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Julia's in Wallingford

Reviewed By Astrida Tralmaks

It's important to plan ahead if you want to get a table at the ever-crowded Julia' Restaurants in Wallingford, Broadway and Issaquah. And it's not just the popular Sunday brunches or Friday or Saturday dinners that command a wait. A Monday lunch, as I found out, may be too packed to find a seat. Even a recent breakfast on a Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. was nearly full. The restaurant's menus even proclaim that business meetings are to be limited to one hour and "coffee only" requests are not permissible during busy times.

Julia's has long ranked among Seattle's favorite restaurants. The homey eatery, with its wood tables, hanging plants and bustling atmosphere, attracts customers with wide taste buds and dietary needs: It serves many meat, poultry, seafood and vegetarian options from a mostly American menu with some international influences. It's a great place for vegetarians to bring their carnivorous friends, and vice versa.

The dinner menu offers the most vegetarian and vegan fare. You can start off with "The Hummus" appetizer, which includes pita bread, hummus, cucumber, kalamata olives, tomatoes, sprouts and olive oil, or gazpacho soup with warm bread.

There are nine vegetarian entrees ($9.95-$12.95), all served with cracked wheat bread and choice of soup or side salad. Among the most interesting are the Nisqually wild mushroom tostada, in which shitake mushrooms are marinated and grilled, and placed atop corn tortillas along with portabella mushrooms and feta cheese; Miguel's black bean cakes and Venetian herbed polenta. I enjoy the tofu and seasonal vegetable stir-fry over brown rice, with its rich peanut sauce. Many of the entrees can be made vegan; just skip the cheese.

You can also order one of five vegetarian salad entrees, ranging from Julia's Caesar and Greek Spinach to a soba noodle salad with marinated tofu steak.

I tried the giant garden bowl salad, a combination of greens, avocados, green peppers, cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, sprouts, carrots and celery. The side dressing, lemon sesame, came in a bowl itself almost big enough to be a soup. The filling salad was served with four sides of toast.
On another occasion, for breakfast, I tried the tofu breakfast special, a scrambler large chunks of tofu, mushrooms, scallions and the pungent flavor of dark sesame oil. The pan-fried potatoes were hearty. Four sides of whole wheat toast completed the large plate of food, a good deal at $6.95. The small orange juice was less a bargain at $2.25.

Another breakfast option is sauteed vegetables, in which broccoli, mushrooms, spinach and green peppers are flavored with sesame oil and soy sauce. You can also get whole wheat or sourdough hotcakes or french toast, or the fresh quiche of the day.

Julia's also offers fresh vegetable juices, a large range of caffeinated drinks and wine and beer. Next door (and attached to the restaurant) is Wallingford Bakery, which servers a wide variety of desserts. The staff told me that nothing was vegan, however.

Julia's now has 3 locations:

4401 Wallingford Ave N, Seattle.............206-633-1175

300 Broadway Ave, Seattle ...................206-861-1818

375 NW Gilman Blvd., Issaquah.............425-557-1919