To those who don't live there, West Seattle is considered almost like another state. Asking someone to grab dinner in the southwest portion of the city is often met with a reaction so fierce, you'd think they were being asked to jump off the bridge, not drive over it. Of course, West Seattle's charms are well-known to the people who live there. They include...
Easy Street Records and Cafe
4559 California Ave SW, 938-3279
Easy Street feels like a real-life scene out of High Fidelity. Part record store, part greasy-spoon cafe, it's a place where you can flip through stacks of vinyl and then order items such as the Dolly Parton Stack (two pancakes, two eggs, and two strips of bacon) or the Hall and Oates (oatmeal with fruit, bacon, and toast). The most expensive breakfast item is $8.95. The portions are large, and the crispy hash browns are especially delicious. Did I mention they have a dish called the Salad of John and Yoko?
Fiddlehead Fine Foods & Cafe
4310 SW Oregon St, 708-7891
A sign on the window warns diners that meals can take up to 30 minutes to prepare. If this was intended to whittle down the crowds, it's not working. On weekend mornings, families line up for items such as macadamia-sprinkled banana pancakes and a hearty root-vegetable hash topped with chunks of slow-roasted pork. A special of "Green Eggs and Ham" featured featherlight gougères topped with slices of prosciutto and creamy pesto scrambled eggs. Fiddlehead's play on eggs Benedict starts with the expected English muffin and poached eggs, but ends with a layer of braised greens and a ladle of oh-my-God-this-is-so-good bacon-, shallot-, and tomato-spiked grits.
4725 California Ave SW, 935-4339
Seattle's first 100 percent sustainable sushi bar, Mashiko walks the line between being earnest and whimsical. Its website (sushiwhore.com) will educate you on the restaurant's sourcing and farming practices while reminding you that "chopsticks are not drumsticks" and "soy sauce is not a beverage." Food-wise, it serves both beautifully simple sushi and American-style rolls, deliciously garish concoctions stuffed with all manner of fresh fish, tempura, and flavored mayos. Then there are the "Super Japanese" dishes like maguro natto—melt-in-your-mouth tuna sashimi served atop pungent, slimy fermented soybeans. The best items play with temperature and texture, such as the "Tuna on a Snowshoe": creamy slabs of tuna juxtaposed with herbaceous, shatteringly crisp leaves of tempura-fried shiso.
Ma'ono Fried Chicken & Whisky
4437 California Ave SW, 935-1075
Three words: Reserve your chicken. The double-fried, umami-seasoned, moist and crispy Hawaiian-style fried chicken has achieved cult status, so unless you call ahead to reserve a bird, you're probably not going to get one. And you have to get one, served family-style along with rice, house-made kimchi, and chili sauce. Didn't plan ahead? Don't fear! The chickenless can slurp up rich, unctuous saimin, Hawaii's take on ramen, complete with glorious soft-cooked egg. And Ma'ono's Loco Moco, the ultimate Hawaiian comfort food, is elevated far above the classic hamburger-rice-gravy-eggs plate-lunch. A bowl of rice is topped with a savory applewood-grilled hamburger patty, house-made Portuguese sausage, a dollop of cheesy Anson Mills grits, and two perfectly oozy fried eggs. Zing and crunch come from sriracha-grilled pineapple, cilantro, and refreshing shards of raw coconut. Dip everything into caramelized onion gravy and achieve the ultimate aloha bite.
4721 California Ave SW, 937-2810
Before there was a Molly Moon's in almost every Seattle neighborhood, there was Husky Deli. Open since 1932 and serving 32 flavors made on the premises, the ice cream parlor and full-service deli counter will wrap you in the warm scent of waffle cones the moment you walk through the door. After getting a cone, peruse the deli's wine selection, bin containers (stuffed with assorted gummies, double-salt licorice, chocolate truffles, and malt balls), and shelves stocked with European groceries such as mini beer steins of German mustards, sleeves of British biscuits, and Bounty chocolate bars.
West Seattle Farmers Market
Sundays, 10 am–2 pm, California Ave SW at SW Alaska St
The West Seattle Farmers Market is just behind the main drag of California Avenue and is open Sundays year-round, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. After stocking up on produce, snack on a salmon slider from Loki Fish Company—tender filets served on soft rolls with smoky bacon, arugula, and apple aioli or charred radicchio, feta, and lemon aioli. You'll devour it in just a few bites, so you'll still have room for more: Grab a chunk of Samish Bay Gouda, a baguette from Tall Grass Bakery, and a couple of tart Pink Lady apples, and head to Alki Beach for a picturesque picnic.