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When you walk into Maneki, a Japanese spot in the International District, you’ll notice a sheet of paper taped to the host stand that lists the next available reservation that night. Usually, it’s something late, like 9:30. Which goes to show that this long-standing spot (it’s one of the oldest restaurants in Seattle) is still making some of the very best Japanese food in the city. The menu is huge, but we’re big fans of their fish and seafood dishes, from reasonably-priced sushi to fried takoyaki balls stuffed with octopus. Instead of relying on the sheet of paper like it’s 1904 (the year it opened), you can text ahead to make a reservation. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a little table in the crowded dining room. But if you’re really lucky, you’ll get one of the private tatami rooms, where you’ll take off your shoes and kneel on decorative pillows to eat your meal.

Chona Kasinger
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