JEREMY PRICE/ WALRUS + CARPENTER
Food & Drink

The Best Places to Eat in Seattle Right Now

Published On 10/03/2017
Altura

Altura Restaurant

Capitol Hill

You won’t always be sure what all the ingredients are (finger limes?), or how the dish was made. But just trust chef Nathan Lockwood: he’s working miracles on crazy-cool foods. If you’re celebrating an anniversary, a birthday, or are just randomly flush with cash, the tasting menu at Altura will leave you full, impressed, satisfied... and a bit lighter in the wallet.

Brad Foster/Thrillist

Il Corvo

Downtown

It’s your secret weapon against San Franciscans and New Yorkers who think their city has everything; too bad they’d pay twice as much for similar simple bowls of pasta, made fresh every day, and covered with seasonal sauces -- and there’s no way they would be this good.

Jackie Donnelly?

Revel and Quoin

Fremont

Moo shu pork in dumpling form and a smoked oyster po-boy in a Korean pancake show off the whimsical style of the twisted pan-Asian menu, which is often supplemented by whole-animal grilling on weekend evenings, and candied bacon at brunch.

Aaron Leitz

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Ballard

Sorry, you didn’t discover this place -- the New York Times got here first. But finally (four years later), the lines have died down, and now the cool, beautiful marble bar has been given back over to locals slurping oysters and spreading sardines on toast.

Geoffrey Smith

Staple & Fancy

Ballard

The menu makes the choice easy for you: it advises you to just hand it back to your server and choose the “fancy” option. For $55 you get a veritable parade of dishes, starting with a spoiling of appetizers that will make you feel like you’re friends with the chef who's sending out his favorite snacks.

Flickr/Joe Wolf

Marination Ma Kai

West Seattle

Two words: Spam sliders. Not enough? Let’s try three more: boozy shaved ice. Or waterfront view. Pick your enticing phrase, there’s basically nothing about this Alki beachfront fish shack serving Korean-Hawaiian food inventions that you won’t love.

Flickr/stu_spivack

Cafe Munir

Ballard

This is the place to impress on a budget: you’ll never need to let on that cash is short as you order a parade of lamb hummus, chicken skewers, grilled cheese, and crescent-shaped pastries. Throw in a few fingers of the always-affordable whiskey of the week, and you’ll still keep date night under $50.

Kyle Johnson

Manolin

Fremont

This bright, fun addition to Fremont’s hottest restaurant street flows out from the U-shaped bar as if there were a beach in front, which would explain the top-notch ceviches and other raw fish specialties that dominate the menu.

Flickr/areta ekarafi Follow

Tamarind Tree

Int'l District

Cheap pho shops dominate the Seattle landscape, but this is where Vietnamese food gets turned up to sit-down standards -- and beyond. Tamarind-glazed quail and tangerine martinis share table space with expertly cooked Vietnamese classics.

Gabe Rodriguez

Delancey

Phinney Ridge

Obsessive research paid off for Brandon Petit, as he’s now (deservedly) renowned for some of the best pizza in the city. The wood-fired pies come with toppings ranging from the traditional but high quality (Zoe’s pepperoni), to the quirky and seasonal, but surprisingly good (think Padrón peppers).

Courtesy of Maneki

Maneki

Downtown

It’s been there for more than a century, survived two world wars, and has an octogenarian bartender everyone just calls “mom.” But seeing how fresh the sushi is, and how generously sliced it is, anyone will understand the longevity.

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, Seattle 

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot

International District

The local outlet of an international chain, the steaming pots of soup come out promptly and are accompanied by an all-you-can-eat parade of high-quality, expertly sliced meats, vegetables, and seafoods. It’s a feast of epic proportions that’s perfect for damp Seattle evenings.

Sarah Flotard

Westward

Fremont

Seattle waited practically forever for this place: a waterfront restaurant with a view, serving up the seafood that put this town on the food map. The giant restaurant hits all the high notes, with cool decor (like a boat-shaped bar), a warming wood-fired oven for chilly fall evenings, and roll-up doors facing the water for warm summer afternoons.

Flickr/T.Tseng Follow

Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar

Pioneer Square

It seems like it would be some sort of Seattle stereotype that people spend their pre-football-game time drinking craft beers and slurping raw oysters, but that’s why we love it here, no?

Flickr/Val D'Aquila

Uneeda Burger

Fremont

It’s easy to open a mediocre burger joint, but it’s hard to operate a really great one. With a big outdoor patio, crowd-pleasing milkshakes, and high-quality beef on the menu, fine-dining veteran Scott Staples nails it.

