Off Alley: A Tiny 12-Seat Seattle Restaurant That Serves Up Big Flavors

Seattle, Washington, is known for its great coffee, booming tech industry, and incredible food scene. Pike Place Market is easily one of the city's most recognizable and iconic features, spanning nine city blocks in the center of downtown. The market houses over 220 independently owned businesses, including specialty food stores and restaurants (per Pike Place Market). Pike Place Market is even home to the original Starbucks store.

Seattle is located in the Pacific Northwest, giving the city incredible access to fresh seafood. The city is especially known for its fresh salmon and shellfish. The famous flying fish stall at Pike Place Market is just one example of how seriously the city takes seafood (per Pike Place Fish). Seattle is home to several different kinds of seafood joints, from little shacks to fine dining Michelin star restaurants (per iexplore). According to Eater Seattle, Vietnamese and Japanese food, particularly pho, is prominent throughout the city. With its booming restaurant scene, there's always a new restaurant popping up to excite locals and visitors alike.

What's on the menu at Off Alley?

One new fine dining restaurant has debuted in Seattle with a splash. Off Alley is located in the Columbia City neighborhood. The tiny restaurant has garnered praise for its delicious food and unconventional atmosphere, as noted by Eater Seattle. Instead of a traditional menu, the menu at Off Alley changes every night. Chef Evan Leichtling posts the updated offerings daily via Off Alley's Instagram account. Part of the restaurant's magic is the idea of having no set rules. Leichtling cooks what he wants, using only the freshest ingredients. He typically cooks in a French or Spanish style, indicative of his training in San Sebastián, Spain, and Paris, France (Eater Seattle). The dishes are meant to be shared, and as soon as a dish is sold out, it is crossed off the chalkboard.

Leichtling and his wife and business partner, Meghna Prakas, opened Off Alley during the tumultuous summer of 2020. They wanted the restaurant to feel like customers were entering their home and, above all, wanted people to relax and enjoy themselves. Prakas is responsible for sourcing the wine list and interacting with the customers (via Eater Seattle). Part of the playful nature of the restaurant is in the name itself, which cleverly disguises the word "offal," aka organ meat. Leichtling hopes his style of cooking encourages diners to move out of their comfort zone and try some more adventurous dishes.