Seattle >Food & Dining > Pair
5501 30th Ave NE, Seattle, WA | Directions 9810547.668619 -122.295205
Neighborhoods: Ravenna, Northeast Seattle, Northeast
Reviews a surprise... – I was shocked to find Pair on this list featuring best values in the U District. The Happy Hour is good but dinner is a little on the spendy side. Food is good, portions are small. A group of four could easily order everything on the menu and find it tasty but barely adequate. If you're hoping to have an intimate dinner - forget it. It's noisy!
Uniqely crafted small dishes – This ambiance of Pair has a warmth and charm that always melts away the stress and worries of my day. The small dishes are lovingly crafted with high quality ingredients in sometimes. We usually share 3-4 small dishes, or bring another couple and order nearly one of everything. Because this is handcrafted artisan food, they run out of some dishes later in the evening, so show up early for the best selection. We enjoy romantic dinners here as well as lively conversation filled evenings with friends.
Getting a seat can sometimes be tricky, so show up before you are hungry and anticipate the wait. Often there will be space at the bar to enjoy a glass of wine before a table is ready for you.
Best neighborhood restaurant in all of Seattle – We love Pair. First, we love that it is right near our house. Second, we love the waiters- they even recognize us other places around the city (strange but true). Third, the food is amazing: flavors are just right, portion sizes are excellent, wines are amazing and...we like the fact that they rotate the list. It keeps us coming back for more. An insiders tip: try to get the waiter with the chin length hair. He is extremely knowledgable and should be voted "Best waiter in Seattle".
The only negatives... the hostess. She tends to be rude and makes guests feel invisible- and we think she might even be the owner. She tends to "forget" the order in which guests arrive, which has resulted in more than a few heated exchanges that we have observed. The other negative, the brisket.
Great Mac and Cheese, Roasted Chicken, Good Wine Recommendations – Pair is an adorable little place that is great to go to with a group of friends so you can try many of their dishes. Parking is not fun and the place is very small so get there early or grab at least 5 friends so you can make a reservation. My husband and I have been there about 5 times now and we certainly plan on going back again. One thing we have noticed is that Pair does meat and starch dishes very very well -- we've always been disappointed in the seafood dishes they have there. The menu changes pretty often and is also usually different than the one posted on their website. The real standouts to us are the roasted chicken, potato gratin, mac and cheese and pork involtini (not sure if I spelled that correctly).
They recommend each person order 2 to 3 small plates to equal a regular sized entree. So it's a wonderful way to try many things. All dishes are served family style so you can just pass all the plates around the table. Our last visit there we brought 2 friends and ordered about 12 dishes. There was some problem with the timing of how the dishes came to our table. We would get one and then all of a sudden about six more then a lull and then a bombardment of the rest. We had not previously experienced that problem when there with several people.
I've also found the staff's wine recommendations to be great but be forewarned their wine selection also changes often so the Rioja I had loved was no longer available when I returned but they recommended another that I really enjoyed.
Also there is a "share" table there. Meaning if there are just one or two people you can sit at this table with other singles/couples. I wasn't excited about that option at first but it turned out great sitting at a table with several strangers. One couple told us we had to try the restaurant Crush and we did and loved it. Gotta go write a review for that one too. ;-)
Great Food, Exceptional Ambience- LOVE IT! – I LOVE this place! It looks warm and inviting from the outside, and it lives of up to that image inside. It's so nice to get small plates of food to share - the portion sizes are perfect and everything we've ordered has been exceptional. I'm especially fond of the single-serving fondue and the rotating selection of greens. And the lamb dish we once had was superb (the dishes rotate so it's not always on the menu). I've been here for dinner, as well as just for a drink and appetizers after work. Love having this place in my neighborhood!
A cozy neighborhood small-plates place warms up a corner of Ravenna. – The Scene
Pair has a sweet, rustic charm with its gingham curtains and blond wood tables and benches. Spacious seating and big windows lend airiness, while candles create intimacy and warmth. Servers are solicitous, but plates can emerge from the kitchen a little slowly.
The concept is tapas-style dining that spans many cuisines. Ordering the recommended two-and-a-half dishes per person, you'll have a tableful of nicely presented plates that are just big enough to share. A thin cambozola fondue isn't especially flavorful; opt for a pleasing mac and cheese with a mild, alfredo-esque fontina sauce. Little medallions of tender pork loin with piquant tomatillo salsa arrive at room temperature, while the potatoes in a Moroccan-accented eggplant dish can be on the over-browned side. Desserts like a rich chocolate pot de creme or a lemon-accented creme brulee make for a happy ending.
Nothing special – A friend raved about this place. I would not. It is cute, in that "we have a tiny restaurant, love us..." sort of way. The food was affordable, but nothing special. There are many small things done right, tea was special. But I go to restaurants for great food and Pair does not measure up.
Pair's sweet spot – Pair makes us wish we lived around the corner. Fabulous dishes (mac & cheese and gratin can't be missed) and gracious hospitality by the husband/wife team of owners/chef are the key elements to making a corner restaurant with comfort and elegance. The large table in back seats a dozen good friends - call ahead to reserve.
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