Food & Drink

The Best Places to Eat in Seattle Right Now

Published On 10/03/2017 Published On 10/03/2017
seattle eat seeker
JEREMY PRICE/ WALRUS + CARPENTER
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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1. Altura Restaurant 617 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102

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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2. Il Corvo 217 James St, Seattle, WA 98104

Lunchtime is your only chance to score some of the incredible handmade pastas at Pioneer Square's Il Corvo, where the menu changes daily. Guests can expect entrees along the lines of tagliatelle with wild boar ragu, gigli with broccolini, chilies, and garlic, and other similarly sophisticated pasta dishes. Be sure to check out Il Corvo's website for daily offerings.

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3. Revel and Quoin 403 N 36th St, Seattle, WA 98103

This combination restaurant and bar is run by the husband-wife cooking team of Seif Chirchi and Rachel Yang, both of whom were contestants on Iron Chef America. If that wasn't enough to reel you in, the married couple combines American and Korean cuisine to create a menu of fusion dishes (like the moo shu pork dumpling and smoked oyster po-boy in a Korean pancake) unique to the restaurant. There's also a selection of signature cocktails that you can sample before/during your meal.

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4. The Walrus and the Carpenter 4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

This chic oyster bar serves neither walrus nor houses carpenters (that we know of) but it does dish out mounds of delicious shellfish in a comfortable atmosphere. Additionally, this cozy, neighborhood spot -- which has been recognized by The New York Times also serves incredible desserts, with highlights being maple bread pudding and roasted Medjool dates.

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5. Staple & Fancy 4739 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

This place's name says it all. Chef Ethan Stowell offers Ă  la carte "Staple" choices, as well as a multi-course "Fancy" chef's tasting menu. The former includes a variety of Italian-inspired eats, like gnocchi with housemade fennel sausage and braised lamb shank, while the latter includes $55 worth of the chef's choice. Either way, you can't go wrong.

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6. Marination Ma Kai 1660 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

"Ma Kai" means "by the sea," and that's exactly where this waterfront establishment is located. Serving up tasty tacos made from fresh ingredients, this Hawaiian-Korean fusion restaurant is all about finding the best of both worlds and melting them together. There's also a killer beer selection, and you can purchase "Nunya", the secret sauce used by the restaurant on many of its dishes, receiving a free slider or taco with each jar purchase.

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7. Cafe Munir 2408 NW 80th St, Seattle, WA 98117

This elegant but surprisingly affordable Lebanese spot in Ballard serves Middle Eastern favorites like hummus and chicken skewers, plus more unique dishes: slow roasted beets in tahini and ground lamb with herbs & bulgur wheat. An impressive menu of globally-inspired small plates and whiskey from around the world is also available.

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8. Manolin 3621 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA 98103

Right off Stone Way, this gorgeous, seafood bar in Freemont boasts offerings like rockfish ceviche, black rice and squid, braised pork belly, and an incredible chocolate cake with avocado and habanero. The beach theme is completed with Manolin's U-shaped, blue-tiled bar and seating the flows out to the street.

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9. Tamarind Tree 1036 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104

This upscale(-ish) Vietnamese spot on the far side of the International District plates slightly more Western-style eats than the area's usual family-run joints. Still, it's a can't-miss destination thanks to authentic and deliciously simple dishes like lemongrass chicken vermicelli, pho, and the not so authentic, albeit delicious, tangerine martinis.

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10. Delancey 1415 NW 70th St, Seattle, WA 98117

It’s no wonder Delancey has some passionate fans—this Ballard pizzeria is home to some of Seattle’s best tasting (and looking) pizzas. The wood-fired pies come with toppings ranging from the traditional, high quality (think Zoe’s pepperoni), to the quirky and seasonal (think Padrón peppers). Pro tip: follow this bacon-y and onion-y pie with some of the D’s bourbon-roasted peaches. It also has the cookie to end all cookies: a soft bittersweet chocolate chip cookie made with gray salt.

