Follow the winding path along Westgate’s Edmonds Way — off Hwy. 99 at Exit 104 — and you’ll soon find a goldmine of surprising, diverse pit stops heading towards the ferry or any number of expansive parks dotting this seaside town.
The Westgate neighborhood of Edmonds (population around 6,460) is known for fast-food drive-thrus, a pharmacy and vet clinic, or two, and grand residential drives up high on grassy, eagle-topped cliffs surrounded by sentinel pines and priceless views of ferries hob-nobbing along the Salish Sea.
But there’s much more to this sleepy neighborhood than meets the eye.
Like… Ono’s Hawaiian style poke, Bucatini’s authentic, NY-inspired Italian, Ivar’s acres of clams and Herfy’s juicy burgers repping NW surf ‘n turf, FIVE’s chic trellis hang, Kebella’s mom ‘n pop Italian-meets-Greek pizza and pasta, Amata Thai and Chopsticks for the Asian win, and Seattle’s own prized franchises — Pagliacci Pizza and PCC natural foods co-op…
Big Little Italy
One of the first and finest restaurants you’ll see is Bucatini, a haven of hand-made pastas in hearty sauces, and more wine than you can imagine to go with all that Italian goodness. Located in a small strip mall across from PCC at 9818 Edmonds Way, Bucatini serves Italian we all crave, plus a little extra: minestrone, chicken parm and meatball grinders, vongole in marinara sauce or olive oil, garlic and herbs, white white and lemon, vodka pasta and Di Mare Puttanesca weekly specials, and tiramisu. Chef/owner Tony Donatone hails from New York, so he knows his meatballs from a hole in the wall. He’s also fed countless celebrities throughout his illustrious career, from Manhattan’s Little Italy, Miami, Chicago, and Lake Tahoe to Seattle’s Casa D’Italia and now, Edmonds. Take-out, DoorDash, patio, and catering.
Steven Ono brings a taste of the islands and a lot of Aloha to his authentic Ono Poke bowls, made Hawaiian style. Ono grew up surfing, diving, fishing and cutting bait in Kahalu’u, Oahu, learning the art of poke from his Uncle Reuben, a commercial fisherman. Fresh and sustainably-sourced from the seas of Hawaii, Japan, Canada, and Edmonds, all Ono’s ingredients are organically, carefully, thoughtfully put together for maximum effect. Voted “Best of Western Washington” in 2017 by happy, satisfied customers, Ono Poke (10016 Edmonds Way) updates the day’s fresh catch on their Facebook page. Go for broke with the Spicy Sambal Ahi and Tamari Miso Salmon, or Joe’s Special, a regular-sized sampler bowl for the undecided.
What's on Tap?
There’s a lot to love about Edmonds’ locally-owned newcomer, Jaiiya Café (10032 Edmonds Way) just across from Ono Poke. But it’s hard to overlook some of owners Chee and Sherilyn Wong’s favorites. Namely, the popular Turkish Eggs, their new CTBF Toast with sliced English cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes and basil, feta and cream cheese, and of course, matcha lemonade for those hot sunny summer days. Visit early and often for multi-ethnic short, savory and sweet courses… hot and cold-pressed drinks, healthy, fresh açai bowls, and lots more.
If Amata Thai Cuisine’s online photo gallery isn’t enough to entice you, nothing will. Situated at 22814 100th Ave. W, just off the main drag, Amata Thai features mouth-watering, gorgeous dishes whipped up in the exhibition kitchen for the full experience. For a real screaming deal, order lunch combos Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m., where you can enjoy your heart’s (and palate’s) desire — all with Pad Thai and Jasmine rice included: curries dressed in every color, spicy Thai basil, Tom Kha hot and sour soup, and veggie delight. Hold out for dinner, and deep-fried spring rolls with your fried trout salad, Swing Rama Noodle, and crispy garlic chicken. Save room for Thai dessert, like sweet sticky rice with fresh mango and Kanom-Krok, a luscious coconut cream pudding.
Best news yet! FIVE Restaurant on 650 Edmonds Way recently opened at 100 percent capacity for indoor and outdoor dining, since the pandemic hit last year. That means heading straight for the patio and cocktails to chill out this summer and catch up with old friends. Add some shareables… butterflied garlic prawns, bruschetta, house-made hummus with all the trimmings, a couple artisan pizzas… sit back and rejoice. Stay for fine dining meals, including whole Idaho trout and Carne Asada Chimichurri skirt steak. Yum, already!
Where Everyone Knows Your Name — and Your Takeout Order
Chopsticks at 23025 100th Ave. W has been around for nearly six decades, serving up belly-warming classic Chinese food (featured in Visit Edmonds’ “Ethnic Eats, and the New Normal”), while warmly welcoming regulars and newbies to Edmonds with family-style hospitality. Once you walk through these doors, you’ll never be a stranger. Unlike most Asian restaurants, Chopsticks offers a handy-dandy translating tool for menu-reading. Study and then, go to town. The extensive menu’s broken down by appetizers, soups, and various meats. Choice selections: Egg Foo Young, Chop Suey/Chow Mein, tender beef with oyster sauce, Mongolian beef, honey spare ribs, Peking duck (order in advance), salmon with black bean sauce, and Kung Pao Prawns.
Adventurous Pizza Lovers Unite!
Just around the bend is Kebella’s Pizza & Pasta (630 Edmonds Way), a family-run Italian/Greek restaurant famous for its 30/30 XL pizza-eating challenge. The menu is huge, with 19 combo pizza options, create-your-own calzones, beef and cheese ravioli, Fettuccini Alfredo and Carbonara, gyros and pita pizza, potato skins, dolmades, and jalapeno poppers, and baklava, carrot cake, and three-layer mud pie… so many tempting dishes for so many appetites. Low-carb, too. Ferry-goers like to load up here, and dash. You will too.
Best in Seattle
Award-winning Seattle pizza chain, Pagliacci, expanded to Edmonds (10200 Edmonds Way) in March, 2006, continuing its tradition of tossing and dishing up consistently outstanding pizza pies — the Italian way. Start with slices, they always have cheese, pepperoni, and the special of the day. Treat yourself to a large, create-your-own 17” pie — half-cheese, half-pepperoni. Seasonal, summer pies include Chicken Sausage and Morel and Crostata, with caramelized sweet onions from Walla Walla and a host of cheeses in addition to the traditional mozzarella. Other options: gluten-free crust, and toppings, like Laura Chenel’s goat cheese, ricotta, feta, and vegan cheese, as well as arugula, Mama Lil’s peppers, Ostrom’s mushrooms, sun-ripened tomatoes, pineapple, and roasted artichoke hearts.
PCC Community Market, 9803 Edmonds Way, offers all-natural, sustainable, and organic food for co-op members and the general public. Open 6 a.m.-11 p.m., PCC has also hosted a few Easter Egg Hunts in its time, and sources products not easily found around Snohomish County. This market is where you come for the most addictive, yet healthy zucchini muffins, Macrina Bakery baguettes, Mighty-O donuts, and the freshest produce picked at the peak of every season from the most ethically-/environmentally-responsible small farmers and artisans.
Whether you’re here for the ferry, the parks, or just to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Westgate’s a welcome, surprising respite. Check COVID protocols; every establishment is different.
Featured image: Every morning at Jaiiya Café is a thrill.
Other images: Ono Poke, Five Restaurant Bistro, Jaiiya Café, Sake (salmon), ahi (tuna) Ono Poke and Bucatini Vongole Marinara.