Insider Guide: Seattle

Our travel editors' must-see places to stay, eat, and play around Emerald City

Seattle restaurants

Your neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to great Seattle eats

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  • lunchbox laboratory

    Ballard: Lunchbox Laboratory

    Retro lunchboxes and toys decorate this ‘50s style homage to childhood favorites but with an adult flavor. The deceptively named “Dork” burger is a sophisticated blend of duck, pork, and savory pepperoni. The mayonnaise is flavored with black truffles.
    Closed Mondays.
    7302 15th Ave. N.W., Seattle, WA; (206) 706-3092

  • Pike Street Fish Fry

    Capitol Hill: Pike Street Fish Fry

    Skip the fancy restaurant for Fish Fry’s high quality street food with an environmental conscious. Seasonal offerings like sustainably caught sturgeon, flanked by deep fried lemon slices and mayonnaise spiked with smoked chile will leave you clamoring for more.
    Open daily
    (206) 329-7453 

  • Licorous

    Capitol Hill: Licorous

      Folks have been cramming into this tiny lounge for cocktails, like the Playa Rosa (a mixture of tequila and hibiscus), since its opening. Order mouthwatering small plates like coriander-glazed lamb ribs and pretzel dots—rolls made with coppa, Gruyère, and sauerkraut. The alcohol bottles—arranged in what look like bookshelves behind the bar—will certainly grab your attention.
    Closed Sundays
    928 12th Ave., Seattle, WA; (206) 325-6947

  • Monsoon Restaurant

    Capitol Hill: Monsoon

    Trying to find the right wine to drink with Vietnamese food–redolent of coconut milk, lemon grass, tamarind, and hot chiles–can be a challenge. Take advantage of Monsoon’s more than 130 handpicked wines, carefully paired with traditional Vietnamese plates. Think caramelized Idaho catfish claypot with fresh coconut juice and green onions.
    Open daily
    615 19th Ave. E., Seattle, WA; (206) 325-2111

  • La Medusa

    Columbia City: La Medusa

    Loyal locals show up religiously, eager to eat from a Sicilian-inspired seasonal menu where 90% of the produce comes from the local farmers’ market. Past meals have included sautéed second-growth morels and Walla Walla onions, hanger steak carpaccio topped with tomato panzanella, and zabaglione with fresh raspberries and figs.
    Open Tuesday-Saturday
    4857 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, WA; (206) 723-2192

  • Columbia City Bakery

    Columbia City: Columbia City Bakery

    No longer do these celebrity chefs only sell their bear claws, sour cream coffee cakes, and pistachio snails (Danish dough swirled with pistachios) exclusively to on-fire restaurants and the nearby farmers’ market. Locals practically drooled with anticipation at the opening of this Columbia City bakery.
    Open daily
    4865 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, WA; (206) 723-6023

  • Steelhead Diner

    Downtown: Steelhead Diner

    The steelhead trout is the iconic, wild part of the Pacific Northwest mystique and this Pike Place Market diner honors it by using only local, sustainable products. Go for the alder-smoked salmon rillette, a sweet Dungeness crab cake, and perfectly crisped fish and chips, or the signature favorite flash-fried handmade cheese curds.
    Open daily
    95 Pine St., Seattle, WA; (206) 625-0129

  • Elliott's Oyster House

    Downtown: Elliott's Oyster House

    Elliott’s oysters, from the plump Kumamotos to the full-bodied Penn Cove Select, have unique flavors profoundly affected by the deep, cold waters of the Puget Sound, and are served with mignonette–a tangy sorbet made of shallots and champagne. Not in the oyster mood? Try the Dungeness crab.
    Open daily
    1201 Alaskan Way, Pier 56, Seattle, WA; (206) 623-4340

