Food & Drink

The 15 best places to eat in Seattle's International District

Published On 10/01/2014 Published On 10/01/2014
Chona Kasinger

Seattle's International District is home to one of America's best ramen spots. But it's also home to a delicious, and often confusing, hodgepodge of Chinese, Japanese, and pizza places that can be downright intimidating if you don't eat there all the time, speak a couple of foreign languages, or have a handy guide to the 15 best eat spots in the ID. Oh, wait!

CHONA KASINGER

Fanciest eats: Tamarind Tree

This upscale(-ish) Vietnamese spot on the far side of the ID plates slightly more Western-style eats than the area's usual family-run joints, but it's still a can't-miss destination thanks to authentic and deliciously simple dishes like the lemongrass chicken vermicelli (above).

CHONA KASINGER

Best dumplings: Ping’s Dumpling House

Opened in one half of a Chinese grocery store, Ping's serves a small selection of Northern Chinese eats, but make no mistake, you're there for a plate of their signature pork dumplings, made using traditional ingredients from a recipe that's been handed down for three generations.

CHONA KASINGER

Best pastries: Fuji Bakery

This French-inspired baked goods slinger does classic preparations with unique flavors, including this sugar-covered pocket of fried dough filled with azuki (red beans).

CHONA KASINGER

Best pho: Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant

Seattle's favorite food may be great teriyaki, but pho is a solid number two and GL is a more-than-solid place to score some the traditional Vietnamese noodle soup.

CHONA KASINGER

Best noodles: Shanghai Garden

The hand-shaven, barley green noodles with chicken are the real deal. Aside from being the coolest noodles you’ve ever seen, this dish comes with scrambled eggs, your choice of meat, and carrots.

CHONA KASINGER

Best dessert: A Piece of Cake

This bakery has all kinds of tasty Asian pastries, from red bean treats to taro rolls and colorful cakes, but if you can do away with all the sugary stuff, they've also got some sweet (but, you know, not sweet) options like tossed noodles and congee.

CHONA KASINGER

Best sandwich: Subsand

Subsand marries the idea of the bánh mì and sub sandwiches into one tasty baguette and meat union. Pictured above is the BBQ pork, which you should definitely get since... BBQ PORK!!

CHONA KASINGER

Best karaoke bar: Bush Garden

It may not be quite as entertaining as Busch Gardens, but this place is still pretty fun thanks to sing-a-longs that basically never stop, cheap Asian takes on bar eats, and stunningly stiff and inexpensive drinks.

CHONA KASINGER

Best counter spot: Saigon Deli

This hole in the wall is a one-stop shop for everything ranging from bánh mìs and curry chicken to bubble tea and all kinds of prepackaged snacks.

CHONA KASINGER

Best classic bánh mì: Seattle Deli

Seattle Deli slings pretty hefty bánh mìs at a super-low price, so come hungry and bring friends, but don’t forget some cash 'cause this place is cash only.

CHONA KASINGER

Best non-Asian eats: World Pizza

Fifteen years after closing the Belltown original, the brothers behind this golden-era-of-grunge destination for performers and fans reinvented it as a salvaged wood-heavy Chinatown slice-house with seats for 20 and delicious 'za that is actually delicious, despite being completely vegan.

CHONA KASINGER

Best ramen: Tsukushinbo

This teeny-tiny almost unpronounceable spot in the ID is a can’t-miss, mostly because every Friday around lunchtime, they serve their infamously hard-to-get ramen. The spot only slings a couple dozen bowls 'cause their richly flavored broth takes four days to make, so you have to get it while it’s hot, or you don't get it. Until next week. Maybe.

Flickr/Ernesto Andrade

Best sushi: Maneki

It's been in business for more than 100 years and it's still almost impossible to get a table at this ID mainstay that's all but frozen in the '60s. This particularly sweet version of said decade makes next-level salmon skin maki, gargantuan slices of nigiri sushi, and turn-out-way-better-than-they-sound Asian oddities like octopus-stuffed donut holes at the tiny sushi bar in back.

