Jack's Mainly Chinese Tapas: CLOSED (University District)

5211 University Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98105

Categories: Cafe, Restaurant

Restaurant Details

  • This is perhaps the greatest restaurant name in Seattle. It becomes all the more likeable when you learn that their tapas plates are the size of most other restaurants' entrées. It moves to fully loveable when you realize that there's no irony or camp intended by the name; this is a full-on ESL problem. This is one of the finest new Asian restaurants in Seattle, a city that doesn't suffer from a lack of fine Asian restaurants. Chef Jack Tai's fusion of neighboring cuisines is subtle, a mélange of his native Taiwan and the cuisines of northern and western China. The resultant mix of dishes seems wholly foreign to the average diner and wholly intuitive to the chef.
  • Features: Cheap Eats
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Serving Hours: Daily 11:30 am–2:30 pm, 5–9:30 pm
  • Price Range: $

The Stranger's Reviews of Jack's Mainly Chinese Tapas


Average Rating:
  • 4.60000/5 Stars.
Reviews/Comments (5) RSS

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A gormet meal for under $10

Jack's is probably the best Chinese place in North Seattle. If there is a better one, I cannot imagine in what way it could improve on the food offered here. Even though this is not Chinese food tailored for Americans, both westerners and the many Chinese nationals that I have eaten with here give the place high marks. The food here is cooked with true skill by a person (people?) who understands what quality authentic Chinese food should taste like. The flavor comes from the quality spices and fresh ingredients, rather than a mix of out-of-the-bottle sauces, MSG and sugar, as with the run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurant. On top of all this, there are no plastic buddhas or cheap painted scrolls on the wall. The place has a simple low-fi charm. Inside it looks like your average low-fi hipster neighborhood cafe with for-sale paintings on the wall, and the staff (mostly family?) is friendly, helpful and efficient. All of this is augmented by the presence of Jack's elderly parents who I have seen hanging out on the couch near the door and enjoying the cuisine every night that I have been there. They must be candidates for Luckiest Parents in the World.
Posted by Dave on August 22, 2008 at 2:18 PM · Report this

Hand Shaved

Hand shaved noodles - YES And the lamb stir fry, while you're at it. My first utterance is "what's good today," as I have got good advice that way.
Posted by juliabeard on May 23, 2008 at 3:11 PM · Report this


I really enjoyed eating here. I felt like Chinese, looked for a recommended place, tried the sesame scallion bread, and it was all good. I will definitely be going back. Staff made good suggestions based on what I was generally in the mood for.
Posted by PlatypusShankie on February 5, 2008 at 9:41 PM · Report this


Set aside your inhibitions and spin the wheel of destiny. Ignore the very small written menu and attempt to translate the specials on the boards around the place. Or just tell the waitress to bring you what she thinks is good. I almost never know what I'm having is called but it's almost always great.
Posted by dirge on June 5, 2007 at 12:24 PM · Report this

A gem

This place is just weird. Wonderfully weird. First off, "Mainly Chinese?" "Tapas?" "Cafe?" None of those words fit what this restaurant serves. It serves delicious Chinese and Taiwanese food. The flavors are unusual (lots of star anise, I think) and the scallion bread kicks your ass up and down the street. Super-friendly service. Huge specials board. I really can't sing their praises enough. Let's all make sure they stick around.
Posted by Red Roxy on May 15, 2007 at 9:50 AM · Report this

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Jack's Mainly Chinese Tapas
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