  • Matt's in the Market

    Downtown: Matt's in the Market

    Eating at this well-loved hideaway is like attending a dinner party where everyone crowds in a small kitchen. The narrow restaurant, dominated by the hiss and spit of pan-frying fish in the open kitchen, serves crowd favorites like whole snapper with lemongrass coconut broth with a pile of steamed mussels.
    Closed Sundays
    94 Pike St., Ste. 32, Seattle, WA; Top floor of the Corner Market Building; (206) 467-7909

  • Fran's Chocolates

    Downtown: Fran's Chocolates

    Renowned locally for its European-style artisanal chocolates, it’s even on the national radar for creating the salt caramels favored by President Obama. Try something the Washington, D.C. bigwigs don’t: the highly perishable sweet figs filled with chocolate ganache and dipped in chocolate coating.
    Open daily
    1325 First Ave., Seattle, WA; (206) 682-0168

  • La Buona Tavola

    Downtown: La Buona Tavola

    Specialty foods
    Otherwise known as The Truffle Cafe, truffle lovers and novices alike will love these flavored oils, sauces, honeys, and salts. Earthy and comforting dishes like potato leek soup with white truffle oil and weekend tastings of truffle-infused dishes make this cafe as rare a treat as the exotic truffles themselves.
    Open daily
    1524 Pike Place, Seattle, WA; (206) 292-5555

  • Paddy Coyne's Irish Pub

    Lake Union/Eastlake: LPaddy Coyne's Irish Pub

    Visit an authentic slice of the Old Country with this cozy pub with a glowing hearth, dark wood bar, and handsome stained-glass fixtures. The menu features crispy fish and chips, Irish stew, and a classic Irish breakfast. Wash the meal down with Irish ale, like Guinness or Smithwick’s.
    Open daily
    1190 Thomas St., Seattle, WA; (206) 405-1548

  • Hiroshi's Restaurant

    Lake Union/Eastlake: Hiroshi's Restaurant

    Hiroshi’s serves multiethnic food with a Japanese bent that is both startling and delicious. Try the sushi and Japanese appetizers, like the fried teppan tofu served on a hot platter with special chicken sauce.
    Closed Sundays
    2501 Eastlake Ave. E., Seattle, WA; (206) 726-4966

  • Salumi

    Pioneer Square: Salumi

    Salumi makes more than a dozen dried and cured meats by hand on-site, such as lamb prosciutto; pork salami with cayenne, fennel, paprika, and chiles; and finocchiona, a Tuscan salami flavored with a touch of curry. Go for the chef’s special private lunches, which feature a 5-course meal. Past menus have seen the rolled lamb and stuffed pork belly.
    Open Tuesday-Friday
    Lunch: $40 per person (call for current prices)
    309 Third Ave. S., Seattle, WA; (206) 621-8772

  • Hula Hula

    Queen Anne: Hula Hula

    Visit this tiki bar and restaurant that is part retro, part modern, and all island–all the time. Drink the Zombie (made with two kinds of rum, apricot brandy, and splashes of pineapple, lemon, and lime juices) or the surprise Volcano Bowl, a featured cocktail chosen by the bartender. For food, try the mini roast pull pork sandwiches and the coconut prawns.
    Open Daily
    106 First Ave. N., Seattle, WA; (206) 284-5003

  • The Corson Building

    West Seattle/Georgetown: The Corson Building

    Check out this anything-goes eatery that’s somewhere between a restaurant and an underground supper club. All guests sit at communal tables and the menu is prefixed, from braised pork belly with roasted cherries to rib roast fanned out over fresh fava beans.
    Check website for schedule and à la carte option; reservations required
    5609 Corson Ave. S., Seattle, WA; (206) 762-3330

  • Bakery Nouveau

    West Seattle/Georgetown: Bakery Nouveau

    Baking phenomenon William Leaman named his business with a commitment that everything’s always fresh, always new. It also hints at his creative side. His version of a fougasse is done with baguette dough laminated with butter. His seasonal strawberry-rhubarb tart is made with a brioche base and rimmed with coffee cake-style streusel.
    Open daily
    4737 California Ave., Seattle, WA; (206) 923-0534


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