CHONA KASINGER

Best late-night eats: Fort St. George

One of the city's best late-night hangs -- and a favorite of local hip-hop luminaries Blue Scholars -- FSG specializes in yoshoku-style eats (Japanese takes on Western dishes like spaghetti topped with roe) and serves cheap/stiff 'tails like the gin/fruit Momotaro -- aka the mythical Japanese hero Peach Boy, which means it just takes one to make you see fuzzy.

CHONA KASINGER

Best wings: Hue Ky Mi Gia

Housed in a strip mall on Jackson St, this noodle house is actually the place to go for crunchy, meaty, buttery wings w/ a flaky crust and a dusting of garlicky green onion and chile. Oh, and they only cost $7.

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Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Tamarind Tree 1036 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104 (Intl District)

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.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Ping's Dumpling House & Market 508 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104 (Intl District)

Opened in one half of a Chinese grocery store, Ping's serves a small selection of Northern Chinese eats, but make no mistake, you're there for a plate of their signature pork dumplings, made using traditional ingredients from a recipe that's been handed down for three generations.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Fuji Bakery 526 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104 (Intl District)

This French-inspired baked goods slinger does classic preparations with unique flavors, including this sugar-covered pocket of fried dough filled with azuki (red beans).

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4. Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant 418 8th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104 (Intl District)

Seattle's favorite food may be great teriyaki, but pho is a solid number two and GL is a more-than-solid place to score some the traditional Vietnamese noodle soup.

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5. Shanghai Garden 524 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104 (Intl District)

This place serves some of the best hand-shaven, barley green noodles (with your choice of meat and carrots) you'll ever try in Seattle.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. A Piece Of Cake 514 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104 (Intl District)

This bakery has all kinds of tasty Asian pastries, from red bean treats to taro rolls and colorful cakes, but if you can do away with all the sugary stuff, they've also got some sweet (but, you know, not sweet) options like tossed noodles and congee.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Subsand 419 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104 (Intl District)

Subsand marries the idea of the bánh mì and sub sandwiches into one tasty baguette and meat union. Pictured above is the BBQ pork, which you should definitely get since... BBQ PORK!!

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Bush Garden Restaurant 614 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104 (Intl District)

It may not be quite as entertaining as Busch Gardens, but this place is still pretty fun thanks to sing-a-longs that basically never stop, cheap Asian takes on bar eats, and stunningly stiff and inexpensive drinks.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Saigon Deli 1237 S Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98144 (Intl District)

This hole in the wall is a one-stop shop for everything ranging from bánh mìs and curry chicken to bubble tea and all kinds of prepackaged snacks.

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10. Seattle Deli 225 12th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144 (Intl District)

Seattle Deli slings pretty hefty bánh mìs at a super-low price, so come hungry and bring friends, but don’t forget some cash 'cause this place is cash only.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. World Pizza 672 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104 (Intl District)

Fifteen years after closing their Belltown original, the brothers behind this golden-era-of-Grunge destination have reinvented it as a vegetarian-only slice-house in Chinatown. Chow down on vegan pepperoni pies inside the vintage-era digs. With seats for 20, and some well-placed nods to the old space, including some of their original vintage signage, this hip destination scores both on the aesthetic and culinary front.

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12. Tsukushinbo 515 S Main St, Seattle, WA 98104

The teeny-tiny Tsukushinbo dishes up its infamous ramen just once a week, only on Fridays. The spot only makes about 50 bowls, so check 'em out to get it while it’s hot.

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13. Maneki 304 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104 (Downtown)

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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14. Fort St. George 601 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104 (Intl District)

One of the city's best late-night hangs, FSG specializes in yoshoku-style eats (Japanese takes on Western dishes like spaghetti topped with roe) and serves cheap/stiff 'tails like the gin/fruit Momotaro.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
15. Hue Ky Mi Gia 1207 S Jackson St, Ste 101, Seattle, WA 98144 (Intl District)

Housed in a strip mall on Jackson St, this noodle house is actually the place to go for crunchy, meaty, buttery wings w/ a flaky crust and a dusting of garlicky green onion and chile. Oh, and they only cost $7.

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