Manolin Seattle, Restaurant Review. Photos and article by: Sierra Christman
Set back from the street (Stone Way, specifically) in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood sits
the unassuming but well-designed Manolin Restaurant—a recent addition to Seattle’s restaurant
canon that boasts a fresh take on the city’s celebrated seafood scene. With its courtyard
fire pits, clean white and blue tile interior, and simply prepared food inspired by lower
latitudes, this new space is the closest to a tropical vacation that many Seattleites will
get any time soon.
Owners Rachel Johnson and Joe Sundberg hail from two of the city’s most notable
Renee Erickson restaurants (Whale Wins, and Walrus and the Carpenter, respectively),
so it would be understandable if Manolin felt familiar to the Erickson crowd, but the menu
truly sets it apart. The small plates on offer start with snacks and salads and move to
grilled dishes and desserts, but the star of the show is the seafood.
The best start is the plantain chips, which are seasoned to perfection and delightfully
crunchy. If you are a fish fan, you can’t go wrong with the rockfish ceviche with avocado,
sweet potato, lime and chili. It’s wonderfully balanced between salty and sour, crisp and
creamy. If you’re looking for another safe bet, go for the salmon: the cured sockeye with
dill, beet, horseradish and kelp is a tasty presentation of a fresh, fatty fish cut with crisp,
spicy flavors. The grilled octopus (a seasonal special) with asparagus was adventurous
and slightly charred, but that makes the texture of the octopus (normally too chewy or
rubbery) ideal when contrasted with the other components of the dish.
For those of you who shy away from seafood, the potato croquettes and the grilled beef
were outstanding fish-free options, and for the love of all that is holy—do yourself a favor
and order the rhubarb shortcake with bourbon vanilla and ginger. It’s quite possibly the
best thing that has ever been done to rhubarb since the dawn of time.
It should also be noted that the cocktail menu and bar service are top notch (the Iron
Horse will make you swear you were in a Jimmy Buffett song), so whether you head to
Manolin for happy hour on a weeknight or dinner on a weekend, the important thing is
that you do, in fact, go there. Manolin