You have to eat, because otherwise you die. And you have to eat the 50 things on our Seattle food bucket list before you die, because... um, we said so. We’re sure you can see where this is going...
1. Curry Beef Hom Bow
Mee Sum Pastry (address and info)
Pike Place Market
Seattle’s central market has long welcomed locals, tourists, and immigrants alike, and the result is this slightly bastardized version of the kind of bao that you’d find in China, in which sweet dough wraps around a savory curry. Much like the market itself, the bun is inspired by a diverse population -- and tastes great.
2. Fried chicken
Heaven Sent Fried Chicken (address and info)
Ezell’s might still have his name, but Ezell Stephens kept the recipe -- and his magic touch with the deep fryer -- after a lawsuit over fried chicken so good, Oprah used to sing its praises.
3. Any daily special
Il Corvo (address and info)
It’s hard to specify a dish to try at Il Corvo, since there are only three or four on the menu each day and they’re constantly changing, but it hardly matters because all the options are the best pasta in the city, and none cost more than $10.
4. Chicken teriyaki
Nasai Teriyaki (address and info)
Pho may have taken over as Seattle’s cheap eat du jour, but the city will never forget its teriyaki sauce-stained history. The sweet, tangy sauce, dumped over grilled chicken thighs is a staple of budget eaters all over the city and unlike any teriyaki you’ll find around the world.
5. Fresh-shucked oysters
The Walrus and the Carpenter (address and info)
It’s been five years since this tiny hallway of an oyster bar opened and four years since it received glowing praise in the New York Times, and finally the lines have died down to manageable levels (often under an hour!), meaning that the carefully curated, immaculately shucked shellfish that earned this place its reputation can be yours in record time.
6. Grilled cheese
Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (address and info)
It’s one of the simplest foods, which is why getting a grilled cheese sandwich so right is of the utmost importance, and Beecher’s does it by employing its own nutty Flagship and creamy Just Jack cheeses.
7. Bittersweet chocolate chip cookie with gray salt
Delancey (address and info)
Yes, it has some of the best pizza in town (and order that, too), but also, it has the cookie to end all cookies. It’s soft and it has crunch; it’s sweet, but not cloyingly so, and the salt makes it more complex. And if you’re the kind of person who’d rather lick the beaters than eat the cake, you can even order it raw as dough, to eat.
8. Tokyo Classic
Katsu Burger (address and info)
From the twisted mind of original Chef Hajime Sato comes the deep-fried burger: the panko crusting (in the Japanese katsu style) keeps the local, natural meat juicy while providing a crunchy outside. Slipped inside a bun with Japanese mayo and tonkatsu sauce, it’s a massive burger, and an instant classic.
9. Ice cream
Kurt Farm Shop (address and info)
Forget plain ol’ vanilla: this field-to-freezer ice cream shop offers rich, Jersey cream as its base flavor. The luxurious scoops and incredible flavor stem from the thick, fatty milk produced by the cows (milked daily) at the shop’s own Vashon farm.
10. Steamed mussels
Maximilien (address and info)
Pike Place Market
Eating the happy hour mussels (bathed in white wine, garlic, and parsley) on the deck of the Pike Place French restaurant is what the rest of the country imagines living in Seattle to be like.
11. Fried chicken dinner
Ma’ono (address and info)
Once upon a time, Ma’Ono was Springhill and the twice-fried chicken dinner was a once-weekly thing. Luckily, Tom Douglas protégé Mark Fuller realized his mistake and transformed his restaurant into this temple of Korean-/Hawaiian-style fried chicken where the dinner -- which seems portioned for an army, and includes kimchi, rice, and chili sauce -- is always available.
Dick’s Drive-In (address and info)
While it’s never clear if the greasy bundles of joy you unwrap on your lap at midnight are actually good or if it’s just like that after a few beers, nothing tastes better than what you’ll find under that big orange sign. But, either way, any real Seattleite will tell you that the Deluxe is essential Seattle eating: two small patties on a bun with cheese, lettuce, mayo, and relish. Remember, ketchup is 5 cents extra.
13. Seattle dog
Stands around Seattle
Nothing gets you laughed away from a hot dog stand outside of Seattle like asking for a schmear of cream cheese, but when in Seattle, it’s a must. Spread on a toasted bun, sweetened with caramelized onions, and perhaps fired up with a bit of hot sauce, it’s a local tradition that’s only knocked until it’s tried.
