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Old 04-19-2009, 06:09 PM
 
Location: Downtown Seattle!
228 posts, read 650,057 times
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Is communal seating popular in Seattle area restaurants? I've read a few articles here and there that suggest it is becoming more popular in the PNW.

Joe
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Old 04-19-2009, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Cosmic Consciousness
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I've never heard of "communal seating". What is it?
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Old 04-19-2009, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Downtown Seattle!
228 posts, read 650,057 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allforcats View Post
I've never heard of "communal seating". What is it?
It's where instead of sitting at a table for 2 or 4, you sit at a table for say 10+, right next to and across from other diners. I've read about a few restaurants doing it in the Pacific NW. I would imagine a few restaurants in an areas such as Belltown or Capitol Hill would fall victim to this trend.

I'm not sure how I really feel about it since I've never dined in a communal arrangement with strangers. I suppose in a place like Seattle, with the "Seattle Freeze," it might be an awkward night of gastronomical delights.

Joe
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Old 04-19-2009, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Cosmic Consciousness
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Ah, Benihana seating. Sushi counter seating. That's the extent of my experience here with such seating, but then I should get out more I suppose, but I'm saving my money to buy stocks at bargain-basement prices...
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Old 04-19-2009, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Downtown Seattle!
228 posts, read 650,057 times
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I found this link which discussed this topic with some humor.

http://www.portlandfood.org/index.php?showtopic=5772


Is there a similar "Seattle Foodies" sight that anyone can recommend?

Joe
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Old 04-19-2009, 09:52 PM
 
Location: WA
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Isn't the Art of the Table communal? I know the Herb Farm is.
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Auburn, WA
292 posts, read 1,375,283 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ijoe13 View Post
I suppose in a place like Seattle, with the "Seattle Freeze," it might be an awkward night of gastronomical delights.

Joe
Just to clarify... the people in Seattle are some of the most superficially friendly in the country. We'd pull one night off - the awkwardness comes later. Just don't expect an exchange of phone numbers and a promise to "do it again soon." Do expect to be met with a look of extreme puzzlement if you suggest such or acknowledge acquaintance should you happen to pass on the street.

I know of no communal seating establishments beyond Tepanyaki steak houses.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:22 PM
 
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
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Besides the restaurants noted here, I would recommend Kasbah, located at 1471 NW 85th St. It is Moroccan style food and they have communal and more personal seating. Last time I went there, bellydancers would entertain guests too and would let you tip them (some single guys would be more risque in their tipping, but that's alright, it definitely doesn't feel like a strip joint or something).

I would recommend going with a group you know though. I wouldn't say Seattleites are superficially friendly, ... it's called human nature. You don't just plop in front of someone, say hi, eat with the guy, and expect to meet them later on for chats and coffee.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:03 PM
 
Location: Seattle area
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I've not seen it here yet, but I've done a lot more "communal eating" in cities in other countries. In Istanbul, they plopped people down wherever there was room. Two together... hmm... next to these other two over there. In Ushuaia, we sat next to a couple from France. He claimed to be a heart surgeon and spoke French, the woman with him spoke French and some Spanish, and I speak enough Spanish, so we all managed to communicate and had a wonderful dinner. In Buenos Aires we sat quite close to other people, though it wasn't nearly as friendly, probably because the other people in the restaurant near us were tourists as well, and seemed kinda freaked out by it. In Santorini, we ate at a wonderful rooftop place, and people were jammed all in there as well, wherever there's room. In China... well, everywhere in China, the people are jammed in so close I don't know if they possibly considered it private even though it sure felt communal, you kinda get used to elbows in your "personal space" all the time. But I remember my first foreign trip (outside of Canada and Mexico), with my fresh new passport, going to Hong Kong, and my coworker there hauling me to her favorite dim sum place, assuring me that my suitcase was indeed going to the hotel and we should go eat now. THAT was an experience... stepping through a narrow doorway on a dark street into a huge room crammed full of tables and a body in almost every single chair... she sat us down at two empty seats at a big round table of 10 or 12 people... fortunately after a trip that long I was too tired to wonder how anybody would know we were "separate tickets"!!!! Seems funny now!!

You smile, greet, sometimes laugh or say something is good, point out the sunset or the boat passing or whatever, and it's great. I wish we did MORE of it here. There was an Austrian place in suburban Dallas that did that, and we wound up talking to a 70-some-year-old librarian widower for half an hour as he finished his meal and we were waiting for ours. It's just fun.

Sometimes it's nice to be private, but as long as people don't reek of perfume or cigarettes, and aren't overly loud and obnoxious, it can be fun. In other words, if people are considerate... which you certainly can't count on... it's worth it. You never know what you might hear or learn.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:47 AM
 
59 posts, read 212,814 times
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Here's another.

Tavolata : About (http://www.tavolata.com/about.html - broken link)

Tavolàta is a unique addition to the Seattle dining landscape. While it has an industrial and urban feel, it still maintains a warm soulfulness from the 30 foot communal table (the Tavolata), reclaimed materials and delicate lighting.
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