Marination Ma Kai is a good excuse to visit West Seattle. The Stranger

• You want to sit outside with a beautiful view but don't want to pay a lot of money: Marination Ma Kai (for extra fun, take the King County Water Taxi from downtown), 1660 Harbor Ave SW, 328-8226.

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• Your parents, who love food but are not particularly adventurous, are coming to town and buying dinner: Palace Kitchen, 2030 Fifth Ave, 448-2001.

• Your parents, who love food and always want to try new flavors, are coming to town and buying dinner: Salare, 2404 NE 65th St, 556-2192.

• You are of legal drinking age, and love good food AND getting wasted: Neon Taco (inside Nacho Borracho), 209 Broadway E, 577-3045.

• You want to have the best of the international smorgasbord the University District has to offer before all the old buildings are torn down and made into condos: Chili's, 5002 University Way NE, 412-0874; Banh Mi Unwrapped, 4725 University Way NE, 456-7192; and Aladdin Gyrocery, 4139 University Way NE, 632-5253.

• You are going on a date and want to eat somewhere very romantic but totally affordable and unfussy: Machiavelli, 1215 Pine St, 621-7941.

• You're having brunch (or lunch or dinner) with your allegedly gluten-free friend: Señor Moose (homemade corn tortillas = naturally gluten-free), 5242 Leary Ave NW, 784-5568.

• You're having lunch with your truly, actually gluten-intolerant friend who really misses eating good bread: the newly opened Niche Gluten-Free Cafe and Bakery, 808 12th Ave, 999-2801.

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• You're having lunch with your carnivore friend who says he cannot get full without eating meat, but you want lots of real vegetarian options: Moonlight Cafe (there are two separate menus, one with lots of wonderful fake meat, the other with regular meat), 1919 S Jackson St, 322-3378. Or Meskel (he can get full on doro wat, you can glut yourself on spicy red lentils), 2605 Cherry St, 860-1724.

• You love gluten, soy, nuts, meat, spicy food, and flavor, and after eating with so many allergy-ridden people for so long, you just want to TASTE SOMETHING DELICIOUS, goddamnit: Joule, 3506 Stone Way N, 632-5685. recommended