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11. Maneki 304 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

Maneki is the last surviving restaurant from Seattle’s once bustling Japantown, so you know they must be doing something right. The family-owned restaurant has established itself as a local favorite. Fun—almost unbelievable—fact: in the 1930s, one of Maneki’s dishwashers was Takeo Miki, who later served as Japan’s prime minister. What’s even more unbelievable is how good Maneki’s sushi is.

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12. Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot 609 South Weller St., Seattle, WA 98104

Somewhere between fondue and Korean barbecue is Mongolian hot pot. Create your own meal by checking off the meat, fish, vegetables, and noodles you’re craving from the menu, then dip it into as boiling cauldron of either spicy or mild broth on the table. But the best part? It’s all-you-can-eat. The local outlets of this international chain spread out as far as the San Gabriel Valley and Torrance, California.

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13. Westward 2501 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103

Opened by the crew behind Skillet, Westward is a waterfront nautical spot with rustic decor. A wood-burning oven stands in the center of the room, the bar is boat-shaped, and the patio/beach boasts stunning views of Lake Union and Downtown. This spacious restaurant serves low-alcohol cocktails and small seafood plates that extend dinner beyond the usual starter, entrée, and dessert. Start with oysters at the adjoining Little Gull, finish with cocktails around the outdoor fire pit.

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14. Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar 410 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

Before it opened shop, Taylor Shellfish was providing oysters, clams, mussels, and crab to most of the city’s chefs. Now with several of its own locations, this oyster bar continues to serve all seafood in its purest form. Not to mention that the selection of draft beers and wine is worth drinking your way through. 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?

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15. Uneeda Burger 4302 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103

This Fremont burger joint serves up everything from the fancy to the messy, and if a burger doesn’t suit your fancy (why are you even here?), Uneeda Burger also has a hefty selection of sandwiches, soups, and salads. Equipped with a patio out front, you can chow down and tan at the same time.

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16. Dino's Tomato Pie 1524 E Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98122

Brandon Pettit of Delancey is behind this casual Capitol Hill pizzeria that specializes in New Jersey-style tomato pies. While Delancey focuses on wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, Dino's is all about thick-crust square pan pies. There are round thin-crust pizzas too, as well as knockout sides like garlic knots and broccoli rabe. The space is decorated to look like a retro Garden State restaurant with neon pizza signs, a disco ball, and Formica tables.

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17. Sushi Kashiba 86 Pine St Ste 1, Seattle, WA 98101

Shiro Kashiba's name has long been synonymous with great sushi in Seattle -- first at the Belltown Shiro's, and now at his own spot in the Market. It's the least you can expect from the Jiro Ono (of Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame)-trained sushi master. Fortunately for you, the freshly flown-in tuna and expertly sourced local shellfish are masterfully prepared here by the septuagenarian chef, and his most dependable lieutenants.

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18. General Porpoise Doughnuts 1020 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98122

The massive, cool marble counter and clean modern space hardly seem the place for a mere doughnut. But of course, Renee Erickson of oyster bar Walrus and the Carpenter fame, hardly serves just any doughnut: these are high-rising, puffed up with yeast and pride, and full of house-made curd. And sure, filled donuts might be this Capitol Hill spot's only offering, but the fillings options are many, and we hear the lemon curd will make a superfan out of you.

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19. Salare 2404 NE 65th St, Seattle, WA 98115

Salare is the brain-child of chef Edouardo Jordan. He has brought together the farm-to-table principles he learned at Bar Sajor, his own background of Southern cooking, and his training as an Italian salumist to create a unique neighborhood restaurant.

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20. Omega Ouzeri 1529 14th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

This Capitol Hill Greek spot does a fairly good impression of Greek island life, serving up small plates to the tune of fried greek potatoes and roasted cauliflower with taramosalata. Casual and filled with conversation background noise, the brightly lit space is ideal for date night -- with a significant other, or your appetite.

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21. Eden Hill 2209 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Austin-transplant chef Maximillian Petty brings forward-thinking, creative techniques to this New American restaurant: look for crispy pig head candy bars and foie gras cake batter.

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22. Sushi Wataru 6500-6512 24th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115

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.