In The Bowl (Seattle, WA)


On Olive Way just east of I-5 was arguably the most distinctive coffee shop on Capitol Hill: Coffee Messiah. This institution closed its doors in January, 2006. We were taking bets on what (if anything) would replace the Messiah. We all lost, as none of us considered an all-vegetarian Asian-fusion noodle bar (with a complete suite of faux meat). It was about a year later that Capitol Hill was introduced to In the Bowl.

The restaurant was completely madeover from its dark, Jesus-portrait laden past, the walls repainted mango, and opened up as much as possible given the narrow locale. The waitstaff are very friendly and they do a brisk take-out business as well as offering some tightly packed tables for dining in. I’ve been to In the Bowl four times now, and while it has always been busy a table or two was available. Perhaps that’s because your food arrives almost instantly (our dining experience tonight was 30 minutes all-up).

The menu is very tongue-in-cheek. It’s setup as a set of “episodes” (beverages episode, starter episode, stir fried episode, etc). There are items like “You Are So Beautiful” and “Go Green with The Beans”. Tonight we had a repeat of our inaugural meal: Tokyo Noodle and Basil Basil. Both with tofu and 3 stars of spiciness (I haven’t managed to psych myself up for the fake meats yet).

Tokyo Noodle is an udon noodle, with honey-ginger teriyaki sauce, stir fried with mushrooms, onions, and bok choy. It has an undertone of sweetness along with a nice punch of spice. The udon noodles are a nice chewy host for the sauce.

Tokyo Noodle

Basil Basil is my personal favorite so far. This stir-fried episode features mushrooms, green beans, onions, and peppers in a chili-garlic sauce. Oh, and lots of basil of course 🙂 The brown rice at In the Bowl is not your common wimpy, mushy brown rice. This rice has flavor and a little bit of body.

Basil Basil

Overall In the Bowl has stepped up to the plate and more than filled the void left by Coffee Messiah’s departure. So far, I’d rank it above any of the Asian options that Broadway has to offer. I’m excited to continue my way through the scenes of each “episode”. And if the constant stream of people is any indication, I’m not the only one.

In The Bowl
1554 E. Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98102

Wed-Mon: 12:00PM-10:00PM (Lunch and Dinner)

3 thoughts on “In The Bowl (Seattle, WA)

  1. Sean B

    So I just went vegetarian 4 months ago and have eaten at In The Bowl a number of times (Its SOOOO easy and cheap and I live on the hill) but tonight i read your review and decided to order what you mentioned in your blog. I ordered the Tokyo noodle with fried tofu and the Basil Basil with “chicken” protein. IT WAS FUUUUUCCCCKKKKIIIIINNNNNGGG AMAZING. THANK YOU for the recommendation. 3 Stars was perfect.


    Sean B

  2. Craig

    Yes, this place rocks! I hope it lasts. Thanks for the recommendations. I prefer the Spicy noodle with Fried tofu myself, but I want to explore other items.


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