Saturday, February 16, 2008

Fana's Cuisine

3621 33rd Ave. S.
Suites C5 and C6
Seattle, WA 98144
Phone: 206-708-7417

Just north of the Rainier Court Safeway complex on Rainier ave is a huge new apartment complex with retail space on the bottom. One day I saw a banner for a restaurant called "Fana's Cuisine" that advertised "spicy spaghetti" strung out to face Rainier. I wasn't sure what this meant, but it reminded me of the spectacular spicy sauced spaghetti I'd eaten in the Caribbean (nothing at all like the Italian version...), and I was totally intrigued. Took a while to remember to actually go there though... it is more or less out of view while driving down Rainier (it is located on the S. Side of the Courtland Place at Rainier Court apartments), and I tend to be reminded too late when I catch a glimpse of a sign.

But I went today, and had a wonderful experience even considering I didn't really eat. The restaurant is roomy and clean with natural light streaming into big plate glass windows. It was empty aside from one man at the counter ordering food to go, and I was greeted sweetly by the girl at the cash register in her beautiful rolling accent. A quick glance through the menu showed some interesting dishes... some delicious looking Ethiopian/Eritrean standards, but also a sort of out-of-place section of pizzas and Italian style pasta. It turned out that the sign I'd seen was advertising two separate items... Spicy food, and Spaghetti. I asked the girl behind the counter what she'd recommend for a vegetarian, and thus began the really remarkable part of the encounter: She was really friendly and kind and asked me whether I was a strict vegetarian (IE, no chicken broth) and proceeded to tell me that just about all of their "vegetarian" dishes currently contain chicken stock BUT that they want to go truly vegetarian and are in the process of experimenting with various vegetarian broths and stocks to find one that they feel meets their expectations for taste in the various dishes. She says that they should have a variety of truly vegetarian specialties in a week or two.

As we talked I came to understand a little bit about who was who... the woman in the kitchen was actually Fana (Isn't it wonderful when the namesake of a restaurant actually exists and cooks there?), and the girl at the counter her daughter. The man ordering food to go was Fana's husband.

The place smelled delicious, and as I stood there Fana put forth a tray of steaming hot pastries filled with some sort of savory filling.

I think this is another restaurant suffering from a difficult location... it's hard to notice from the street, and probably doesn't see many walk in visitors (hopefully people from the apartments above know about it...). It sounds like they will soon be starting live music on certain days, in hopes of bringing in more of a crowd.

The owners and their daughter are the sort of people you just want to succeed... they were so kind and engaging and seem really passionate about their food. They sent me on my way with a symbolic sampling of the true vegetarian things they have right now: a green salad with small cut Romain, tomatoes, onion, some kind of really pleasing and extremely mild white cheese, and a tasty vinaigrette, a pile of buttery yellow rice, and a pile of seasoned Bulgar wheat, and I left them with an eager promise to come back hungry in a couple of weeks.

This review is premature, I know... I haven't really tasted much of what they have to offer, but I left the restaurant feeling so good... refreshed on the goodness of people in general that I wanted to write about it. I am really excited about re-visting again in a little while and being able to put tongue to the fantastic smelling dishes cooking away in the kitchen.

(to be cont.)
Fana's Cuisine in Seattle


T. said...

Love your blog!! There's another really good Ethopian place on Rainier by Lucky Tatoo, and I usually get their veg. combo.

Catherine Reynolds said...

Thanks for the report on Fana's Cuisine. I live in the southend & their sign has caught my eye, but I've never actually pulled in to their awkward location to check the place out.

I just started working in the Mt. Baker neighborhood, so I will have to stop in & give both parts of their menu a try.

Catherine Reynolds said...
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