Ashley Rodriguez/Courtesy of Dino's Tomato Pie

Dino's Tomato Pie

Capitol Hill

Dino's, the latest from Delancey's Brandon Pettit, brings a slice -- round or square -- of New Jersey Italian pizza to the Pacific Northwest. From the light fixtures to the table signs, the broccoli rabe to the garlic knots, Pettit has recreated a restaurant genre that rarely stretches past the New York state line... but with Seattle's sensibility toward quality and ingredients.

Naomi Tomky/Thrillist

Sushi Kashiba

Pike Place Market

Shiro Kashiba's name has long been synonymous with great sushi in Seattle -- recently at the Belltown Shiro's, and now at his own spot in the Market. The freshly flown-in tuna and expertly sourced local shellfish are masterfully prepared by the septuagenarian chef and his most dependable lieutenants.

Naomi Tomky/Thrillist

General Porpoise Doughnuts

First Hill

The massive, cool marble counter and clean modern space hardly seem the place for a mere doughnut. But of course, Renee Erickson (Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins) hardly serves just any doughnut: these are high-rising, puffed up with yeast and pride, and full of house-made curd.

Shannon Renfroe

Salare

Ravenna

In the just-shy-of-a-year that Edouardo Jordan's neighborhood restaurant has served his special brand of Southern-cuisine-meets-Northwest-ingredients (with a tumble through French technique), it has received much acclaim. Along with a James Beard nomination, it was listed among the Seattle Times' top 10 new restaurants, and Jordan was named Food and Wine’s best new chef. All of the above accolades, you'll realize after a bite of duck "dirty rice" with trumpet mushrooms, were well deserved.

Sarah Flotard

Omega Ouzeri

Capitol Hill

Though it was already doing a fairly good impression of Greek island life before, this new-ish spot is sporting a menu upgrade thanks to an infusion of energy from chef Zoi Antonitsas, formerly of Westward. From octopus appetizers to fluffy doughnuts, Omega is delicious, and worthy of date night.

Courtesy of Eden Hill

Eden Hill

Queen Anne

Blue-patterned wallpaper and a marble-topped bar keep this creative restaurant cool as a cucumber -- likely a cucumber that's been reinvented, given the chef's predilection for keeping diners on their toes. Pig head candy bars and cauliflower chilaquiles show off locally-sourced ingredients and globally-sourced inspiration. From geoduck to foie gras cake frosting, the menu keeps pushing cool ideas, never settling for the ordinary.

Wagokoro LLC.

Sushi Wataru

Ravenna

Small and quiet, tucked away on what's quickly becoming Seattle's hottest restaurant street corner (see also: Salare), this sushi spot is the tortoise to Sushi Kashiba's showy downtown hare. Even after receiving three stars from the Seattle Times, it seems that the secret of Seattle's best sushi stays quiet.

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Seattle's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
I t’s time to crawl out from underneath the avalanche of poke bars that opened in Seattle this year, blink your eyes into the sunshine, and gaze upon all the glorious gems that 2017 produced. Some spots found a super tiny niche and filled it with brilliant craftsmanship in the form of hummus or soba noodles, others took a tried-and-true formula, like the tiki bar or ramen shop, and found new ways to improve, while still more took risks and opened the kind of restaurants that exist nowhere else in the city -- or world. So forgo the poke for now and head out to one of 2017’s best additions to the Seattle restaurant scene.
Shannon Ranfroe

Junebaby

Ravenna

A blend of Southern cuisine and French technique with mounds of hospitality
The national food media seem to have picked up on Edouardo Jordan of Salare’s second spot far more quickly than locals, which could explain why the line is occasionally not out the door for his personal blend of homestyle Southern cuisine, French fine-dining technique, and Northwest-grown ingredients. Jordan’s food, from flips (playful Dixie cup dessert of his childhood) to composed salads with black walnuts and smoked shallots, shows off his skills and tells the story of his Florida upbringing -- and Seattle adulthood -- without sacrificing flavor. The menu includes all sorts of cuisines, from well-executed classics, like buttermilk biscuits to innovations like Georgia candy squash with clabber cheese. And all of it is served with the kind of Southern hospitality that would make Jordan’s grandmother proud. Read more about why Thrillist chose Junebaby as one of the Prime 13 best new restaurants of 2017.

Iconiq

Mount Baker

French cooking techniques marry Japanese dishes, all with local ingredients
Note: We know Iconiq is temporarily closed, but felt it was good enough to include... if only to reflect on
Within seconds of stepping into this Japanese-style room perched high above the city, any qualms over the weird portmanteau of a name (it’s a combination of iconic and unique) melt away into the panoramic view of Downtown. It’s the kind of vista that gives lesser restaurants the latitude to slack off on the food, but here the kitchen takes the refinement of French cooking and marries it to Japanese dishes and local ingredients. The small menu includes a white miso clam chowder with daikon, a salmon crepe with wasabi cream, and foie gras risotto. The dishes look like works of art, but come at a price that doesn’t require anyone to sell a Renoir, which gives it a surprisingly neighborhood feel for a place offering amuse bouches and iberico ham shabu-shabu.

