Along with it's sister restaurant in Ballard, this new Queen Anne location the best Mexican food in Seattle, from chef Gloria Perez (and managed by her family). As the name suggests, there is a bit more emphasis on the bar in this location, featuring every mezcal available in Washington state.
My ratings are focused on bars, not restaurants, and thus this wine bar does not quite get my highest recommendation; but it would if I were based on the food. It is my favorite food in West Seattle and among my top four favorite pizza locations in the city (after Serious Pie, it is in a rough tie with Bar Del Corso and Delancey). The menu is Mediterranean focused, with some very fine tapas, and rotating special entrees on the chalkboard. I had the Sausage & Peppers pizza (house-made fennel sausage, Mama’s Lil Peppers, fresh and whole milk mozzarella, Grana Padano, parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, and red sauce), which was terrific, and the Fiery Diver Sea Scallops, also very nice.
Phoenicia opened on California Ave in 1974, moved to Queen Anne from 1980 to 1992, then relocated to its present space back in West Seattle, across the road from Alki Beach. After the much loved founder, Hussein Khazaal, passed away in 2009, his wife and daughters remodeled and continue to run the place, with a menu revamped by Byron Hummel (who trained under Charles Walpole, now chef at Anchovies & Olives). The family are friendly and engaging, and I especially like stepping into their warm confines on a rainy Seattle evening.
This is West Seattle's only gay bar -- the first since Guppy's West was in the space of the current A Terrible Beauty in the early 90s. Given a fairly substantial LGBTQ population in the neighborhood, that may be enough to sustain the business, and perhaps the crowd and age will add some character as time goes by. Right now it is a fairly bland, boxy space with mediocre drinks.
As a bar, this is not much -- at least at the early date I visited. And since this is a bar blog, I can't recommend it as a bar. But if I were reviewing restaurants this would would be one of my top three in West Seattle and in my top 20 for all of Seattle. They have a very tasty rotation of entrees from different regions of Africa each month, along with dishes from owner Mulugeta “Mulu” Abate's native Ethiopia.
Update: Pritty Boys closed in August 2014
This is a new, family-oriented pizza place from the owners of Branzino in the former Madrona location of Dulce Latin Bistro. I had already had dinner when I stopped in, and was only interested in the bar -- which is not very good, overly bright, and suffers from being right across from the children's play area. The pizza did not look like anything special to me. However since I have subsequently learned that the chef is the same one who did the excellent pizzas at West Seattle's Phoenicia (and trained under Charles Wadpole, of Anchovies and Olives), so I definitely will be back to give the food a try.
It's probably a quite good option if you have young children with you. You will not want to go there for the bar.
The West Seattle version of this popular Mexican restaurant does not have quite the neighborhood feel of the Madison Park version, but it does have a location right on Alki looking across the beach to the water and large roll-up windows for great summertime seats. The Mexican food and margaritas are both better than average, and the airy, modern building makes it a sort of loungey, modish counterpoint to the funky and fun Chupacabra up the road.
Many of us will miss the dirty foam and neon sheep and the divey atmosphere of the back bar in the original Crocodile. But the remodel included many things done right, including the dark and swanky Via Tribulani in the back portion. This was Mike McConnell's fifth and most romantic of his AVPN-certified Neapolitan pizza restaurants, with a bar that seemed like a central point instead of squeezed in. The most striking features where the very high-backed black vinyl seats and the gorgeous paintings of Mt. Vesuvius, emphasized with carefully positioned Rembrandt lighting.
When it closed after approximately one year, Via Tribunali left the wood-fired pizza oven made from ash from Mt. Vesuvius and the mahogany bar to the owners of the Crocodile. They continue to sell very similar pizza and fairly decent cocktails, though no longer under the volcano paintings.