Food & Drink

The Best Restaurant for Every Type of Cuisine in Seattle

Published On 11/12/2015 Published On 11/12/2015

Italian? Not tonight. Mexican? We always have Mexican. Ethiopian? Way too spicy.

Deciding on a specific cuisine for dinner has become a far too familiar and daunting task for just about everyone with access to Yelp and disposable income. But what if the food at each option was so over-the-moon delicious it didn’t matter where you went? Now we’re talking. Here’s every best restaurant for every type of food imaginable in Seattle... now go forth and conquer dinner, Yelp reviewers be damned.

Altura Restaurant
Courtesy of Toulouse Petit

French: Toulouse Petit

Lower Queen Anne

If there’s one word that sums up Toulouse Petit, it’s “small.” No wait, “charming.” From the Creole- and French-inspired eats packed with flavor, to the intricate decor, this adorable cafe is a definite must-see for any visitor or local. The 4-6pm happy hour is killer, and a collection of Benedicts and scrumptious beignets make this one of the best brunch spots in town. A variety of charcuterie options are also a nice addition to the reasonably priced and tasty dinner plates.

Plaza Garibaldi

Mexican: Plaza Garibaldi

Lower Queen Anne

This underrated spot near Seattle Center serves up traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex food on platters big enough for two (although you won’t want to share). Is it fancy? No. But if you want piping-hot plates of cheesy enchiladas, spicy stuffed chile rellenos, and some of the best blended margaritas in the city for a reasonable price -- get here ASAP. A hidden gem on the menu is the ceviche. Order it, you won’t be sorry.

Flickr/Kate Hopkins

Thai: Buddha Ruksa

West Seattle

Decorated with intricate dark wood carvings and glowing with a soothing ambience, Buddha Ruksa is all you’d expect out of a great Thai restaurant. Sure, it makes a mean pad Thai and crispy garlic chicken, but the experience of eating your favorite Thai comfort foods in a place that exudes comfort and warmth is priceless. As for the traditional Thai flavors? They’re all there: spicy, sweet, salty, hot, and sour, indistinguishable. It’s definitely worth the trip over to West Seattle.

Courtesy of Pho Bac

Vietnamese: Pho Bac

International District (& other locations)

Heralded as one of the city’s first pho restaurants, Pho Bac serves up hot bowls of the good stuff daily, with beef bone marrow that’s been simmered in a blend of special spices for 10 hours. This laid-back spot started out primarily as a sandwich shop, but customers became so crazy about the pho on the menu that the restaurant focused more and more on the tasty soup. To go back to the basics, grab the bánh mì. It makes a great dipping partner to the real star of the joint -- warm, meaty, slurpy pho.

Courtesy of Lionhead

Chinese: Lionhead

Capitol Hill

Sichuan flavors rule the menu at Lionhead, with a warm and numbing quality that makes these traditional Chinese dishes irresistible. This fairly new Seattle establishment has the Sichuan peppercorn as a logo, a reminder of the unique flavors that make restaurant-goers go wild with culinary excitement -- and maybe fear. James Beard Award-winning chef Jerry Traunfeld opened the place after a trip to China, so you know it’s at the top of its class. And there’s no tipping here -- it’s included in the price of food. Hmmm... amazing food and paying workers a living wage? Sign us up.

Bengal Tiger

Indian: Bengal Tiger

Roosevelt

Chef Muhammad Uddin and his team work hard to ensure you not only get amazing food at Bengal Tiger, but that walking into the inviting restaurant feels like you’re at home. Maybe not your home in particular, but a home that is filled with the spices and smells of food cooked with love and care. Curries, tandoori, vindaloo, butter chicken; all the classics are present with an attention to detail that shows how much this charming restaurant really cares about the overall dining experience.

Courtesy of Shiro's Sushi

Japanese: Shiro’s Sushi

Belltown

Shiro’s Sushi is the best sushi restaurant in Seattle, and one of the best in the country. Chef Shiro Kashiba, a local legend, opened up this traditional Japanese sushi restaurant in 1994 by infusing his expert training with local, fresh ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. Shiro, who has since moved on, left a palpable mark on his eponymous restaurant that won’t soon fade. It is pricey, but you get what you pay for -- amazing, top-quality sushi.

