If you haven’t been to Ballard lately it might be easy to get lost. There are so many new buildings and restaurants popping up everyday! (And isn’t that like the rest of Seattle these days too?) I was invited with my family to Gather Kitchen and Bar to try out their menu and because we travel often I was so curious about what travel-inspired food would be like. Their location is very convenient-right across from the Ballard library and there is a parking lot with validated parking underneath as well. We had a great evening visiting this Ballard neighborhood restaurant and it reminded me we need to spend more time wandering around here-we haven’t been to the Ballard Farmer’s Market in way too long!
What to eat at Gather Kitchen and Bar in Ballard?
We tend to eat mainly vegetarian so when we looked at the menu I was excited to see how many tasty looking vegetable-forward dishes were available. But someone walking by also exclaimed “get the octopus” and told us how delicious their octopus dish was. As we ate our meal we noticed that the table behind us ate a meat dish that had a fantastic aroma and they were commenting on how yummy it was too, so I know that the carnivores in the restaurant were also delighted too. Gather Kitchen and Bar has a kind of friendly ambiance that we need in a growing city like Seattle-people seem to come here to linger over dinner and enjoy their food, smile at their neighbors and even say hello. We noticed a few tables with kids in the restaurant too so this made me happy bringing my kids with us here as well.
Meet the chef: Ryan Donaldson at Gather Kitchen and Bar
Chef Ryan Donaldson stopped by our table and it was fun chatting with him about the yummy things he was making for dinner. I had read that he fell in love with the restaurant business after working in a restaurant to fight boredom in high school when he tore his ACL. The Ryan in our house also tore his ACL recently so I’m hoping this fact might inspire him to get more into cooking one day too. But chef Ryan Donaldson clearly loves what he is doing at his restaurant-you can taste creativity and heart in the foods that we ate. The kitchen is open concept so you can see your meal being constructed and the octopus mural over the prep-area is such a whimsical touch. We also really loved our server Francesca-she was so friendly and warm that she made our meal even more special just by hanging out with us and because my twin guys randomly were twinning with her it was fun to take a picture together to commemorate our experience.
Where to eat beignets in Seattle
And we had so much fun with our meal. A parade of food made its way to our table: a carrot dish with popcorn, chickpeas that you shell and eat like edamame (I have never seen this and they were so tasty!), and a spicy buffalo-style cauliflower with a blue cheese mousse unlike anything I’ve eaten before. We tried the most delicious gnocchi and a fish dish that disappeared within minutes. All the dishes had unique flavors and distinguishing touches that gave them a worldly flare-we could tell chef Ryan was having fun creating these meals. When dessert arrived we were totally stuffed and we still managed to devour a saffron ice cream sandwich and the fluffiest, airiest beignets we’ve ever had. I would recommend all the foods we ate, but I especially will tell people to come here for the beignets because everyone around us ordered them and they were absolutely perfect.
I’m so glad we had the chance to stop in Gather Kitchen and Bar with my family and that we could meet Chef Ryan Donaldson and Francesca. We eat at many places in Seattle but this is one that felt so warm and friendly and delicious that we had the loveliest meal out with our kids and it’s close by so I know we will revisit again soon.
(PS as stated above we were guests at Gather Kitchen and Bar for the purpose of this review, and as always the opinions in this blog are always my own.)
(PPS. Gather Kitchen and Bar does brunch on the weekends too!!)