Thomas M. Barwick
For a city supposedly wired on caffeine, Seattle used to be a tough place to find a solid late-night bite.
Lately, though, the city is waking up, especially on weekends, with restaurants serving full-on meals long after the late movies have let out. (In the case of newcomer Night Kitchen, that means all the way till breakfast time.)
Cheering the trend are artists, night owls, 24/7 techies, and restaurant workers looking for a great meal after their evening shifts.
WHERE TO EAT (LATE) IN SEATTLE:
The Night Kitchen
Late-night hours: 6 p.m. until 9 a.m. (yes, you read that right)
- Never again will you go hungry in the wee hours, thanks to this new eatery near Pike Place Market, a mix of funky personality and arty style. If you want steak salad or tomato soup with grilled cheese, come before midnight, when the front room has more of a restaurant feel, with couples dressed up for a night on the town.
- From 12:30 to 4 a.m., the menu is a bit more limited, with snacks like a local-cheese plate or chocolate-orange French toast. The comfy back lounge—painted in purple, equipped with board games, free Wi-Fi, and a growing crowd of regulars—beats your memory of college all-nighters.
- Worth staying up for: The fat, juicy Bistro Burger, with Painted Hills beef and Beecher’s Flagship cheese. $$; 216 Stewart St.; 206/448-8810.
- Late-night hours: Happy hour 10 p.m.–1 a.m.
- Ornate decor, four draft beers, a thumping back bar, and dozens of $4 and $5 happy-hour bites make Peso’s a buzzy spot for the newly over-21 set. Chow down on Mexi-fusion dishes like chile-seared prawns and lamb taquitos. (For New Orleans–style cuisine, hit Toulouse Petit next door; it has the same owners and similar happy-hour deals until 1 a.m.)
- Worth staying up for: Fresh halibut tacos, spiked with ancho chile sauce. $; 605 Queen Anne Ave. N.; 206/283-9353.
Pike Street Fish Fry
- Late-night hours: Until 2:30 a.m. Thu–Sat, midnight Sun–Wed
- In the heart of Capitol Hill’s clubbing scene is this tiny storefront with top-quality fish. Halibut, oysters, plus deep-fried veggies, killer frites, and creative dipping sauces.
- Worth staying up for: The tastiest bite at Pike Street Fish Fry comes without a price tag: the piping hot, piquant fried lemon slice that accompanies most orders. $; 925 East Pike St.; 206/329-7453.
- Late-night hours: Until 2 a.m.
- For pitch-perfect food with a relaxed Parisian flair, hit Café Presse. A civilized late-night hangout that’s loved by gourmands, Francophiles, and literary types, Presse stocks one of the best newsstands in the city. For the insomniac, we suggest the famed roast chicken (pictured), which takes an hour to prepare. (Way better than tossing and turning in bed.)
- Worth staying up for: The pommes frites are seriously addictive and the croque madame is a must-order. $; 1117 12th Ave.; 206/709-7674.
- Late-night hours: Until 1 a.m. Fri–Sat, midnight Sun–Thu
- This teensy, always busy tapas bar serves stiff cocktails and small plates in a cozy atmosphere that makes it easy to chat up diners squeezed beside you—and ask, say, how they liked the pancetta-wrapped, blue cheese–stuffed dates or the sherried mushrooms on toast. (Loved.) A warm copper-and-wood decor, friendly service, and an owner who is also an experienced bartender make this a popular neighborhood stop.
- Worth staying up for: Fancified deviled eggs topped with salmon roe, pickled onions, and fried capers. $$; 2325 N.W. Market St.; 206/784-0699.
More: Seattle restaurant guide