Now that the sunshine has decided to show its face here in Seattle, all I can think about is which restaurant patio I'd like to be sipping cocktails on to ring in summer! Enter Bar Vacilando's hidden courtyard where attention to detail in both the menu and design will have you at hello.
The first time I lay eyes on this gorgeous outdoor dining space, my first thought was 'I need to find an excuse to have a party here'. It is so up my alley with the lattice walls, loads of greenery, and warm toned woods. The benches were a happy treasure, leftover from the previous restaurant, and when the owners moved in, they decided to keep it. I'm so glad they did. Many people would have seen an item like that and thrown it out, but I think it adds so much cool character!
Of course, it's not just their patio that makes this restaurant a destination - the menu is pretty unique too. 'Vacilando' is a Spanish term that refers to the act of wandering with that 'life's a journey not a destination' attitude. Which is exactly what you do with this menu: a meandering of courses that takes you from country to country.
From Korean and Vietnamese to Spanish and Greek, the mix of cultural flavor references is unique and somehow works all together too. The green bean fries and spicy sausage sliders are my absolute favorites, but each dish is worth a try to find the ones that speak to you.
Inside, the design scheme goes calm, cool and minimal with its black and white palette.
The little painted letters along the ledges of the restaurant walls are my favorite design touch. In them are hidden words and phrases for diners to discover.
I love sparse style, as it lends to the focus on the food, and that's the exact idea co-owners Chris Linker and Judy Boardman were going for when putting the space together. In a way, the spaces needed to feel like it could be anywhere in the world to allow for the influences of all the different cultures in the menu.
Another piece saved from the salvage yard was this huge mirror that now has the spot of honor on a huge ledge at the end of the restaurant.
I definitely have had myself a moment or two over those lamps on the bar. Like most restaurants in Seattle, the cocktails are mixed with their own syrups and shrubs, lending unique flavors. And if you need me, I'll be drinking mine right here...