I have to say that this is an unusual review for Restaurant News because Pot + Pan, the Korean cafe inside the Olympus Spa, is only available for women over 13 years of age. That’s because the Olympus Spa on 196th Street Southwest in Lynnwood is open only to women. It is a magical place. I’ve been going there several times per year since I moved to Edmonds in 2001. Every time I go, I leave feeling renewed — it’s the perfect mini staycation.
Sometimes I go by myself and sometimes I meet up with friends, although talking (except in the restaurant) is discouraged in order to maintain a quiet and serene environment. I spend the morning relaxing and meditating in the six FIR (Far Infrared) heated rooms. Then I take a break to enjoy a delicious lunch in Pot + Pan. In the afternoon, I use the sauna, steam room and heated pools. My day usually ends with a Korean body scrub, which they claim is “directly derived from a Korean tradition to exfoliate dead skin cells by using soap and scrub mitts. The scrub cleanses and smooths the skin, improves blood circulation and promotes detoxification.” I end up feeling like I have baby-soft skin!
There is a day fee ($48) but you can spend as long as you want, and each service (scrub, massage, facial, nail care, etc.) has its own fees. Yes, it’s a splurge, but when you are feeling tired and stressed there is nothing better than a day at Olympus Spa. If you are looking for a last-minute gift for the holidays, the Olympus Spa sells gift certificates for day visits and services. Better yet, show this article to your family, and maybe they will buy you a gift certificate.
Let’s get back to the restaurant experience. Remember, service at the restaurant is only women — which is a good thing because you will be dining in the cotton robe and cap that the spa gives to you to wear throughout your visit. At first it’s a weird experience but after seeing everyone else in the same attire, you get used to it.
I met up with two friends for a day of relaxing prior to the busy holiday season. It was a Monday and I was surprised how busy the spa and cafe were.
We ordered a Seafood Pancake to share at the table. It had squid, shrimp, bell peppers and onions and came with a house-made dipping sauce. It was hot and fresh and we each had our own pancake to enjoy. Each entrée comes with the typical assortment of Korean side dishes known as banchan. We had pickled radishes, kimchi, spicy potatoes, slaw salad and seaweed salad.
One of my friends ordered a new dish at the cafe called Waffle Bap. It’s essentially a roll that included green leaf lettuce, perilla leaf and shredded cabbage wrapped in crispy waffle rice and served with a side of pickled daikon and sauce. She ordered it extra spicy with tofu as her protein. She enjoyed the flavors but found it challenging to eat.
My other friend ordered the Kimchi Jjigae Stew, which is a spicy, hearty kimchi stew with pork, tofu, enoki mushrooms and scallions. It came to the table piping hot, and she needed to eat it carefully in order to not burn her month. She ordered it extra spicy and it came with a side dish of rice. I am challenged in the spice department so I will take their word for it about the deliciousness. There was nothing left on their plates!
I ordered the Vegetable and Chicken Stir Fry, which came with a side of rice. No spice but you can ask for it at any spice level. It is similar to their Yakisoba, but without the noodles. The portion was very generous and could have been two meals for me. But I was hungry after a morning of sweating in the hot rooms and enjoyed every morsel. None of us had room for dessert. The restaurant offers a full range of lighter fair including smoothies, protein shakes, salads and wraps. You can even order food to go through Door Dash if you want to try out the restaurant without going to the spa. You can also call ahead at 425-520-4978 for curbside pickup.
I have always enjoyed the food at the Olympus Spa but with the newly branded cafe it seems that the chefs have stepped it up a notch. Take a day to relax and enjoy the comforts of Korean comfort food. It’s a great way to de-stress during the holidays.
— By Deborah Binder
Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.