We asked, you responded. And respond you did, in record numbers! With our annual reader’s choice poll, we’ve got the skinny on the best of the best of Jewish Washington. We slimmed down and rearranged this year’s survey, and we’ll slim down our comments as well. So without further ado:
Best Smoked Fish: Goldberg’s Famous Deli.
Best Bagel: Einstein’s Brothers (the only kosher location in the chain, at University Village, clearly pushed them over the edge): Eltana Bagels took a close second.
Best Challah: Grateful Bread in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood.
Best Pizza: Island Crust Café on Mercer Island.
Best Middle Eastern: The Garbanzo Brothers aren’t a restaurant. They aren’t brothers, either, but we’ll let that slide. You can order their kosher Middle Eastern dips and sauces online at www.gogarbanzo.com, or look online for shops that sell them.
Best Mobile Lunch Truck: Marination Mobile wins, but special mention to Napkin Friends, which had only been open for a week when the survey closed. But c’mon: Sandwiches made from latkes. Of course they get special mention! Photo by Dikla Tuchman
Best Sunday Brunch: Portage Bay Café.
Best Sushi: Musashi in Wallingford for the good but cheap experience; Nishino in Madison Valley for the less cheap but very good experience.
Best Fine Dining Experience: Canlis.
Best Romantic Dinner: Canlis.
Best Happy Hour: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant: Island Crust Café.
Save Room for Dessert
Best Bakery: Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle and Capitol Hill.
Best Chocolatier: Theo Chocolate.
Best Ice Cream, Gelato or FroYo: Molly Moon for ice cream, Menchie’s for the frozen Yogurt. Both are now open in University Village, about 20 steps from each other, if you want to do a final showdown.
Best Cupcakes: Cupcake Royale. A special mention for the new Capitol Hill cookie bakery Hello Robin, launched by local MOT Robin Wehl Martin. She doesn’t actually make cupcakes, but she got votes regardless.
Best Place for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah Party or Wedding Reception: URJ Camp Kalsman
Best Local Party Band or DJ: DJ Nick Barrat “was able to turn what could have been a very dull and cold event for my son since other vendors fell through, and was able to pull a miracle,” according to one of our respondents. “He saved the party and made my son the happiest person. In our eyes he is our hero.” Bucharest Drinking Team gets a nod because their name rocks.
Best Place to Buy an Engagement Ring: Ben Bridge Jeweler.
Best Ketubah Artist: Micol Bayer. Photo courtesy of Bayer.
Best Event Photographer: Meryl Alcabes. Check the best local sports team for a sample of her work.
Best Florist: Dennis Warshal.
Best Caterer: Leah’s Catering.
Best Wedding Cake Baker: Leah’s Catering.
Best Local Jewish Organization, School or Agency: Like we noted above, we had a record number of responses this year. But for this all-important category we had a tie. Not a let’s-fudge-the-numbers-just-a-teensy-bit kind of tie, but a real, honest-to-goodness same number of responses for each. So Jewish Family Service and Seattle Hebrew Academy, please stand up and take a bow. There must be something magic in the air at the top of Capitol Hill.
Best Youth Organization: NCSY. Photo courtesy NCSY.
Best Jewish Camp: Camp Solomon Schechter. This photo of a camper on the new climbing wall is courtesy Camp Solomon Schechter.
Best Place to Volunteer: Jewish Family Service.
Best Counseling Services: Jewish Family Service.
Best Congregation: The upstart Minyan Ohr Chadash in Seward Park takes the torch from many worthy veterans.
Best Jewish Supplemental School: Temple Beth Am.
Best Adult Education Program: “Wendy Marcus, music director at Temple Beth Am, went out on a limb to start a Yiddish language learning group— her own time, materials, etc.,” wrote one respondent. “She saved my life in retirement!”
Out in the Community
Best Place to Hang Out and Meet Other Fun Jews: Stroum Jewish Community Center.
Best Local Sports Team: Um, Seahawks anyone? But honorable mention to the Northwest Yeshiva High School 613s. Here, Jeffrey Owen, a freshman at Northwest Yeshiva High School, goes for the jumpshot for his team, the NYHS 613s, which is currently at #3 in league standings. The photo is by Meryl Alcabes, who took best event photographer honors.
Best (or Worst) Political Antic was also the Most Important Political Issue of 2013: You loved it. You hated it. But Obamacare, a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act won this, thermometers down.
Best Local Jewish News Item of 2013: The massive turnover in organizational leadership.
Best Jewish Book of 2013: “Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation” by Yossi Klein Halevi.
Best Jewish-Themed or Israeli Film of 2013: “Fill the Void,” Rama Burshtein’s heartfelt, emotional film about an ultra-Orthodox Israeli woman whose journey toward marriage comes with a life-changing decision.
Best Jewish Actor/Comedian of 2013: Jon Stewart
Best Jewish Band/Musician/Singer-Songwriter: Whether in Israel or at Sasquatch, we’ll claim Nissim as our own homegrown hip hop grandmaster.
Shop Till You Drop. Then Work Out
Best Fitness Club/Gym or Spa: Stroum JCC.
Best Clothing Store: Nordstrom.
Best Kids’ Shop: Gymboree.
Best Independent Shoes & Accessories Shop: The Woolly Mammoth shoe store in the University District.
Best Toy Shop: Top Ten Toys.
Best Little, Local, Independent Shop: We had a tie between Island Books on Mercer Island and Nena Gifts, Gallery and Vintage in Madrona.
Best Judaica: Fireworks tied with the Judaica shop at Temple De Hirsch Sinai. For you real treasure hunters, one respondent suggested heading over to “my dad’s house.”
Best Independent Gift Shop: Fireworks.
Best Bookstore: Elliott Bay Book Co.
Best Theater Company: Seattle Rep goes for the big productions while Village Theater is renowned for elevating community productions onto a much higher plane.
The Professional Life
Best Family Doctor: Dr. William Shaul at Group Health in South Seattle.
Best Dentist: Dr. Larry Adatto in Wedgwood.
Best Optometrist/Opthalmologist/Optician: Dr. Sheldon Cowen, whose ophthalmology practice is up on First Hill.
Best Lawyer: Joshua Moultray in Bellevue.
Best Accountant: Sam Mezistrano, CPA, practices in Kent.
Best Real Estate Agent: In the Southend, Kent Swigard’s your man; in the Northend, Rhona Feldman will help you sell your house then teach you Israeli dancing after the sale closes.
Best Car Dealership: Michael’s Toyota in Bellevue.