Lunchbox Laboratory

American: Lunchbox Laboratory

South Lake Union

What could be more American than taking bacon, ground meat, and an assortment of other greasy foods, and slapping it all on a bun covered in melted cheese? Not much, really. Maybe a bald eagle sporting a Springsteen tank top, but that’s really about it. Lunchbox Laboratory is all about the weird relationship between nostalgic American comfort food and taking things right up to the line of “Did we go too far?” The burgers? Covered in gooey mac-n-cheese. The shakes? Loaded to the brim with booze. God bless America.

Courtesy of Cody Permenter

Korean: Girin

SoDo

Although Girin only opened in its elegant space this past April, the Korean-inspired steakhouse and ssäm bar is already making a respected name for itself. Beautifully cooked meats and seafood are served traditionally with a spread of greens and chiles for wrapping, and the house-made kimchi will have your mouth watering. Make no mistake, this is not the Korean restaurant you visit for a fast bite to eat. Girin is serene and delicate, like a pairs figure-skating competition -- with flavors that you’ll want to savor all night long.

Courtesy of Thrive Cafe

Vegetarian: Thrive Cafe

Roosevelt

Not only is Thrive vegetarian, but it has a fully gluten-free and dairy-free menu. What this fascinating restaurant lacks in traditional ingredients, it more than makes up for in serious flavor and health points. Meals are packed with vitamins and nutrients that do a body good, like the restaurant’s many ready-to-eat warm grain bowls. The Buddha Bowl (Bhutanese red rice and quinoa, walnut crumble, marinated mushrooms, kale chips, sesame ginger sauce, marinated kale, and fresh organic cucumbers) is topped with a “garlic cilantro god sauce.” Coincidentally enough, it’s heavenly.

Courtesy of Jebena Cafe

Ethiopian: Jebena Cafe

Northgate

Ethiopian food -- with its potent flavors and distinct taste -- can be a formidable meal for first-timers, but this unassuming family restaurant creates a calming atmosphere that will send any naysayers reaching for the next piece of injera to eagerly scoop up some of the tastiest curries. The meat combination dish with qey wot (lamb stew) and beef tibs (sauteed beef), along with a veggie side, is by far the best way to ease into this amazing cuisine.

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Cody Permenter is a freelance writer who feels the weight of the world on his shoulders after ranking the best food in all of Seattle. Bring on the haterade! Follow him on Twitter.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Jebena Cafe 1510 NE 117th St, Seattle, WA 98125 (North Seattle)

This Ethiopian cafe is one of a decent number in Seattle, but Jebena's top notch food and quaint atmosphere together set it apart from the others. One order of their Meat Combination I or II is enough to serve two, and at around $15 a plate it's super affordable.

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2. Altura Restaurant 617 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102 (Capitol Hill)

Altura Restaurant is an Italian spot with a weekly-changing menu meant to capitalize on the freshest ingredients sourced from organic, independent farms around the Northwest. An insane list of regional wine from Italy, plus a plethora of dishes (featuring handmade pasta,)are also sure to impress. The cozy, romantic vibe of Altura makes it a perfect Capitol Hill spot for date night or an intimate gathering with friends.

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3. Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge 601 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98119 (Queen Anne)

Toulouse Petit specializes in Cajun-kissed, French Quarter fare, and it does so in a dining room ripped right out of smoky New Orleans fantasy: curling wrought iron, heavily plastered walls, mosaic tiled floors. Considering the city of inspiration, shrimp and crawfish makes many cameos, in seriously spicy jambalaya, over creamy corn grits, or floating in a the dark roux of seafood gumbo. Southern poultry dishes (buttermilk-fried, cheri) and French-leaning steaks break up a seafood-heavy menu. Beignets topped with powdered sugar are just as sweet cast in morning light coming through dramatically arched windows as they are by evening candlelight with a dessert chianti. To ensure utter seduction, there’s always the voodoo rum punch (light and dark rum, cranberry, orange, pineapple, lemon, ginger beer, orange bitters).

