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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Mon–Thu 11:30am–2:00pm
Mon–Thu 5:30pm–9:30pm
Fri 11:30am–2:00pm
Fri 5:30pm–10:30pm
Sat 10:00am–2:00pm
Sat 5:30pm–10:30pm
Sun 10:00am–2:00pm
Sun 5:30pm–9:30pm

Features Date-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor, BYO
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Not accepted


Capitol Hill
602 19th Ave. E.
Seattle, WA
(206) 320-8757
Kingfish Café
This Southern belle needs to be revived—the food is not on the same level as the fun

There’s much to like about Kingfish, which serves Southern staples like fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, and collard greens in an upscale country diner setting. But in the many years it’s been with us, the place has started to feel a little less soulful. Maybe it’s the crowd skewing older. Maybe it’s the obvious presence of tourists in the dining room. Maybe it’s the kitschy names of the dishes (“Miss Choo Choo’s Company’s Commin’ Ribeye Steak”). Whatever it is, the Southern-as-spectacle vibe is starting to dominate more, which is too bad, because the place was built on sincerity: the owners drew upon a lot of family recipes, and enlarged family portraits still decorate the dining room.

The fried chicken is decent, but after a mini-obsession with the dish put it on many of Seattle’s menus, other restaurants in town have eclipsed Kingfish’s version. The shrimp and chicken gumbo is still a contender, however, and the famous red velvet cake is often transcendent. Maybe the chefs could put these plates together in their sleep, but sometimes that quality can translate to a bit less excitement on the plate, even for tried-and-true recipes.

Kingfish is a fun and friendly place. But it’s a little too expensive, and the waits are a little too long to be justified by cuisine that no longer dazzles.

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