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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.