Rainier BBQ

Matt Dillon—of Sitka & Spruce, the Corson Building, and 2012 James Beard Award fame—says people keep telling him to try Rainier BBQ. About that name: Rainier BBQ is not on Rainier, and it's not American barbecue—it's on MLK, and the food is Vietnamese. Andy and Minh Chau opened Rainier BBQ in 1996 (when it was on Rainier, near Franklin High School); he was working in a shipyard, she at a supermarket. Going on two decades later (and now a couple miles south), they're still making cheap, good, authentic Vietnamese favorites. And if you ask for the other menu, you can try cobra, deer, alligator, or curry rabbit stir-fry. (Rainier BBQ, 6400 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, 760-1090) BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT

La Teranga and Afrikando Banadir

This summer, you will try Senegalese food. You must. And you can do so by visiting La Teranga and/or Afrikando Banadir, two newish and already beloved restaurants in Columbia City. Jill Lightner, editor of Edible Seattle, says of Senegalese food: "There's very simple roasted meat—fish, lamb, or chicken—finished off with sauces that are both puzzling (the sauce is really made from just onions and mustard?) and delicious. You end up feeling like your palate just had an exotic vacation that the rest of you didn't get to experience." Be sure to chase your meal with baobab juice, an iced bissap, or the pineapple yogurt drink. It's cheaper than airfare! (La Teranga, 4903½ Rainier Ave S, 725-1188; Afrikando Banadir, 5212 Rainier Ave S, 448-5183) MEGAN SELING

The Best Pizza

Setting aside the question of who makes the best New York–style pizza in town (that's a tie between Piecora's and Big Mario's, but you have to get a whole pie, as their slices sometimes leave something to be desired), let us turn to the fancier wood-fired/local/seasonal/etc. options. I suggest that you take the whole "best" thing with the boulder of salt it deserves and proceed to whichever of these is closest to your mouth: Delancey in Ballard, Bar del Corso on Beacon Hill, and the Independent Pizzeria in Madison Park. Summertime gives the Independent an advantage—it is right by Madison beach, with a wall of windows looking onto the lovely lake—but all three of these places make magic. (www.piecoras.com, www.big mariosnewyorkpizza.com, www.delanceyseattle.com, www.bardelcorso.com, www.theindiepizzeria.com) BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT

Fonda La Catrina

Cormac Mahoney, chef at Madison Park Conservatory and 2012 Food & Wine Best New Chef, suggests you go immediately to Georgetown's Fonda La Catrina because, he says, "In a sea of taco trucks and Azteca restaurants, they're doing something different." His favorite items on the menu include the pozole ("It's the best I've tasted in Seattle"), the pork tamales ("I'm a tamale whore—pork fat is one of the great things ever"), and the La Paloma, a combination of grapefruit juice and tequila. "It's a great way to wake up. Everyone should have tequila at eleven o'clock in the morning." Hear, hear. (Fonda La Catrina, 5905 Airport Way S, www.fondalacatrina.com) MEGAN SELING

Brunch at Ma'ono

The marvelous Spring Hill in West Seattle was reincarnated as Ma'ono Fried Chicken & Whisky this spring. There's a lot of fried chicken and whiskey in the world, but there was only one Spring Hill. But then the fried chicken is absolutely delicious, and who can argue with whiskey? And chef Mark Fuller also looked to his childhood partly spent on Kauai: His manapua (like Hawaiian hum bao) and saimin (Hawaiian ramen) are also absolutely delicious, and so is the Ma'ono dog. They're all on the brunch menu, along with loco moco, kalua pig pot stickers, French toast topped with fried chicken nuggets and sausage gravy, and too much other good stuff to smash in here. Hell, yes. (Ma'ono, 4437 California Ave SW, www.maono.springhillnorthwest.com, Sat–Sun 10 am–2 pm) BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT

Altura, the Coterie Room, Shiro's, Sushi Kappo Tamura, Madison Park Conservatory, Ma'ono, Blind Pig Bistro

When you write restaurant reviews, people always ask you: "Where should I take my beautiful/handsome date for a dinner that will mean definitely-for-sure clothes will come off afterward?" Here, friend, is the tip of my current dinner-date recommendation iceberg (except hotter-sounding than an iceberg!): Altura (expensive, amazing Italian on Broadway), the Coterie Room (fancy, delicious New American in Belltown), Shiro's (still the best sushi in Seattle, in Belltown), Sushi Kappo Tamura (also damn good sushi and swanker, on Eastlake), Madison Park Conservatory (marvelous New American, romantically located right by the lake in Madison Park), Ma'ono (ply them with insanely good fried chicken in West Seattle!), and Blind Pig Bistro (cozy, excellent New American on Eastlake, you charmer, you). You're welcome. (Full reviews of all of these may be found at thestranger.com/food) BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT