The Araya’s Place in the U-District has a been a staple for the vegans and vegetarians of Seattle for more than a decade. It has moved a few times, but the amazing vegan Thai food whipped up without fish sauce, shrimp paste, or oyster sauce has always kept people coming back time and again. The lunch buffet is nothing short of legendary.
For you Araya’s fans, I have some good news and some bad news. First the bad news: the Bellevue location is currently closed. I don’t know if and when it may return, but rumor has it that it had something do to with the building – maybe getting torn down? But a sad day for the East Side happens to be a banner day for West since the staff and amazing food has relocated to a gorgeous space in Madison Valley.
I know everyone loves the buffet, but I’m so crazy for their fresh made curries that I normally pass it up (I know, gasp). The new location is kind of chic and buffet-less. When we arrived they brought us little apéritifs of cranberry and raspberry juice. The chef came out and brought us a special dish, not on the menu, of fried Lion’s Main mushrooms because he found some at the market earlier in the day.
This new location is right near the top of my list of best places to take a date. It is tucked away from the busy street in a garden court yard. Its white washed walls gleam in the sun that shines in from the northwest corner. The afternoon that we went, a lovely breeze cooled us through one of the open windows. It reminded me of being on vacation.
I love, love, love this new location and can’t wait to go back. And not just for you Madison Valley folks either – it is super close to Capitol Hill and the Central District. Maybe I’ll see you there.
Araya’s Place – Thai Vegan
2808 E Madison St Seattle, WA 98112