• LE CAVISTE • Downtown: This simple, urbane, marvelous little French wine bar across from the federal courthouse is brought to us by sommelier David Butler, formerly of Campagne, Le Gourmand, and Le Pichet (a trifecta of local French greatness). Amateurs, be unafraid: The wines are exceedingly well-priced, and Butler is a master of intuition and unpretentious description. Wine-people: You are going to love this place. A small menu of charcuterie, cheeses, and so forth is available; above your head, excellent light fixtures celebrate the endangered incandescent bulb. (1919 Seventh Ave, 728-2657, lecavisteseattle.com, $–$$)
• BRIMMER & HEELTAP • Ballard: The name Brimmer & Heeltap refers to a proper pour: When full, it's a "brimmer," and at the end, only a "heeltap" is left. The very pretty B&H is where Le Gourmand used to be; the gastropub-type food is by chef Mike Whisenhunt, previously at (the great) Revel. (425 NW Market St, 420-2534, brimmerandheeltap.com, $$)
• MILLER'S GUILD • Downtown: Jason Wilson, of the justifiably famous Crush, installed this update on the steak house inside the Hotel Max downtown, and it is tall, dark, and handsome—knocking out the lowered ceiling revealed old architectural details (happily left in disrepair) and even a row of high-up windows. The 1926 building was originally built to house workers at the Vance Lumber Company—the millers of the name. Behind the kitchen counter is a veritable inferno of a wood-fired grill: nine feet long, custom made, so hot that the cooks wear welders' aprons while they sear 75-day dry-aged beef, local seafood, and more. Continuing the wood theme: lots of liquor aging in 50-liter oak casks above the bar. It all should be really good. (612 Stewart St, 443-3663, millersguild.com, $$$)
• LA BODEGA • Pioneer Square: Manuel Alfau—who's worked at Blind Pig Bistro, Anchovies and Olives, and La Bête, so that's all promising—used to make his Dominican sandwiches on a grill in front of the bar Montana. The brick-and-mortar location is in Pioneer Square. The roasted pork with a Presidente beer sounds pretty damn good. (100 Prefontaine Pl S, 682-2175, labodegaseattle.com, $)
• TALLULAH'S • Capitol Hill: Linda Derschang—you know, of Linda's, King's Hardware, Smith, Oddfellows, and Bait Shop—runs this airy, stylish-but-not-trying-too-hard-to-be-stylish restaurant, named after her daughter and located near the Kingfish and Monsoon on Capitol Hill. It's got a big clock above the marble bar and a best-of-the-'70s design sensibility, plus, over by the kitchen, a painting of Tonya Harding screaming and a quote from Ram Dass to even things out ("Be here now"). The chef is Walter Edward (Oddfellows, Crush), and his promisingly simple, seasonal menu is "vegetable-driven without being vegetarian." (550 19th Ave E, 860-0077, aneighborhoodcafe.com, $$)
• HELLO ROBIN • Capitol Hill: From Molly Moon Neitzel and Oddfellows Whoopie Pie Bake-Off champion Robin Wehl Martin, Hello Robin is a very cute bakery and ice cream shop near Tallulah's. Martin's signature breakfast cookie sounds just right: oatmeal, shredded carrots, mini chocolate chips, and "other secret bits of deliciousness." (522 19th Ave E, 735-7970, hellorobincookies.com, $)
• CONE & STEINER • Capitol Hill: Also right by Tallulah's, Cone & Steiner is an "an updated take on today's conscientious urban foodie culture," purveying "fresh flowers and produce, dry goods and dairy, sweet treats and a highly curated selection of fresh, local foods," plus wine and a growler-filling station for local beers and cider. Also, you may "choose a thoughtful housewarming gift" here. (532 19th Ave E, 582-1928, coneandsteiner.com, $$)
• BAD JIMMY'S • Ballard: Five local beer-lovers teamed up to run this Frelard brewery and tasting room. None of them are named Jimmy. Their mission is "to reinvent intensity as it exists in the craft beer world." Further, they say, "If being different is bad, we don't want to be good." (4358 Leary Way NW, 789-1548, badjimmysbrewingco.com, $)
• LE BISTRO WORLD CUISINE • Down South: Where Lakeside Bistro used to be, south on Rainier almost to Renton, Le Bistro World Cuisine has a wide-ranging menu, a bunch of $5 happy hour specials, and occasional live jazz. (11425 Rainier Ave S, 772-6334, $–$$)
POPPING UP: DACKEL • Capitol Hill: Josh Nebe (formerly of the Unicorn) makes very tasty German food at Dackel, and it's popping up again at Kedai Makan in January, Thursday through Sunday nights, while the Kedai people are in Malaysia. ("Dackel" is what German people call wiener dogs instead of the also-German "dachshund," confusingly.)
RENAMED: HAPPY OCTO BAR on Capitol Hill: The sleek little bar in the front of Octo Sushi (where Crave used to be), which was briefly renamed Happy Neko Bar, has now been re-renamed Happy Octo Bar.
NEW LOCATIONS OF EXISTING PLACES: DIN TAI FUNG in University Village: The multinational (and arguably overrated) soup dumpling chain finally comes to Seattle after being in Bellevue for several years. • EZELL'S in Columbia City: The great fried chicken is now closer to your mouth if you live near Rainier between Oregon and Genesee! • HOMEGROWN SUSTAINABLE SANDWICH SHOP in South Lake Union: After four years, they're proud to announce the opening of their fifth location, plus the fact that they finally have enough buying power in the local/organic farm supply to lower their prices—as much as 30 percent on some items. Neat! • TUTTA BELLA in Bellevue: The Seattle wood-fired pizza chain finally opens in Bellevue (its fifth location).