One of the things I love most about food is experiencing different varieties of cuisines and their unique flavors. When I was a kid growing up in Seattle, there weren’t many options of Kosher cuisine, but I am happy to announce that things have changed for the better. Even though I now live in New York, people visiting my home town of Seattle are always asking me where they should eat if they are only visiting for a day or two. So here are my recommendations, which I must mention will be completely Kosher vegetarian under the supervision of the Vaad of Seattle, since there are no Kosher meat restaurants to visit. Just make sure the car you’re renting has enough gas because you will be doing quite a bit of driving.
Let’s begin with the traditional vegetarian Indian food at Pabla Indian Cuisine, which is the closest to SEATAC airport and the first stop on your Seattle Kosher culinary adventure.
I’m going to assume you just got off the airplane fresh and ready to go, so you hop in your car and drive to Renton in just 15 minutes. You don’t need to make a reservation, even at lunch time, so you easily find a parking spot and head inside.
Immediately, you are hit with the strong aroma of Indian cuisine. If you are at Pabla between 11 am and 3 pm, all you need to do is order the lunch buffet and grab a plate. Just head to the back of the restaurant where you will find a self-service counter and grab a little bit of everything. Since you can go back as many times as you want, I recommend starting with some appetizers then going back for the mains. I can honestly say that the samosas at Pabla are the best I’ve ever had, so definitely take two and don’t forget the Nan bread! Fill the little cups provided with all the different sauces and return to your table.
Once you’ve devoured your first round of food, you now have room to fill your plate with Navratan Korma, Aloo Gobi, Saag Paneer, Chicken and Lamb curry and Tandoori dishes. Did you get all that!?!?! Since some of those dishes might be spicy, don’t forget to take some extra Nan bread and the sweet mango lassi to ease the burn.
Okay, so I’m sure you’re very full and have probably purchased a few Indian items to-go at the restaurant’s grocery store. Now you’re on your way with a belly full of Pablas and a bag of diverse Indian pastries and spices. So digest in the car during your drive to the Island Crust Cafe on beautiful Mercer Island.
Time to hop, or at this point, roll back in to your car and drive 25 minutes downtown to Bamboo Garden, my favorite restaurant in not only Seattle, but possibly even the world! I know that sounds drastic but it’s the truth and I’m not afraid to say it! Bamboo not only brings back so many childhood memories, but the food is also unique and delectable.
Slide right on in to the booth, pick up your massive menu, and you will most probably wonder “What do I order?”. Well, I’m more than happy to share my favorites and there are quite a few to chose from.
My favorite soup is the Corn Chowder, which everyone calls “daily soup,” so I suggest you order a small bowl with sticky white rice on the side. Just add a little bit of the rice and some chili sauce, which is already on the table probably making your mouth water. My father likes to add soy sauce as well, so you can also do that. Either way, this soup will blow your mind. If you’re more into vegetable soup, I also suggest the Asparagus and Kernel Corn Soup, which is my mothers favorite.
Now for the main, there are almost too many options to chose from so I am going to just list my favorites and I suggest ordering at least two options. Make sure you let them know how spicy you want your food because they can make everything very mild or crazy spicy.
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed your Seattle Kosher culinary adventure in one day! Since you probably want to walk off some of that delicious vegetarian cuisine, I highly recommend taking a quick drive to Pike Place Market, which is only a hop, skip and a jump from Bamboo Garden and enjoy the sites and smells of my favorite public market.