Category Archives: Restaurants

Cafe Flora

2901 E. Madison St.
Seattle, WA 98112
206.325.9100
www.cafeflora.com

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As a non-meat-eater for close to 30 years, I have loved dining at Café Flora during my life as a walker, a cane-user, a walker-user, and a wheelchair user.  I have made sure that all our out-of-town guests have sampled the amazing Cheesy Grits that accompany beautiful and delicious breakfast scrambles.  I have introduced lunch buddies

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to the addictive Portobello French Dip sandwich and perfectly crisped yam fries.  I have made a full dinner out of Café Flora’s wonderful coconut tofu appetizer, having to fight with daughters and sisters over that last cube of tofu.  I have felt lucky to be able to take my vegan and gluten-free friends to Café Flora for a meal that is creative, satisfying, and anxiety-free.

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Not only have I loved the food at Café Flora, but I have loved the space itself.  The garden room is a gorgeous place to dine whether in August with the sweet summer air wafting through the room’s open windows or in November with only the silvery Seattle light shining through.  I have also loved the staff.  They are attentive and interesting.  Such a frequent guest am I that once in a Thai restaurant a Café Flora waitress came up to me and said, “I know you from Café Flora.  Aren’t you the one who leaves the big tips?”

Because I love this place so much, it is very hard for me to give it only three and a half wheels, but in terms of access, there are some problems here.

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Ray’s Cafe

6049 Seaview Avenue NW
Seattle, WA 98107-2690
Cafe reservations: 206.782.0094
http://www.rays.com/

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Ray’s Café is the restaurant that we Seattleites show off to aunts, uncles, sisters, parents, cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends who are visiting from the Midwest, the Southwest, or any other place that is inland or dry.  At Ray’s Cafe we can give our visitors a water view so beautiful it will make them weep and a delicious taste of Pacific NW seafood without breaking the bank.   When my family comes to visit in the summer,  I’ll take them out for a meal on the Cafe’s famous deck and buy them a hat so they can sit there as long as they want staring at the play of light on water.  On a good day,  they’ll be this close to seals, ships heading out to sea from the Ballard Locks, and the majestic Olympics.

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If you are an old Seattle friend, I’ll ask you to meet me inside on a late Friday afternoon, so we can celebrate a long week at work with an exquisite drink from the Café’s bar and a smoked salmon skewer or bowl of corn and clam chowder.

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If it’s cold and gray out there, if the line between sky and water are blurred, if the mountains are tucked behind charcoal quilts, that’s fine, too.  Inside, the Café is warm, cozy, delicious.  Ray’s Café is a great spot, night or day, January or July, inside or outside, and it is easily accessible to people in wheelchairs.

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Saffron Grill

2132 N. Northgate Way
Seattle, WA 98133
206.417.0707
www.saffrongrillseattle.com

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My nephew, Tristan, was eight years old and visiting from Oregon when he tasted his first mango lassi at Muhammed Bhatti’s first Indian-Middle Eastern fusion restaurant in the University district.  Tristan’s response was to order a second.   Now grown up, well-travelled, and living in Seattle, he still declares that Bhatti’s lassis are the best there are.  And who wouldn’t agree with that?  Usually when the waiter comes over to take our drink orders, everyone at the table foregoes the bourbon to have the lassi.  Sometimes you just have to prioritize.  Other people will say that, yes, the lassis are good, but—really—you need to check out the garlic naan, the butter chicken, the palak massala, the pakoras…the list goes on but always, always the gulab jamun, those heavenly little spheres in that sweetly scented syrup!

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Serafina

2043 Eastlake Avenue East Seattle, WA 98102
206.323.0807
www.serafinaseattle.com

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Multiply-windowed and magically lit, Serafina is a sweet little Italian restaurant with an elegant but not fussy neighborhood feel.  White tablecloths, dark walls, twinkly lights, candles, and delicious food —every meal I’ve had there has been a joyful chorus of flavors, colors, aromas, and great company.  Even a lunch stop at Serafina, sandwiched into a busy workday, feels like a gift you are giving yourself, not because you deserve it but because you need a little time in the lush land of the senses.  In this particular trip to Serafina, I was joined by a delightful young woman who agreed to make the trip in a wheelchair herself in order to better understand the wheeled dining experience.  As usual, the dinner we had was delicious, and the service was attentive, generous, and warm.  (Really—is every server in Seattle wonderful?  I’m starting to think so.)
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Volterra

5411 Ballard Ave. NW
206.789.5100
http://volterrarestaurant.com/
Date of visit:  February 16, 2014

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Several years ago, when my nephew, a world-traveler, came to Seattle on a work-related visit, he and his colleagues invited us to dinner, asking us to choose the spot.  We wanted the space to be intimate and the food delicious, so we told them we’d meet them at Volterra.  Even with a GPS, it took them awhile to find the place, but once they arrived, we had a great dinner and a fun evening.  My nephew loved it.  He said, “I could have predicted I would like it.  That’s how I always know I’m going to be eating in a good restaurant when I’m traveling:  if it is hard to find and has no parking, it will be a great dinner!”

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Roosevelt Ale House

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824 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
206.527.5480
http://rooseveltalehouse.com/
Date of visit:  January 2014

The Roosevelt Ale House is a sweet neighborhood pub with a little something for everyone:  a patio area for hot summer days, big screen TVs playing the best game available, pool tables in the pool-table area, tall chairs next to tall tables and the tall bar, and a handful of regular tables in the regular-table area.  The restaurant serves creative mixed drinks and lots of beers on tap.  The food is not fancy but always delicious.  Hamburgers, chicken strips, the house aioli, French fries, a great selection of sandwiches and fresh salads—whatever you order, you will be glad you did.  There are vegetarian and gluten free options, and the staff are gracious about requests for slight shifts in the menu. The bartender and the wait staff are cheery, attentive, and accommodating.

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Poppy

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622 Broadway East Seattle WA 98102
206.324.1108
http://poppyseattle.com
Date of visit:  December 31, 2013 – New Year’s Eve

Usually included on any “best 10 restaurants in Seattle” list, Poppy restaurant is our family’s favorite place for special celebrations.  Everything about it is welcoming.  It can easily accommodate the food needs of carnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and others.  It is upscale without feeling stuffy.  It is beautiful without feeling old.  Every single taste served at Poppy is innovative and delicious—and you get to have many tastes!  The wait staff and greeters are kind, funny, knowledgeable, and professional.

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