There is no city in the world quite like Seattle. Whether you’re a local or visiting for a few days, there is an undeniable rush that comes from taking in all the scenes of the extraordinary city surrounded by water and towering pine trees. And while some people first think of iconic Seattle institutions like the Mariners or Starbucks or Nordstrom, what you really need to know is that the gastronomic scene here is bursting with incredible Seattle restaurants and it’s one that absolutely cannot be missed. We hope you enjoy our collection of the best Seattle restaurants, categorized by genre, so that next time you’re eating your way through the Emerald City, you won’t miss a beat.
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15. Burger: 8 oz. Burger
If you need to get your burger fix in Seattle, start with one of our favorite Seattle restaurants, 8 oz. Burger. Specializing in incredible gourmet burgers, we love coming here to satisfy all of our bun and patty cravings. 8 oz. Burger serves delicious, juicy hamburgers cooked to perfection (nothing worse than an overcooked burger), and our go-to order is “The 8 oz.”, a house blend beef patty served with arugula, balsamic onions, bacon, Beecher’s flagship cheddar, and truffle aioli on a delicious brioche bun. Garlic truffle fries on the side are a must.
14. Chinese: Dough Zone
Seattle is an absolute mecca when it comes to incredible Asian food, and Dough Zone is our top pick for Chinese cuisine. We are over the moon for the delicious flavors throughout the Dough Zone menu, but the main reason you’re coming here is for the xiao long bao. Xiao long bao are delicate, delectable soup dumplings and the most authentic you can find among Seattle restaurants are at Dough Zone. There’s no wrong way to enjoy your xiao long bao, just as long as none of the magical broth inside the dumpling goes to waste.
13. Vietnamese: Ba Bar
Another incredible Asian recommendation on our list of the best Seattle restaurants is Ba Bar, the best Vietnamese food you can find in the Emerald City, with locations in Capitol Hill, South Lake, and U-Village. This restaurant is incredibly versatile, giving you the perfect excuse to come here for any occasion. The crispy imperial roll is basically the spring roll of your dreams and an absolute must. The rotisserie chicken is a great entree to try on your first visit, with local chicken breast cooked in the perfect medley of lemongrass, shallot, ginger, and soy, all served on the delicious white rice. If you’re in the mood for noodles, try one of the vermicelli bowls, served with your choice of chicken, prawn, or beef, fresh vegetables, and chopped peanuts. And no matter what you do, don’t leave without a fresh French macaron or two.
12. BBQ: Wood Shop BBQ
Wood Shop BBQ, in Seattle’s Central District, is a truck-turned-brick-and-mortar known for its mouthwatering mix of Texas and Kansas City BBQ. Their brisket, smoked Central Texas-style and seasoned with just salt and pepper, is unquestionably the best in the city. We’re also major fans of their Pork Spare Ribs, prepared with a Kansas City-Style Sawdust Rub and smoked over solid hickory and post oak. We recommend dining with a group and ordering a little bit of everything to share, but if you have to choose just one dish, let it be The Tex: smoked jalapeno mac and cheese – made up of six cheeses and giant al dente elbow pasta – topped with brisket, pickled red onions, and Wood Shop’s original sauce. Take your food out back to their picturesque patio where you can revel in one of the best Seattle restaurants rain (covered and equipped with heaters) or shine. Wood Shop BBQ promises “No Compromises. No Secrets. Just Great BBQ.” and they absolutely deliver.
11. Mexican: Tacos Chukis
Every city needs a legendary taco shop to satisfy all taco cravings, and Tacos Chukis is the shining star when it comes to Seattle restaurants. With locations in Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, Beacon Hill, & Central District, locals can’t get enough of this Mexican food and there is no end in sight. They serve burritos, quesadillas, tortas, and mulitas, but you’re here to get the adobada taco- a corn tortilla filled with marinated pork cooked al pastor and topped with a signature slice of sweet grilled pineapple. Don’t forget a glass of aguas frescas or some homemade horchata.
10. Hawaiian Fusion: Marination Ma Kai
Every city has a great spot for burgers, pizza, pasta, and sushi, but not every city has incredible Hawaiian fusion food with the prettiest views in the entire city. Marination Ma Kai is one of our go-to Seattle restaurants for delicious Hawaiian-Korean eats and a view that never gets old. Bring your out-of-towner friends and family to this West Seattle favorite and order as much as your appetite will allow from the kimchi fried rice to the panko-crusted fish & chips to the pork katsu sandwich.
9. Brunch: Brimmer & Heeltap
A charming bistro and bar, Brimmer & Heeltap is a local-favorite hang out situated in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. The bright, winsome interior complete with a penny-tiled floor had us at hello and we found every item on the weekend brunch menu to be thoughtful, interesting, and downright delicious. But the real showstopper here is the Scotch Egg. Made with a soft-cooked egg wrapped in chorizo, then buried in a slice of brioche and topped with seasonal pickles, mustard seed, and sorghum demi-glace, Brimmer & Heeltap’s Scotch Egg may sound intimidating, but the complex flavors blend together seamlessly. Beyond the Scotch Egg, you won’t want to miss the Loco Moco featuring handmade tagliatelle noodles, Belgian Waffles served with seasonal berry syrup (or maple if you choose, but you won’t), and the Dulce De Leche Bread – a 1 ½ inch-thick slice of Grand Central Bakery bread toasted to order, slathered with dulce de leche, and sprinkled with sea salt (you have to use a steak knife to cut into this bad boy!). As one of the best Seattle restaurants, this place will change the way you brunch, and we’re not exaggerating.
