America's Classics: Maria Hines on Seattle's Maneki

Photo by James Collier




One of my all-time favorite Japanese restaurants in Seattle is Maneki. It’s one of those places that makes you feel like you’re being taken care of at your grandmother’s house. It’s been a longtime cooks’ spot for an incredible meal that doesn’t break the bank. The dish I always get is the sakana dinner, which is salt-broiled mackerel served with sashimi and tempura. The mackerel is fried whole and it has such crispy skin on the outside with the luxurious, melt-in-your-mouth flesh on the inside. It’s a soulful food experience. 

—Maria Hines, JBF Award Winner




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America's Classics: Maneki

Maneki A restaurant doesn’t have to serve fried chicken or pie to be an America’s Classic. Our list of America’s Classics represents the wide variety of cultures, cuisines, and people that make up the country’s food scene.  At first mention, Japanese food might not seem like a natural choice, but Maneki is a perfect example of a classic American eatery. Maneki is a family-owned enterprise whose roots stretch back to the early years of the twentieth century. Some believe it was founded in 1904. Others claim a date of 1911. No matter; it’s the only surviving restaurant from Seattle’s once bustling Japantown. Since 1974, the Nakayama family has been at the helm, first Kozo, now his wife, Jean. Maneki has long claimed a place at the center of Seattle’s Japanese-American community. In the 1930s one of the restaurant’s dishwashers was a University of Washington student named Takeo Miki, who later served,

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