The drawbridge clanks loudly, the troll under Aurora gnarls and the silver rocket proclaims the neighborhood slogan of Quirkas Libertas! Welcome to Fremont: set your watch back five minutes. Fremont exists in a state of harmony with its come-as-you-are appeal, strange artwork, and undiluted weirdness. Pubs with brilliant microbrews dominate this young and lively quarter of Seattle, however there is still a wide variety of eateries clustering tightly by funky boutiques, vintage shops, and used bookstores. Discover your favorite restaurant at the self-proclaimed Center of the Universe.
Restaurant Price Code: Each amount is based on a meal with no wine:
$$$ Higher Priced- Most meals $10-15
$$ Moderately Priced- Most meals between $5-10
$ Lower Priced- Most meals around $5
$$$ 35th Street Bistro is affectionately known as “The Bistro” to locals who keep returning for the extensive wine list and European cuisine with a Northwestern lean, like Penn Cove mussels and fries or grilled scallop and duck confit salad with asparagus. Intimate tables inside and out encourage a pleasant atmosphere; this is the kind of place where you get the feeling that everyone is having a great conversation along with their Brillat-Savarin cheese. Servers are consistently competent and good looking; save room for the flourless chocolate-espresso cake (open daily for lunch and dinner and for brunch on the weekend, closed Monday, 709 N. 35th St., 206-547-9850).
$$ Costa’s Opa Greek Restaurant could not be more Greek, with every inch of wall space covered in black and orange urns and posters of the turquoise Aegean, Orthodox prayer beads for sale, and busy Greek waitresses. The food does not disappoint: the enormous salads are fresh and filling and the gyros a festival of feta, crunchy veggies, and long strips of meat. Free baklava all around for dessert! (open daily, belly dancing Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:30 PM, 3400 Fremont Ave. N., 206-633-4141).
$$ Dad Watson’s pours pints from the McMenamins Brewery, beers which you can only enjoy in their alehouses around the Pacific Northwest. The indifferent yet somehow loveable waitresses bring serious beers with names like Hammerhead, Korkscrew, and Terminator Stout. The food is substandard even for pub fare; with rubbery burgers and under-the-weather salads you are best having a draught here before heading to your final eating destination (open daily, 3601 Fremont Ave. N., 206-632-6505).
$ The Dubliner remains a favorite of the natives and is in every way more bar than restaurant, as pool tables, blaring TVs and a giant bar attest to. They do claim to serve food however, with $1 tacos all day on Tuesdays! If you like ‘em big, loud, rowdy, and Irish, the Dubliner is for you (opens at 4PM daily, 3515 Fremont Ave. N., 206-548-1508).
$ E.T.G. is more Seattle than Starbucks itself. The miniscule coffee shop blasts loud, bizarre music which shakes the two chandeliers crammed inside the cafe along with the “coffee, scones, pastries and live girls” advertised on the window. The quiches are perfect for picnics; get one with your latte and take it down canal side for an impromptu open-air breakfast, or pull a local and enjoy your fix at the outside bar (open daily, 3512 Fremont Place N., 206-633-3685).
$$ Jai Thai Fremont serves tasty Thai cuisine in an artistic setting of swimming fish and intricate wooden carvings, the most distinctive of their three Seattle locations. The phud thai with chicken, beef, tofu or prawns is dependably delicious, though the spiciness rating of zero to four stars is not- if in doubt, go for a lower number. Grab the cushion seats in the window box with friends, or pull up a stool in the welcoming bar area if you are alone (open daily, 3423 Fremont Ave. N., 206-632-7060).
