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December 4, 2013 at 10:28 AM

What is Seattle’s top-rated restaurant?

Tatsu Nishino, left, Masahiro Mori, and Chong Kim at Nishino. File photo by Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times

Tatsu Nishino, left, Masahiro Mori, and Chong Kim prepare sushi at Nishino. Mike Siegel file photo/The Seattle Times

Zagat has ranked its 20 top-rated restaurants across the country, and #1 in the Seattle area is Nishino in Madison Park. It won a rating of 29 (out of 30) for food, 27 for service, and 23 for decor.

Last year, counting only food ratings, Cafe Juanita took the top spot, followed by Paseo, Mashiko, Spinasse and The Herbfarm. Nishino was #9 on that list, scoring 27 for food.

The Zagat-esian writeup puts it this way: “Kyoto-born Nobu alum Tatsu Nishino conceives “delicate, inventive” and altogether “amazing” sushi for deep-pocketed fin fans at his “low-key” Madison Park Japanese; “expert” service and “masterpieces on the walls” by local artist Fay Jones put diners “in a Zen state”, but those who want a truly transporting experience know “it’s all about” the “straight-from-heaven” omakase menu (just be sure to “order a few days ahead”).

Here’s how Nancy Leson summarized the place in her piece pairing classic restaurants with newcomers:

“Tatsu Nishino made his mark on the city with a menu that nodded to Latin America (papaya salsa, jalapeños) and the Mediterranean (crème fraîche, arugula), setting trends by matching finned favorites with accents other than his own. Today, crossing cultures at Seattle sushi bars is as commonplace as premium sake and California rolls.

Madison Park regulars have flocked to this standard-bearer since 1995 for good reason: Nishino and his creative cohort are as adept at pairing sevruga caviar with toro as at divining which sea creatures (live shrimp? sweet uni?) will fulfill the food fantasies of an “omakase” omnivore.”

Are the masses of Zagat voters on target here? Who gets your vote for Seattle’s best?

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