A very special experience: Archipelago.

I’ve been trying to score a reservation here since soon after they opened about 4 years ago. Before COVID-19 hit, I finally snagged a very hard to come by reservation at this well regarded restaurant with very limited seating. Alas, the reservation was cancelled so the next best thing was to sample their Balikbayan Box. But, I had to try the chef’s preparation and the experience.

They open their reservations 2 months in advance…get on the site precisely on the appointed hour or all the reservations will be gone within 5 minutes. It’s been on every list of must experience restaurants, including a finalist in this year’s James Beard’s best chef in the Pacific Northwest. Not only is it very popular, they only seat 10 to 12 people for 2 dinings a night and only 3 days a week. Do the math…

The experience isn’t just about the food and its presentation…it’s also about the long history of the Filipino community in the PNW. All the food is locally sourced. Fun fact: you can’t grow pineapple in the PNW….what to do? Make your own: Pine nuts and apple…it really works! This is a place were there isn’t a dish that stands out, they all stand out from presentation to palate.

As mentioned, the space is small and most of the seating is at the Chef’s counter. While you may be able to score an actual table, I’d strongly recommend a seat at the counter. All the action is there.

The wines are unique and also locally sourced: Pét Nat wines and cider from the PNW.

As we were parting, I mention to Chef Aaron that he should offer a piquette. While it wasn’t on the menu, no sooner than my mention, I had a glass to taste from Oregon! You might ask, what’s a piquette? It’s a “wine” made from pomace left over after the crush and then fermented. The ABV is usually in the 5 to 7% range and most have residual CO2. Think of it as a beer like wine. Examples are not found widely so, if you run across one…give it a try!

The service…impeccable! The experience…outstanding!

When the GPS says you’ve arrived don’t think you’re in the wrong place when you walk up. The building is a bit nondescript but it’s what’s inside that counts.


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