Megan Swann

Opus & Co.

Phinney Ridge

Meat-focused menu that demands a reservation in advance
Barely bigger than a shoebox, this former sandwich shop took a turn for the meaty. Former Trove chef de cuisine Mark Schroder transformed the small space into a live-fire temple to all things animal (plus a few fermented or pickled). He brings over some of the East Asian influences of his former employer with a crispy rice salad, chickpea miso aioli, and kasu “risotto,” but the centerpiece to most tables -- and to the signature $50 a person tasting menu (the Opus Feast) -- is more fleshed out (pun intended). Bonito-rubbed lamb leg, a half-chicken with vinegar caramel, and even local Neah Bay salmon keep the tables turning in the tiny restaurant. While reservations are hard to come by (book way ahead if you want one), the handful of stools at the chef’s counter are the best seats in the house anyway.

Aviv Hummus Bar

Capitol Hill

Israeli restaurant serving amazing hummus and pita
America is slowly emerging from its dark ages of hummus, realizing that it can be so much more than mealy hippie food or an obligatory vegan appetizer. This Israeli-style spot, full of young tech workers chattering away in Hebrew and Jewish grandmothers doting on babies, serves up the kind of silky smooth, freshly made hummus you find in Tel Aviv: whipped up, topped, and fragrant with great olive oil. The fluffy, warm pita bread is a far cry from the dry pockets sold at grocery stores and the crisp outsides of the falafel yield to tender insides like the finest Southern hush puppies. The cute, 100% Instagram-friendly interior (the wall mural declares “hummus where the heart is”) dotted with brightly colored seating is as friendly as the servers, and the cooks happily kibbitz with customers at the bar from the open kitchen. And while the hummus may be the star, the unsung show-stopper here just might be the pickles that come with every bowl.

Tiffany Ran

Kamonegi

Wallingford

Japanese noodle spot (and more) with a heavy sake menu
When Mutsuko Soma left her chef position at Miyabi 45th, a small, in-the-know community of noodle lovers mourned the end of easy access to her handmade soba noodles. Now they can dry their tears, as her delicate buckwheat strands have reemerged, revitalized, at her own shop. Squished into the corner space previously occupied by Art of the Table, revamped with Japanese-themed décor, Soma’s new spot serves the same soba people knew and loved, along with the noodles’ usual partner, tempura. Natto-stuffed eggplant, beef tongue, and shiso leaf topped with uni all take a dip in the fryer. But the menu’s greatest gem at the cozy spot is neither noodle nor tempura, but the foie gras tofu with sake-poached shrimp on the appetizer menu. Really, though, it’s hard to go wrong -- especially when washing down dinner with something from the carefully curated sake menu.

Navy Strength

Belltown

Reimagined tiki bar with all the fun, none of the kitsch
Tiki might be inherently retro, but barmasters Chris and Anu Elford (Rob Roy, No Anchor) somehow manage to give it an elegant, updated take that includes plenty of sky blue paint and rum-soaked liquid sunshine. The sprawling space leans toward mid-century modern, but also features old trunks as tables and the same metal bar stools (in very nautical colors) found all over. The drinks menu, split between “Tiki” and “Travel” sections, offers a little more insight into what they’re doing: incorporating the fun of the genre with far less of the kitsch. That means the pupu platter on chef Jeffrey Vance’s menu has been replaced with beef heart tartare featuring yolk jam, a fish sauce Caesar studded with pretzel croutons, and passionfruit and black pepper granita garnished Kumamoto oysters. While the bar serves up “snacks and daiqs” at happy hour and mai tais into the evening, the attached coffee and juice bar serves all ages, all day, with drinks like a nitro cold brew dark & stormy and a frozen matcha, mint, pineapple, and lime juice called Roadtrip to Somewhere.

Betsutenjin

Capitol Hill

Delicious Japanese ramen spot that never uses MSG or milk in their bowls
Paper signs taped along the counter at this straight-outta-Hakata ramen-ya announce to customers that not only does the broth not use MSG (a common concern) but that it is made without milk. Once you dig into the bowl of thin noodles, sliced pork, and raw scallions, the milk comment makes sense, as the impossibly creamy broth seems as if it really must contain dairy. This aforementioned magical broth, made exclusively from pork bones, is the only base available as a traditional or a prawn miso ramen in this tiny hallway of a restaurant. Condiments like garlic, soy sauce, and chili paste sit on the table, but the only accompaniment this soup needs is cold beer from the selection of imported bottles. Open late and consistently packed, it expects diners to eat just as in Japan: sit down, slurp up, and scram.