Get 5 Katsu Sandwiches in One
Island-fresh food worth the ferry ride
After years of pop-ups under the Meat and Noodle name, Vashon butcher Lauren Garaventa teamed up with chef Rustle Biehn to create a full restaurant with the same goal: use Island-grown food to create local versions of all their favorite foods. The results are edible-flower dotted noodle soup, a burger that would beat out any in Seattle in a taste-test, and rabbit rillettes served with hot-pink turnip pickles. The eclectic menu works because the elegant space and expert service tie together any loose ends, and because the execution makes the ferry trip over from Seattle worth every minute.
Mike Easton's pastas finally find an evening home
Since Il Corvo first opened inside a gelato shop in Pike Place Market in 2011, lines of hungry lunchers have snaked out the door, and anyone who works elsewhere in town has cursed the limited hours. But with the opening of Il Nido (the nest to Il Corvo's crow) inside the remodeled Alki Homestead building, not only can you get Easton's handmade, seasonal pastas, you can make a reservation to do it, order appetizers like the grape-leaf wrapped taleggio with it, and wash it all down with a cocktail by the fireside bar.
Pastrami, pastries, and nothing to kvetch about
Seattle's latest stab at a Jewish deli doesn't pretend to compete with its East Coast brethren: the painted map of ingredient sources on the wall depicts Washington, and the menu swings from their much-awaited (and worth the wait) pastrami sandwiches to a quinoa salad. The space marries Standard Bakery into a new combination business, so there's plenty of baked goods to go with your chopped liver or avocado toast -- including bagels, cheesecake, and chocolate cream pie.
No longer Nosh, no longer in Seattle, still the best
After he sold Nosh, the food truck with a long-standing reputation for the best fish and chips in Seattle, it seemed that Harvey Wolff was out of the fish biz. But when the new owners gave up on the truck, Wolff got back to work, this time from a little shop on Bainbridge Island. The space is permanent, the view from the patio is better, and the perfectly fried cod fish fillets are as big and incredible as ever. Even better: you can wash them down with a drink now.
A seasoned restaurateur's ode to her mother
With her latest, Seattle's golden gal of seafood and steak, Renee Erickson honors her mom and brings back some of the classic dishes that helped launch her first restaurant, Boat Street Cafe. Iconic dishes like asparagus soup, Parisian gnocchi, and quiche flit among more modern ones including halibut tartare and burrata tartine with hazelnut dukkah. In the slip of a space that once housed St. Helens, things stay simple -- including the tantalizingly bitter-focused cocktail menu.
2015 | Queen Anne
Local ingredients prepared with modern techniques and tons of whimsy
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.
1965 | Wedgewood
The best prime rib in Seattle
Everything about this steakhouse is belovedly retro, upto and including the prices, the Cheez-It topped salads, and the fact that they use the steak trimmings to grind up into their house-made burgers. Whether you're in the mood for a prime rib dinner under $25 or the best prime rib French dip in town, walking through the door of this time warp to the last century is the best way to do it.
1991 | Eastlake
Quietly classic Italian that flies under the radar
Many people credited Susan Kaufman's impeccable hospitality with the success of this institution, but since her passing in 2016, the restaurant has not missed a beat with its seasonal, regional Italian cuisine. Unpretentious and cozy, the kind of place that inspires cliches like "everyone feels like family," but all the goodwill and graciousness in the world still doesn't overshadow the quality of the braised octopus appetizer, lamb and pork lasagna, or lemon ricotta cheesecake.
1904 | International District
A Seattle institution that's over 100 years old
Even "Mom" the octogenarian, almost-celebrity bartender wasn't born yet when this seafood spot opened its doors. But with age comes beauty, at least on the plate: huge chunks of fresh salmon draped over sushi rice, beautifully blackened black cod collar, and bonito flakes waving from atop the takoyaki.
Est. 2010 | Ballard
A lively oyster bar and favorite of locals
Sorry, you didn’t discover this place -- the Times got here first. But finally (five 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.
Est. 2011 | Capitol Hill
Italian fine dining from a couple that met at the Dick's down the street
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 incredibly innovative 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.
Est. 2017 | Ravenna
One of the country's best new restaurants of 2017
Apparently not satisfied with running one of the best restaurants in Seattle (nearby Salare was on the last version of this list) the increasingly recognizable chef behind this elevated Southern establishment opened Junebaby less than a year ago and started serving his unique take on decidedly non-elevated dishes, ranging from Swamp Cabbage to oxtails, to very long lines of happy Seattle diners.
Est. 2015 | Ravenna
Omakase on what might be Seattle's best restaurant street
Small and quiet, tucked away on what's quickly becoming Seattle's hottest dining 'hood (Junebaby is down the block and Salare, which made this list last year, is nextdoor), 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.
Est. 2015 | Pike Place Market
A legendary sushi chef's downtown destination
Shiro Kashiba's name has long been synonymous with great sushi in Seattle, first at Shiro's in Belltown, 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.
2017 | Fremont
Soba noodles and sake mix together for the perfect recipe
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've dried 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 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 sweetly 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.