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4. Plaza Garibaldi 129 1st Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 (Queen Anne)

This Queen Anne spot located just by the Key Arena has huge portions and stiff drinks. Dip in for their lunch special, which gets you the Garibaldi Supper Burrito (flour tortillas filled with rice and beans and your choice of chile verde, chile Colorado, chicken, shredded beef, topped with Spanish sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese) for just $8.75.

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5. Buddha Ruksa 3520 SW Genesee St, Seattle, WA 98126 (West Seattle)

Decorated with intricate dark wood carvings and glowing with a soothing ambiance, Buddha Ruska is all you’d expect out of a great Thai restaurant. Sure, they make a mean Pad Thai and crispy garlic chicken, but the experience of eating your favorite Thai comfort foods in a place that exudes comfort and warmth is priceless. As for the traditional Thai flavors? They’re all there: spicy, sweet, salty, hot and sour, indistinguishable. It’s definitely worth the trip over to West Seattle.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Phở Bắc 1314 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98144

These guys were serving pho before anyone else in Seattle, but now you'd be hard put to find a street corner without a pho shop on it. Sometimes, the original is still the best.

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7. Lionhead 618 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102 (Capitol Hill)

This upscale, locally-driven spot boasts dishes from the Sichuan Province of China. Expect noodle, vegetable, cold, and hot dishes, all optionally seasoned with the Sichuan peppercorn, a hot and numbing spice specific to this subset of Chinese food.

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8. Bengal Tiger 6509 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115

Chef Muhammad Uddin and his team work hard to ensure you not only get stellar food at Bengal Tiger, but that walking into the inviting restaurant feels like you’re at home. Maybe not your home in particular, but a home that is filled with the spices and smells of food cooked with love and care. Curries, tandoori, vindaloo, butter chicken. All the classics are present with an attention to detail that shows how much this charming restaurant really cares about the overall dining experience.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Shiro's 2401 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 (Belltown)

Shiro’s Sushi is the best sushi restaurant in Seattle, and one of the best in the country. Chef Shiro Kashiba, a local legend, opened up this traditional Japanese sushi restaurant in 1994 by infusing his expert training with local, fresh ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. Shiro, who has since moved on, left a palpable mark on his eponymous restaurant that won’t soon fade. It is pricey, but you get what you pay for -- amazing, top quality sushi.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Lunchbox Laboratory 989 112th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004

Lunchbox Laboratory is a down-to-earth eatery that reinvents classic, American comfort foods. Every week, they concoct new "experiments" -- menus that add an inventive twists to old favorites, ranging from mac & cheese to burgers to shakes (including boozie ones). You're in for surprise nearly every time you stop in, but don't worry, their creations are consistently tasty.

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11. Girin Steakhouse & Ssam Bar 501 Stadium Pl S, Seattle, WA 98104 (Pioneer Square)

This hip neighborhood spot in Pioneer Square is a solid go-to for modernized Korean specialties featuring handmade noodles and ssam-style (lettuce wrapped) pork and beef. The pagoda like interior is a comfortable setting for sipping from the extensive makgeolli (a niche Korean liquor made from rice and wheat), soju and sake menu and tucking into spicy, satisfying dishes like Gochujang Chicken Wings, kimchi sausage, and apple grilled pork belly.

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12. Thrive 1026 NE 65th St, Seattle, WA 98115

Not only is Thrive vegetarian, but it has a fully gluten-free and dairy-free menu. What this fascinating restaurant lacks in traditional ingredients, it more than makes up in serious flavor and health points. Meals are packed with vitamins and nutrients that do a body good, like the restaurant’s many ready-to-eat warm grain bowls. The Buddha Bowl (Bhutanese red rice and quinoa, walnut Crumble, marinated mushrooms, kale chips, sesame ginger sauce, marinated kale and fresh organic cucumbers) is topped with a “garlic cilantro god sauce.” Coincidentally enough, it’s heavenly.

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