$ Mad Pizza provides the populace with whole pies or pizza by the slice under the motto “We’re Committed!” The tiny place has all the ambiance of a back kitchen and only a few tables, however they are almost always full of patrons thoroughly enjoying the daily specials, microbrews, and pick-your-own combinations like fresh garlic, jerk chicken, and artichoke hearts (open daily, 3601 Fremont Ave. N., 206-632-5453).
$$ Nectar boasts the best happy hour in Fremont, lasting from 4PM to 7PM and serving $5 gourmet pizzas and $4 bruschetta melts and antipasto plates. The large leafy patio is perfect in summertime for cocktails, and live bands play at least five nights a week. The music is usually free, but be prepared to pay a cover on weekend nights (open daily, 412 N. 36th St., 206-632-2020).
$$ Norm’s Eatery and Ale House is a place you can unwind, enjoy comfort food, and watch the game on a couch with your friends and your dog? Whether health code approved or not, dogs are allowed in this friendly pub, creating a legion of die-hard local fans and their slobbering companions. The canine inspired décor sees a bit of crazy on weekend evenings, but during the week the place is downright chill- don’t miss the homemade potato chips (open daily, 460 N. 36th St., 206-547-1417).
$ Postmark Gelato lives at an ideal location right by the famous Lenin statue; contemplate the social effects of communism at an outdoor table by a charming fountain and mosaic flooring. Write home about the gelatos and sorbettos, which are bound to please no matter which of the 24 varieties you choose (rose, lychee, or strawberry-jalapeño, oh my!). True to name there are tons of artsy postcards to browse or buy, and the Postmark also serves uninspired if not cheap grilled paninis (open daily, 3526 Fremont Place N., 206-545-7566
$$ The Red Door has a red door and a reputation. This reincarnated Fremont institution once served tough bikers and now serves mean sandwiches; here you find better than average pub fare like BLTs and sourdough guacamole burgers. The young crowd can be quite noisy, especially on the weekends. They come for the beer; over a dozen varieties of local and imported brews give the place an undeniable alehouse feeling, which the beer label wallpaper drives home nicely. Tall windows bestow the bar with an unusually open feeling, though the patio is typically a bit more tranquil (open daily, 3401 Evanston Ave. N., 206-547-7521).
$$ Roxy’s Diner attempts to serve East Coast fare in the rainy city. With black and red vinyl booths, a lime green piano and 2-D murals, the décor aims for eclectic and hits incongruent. The long menu is heavy on sandwiches (with bagel bread as the specialty) and breakfast dishes which are served all day in the relaxed diner, where you just may be able to share a drink with the chef at the bar (open daily, 462 N. 36th St., 206-632-3963).
$$ Silence-Heart-Nest Restaurant dishes up an assortment of vegetarian and vegan dishes with décor reminiscent of your kindergarten classroom: white tables and chairs, giant primary color scribbles and finger-painted masterpieces on the walls. The menu goes beyond macaroni and cheese however, listing everything from Texas eggs to vegetable curry, all made with natural ingredients. The food is fresh and to the point, however the straightforwardness can taste a little bland (open for breakfast and lunch, closed Tuesday, 3508 Fremont Place N., 206-633-5169).
$ Simply Desserts simply dazzles the senses and is a dream-come-true for sweettooths. The bakery has received repeated awards for its insanely delectable cakes, tortes, cheesecakes, cookies, cupcakes, and brownies. Whether you choose the lemon coconut cake, the chocolate velvet torte, or the kahlua swirl cheesecake, rest assured your treat was made from scratch and will go perfectly with a double espresso (opens at noon, closed Monday, 3421 Fremont Ave. N., 206-633-2671).
$$ The Triangle Lounge (also called the Triangle Tavern) is better known for its bar rather than its run-of-the-mill pub food (just follow the giant neon sign that says “PRESCRIPTIONS”) but there is a gang of outdoor tables and absolutely no better place to people watch in Fremont. Ask the bartender Dustin for the Fremont special (open daily, 3507 Fremont Ave. N., 206-632-0880).
$ Yak’s Teriyaki is just like every other teriyaki joint in Seattle; for a little cash you get a few sticks of teriyaki meat on a bed of rice accompanied by an egg roll, lettuce salad, and soy and sesame sauce. The formula is basic but not broken, and the fast service makes for a good lunch to go (open daily, 3424 Fremont Ave. N., 206-632-0560).