When Cate and I went to Seattle last month, we were lucky to enjoy a lot of really amazing food. Seattle is a total food town, and one that prides itself on its attention to local, sustainable ingredients. How could you not love it?
Fortunately, just because it was our only choice doesn’t mean it should ever be considered a last resort in Seattle. Lola, one of Tom Douglas’ restaurants, serves up breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner with Greek flare. Situated in the lobby of Hotel Andra, it’s walking distance to Pike Place Market and other memorable parts of Seattle.
We started off with Cauliflower Anchovy Spread, which comes with Lola’s Freshly Grilled Pita Bread. The dish was flawless – so good that I could barely stop myself from licking the bowl (don’t worry, I didn’t!). The Cauliflower Anchovy Spread was a creamy, slightly sweet, slightly salty spread. Mouthwatering. In fact, in my notes from the experience I summed it up in just two words: Freakin’ awesome — and it’s so true. The pita bread was the best I have ever had – soft, light and with flavor – nothing like the hard, thin, edible spoon pita bread that you often find.
We also ordered two kebabs. The Halloumi Cheese, Kalamata Fig and Fig Balsamic Kebab introduced the both of us to the joyful bliss that is halloumi cheese. Wow. Who knew it was that good? The cheese is a firm one like those mozzarella blocks in the dairy section of the grocery store. Since it has a high melting point, it’s ideal for grilling and other heated dishes. The best part? When you eat it on this kebob, it’s a salty, silky bite that was a great contrast to the sweet fig balsamic. Now the figs … they were alright. I am not a fan of fig seeds, and they seemed to stand out in this dish. Still, as a whole, it was still a really good kebab.
Our second kebab was the Portabella, Oyster Mushrooms and Sage Kebab. It was a good, solid dish, though not a wow. I would certainly order it again, because the meaty mushrooms had a nice flavor. Overall? It ranked a firm OK.
Our dinner was so good that when we found ourselves hungry on Tuesday during our marathon lets-see-Seattle quest, we ended up eating at Lola again. Going once, when it’s the only thing open, is one thing. But going back to the same restaurant again when everything is open really says something. It was that memorably good.
For lunch, we split the Garlic Falafel Gyro with Minted Cucumber Tzatziki and a Greek Salad. The falafel was crumbly and flavored with garlic and spices. Amazing, though unlike other falafel I have had. Now, the tzatziki wasn’t my favorite though, with a tart flavor that didn’t strike my fancy. I imagine others might enjoy it though. However, the greek salad was perfectly dressed and really delicious.
And finally, we had the Made to Order Doughnuts with Seasonal Jam and Vanilla Mascarpone. When I saw our server shake these babies up in a paper bag, I remembered an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate where Giada DeLaurentiis raved about these doughnuts. And you know what? They were every bit as delicious as she said they would be. A soft interior with a crusty, sweet exterior. The mascarpone was such a pleasant, sweet creamy topping while the rhubarb jam that was in season then was a beautiful, tart companion. If you go there, you have to order these.
The service at Lola was impeccable. We ate at the bar both times, and both bartenders were attentive and really accommodating. In fact, when we said we were splitting the gyro at lunch, the bartender had our food brought on two plates to make it easy for us. And no matter what questions we had (and we had many), they were happy to answer. In fact, that Cauliflower Anchovy Spread? We have the recipe. (Of course, it would make like a gallon of it … so we have to work on the proportions before sharing it.)
If you are in Seattle, I can’t say enough good things about Lola. Just go. It was an amazing experience both times we visited the restaurant, and I would return in a heartbeat.
2000 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
Disclosure: I wasn't asked to write about this restaurant and in both cases, Cate and I paid our own way. Tom Douglas has no idea who I am. This is just my opinion after buying two meals at Lola.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.