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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Tue–Sat 5:00pm–10:00pm
Sun 5:00pm–9:00pm

Features Date-friendly, good wines, outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Accepted


Phinney Ridge
7314 Greenwood Ave. N.
Seattle, WA
(206) 706-7703
Reliable white-tablecloth vegetarian that’s been aging gracefully

For a long time after it opened in 1996, Carmelita was not only one of the few fancy vegetarian restaurants in town, but also one of the few special-occasion spots north of the canal. Although it is no longer doing the most cutting-edge vegetarian cuisine in Seattle, it’s still a very reliable choice for sophisticated farm-to-table food.

The main dining room, with its textured ceilings, still has a bit of that ‘90s pomegranate glow, though the space is not as egregiously dated as some eateries from the same era. A newly added patio is wonderfully secluded, while a recently added bar area has perked up the interior quite a bit—and there’s also a reinvigorated happy hour, when sunchoke chips, spaghetti squash bonbons, and fried Marcona almonds pair with all manner of fancy cocktails featuring ingredients like muddled rhubarb and habanero syrup. The wine list is short, succinct, and eminently affordable.

Unusually for a vegefusion place, Carmelita’s menu is coherent. The wow factor, however, varies. There’s inventiveness (using pickled fruits to dress up a salad, for instance, or making a passable crêpe out of fava beans), but also challenging veggie takes on traditional dishes (a saffron paella with Calasparra rice, red spring onion, sun-dried tomatoes, aged Manchego, and romesco sauce). And then there are just the local, seasonal vegetable dishes that Seattle is so good at.

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