariners – 2, Yankees – 8). St. James Espresso may be the only coffee shop I’ve ever seen with three TVs hooked onto the walls that at times I thought I was in a really strange bar or a hospital waiting room, especially with the free wi-fi, games, magazines, newspapers, and books provided for you to pass the hours. But the paw print stencils on the backs of the chairs were cute. As for sustenance, however, their pricey espresso, hot panini sandwiches and soups, yogurts, fruit and pastries cater to those who can afford to live in Kirkland. Pretty pathetic that I kept refilling my cup with iced water instead of having another single tall non-fat no-whip mocha.



Posted By:  Meiwa Chen
Photo:  Meiwa Chen

This is the very first restaurant I remember going to as a kid, and twenty years later the same old, cute, kimono-wearing Japanese ladies are still serving food here at Izumi, gracefully shuffling around the restaurant in their slippers. While the service is very, very slow (like I said, gracefully shuffling--expect long waits even on weeknights), the food (very consistent, traditional Japanese) is worth the wait and has attracted a loyal stream of customers who fear word of this place getting out (tough). The dinner combinations are popular and sushi is extremely fresh, but if you get squirmy at raw fish, go for the sake-steamed clams and black cod teriyaki. Plus they have a fun (but very bitter) coffee jello for dessert.



Posted By:  Meiwa Chen
Photo: 

The Slip
After years of walking past it, I could never remember the name of this place (much less remember it even existed--it is, after all, "Washington’s Smallest Full Service Establishment"). I only knew it as the restaurant with the grill that "always smelled really good." There is usually a line out the door (seats no more than 25 people inside, more when warmer weather decides to appear for outdoor seating), and although service is pretty slow and spotty, I can say this is now my favorite burger place. With a full bar and numerous burger variations (Peanut Butter Bacon Burger for those that just rolled out of bed, Deluxe Earth Burger for vegetarians), get ready to get messy. The black bean and corn salsa in my thick Neno Chicken Burger slipped past the mushrooms and grilled onions, dripping all over my hands, while my friend stylishly finished her Salmon Broiler without even needing a napkin. Apparently it takes skill. Guess that's why it's called The Slip.



Posted By:  Meiwa Chen
Photo: 

Terra Bite Lounge
Terra Bite Lounge is proof that reverse psychology works. This social experiment of a coffee shop/café provides coffee and sandwiches—at the cost of your guilty conscience. That’s right, no fixed prices—you anonymously pay whatever you want in a locked box instead of handing your cash over to the cashier, since there isn’t even a register to begin with. You could even just come in at the end of the week and slip in a $20 bill for your week’s worth of lattes, or pay through Pay Pal over the internet. Terra Bite also tries to draw the public by providing free wifi and use of an Xbox machine, but don’t let the lack of comfortable lounging space (2 couches, 2 side tables and a long bar counter) put you off, as you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the coffee, and may be psychologically influenced to drop a few extra dollars into the box on your way out.



Posted By:  Meiwa Chen
Photo: 

Kahili Coffee
Ohhh the distance I would go for a couch. There are countless Starbucks (go figure) within a 10 minute drive from my house, but I stick my nose up in defiance, ignore the pinch in my wallet (spent on gas) and drive a little farther. Forget the stiff backbreaking wooden chairs you find at coffee chains and slowly sink into a plush, oversized couch right in front of the fireplace at Kahili Coffee in Kirkland. You’ll find a crowded, diverse bunch here from joggers taking a break reading the newspaper to college students glued to their laptops (free wi-fi!). There’s foamy floral designs in your 100% Kona coffee and eclectic music—which makes the atmosphere heavenly for a few hours of people-watching.




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See Kirkland...
Restaurants (18)
Nightlife (2)
Shopping (5)
Landmarks (2)