Due to an amazing stoke of luck, the hotel my girlfriend Kelly ended up booking for our stay in Seattle was a mere three blocks from the recently-opened Trader Vic's Bellevue. This was our first time ever at a Trader Vic's and based on the quality of the food, drinks, and service, it's not going to be our last.
Tucked between buildings across from a parking garage in an upscale shopping area, the unassuming exterior opens up into an explosion of tapa cloth and wood once the doors are opened. The lounge is decorated in classic Vic's style — piles of traps and glass floats suspended from the ceiling with a giant bamboo fronted bar. The dining area is decorated with a fantastic blend of traditional tiki building materials but with a modern twist that makes the interior both classy and comfortable. The dining room was nearly full on a Tuesday night—a great sign as to how well the restaurant has been readopted by patrons.
We started with the Dungeness Crab Rangoon appetizer, which was good but not extraordinary, and a Tiki Bowl, which we found slightly sweet but still wonderful. Dinner was fantastic—there's something about the wood fired ovens that make the flavor special. I had the Pork Chop Hawaiian which was great, but Kelly's Filet of Alaskan Halibutwith soy-wasabi buerre blanc was knock-your-socks off delicious, one of the best dishes we've ever ordered anywhere.
Our second round of drinks was equally fantastic. Kelly had the Menehune Juice (two rounds actually, so we could get both male and female plastic figurines) and I had the famous Mai Tai, which truly was the best I've ever tasted.
Kelly loves crème brulee, so for desert we split the Tahitian Coffee Crème Brulee and was incredibly impressed by the flavorful twist the chefs put on a classic.
After dinner we moved on to the lounge to sample a few more of Trader Vic's famous drinks: the Navy Grog, Suffering Bastard, and Zombie. The bar staff was very friendly and chatty (props to Rose and Meagan, pictured above). The Suffering Bastard was our surprise favorite, so we picked up one of the few remaining Tiki Farm commemorative Suffering Bastard mugs from the restaurant's opening earlier this year.
For the tiki fan in the Seattle area, a stop at Trader Vic's is a must.