10 new Seattle area bars and restaurants, food critic Tan Vinh excited for 2022

Who would have thought that a COVID cloud would hover over restaurants in 2022? My list of new bars and restaurants that I look forward to the most comes with the asterisk that a spike in cases could delay some openings or indoor dining in the months to come. But we’ve already gotten through that, haven’t we? We have this.

My New Years resolution is to swallow so many bagels for breakfast that my jaw gets tired from chewing. For dinner, I want an oversized mound of fries every time I order the stir-fried lomo saltado steak at new Peruvian restaurants this year. For drinks, I plan to hold plenty of champagne flutes as I always have an excuse to toast. On the way to a better 2022.

Here are 10 to eat spots top my list to check out this year.

Tapas bar MariPili

Grayson Corrales, former pastry chef at JuneBaby, is headlining the grand opening on Capitol Hill, scheduled for May in the Café Presse area. Corrales has just completed his three-month internship at the two-Michelin-starred Culler restaurant in Pau, Spain and is now traveling Europe researching to prepare his Galician-inspired tapas and menu. Its bar will offer Washington and Spanish wines, as well as gins and sherries.

A Sea Wolf Bakers Montlake Bagel Project

Looks like Seattle is emerging as the bagel capital of western New York City, as 2022 will bring another wave of young guns running pop-ups and bakeries to join this crowded realm. The big names that have other bagel makers on their shoulders are brothers Jesse and Kit Schumann who bake some of the best breads in town at their Sea Wolf bakery and are now turning to bagels. Their business license suggests that “A Bagel Shoal” will be the name on the banner outside their new Montlake bakery, but Jesse swears the name of the cafe has yet to be chosen. In fact, bagels will only be part of the menu when they open near Café Lago in the spring. The brothers also wowed fans with their pizza pop-up during the pandemic, though Jesse isn’t sure if that will be offered in their new venture. Everything will be revealed soon, he said.

Carnelian berry

Scheduled for this summer on the patio of his Dreamland Bar & Diner in Fremont, owner Paul Shanrock describes his new Tiki bar as “Legends of the Hidden Temple” meets Indiana Jones… in space. Patrons will enter the kitschy bar through thick foliage and past “ruins” to emerge into something like a five-star intergalactic resort. Will it be epic, or an unfortunate tear in the space-time continuum? Stay tuned!

Señor Carbon

Peruvian restaurants are popping up all over the country and spreading to western Washington. Peruvian restaurant El Rey debuted in Lynnwood a few months ago. Now comes the chief Joe Tuesta and his wife Imelda Diez-Tipa, who both emigrated from Peru eight years ago, and they’ve saved enough money through their pop-ups to open a restaurant that pays homage to their homeland. Open on Pioneer Square before Christmas, Señor Carbón offers a good introduction to Peruvian cuisine, with all the must-haves of Lima as well as Chinese and Japanese influences including stir-fry and sushi.


Another highly anticipated Peruvian-inspired restaurant with a pisco bar is slated to open this year along Columbia City’s Main Street. Some industry insiders see this as the favorite for restaurant of the year. The project comes from owners Linda Di Lello Morton and her partner and celebrity chef Tamara Murphy; the two also run Terra Plata on Capitol Hill.

Boca Argentine Bakery and Pizzeria

While we’re in South America, let’s talk Argentinian pizza. I love these sticky stuffed Buenos Aires mozzarella pies. Americans can equate an Argentinian pie with a deep Chicago dish. Uh, tell any Argentinian that at your own risk. Owner Marco Beaux, behind Boca’s steakhouses in Capitol Hill and Belltown, hopes to introduce his native pizza to the people of Capitol Hill by the end of January. This bakery and pizzeria on Broadway East will serve croissants and other pastries for the morning commute and evening tapas for bar revelers. The pizza starts to come out of the oven at 11 a.m. with toppings such as a combo of caramelized onions and sausage.

McQueen champagne bar

Nine retail spaces on the ground floor of a three-apartment building complex in downtown Woodinville have been reserved to form “Wine Walk Row”, a showcase of tasting rooms, as well as a Ethan Stowell pizzeria waiting. But I spy on a champagne bar here, and, well, that makes Row a unique bar-hop for me. In February, Structure Cellars at Sodo will open a 74-seat lounge with velvet sofas that you can sink into while sipping a flute of Blanc de Blancs and munching on truffle crisps. Drinks are priced from $ 9 a glass to $ 340 for a 2008 rock star crystal bottle. Choose your own adventure.


The buzz in the North End is that chef Jake Wilson is making magic with a sirloin steak on the grill at his chic new bistro in Edmonds. I only had the grilled king salmon and seared scallops, both of which consist of a thick, charred crust and with the inner flesh still soft and succulent. They were two of the best seafood dishes I have had in the past few months. I can’t wait to head back to Main Street to delve into the rest of Chef Wilson’s menu, formerly at Ray’s Boathouse, Vios Cafe, and Ballard Annex Oyster House in Seattle.

Jackalope Tex-Mex & Cantina

No one in Seattle knows more about the history of Tex-Mex food than stall master Jack Timmons, who runs four branches of his namesake Central Texas-style barbecue restaurant in King County. A fifth Jack’s BBQ will debut at Bellingham this year. In mid-December, Timmons the sneaky devil silently and smoothly launched his new Tex-Mex concept that he owns with business partner Graham Ayers in Columbia City. Queso, San Antonio-style puffy tacos and other dishes sold out quickly. I can’t wait for the frenzy to die down to taste his smoked fatty brisket enchilada and his mesquite and cherrywood smoked prime rib fajitas.


You can’t delve into Seattle pasta history without mentioning Mike Easton’s revealing pasta spot Il Corvo, which closed during the pandemic. Il Corvo returns… but to Waitsburg, 20 miles north of Walla Walla. New start, new name, the Vaccipiano restaurant in Easton should open in July. It’s “basically the original Il Corvo with a bar,” the chef said. By far the largest restaurant opened in eastern Washington this year.

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