Although take-out is the main business at this local chain, you can also dine in on fresh pasta, meats, sides and scrumptious desserts. Seasonal changes keep things fresh; past favorites have included penne with smoked mozzarella, beef tenderloin grilled with an herb rub and parmesan smashed potatoes. Already-prepared frozen foods like black bean lasagna and veal cannelloni are an easy solution for an impending dinner party. Save room for chocolate cupcakes, lemon tarts and ginger crinkle cookies. For more than thirty years, Pasta & Co stores have become local icons in the Seattle area, and their pick-up items prove especially perfect for sunny day-picnics spent in Bellevue parks.
Recommended for Bellevue's Best Lunch because: Although take-out is the main business at this local chain, you can also dine in on fresh pastas, meats, sides and scrumptious desserts
Corinne's expert tip: Find this popular spot in Bellevue and University Village. As part of their pure food commitment, the company contributes 1% of all sales to The Beecher's Foundation.
Whether it's rare or well-done, prime beef is this steak house's trademark. A favorite of the business set, the place exudes class with its soft, rich carpets and paneled private rooms. Each sublime cut of meat boasts sensational flavor and texture thanks to a signature "cooked from the top down" technique. À la carte items include gulf shrimp in creole rémoulade sauce and crispy French-fried onion rings. If you make it to dessert, consider a luscious chocolate praline encore or maybe chocolate chunk bread pudding. According to their website, "The best USDA Prime Steak is at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Bellevue, Washington. With our special 500° sizzle and award-winning wine list, we make any occasion an extra-special one."
Recommended for Bellevue's Best Lunch because: The Ruth's Chris Steak House in Bellevue features a special 500°-sizzle SDA Prime Steak and an award-winning wine list.
Corinne's expert tip: Enjoy a prix-fixe lunch that includes a starter, entrée and a personal side for $31.95.
LunchBox Laboratory got its start in a 400-square-foot building in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood "by the MacGyver-like culinary vision of Food Alchemist Scott Simpson. The original concept was born of Scott's love for his mother." The quirky venue mixes nostalgic Americana comfort food with an off-the-wall twist, and menu items here include the "As Seen On TV Dork burger," the "Burger of the Gods," the "Astronauts Mimosa" and items such as: "Hong Kong Buffalo Wings," "Goldfish Mac and Cheese" and the "Drunken Elvis" liquor-infused shake. Be sure to check out items on the weekly "experimental" menu like the "Bahn, James Bahn."
Recommended for Bellevue's Best Lunch because: LunchBox Laboratory proves a whimsical spot for sandwiches and burgers with a twist (and creatively kooky names!) plus boozy shakes and other unexpected treats.
Corinne's expert tip: Check out items on the weekly "experiment" menu like past gems –the "Bahn, James Bahn" (Dork Patty, pickled daikon and carrots, fresh sliced jalapeños and English cucumber with a sweet chili mayo) or the "Psychedelectable" (signature beef patty, grilled onions, sautéed mushroom blend, Swiss cheese and a black garlic truffle-mayo).
This simple, elegant bistro offers an appealing mix of American favorites with a menu showing influences from France, Italy and South America. The minimalist decor is serene and upscale with white tablecloths, neutral colors and candlelight. Start with a bottle of wine from a list of more than 100, and then try an entree such as roast duck with cranberry sauce and veal sirloin in wild mushroom sauce. The dessert selection changes daily, but look for the highly recommended pecan pie. Reservations recommended. While the venue is open seven days a week, lunch is served Monday through Friday. Bis on Main features Late Night Happy Hour seven nights a week in the cozy bar and lounge.
Recommended for Bellevue's Best Lunch because: Enjoy lunch Monday through Friday at Bis on Main, a simple and elegant bistro that serves American favorites influenced by global cuisines.
Corinne's expert tip: Bis on Main features Late Night Happy Hour seven nights a week in the cozy bar and lounge. Monday through Thursday, Happy Hour commences at 8:30 p.m., at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and all night on Sundays (from 4:30 p.m. until closing).
Lunchtime diners on the Eastside love popping into Bellevue's LifeCafe (connected to Life Time's spacious health club). Here it's easy to pick up fresh and healthful items that are made using only real, wholesome ingredients–, all free of artificial additives. Enjoy fresh grab-and-go goodies from the fridge, or sit in the sleek cafe to leisurely enjoy your meal on-site. Build your own shake or smoothie (the Vegan PB & B Shake is wildly popular!), or dig into a variety of health-conscious bowls, sandwiches, salads and flatbreads. For a surprisingly filling lunch, order the Chef Dodge Bowl, –a delightful combo of garlic-herbed chicken, grilled artichoke, roasted yellow tomato, squash, zucchini, red and yellow peppers, red onion, broccoli and cauliflower rice with citrus-garlic aioli.
