The Infatuation is built on the idea of “Perfect For” categories, catering to assorted restaurant needs. Dinner With The Parents? Early-In-The-Game Date? You couldn’t get a babysitter and require someplace with enough ambient noise to drown out your child’s whining about misplaced parsley? We’ve got you covered.
But at times, there are scenarios that don’t quite fit these predetermined categories. And there is one such genre of restaurant that we get asked about over and over again – at parties, on camping trips, or in cardio kettlebell classes we don’t actually attend. It’s what we have come to call the “Super Cute Reasonably Priced Restaurant To Catch Up With A Few Friends” (SCRPRTCUWFF).
In general, SCRPRTCUWFFs are:
- Kind of quiet.
- But not super boring.
- Relatively small in size, or at least not huge.
- With entrées mostly under $20 (or equivalent).
Here are 12 of our favorite such places in Seattle. Now get out there and plan that Tuesday night dinner.
Pair5501 30th Ave NE
Pair is the grand champion of the SCRPRTCUWFF genre in Seattle. The old-school picnic baskets, red gingham drapes, and acoustic guitar soundtrack give it a small-town kind of feel, so “cute” is covered. Then there’s the fact that everything on the menu - including the tremendous steak frites - is under $20. (Other highlights are the gigante beans with feta, lemon, rosemary, and breadcrumbs, and the fontina mac and cheese.) Let the champagne flow and never let go of this place.
Capitol Hill is always a great area for catching up with friends, since there are so many options to choose from. When you want a quietish place you can get into easily, try Harry’s Fine Foods. The inside feels like an old-fashioned parlor crossed with a general store, and the food ranges from lasagna to grilled cheese to crudo to a f*cking great burger (with equally great fries). Aside from some $24 short ribs, the most expensive dish here is 17 bucks. Oh, and the negroni situation is fantastic.
Provided you show up at 5pm or make a reservation via email, The Independent Pizzeria in Madison Park is your ideal SCRPRTCUWFF pizza party scenario. The interior has a modern-Brady-Bunch-living-room kind of feel (if you get at least one “Oh, cute!” from your group, we’ve done our job), and the charred Neapolitan pies are both excellent and reasonably-priced. Don’t skip the caesar salad.
Chavez has a beach house atmosphere complete with wicker chairs, decorative tiles, and tables that look like they’re made out of driftwood. It also has chicharron guacamole, and nine different types of tacos. This place is ideal for mid-sized groups, with plenty of larger tables and and also plenty of margaritas to go around while you ask Brenda to recap her blind date disaster just one more time.
The Korean BBQ at Trove is not only very shareable - it’s also reasonably priced. We particularly like the kalbi-marinated wagyu, but everything here is tasty. Add a soju cocktail and take in the space, which reminds us a little bit of an IKEA. Fitting, since Jane is probably going to complain again about her new media center that took 62 hours to construct and was missing a bolt.
Cafe Flora2901 E Madison St
If you have some vegetarians in the group, Cafe Flora is the obvious move. It’s not too noisy, and the menu is full of meatless things that taste good, like hummus with fried olives, cheesy mashed potato tacos, and smoked mozzarella pizzas. Not only that, but the abundance of plants, indie wall art, and decorative logs make it look like part of a Colorado ski resort.
Olivia lives on the Eastside, and somehow always seems to get her way, so you better believe that the rest of the group is going to have to travel over the bridge to meet her. You’re a very patient friend, so you deserve a dinner at Deru Market in Kirkland. It’s in the middle of a suburb, but it looks like it could be in LA, with marble decor, a bunch of plants, and an indoor/outdoor situation for when the weather’s nice. Split some wood-fired pizzas, rosemary fries, the farm salad, a couple daily-rotating entrees like risotto, and, of course, a giant slice of salted peanut butter dark chocolate layer cake. Or coconut cake. Or both. Yeah, do both.
Bar Melusine definitely qualifies as “super cute,” with seafoam and white chevron tile, a marble bar, gold accents, and whimsical map artwork on the wall. But that’s not the only thing it has going for it. The French small plates, like oysters, fries, and charcuterie, are perfect for sharing - and the burger’s only $9.
Ciudad is an affordable spot for charcoal-grilled meats like harissa chicken, marinated hanger steak, and cider-brined pork. Come with your group and split some of those along with hummus, charred vegetables, and tasty flatbreads. Then, have some fun matching your friends’ personalities to the characters in the creepy cartoon wall mural. Just don’t compare Ginebra to the vampire werewolf if she can’t take a joke.
It’s not every day you get to eat dinner in a space that looks kind of like an old-fashioned train car - so do that at Pestle Rock with your friends. The Isan Thai menu here includes delicious things like chili chicken wings, spicy and sour pork belly stir fry, and panang salmon. They also make a mean Thai iced tea.
For something really casual, a diner’s always a great choice - and North Star Diner happens to be both good and also “super cute.” You can get pancakes or corned beef hash benedicts for dinner, the booths are covered in a glittery gold material, and there’s an entire wall dedicated to framed portraits of astronauts. We’re not sure why either - just go with it. If you feel like going out after dinner, just head next door to the Shanghai Room (owned by the same people) for some cocktails and karaoke.
Solid tacos, strawberry-tequila-campari slushies, and a room that looks like the result of a volcanic eruption involving pastel paint and Etsy stationery instead of lava. Copal doesn’t have the greatest Mexican food in the city, but belongs among the ranks of SCRPRTCUWFF because of its space alone. Get tacos, guacamole, and the aforementioned slushies, and you’ll be more than equipped to deal with the celebration of Dirk’s promotion that he won’t shut up about. By the way, your fake smile needs some work.