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

    Burgers
    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
     www.lunchboxlaboratory.com

  • Pike Street Fish Fry

    Capitol Hill: Pike Street Fish Fry

    Seafood
    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
     www.pikestreetfishfry.com 

  • Licorous

    Capitol Hill: Licorous

    American
      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
     www.licorous.com

  • Monsoon Restaurant

    Capitol Hill: Monsoon

    Vietnamese
    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
     www.monsoonrestaurants.com

  • La Medusa

    Columbia City: La Medusa

    Italian
    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
     www.lamedusarestaurant.com

  • Columbia City Bakery

    Columbia City: Columbia City Bakery

    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
     www.columbiacitybakery.com

  • Steelhead Diner

    Downtown: Steelhead Diner

    Seafood
    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
     www.steelheaddiner.com

  • Elliott's Oyster House

    Downtown: Elliott's Oyster House

    Seafood
    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
     www.elliottsoysterhouse.com

  • Matt's in the Market

    Downtown: Matt's in the Market

    American
    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
     www.mattsinthemarket.com

  • Fran's Chocolates

    Downtown: Fran's Chocolates

    Desserts
    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
     www.franschocolates.com

  • 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
     www.trufflecafe.com

  • Paddy Coyne's Irish Pub

    Lake Union/Eastlake: LPaddy Coyne's Irish Pub

    Irish
    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
     www.paddycoynes.net

  • Hiroshi's Restaurant

    Lake Union/Eastlake: Hiroshi's Restaurant

    Japanese
    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
     www.hiroshis.com

  • Salumi

    Pioneer Square: Salumi

    Italian
    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
     www.salumicuredmeats.com

  • Hula Hula

    Queen Anne: Hula Hula

    Hawaiian
    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
     www.hulahula.org

  • The Corson Building

    West Seattle/Georgetown: The Corson Building

    American
    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
     www.thecorsonbuilding.com

  • Bakery Nouveau

    West Seattle/Georgetown: Bakery Nouveau

    Bakery
    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
     www.bakerynouveau.com

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