At 10Best, we're always on the lookout for Bellevue's best restaurants–gems that make a trip to the Eastside even more alluring. And while we appreciate venues that offer a broad culinary range, we can't help but adore restaurants that specialize in a single cuisine.
When we're in the mood for Asian food in Bellevue, we head to Hunan Garden (a reader favorite), or we count on Chantanee Family Thai Restaurant's solid track record and consistently great dishes. You'll find these places–and any of the restaurants on our list–to be fantastic options for Asian cuisine.
While seafood reigns at kitchens across the Pacific Northwest, Bellevue in particular features a bounty of ethnic eateries, with Asian cuisine often stealing the show. (The Northwest may be known for salmon and Dungeness crab, but cultural foodies from across the region often trek to Bellevue to explore and expand their mealtime horizons.) We wish you a happy and delicious journey!
Ask around, and you'll quickly discover that Wild Ginger is a definite Seattle favorite. The James Beard Award-winning restaurant that introduced the satay bar to the US also welcomes an eclectic mix of business people, families and celebrities. Fragrant Duck is the signature dish, but Pow Wok Lamb and Drunken Quail are excellent choices as well. At the lively bar, enjoy a vibrant buzz, an award-winning wine list and great happy hour specials. (The downtown Seattle location, attached to popular, subterranean music venue Triple Door and its Musicquarium Lounge, proves the perfect spot to grab a delicious meal before hearing live tunes.) (206-623-4450)
Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung was founded in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1958 as a cooking oil retail shop, before transitioning in 1972 into a full-fledged restaurant. It has since become world-renowned for its soup dumplings and noodles, and Seattleites are thrilled to have two outposts of this delectable, raved-about restaurant here in their fair city. (The tradition of Din Tai Fung continues in global locations like Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Thailand.) Guests laud the shrimp and pork shao mai dumplings, as well as other, noodle and rice dishes. ((206) 525-0958)
Flo Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar
The stylish, romantic Flo Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar caters to all the senses and is perfect for a first date or for taking the family out for a nice dinner. Known for its freshly prepared sushi, Flo also features a variety of hot selections, such as the shrimp and vegetable tempura and chicken teriyaki. Visitors can even opt to let the chef decide with a specially prepared featured meal. No matter the occasion, you can expect the finest service and food at Flo Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Bellevue. Check out happy hour specials that include house sake or saketini cocktails. (425-453-4005)
P.F. Chang's China Bistro
This fashionable Chinese bistro gets high marks with Seattle's trendier diners, who adore the contemporary interior and eclectic menu. Start with do-it-yourself lettuce wraps – these alone are worth the trip. Afterwards, go any route you like, from Szechwan to Hunan, Cantonese to Shanghai. Chang's daily specials are always worth considering – keep your fingers crossed that they include Szechwan shrimp or pan-fried noodles. According to owners, "Many guests don't realize that P.F. Chang's has a scratch kitchen...We hire chefs, not kitchen managers. Even the simplest tasks, like julienning carrots, are done with passion. The pinches and folds in the dim sum must be perfect." This attention to detail has helped the restaurant gain longstanding popularity. (425-637-3582)
Expertly prepared Vietnamese cuisine consistently draws a hungry crowd to this family-run restaurant in Bellevue (with another popular location in Capitol Hill). The menu changes seasonally and offers an extensive selection. Vegetarians relish the lemongrass tofu, while omnivores delight in the rich flavors unleashed in banana leaf-wrapped halibut and tamarind soup. Efficient service and reasonable prices add to the appeal, as does a rocking weekend dim sum brunch that takes place on Saturdays and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (The Capitol Hill outpost recently unveiled a stunning new rooftop deck, perched high in the trees above 19th Avenue East.) (425-635-1112)
Tokyo Japanese Restaurant
Your search for the perfect sushi joint ends at the Tokyo Japanese Restaurant in Bellevue. Serving fresh, quality sushi, Tokyo Japanese Restaurant features all the favorites, including California rolls, tempura, scallops and more. At lunchtime, try the Bento Box special with sushi, sashimi and sunomono, served with the "freshest ingredients" and miso soup. For dinner, try one of the restaurant's many Japanese platters and combination plates. Try the seafood combination or ginger pork with their homemade ginger sauce. They also offer a variety of combination plates, which include a house salad, soup and rice, with your choice of two items. (425-641-5691)
Noted for serving some of the best lunchtime dim sum east of the International District, Noble Court is a treasure when it comes to lunchtime options in Bellevue. The neon-heavy decor in no way anticipates the quality of the Cantonese-heavy menu. Featured dishes range from sautéed Szechuan-style prawns to General Tso's chicken, orange sesame beef, seafood hot pots, stir-fried clams and black beans, and steamed salmon filet. Wednesdays through Saturdays, Noble Court features live entertainment, and happy hour deals take over Mondays through Fridays from noon to 6 p.m. Settle into the 250-seat dining room, and enjoy Hong Kong Szechuan-style Chinese cuisine Dim Sum seven days a week. (425-641-6011)
Surprising flavor combinations and innovative dishes break the mold of traditional Chinese eats at Shanghai Cafe, making it a welcome departure from the norm. The restaurant's strip-mall facade and casual decor belie the food's quality and presentation. Try an appetizer of chili-spiked cucumber or the "vegetarian goose," which pairs shiitake mushrooms and tofu. Enticing entrees include sautéed sugar peas, a cilantro-tinged dish that combines chicken and jellyfish, and the house specialty: addictive, hand-shaved barley green noodles with your choice of meat. For dessert, try the pan-fried red bean cakes. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays. (425-603-1689)
Top Gun Seafood
Admittedly, picking one or two top-notch restaurants from the many located throughout Seattle can be a daunting task. Top Gun, though, makes at least one of the choices a no-brainer; its famously tasty dim sum and traditional Chinese fare attract a large number of fans every day, especially at lunch. White linens and friendly service are added perks. Best of all, prices won't send you running to the bank for a loan. Well-known for their dim sum menu, served daily until 3 p.m., Top Gun also features perks like food with no MSG added, a premium selection of Chinese teas and a full-service bar. (425-641-3386)
Chantanee Family Thai Restaurant
Loyalists at this family-run Bellevue institution show up regularly to feast on well-spiced Thai favorites like crispy spring rolls, garlic chicken, seafood dishes and classic pad thai. The lengthy menu also features plenty of vegetarian options, and the atmosphere combines relaxed attitude with upscale, authentic decor. Consider starting with appetizers like golden prawns, calamari rings and fish cakes, before moving on to main dishes like Swimming Rama, Thai BBQ Chicken, Duck Curry, Noodle Soup, Lemongrass Chicken/Pork/Prawns, Crispy Garlic Tofu and Garlic Lover's Delight (served with your choice of meat). The restaurant is closed on Sundays; note that parking is free in the Key Center all day with validation. (425-455-3226)
About Corinne Whiting
Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's backpacked around Australia, taught English in Argentina and explored (so far!) countries from Cambodia and Egypt to Turkey and China.
Corinne served as associate editor at Where magazine for five years; as a freelancer, she now writes for publications like National Geographic Traveler and Amtrak's OnTrak. Here in the lovely Northwest, she's attempting to debunk the rain myths, up her coffee and live music quotient and find her Zen near/on the water.
Read more about Corinne Whiting here.
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