Within the city of Bellevue, your taste buds can travel the world. As the city continues to grow, so does its culinary scene, with a dynamic array of international options. Local restaurants and markets specialize in cuisine from so many countries, we wanted to share a taste of what’s available within a five-mile radius — stretching from downtown Bellevue to Crossroads.
Blue Ginger Korean BBQ
The aroma of meat and vegetables sizzling on a grill is hard to resist, and what better way to enjoy it than at a table full of friends? Experience Korean barbecue with a hands-on approach by ordering combination plates of fresh beef, cuts of pork, and seafood to sizzle away on the grill set in the center of the table. The marinated gal-bi is the best of everything — beef short ribs cut flanken style, thin for quick searing, with the added flavor of meat on the bone and the sweet/savory/spicy flavors of Korean seasoning. That, with the banchan of pickled vegetables, and one of the spicy soups make for a memorable group meal. 14045 N.E. 20th St.; koreanbbqbellevue.com
Levantine cooking, the Eastern Mediterranean region that includes Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Israel, is diverse with multiple culinary influences and permeated with garlic, spiced meats, and fresh vegetables. Byblos Deli’s combination platter of grilled marinated beef, lamb kafta, and chicken shish taouk is a delicious sampler of different meats atop seasoned rice with vegetables and a swirl of creamy hummus. There are also specialties like manti, small Turkish dumplings, and lahmajune, a pizza-like Armenian flatbread topped with seasoned beef, fresh tomatoes and onion.
14220 N.E. 20th St.; byblosdeli.com
Located in downtown Bellevue, Uwajimaya has been an Eastside staple for Asian groceries for more than 30 years. Shop for fresh meats, seafood, and produce. Stopping in for lunch? Try the café for hot food or Sashimi Island for fresh sashimi. 699 120th Ave. N.E. (also located in Renton); uwajimaya.com
Their house-made toum, a Lebanese garlic sauce used on almost everything, is totally addictive. Diners aware of the huge portion sizes unabashedly bring containers to take home leftovers, leaving no bite behind. 103 Bellevue Way N.E.; mediterraneankitchens.net
Crossroads Mall Public Market
Before global cuisine had the cachet it’s enjoying today, Crossroads Mall had its international food court with dozens of different countries represented. This is the place to have a little bit of everything when you just can’t decide. 15600 N.E. Eighth St.; crossroadsbellevue.com
Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya / Hokkaido Ramen Santouka / Jinya Ramen Bar / Ramen Yoshi
The ramen craze is in full effect! Bellevue’s range of ramen restaurants specializes in different broth styles and noodle combinations, so the most delicious advice is to try them all to find your perfect ramen fit.
kizuki.com, santouka-usa.com, jinya-ramenbar.com, facebook.com/RamenYoshi
Taqueria El Rinconsito
Crave-worthy tacos, along with a full menu of enchiladas, burritos, and entrée-sized plates like carne asada. On weekends, try the special pozole soup, perfect for locations like Bellevue with extended late-night hours. 2255 140th Ave. N.E.; elrinconsito.com
Can’t get enough spicy food? Szechuan cuisine, originating from the Southwestern province in China, features the generous use of the regional peppercorn of the same name. Slightly citrusy in flavor with a unique tingling numbness to the mouth, its heat develops as you eat. Szechuan Chef’s menu is dotted with little red pepper icons, signifying an item’s spiciness, even in the cold dishes. Chong Qing Hot Chicken is an addictive mix of bite-sized crispy, dry-fried chicken mixed with whole chili peppers, appealing to the heat-seeking culinarian, as well as anyone curious to try Szechuan food for the first time.
15015 Main St.; szechuanchef.us
A European grocery store and German deli, you can get hard-to-find imported ingredients, as well as packaged cookies and sweets. They sell cheeses and fresh Bavarian sausages, and it’s a perfect stop for cold cut sandwiches or daily soups. Insider tip: go early for the best selection of fresh pretzel rolls and breads, or call to find out when they get their delivery from their bakery. 14125 N.E. 20th St.; liebchendeli.com
The popularity of xiao long bao has given rise to dumpling houses like Dough Zone, but take note of specialties like sheng jian bao, steam-fried buns filled with pork and broth; they’re heartier and more than double the size of the dumplings. 15920 N.E. Eighth St.; facebook.com/doughzone
Some of the freshest sushi you’ll have, beautifully hand-formed to showcase the cut and color of each piece of seafood. Sit barside to watch sushi artistry at work! 103 102nd Ave. S.E.; ginzaatbellevue.com
Fogo de Chao Brazillian BBQ
The flavor of Fogo de Chão got its start on a traditional Southern Brazilian farm, where the founders learned to grill fresh meat. The Bellevue restaurant brings churrasco-style dining to the Northwest. 440 Bellevue Way N.E.; fogodechao.com
This new Lincoln Square restaurant is known for its sushi with Latin flair — like traditional sashimi rolls topped with jalapeño, cilantro, and mango. Don’t miss the happy hour. 500 Bellevue Way N.E.; bellevue.japonessa.com
With locations throughout Eastside suburbs, the Bellevue H-Mart smartly adapts to downtown living. The smaller space is stocked with ingredient basics for Korean cooking, and features a deli-style section of prepared meals. 100 108th Ave. N.E.; hmartus.com
A sibling of neighboring restaurant Cantinetta, Mercato Stellina takes the same care in its focus on handmade ingredients, like producing its own charcuterie and making the dough for its crust, which is transformed to a carbon-kissed crispy delight against the open flame of the oven. 10000 Main St.; mercatostellina.com
Old Country Bakery
A combination of several Eastern European countries in one shop, Old Country Bakery makes a range of items, including Jewish challah braids and rugelach cookies, German whole wheat and Russian rye breads, as well as unique-shaped loaves like the Georgian puri or Armenian matnakash. Of course, there are also familiar desserts like special occasion cakes and French-style pastries, but be adventurous with your sweet tooth and try the Armenian gata, an ornate dessert bread filled with vanilla. 900 160th Ave. N.E.; oldcountrybakery.net
Taiwanese food is a complex combination of Chinese and Japanese influences intertwined with Taiwan’s native cuisine. At Facing East, dishes feature seafood and pork with vegetables, as well as tropical fruit. Delicate yet hearty, aromatic yet subtle, the dishes cover a wide spectrum, which Facing East captures beautifully. There’s familiarity in the salt and pepper shrimp, a velvety richness in the braised tofu with pork, and most everyone gets the Taiwanese Pork Burger, a super-sized gua bao — a steamed bun with a slab of slow-cooked pork belly, pickled vegetables, fresh coriander leaves, and crushed peanuts. 1075 Bellevue Way N.E.; facingeasttaiwanese.com
“Chaat” is a general term to describe a savory snack or appetizer-sized repast popular in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Chaat House specializes in vegetarian small plates like potato- and lentil-filled samosas, as well as a variety of flatbreads such as parathas, kulcha and roti, or fried pillowy poori bread with curry or chutney toppings. Or try thalis, small portions of dishes like paneer curry, if your appetite seeks something heartier. And if you’re feeling the heat of the spices, get a sweet, creamy mango lassi to cool those taste buds. 14725 N.E. 20th St. (also located in Bothell). bellevuechaathouse.com.