8. Small Plates: The Walrus & the Carpenter
The Walrus & The Carpenter has more than enough national acclaim, including many many lists for best seafood and oyster bars in the country, and we’re here to tell you that the hype doesn’t lie. The Walrus and the Carpenter is a must-not-miss for some of the freshest oysters you will ever enjoy- vaguely reminiscent of the sea with the slight tang of seawater, and beautifully succulent. Start with the seawolf bread and butter (don’t be shy with the butter), and order several different small plates to accompany those oysters.
7. Caribbean: Un Bien
If a sandwich could create world peace, the Caribbean Roast sandwich from Un Bien would be the end of all war and strife. You may not know exactly what Caribbean food entails, but after taking just one bite of this sandwich you’ll be a fan forever. The juiciness and flavors of the Caribbean roast sandwich is truly satisfying and undeniably comforting. All of their sandwiches are slathered with aioli and served with cilantro, lettuce, pickled jalapenos, and the thickest most delicious caramelized onions you’ve ever had. It’s a big juicy, delicious mess and we know you’ll love it too.
6. Thai: Pestle Rock
Serving up Thai cuisine in the heart of Ballard, Pestle Rock is a culinary gem. Most of us are used to the taste of Bangkok-style Thai food, such as Pad Thai or Swimming Rama, but don’t come here looking for either of those dishes. Pestle Rock specializes in Thai food from Isan, a Northeast region of Thailand known for its pungent, spicy dishes that are often seasoned with fresh herbs, lime juice, and fish sauce. Everything on the menu is bold in flavor and made with ingredients that are fresh, local, and all-natural. Our favorites? If you’re visiting for dinner, choose the Kao Soi, a creamy curry noodle soup cooked with chicken, topped with red onion, pickled mustard greens, and crispy noodles. If you’re there for lunch, we love the Khao Ka Prau Gai Khai-Dao: Draper Valley ground chicken stir-fried with fresh chilies and hot basil, served with rice and topped with a fried egg. Wash it all down with a tamarind soda and you’ll be convinced that Pestle Rock is one of the best Seattle restaurants.
5. Italian: Il Corvo (PERMANENTLY CLOSED)
You’ll never eat at an Italian restaurant quite like Il Corvo, one of the absolute best Seattle restaurants. Il Corvo is incredibly intimate and cozy while not being the slightest bit pretentious or stuffy and they serve a dang good bowl of pasta. There will always be a wait here thanks to their popularity and hours (open 11-3, Monday through Friday), but if you get there close to open time the line moves quickly and it’s well worth the wait. We love the innovation here despite such a simple menu- they serve three pasta dishes daily including a regular pappardelle bolognese and two rotating pasta dishes (you can check out their daily specials on their Instagram page). All of the pasta is homemade daily and some of the BEST you will ever have. The best way to do it? Go with a friend or two, order all three pasta dishes (don’t forget a side of focaccia) and divide and conquer.
4. Korean: Joule
Consider Joule the answer to your Korean cravings. This contemporary steakhouse delivers a deliciously innovative blend of Korean flavors prepared with classic French technique. Their Fremont location offers both modern indoor dining and cozy outdoor patio seating surrounding fire pits, making it a great spot for a girls’ night out or a romantic evening on the town. Many people recommend weekend brunch here, but we can’t get enough of the dinner menu. Joule’s “That” Short Rib Steak made with kalbi beef and served with grilled kimchi is mandatory. It’s incredibly tender, marinated to perfection, and packed with beautiful Korean flavor. Other must-try items include the Spicy Rice Cake, Kalbi Burger, and Twice Baked Potato. Our guide to the best Seattle restaurants wouldn’t be complete without Joule.
3. Sushi: Sushi Kashiba
A list of the best Seattle Restaurants isn’t complete without the best sushi restaurant in town, Sushi Kashiba. What most people know about Sushi Kashiba is that Chef Kashiba trained under Jiro (of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi), so you know it’s going to be good. But what you really need to know about Sushi Kashiba is that it’s not only the best restaurant in the entire Pike Place Market but one of the absolute best Seattle restaurants you will ever enjoy. Make reservations ahead of time for the Chef’s omakase to see Shiro Kashiba prepare your sushi before your eyes. Worth every penny.
2. Seafood: RockCreek Seafood & Spirits
If you visit Seattle without stopping for seafood at some point, you’re doing it wrong. Seattle is synonymous with fresh seafood and RockCreek is our go-to Seattle restaurant for fabulous fish (and so much more!). We love this airy, lodge-like eatery and its carefully crafted menu. We’re especially fond of their Neah Bay Black Cod, served with a sherry-lime sauce, caramelized shallots, and Provençal herbs. It’s the kind of buttery, melt-in-your-mouth goodness you’ll dream about until you get to visit RockCreek again. Other love-at-first-bite offerings include their Wild Carolina Prawns served with McEwen & Sons grits and grilled bread, and their Point Judith Calamari served in fun Kari Out to-go packaging with chopsticks.
1. Pizza: Delancey
If we could only recommend one Seattle restaurant, it would be Delancey with zero hesitation. Delancey is the perfect culmination of Seattle culture, local talent, and of course, perfect pizza. Not too fancy yet not too casual, Delancey serves Pizza to Seattlelites 6 days a week (closed on Monday) with wood-fired crust that is absolute perfection, topped with artisanal toppings like crimini mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, and housemade sausage. Start with the Jersey Salad, order as many pizzas as your party allows, and don’t forget to end with their divine Chocolate Chip Cookie with Gray Salt- available as dough or baked!