Recommended for Bellevue's Best Lunch because: Enjoy a fresh, healthy and speedy lunch at Bellevue's LifeCafe, connected to Life Time's spacious health club.
Corinne's expert tip: Although the cafe is open to non-members, too, the venue is connected to Life Time's spacious health club. Stock on up on healthy, ready-made meals while you're here!
Emphasizing seafood from the Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest, this innovative, upscale restaurant is one of the best reasons to make a short trip east to Bellevue. Featured main dishes include Chef John Howie's all-time favorite classic entrees like Cedar Plank Wild King Salmon and Ancho-Chili Steelhead. For patrons with something more casual in mind, the raw bar serves some of the area's best-shucked oysters. Enjoy lunch here Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. (If you stick around for longer, happy hour happens on those days from 3:30 until 6 p.m.). Gluten-free diners find a lunchtime menu featuring Mahi Mahi and rockfish tacos.
Recommended for Bellevue's Best Lunch because: Emphasizing seafood from the Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest, this innovative, upscale restaurant is one of the best reasons to head east to Bellevue.
Corinne's expert tip: Seastar Restaurant offers ample parking at any time of day in its secure underground parking garage.
There's a cool wine bar-meets French bakery in Bellevue that's proving a unique destination for a variety of reasons. In the Cépaé Tasting Room (pronounced 'Seh-pay-eh), patrons enjoy the largest selection of wines by the glass offered in the region (with an emphasis on Old-World options). The venue uses the Le Verre du Vin system, allowing capacity for its entire portfolio of 120-plus bottles to be poured by the glass. French owner Julien Hervet is breaking the mold by importing European wines that no one else here sells (the venue represents world-renowned winemaker Bernard Magrez Vignobles exclusively for Washington State). Sharing the sleek, airy space, La Parisienne French Bakery features delicious food that seemingly transports diners as they dive into a delectably authentic croissant, pain au chocolate, quiche and tartine offerings. The lunchtime menu focuses on classic French fare like the Salade Niçoise and Soup à l'Oignon.
Recommended for Bellevue's Best Lunch because: Savor the best of Old-World wine and authentic, fresh fare in Bellevue's Cépaé Tasting Room and La Parisienne French Bakery.
Corinne's expert tip: More than 85 percent of the wines available cost $20 or less by the glass, allowing patrons to try a vasty array of varietals. Be sure to pick up a bottle or two in the retail shop before heading home!
Expertly prepared Vietnamese cuisine consistently draws a hungry crowd to this family-run restaurant. 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 weekend dim sum brunch (Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Guests also enjoy happy hour in the bar and lounge from 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. (as well as a late-night happy hour from 10 to 11 p.m. in the bar).
Recommended for Bellevue's Best Lunch because: Expertly prepared Vietnamese cuisine consistently draws a hungry crowd to this family-run restaurant, especially at lunchtime.
Corinne's expert tip: Find free parking behind the restaurant. Find more details here: http://www.monsoonrestaurants.com/monsoon-bellevue-parking
Lively, casual, welcoming. Wrought iron fixtures, poured concrete floors, and old-brick walls. More than 70 wines available by the pour or in flights. It's an excellent destination whether you're on a date, meeting with friends or holding a business function. There are four locations in the Seattle metro area, and you can reserve your table at their website, so no matter where you're closest to, you're close to an excellent afternoon or evening with wonderful food and amazing wines. Every day from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Bellevue, Kirkland and Woodinville locations, the happy hour menu means $2 off drinks. Yet, more exciting news? Diners can snack on discounted, delectable dishes like gorgonzola-stuffed dates, calamari and steamed Manila clams.
Recommended for Bellevue's Best Lunch because: In Bellevue, enjoy lunch in this sleek space that serves deletable dishes like gorgonzola-stuffed dates, calamari and steamed Manila clams.
Corinne's expert tip: Daily at the Bellevue, Kirkland and Woodinville locations, from 3 to 6 p.m., the happy hour menu offers $2 off drinks and an array of discounted dishes like gorgonzola-stuffed dates, mini-baked brie, shoestring fries, calamari and steamed Manila clams.
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 multiple outposts of this delectable, raved-about restaurant here in their 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 creative noodle and rice dishes. The restaurant opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Recommended for Bellevue's Best Lunch because: Din Tai Fung is world-renowned for its soup dumplings and noodles; Seattleites are thrilled to have multiple outposts including one in Bellevue.
Corinne's expert tip: Check out regional outposts in Bellevue as well as in downtown Seattle and University Village. The wait can be long, but it's always worth it!