14. Canlis Salad
Canlis (address and info)
A sort of upscale Caesar, this salad has been on the menu since the Lake Union adjacent-spot first opened in 1950. As the years go by, the classic only gains fame: recipes have been printed in Saveur and the New York Times. But the only way to try the real version is by dressing up in your finest togs and ordering it.
Coyle’s Bakeshop (address and info)
The Cronut might have taken Manhattan by storm, but savory treat lovers in Seattle have something better: this croissant-pretzel hybrid. Flaky and crisp, oozing with butter flavor and pops of salt, it marries two nearly perfect baked goods into one beautiful pastry.
16. Smoked paprika and cheddar croissant
Crumble & Flake (address and info)
Great baked goods start with impeccable technique, which former Canlis pastry chef Neil Robertson has in spades. But he’s also got a bit of creativity, which is best displayed in this lightly spiced, super-cheesy, signature baked good.
17. Zaru soba
Miyabi 45th (address and info)
While ramen takes over the world as the trendy Japanese noodle of the moment, handmade buckwheat noodles humbly show off their stuff every night in this kitchen. Cool and clean, they make an essential complement to Seattle’s long summer evenings.
Salumi Artisan Cured Meats (address and info)
Though the retirement project of Armandino Batali (Mario’s dad) is best known for its cured meat, smart diners take that to-go and order the beastly porchetta -- with huge chunks of rich, juicy pork bathed in a garlic-y sauce -- for lunch.
19. The Farmer pizza
The Independent Pizzeria (address and info)
Nestled in a tiny space by the beach, this comfy little corner turns out pies that should be shouted from the rooftops, not hidden away, and The Farmer is the star -- it's the best at showing off the fresh ingredients used in all the pizzas. It oozes farm egg into all the cheesy crevasses created by the mozzarella, getting all over the porky speck, and just flecking the perfectly charred crust.
20. Meat Combination II
Jebena Cafe (address and info)
Seattle is full of excellent Ethiopian food, but Jebena is a cut above in both style (it’s adorable) and substance (the food is top notch). But the best part is it is one of the few Ethiopian places to offer a combination plate that not only includes meat dishes, but also kitfo, the Ethiopian version of steak tartare.
21. Caribbean roast
Un Bien (address and info) or Paseo (address and info)
Who's to say which is the best or which is even the original? It’s the battle for sandwich supremacy in the form of pork shoulder, marinated and roasted, served on Macrina bread with those famous caramelized onions and a garlicky smattering of aioli. Maybe try both and decide?
22. Spam sliders
Marination (address and info)
Forget your previously held feelings about Spam. The canned lunchmeat takes on a new personality when grilled and served inside sweet Hawaiian rolls with cabbage and the patented Nunya sauce.
23. Fancy menu
Staple & Fancy (address and info)
Give in to the regular menu, which, in no uncertain words, directs all diners to order the four-course Fancy menu. Give in to the fallacy of four courses, which is a total lie, since the first course is a parade of six or more small plates that could include fried oysters, fish crudos, or blistered peppers. Give in to the chefs, who will parade out the best of what they have in the kitchen, and to the bargain of a price for such a great meal.
Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt (address and info)
With the texture of sour cream and the sweetness of pie, Ellenos’ yogurt could be dessert as easily as it could be breakfast. With a flagship store at the main corner of Pike Place Market, it took little more than a few sample spoonfuls handed out to hungry shoppers to convert the city into devotees of this Australian-style Greek yogurt.
25. Salmon nigiri
Maneki (address and info)
Usually, freshness is the most desirable trait for a sushi restaurant, but at more than a century old, Maneki is still spanking the fish-loving pants off any other place in town. The salmon nigiri highlight the best of this old-school restaurant: giant blankets of gleaming orange fish draped over perfectly shaped, cohesive balls of rice.
Mashiko (address and info)
When the Northwest’s most absurd and phallic-looking giant clam is in season, Mashiko is the place to find it. Sustainable sushi evangelist and chef Hajime Sato sometimes has it as nigiri and other times will offer it sautéed with local mushrooms. However you eat it, though, you’ll get a true bite of local flavor.
27. French toast
Geraldine’s Counter (address and info)
Thick and custardy, crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, this is the platonic ideal of a brunch stalwart. The giant mountain of toast comes with a daily fruit topping and maple syrup, and is available in half portions (but why would you want less of such a good thing?).
28. Peacemaker po-boy
Where Ya at Matt (address and info)
Seattle’s about as far from the bayou as you can get in the continental United States, but a stop at Matt’s makes it taste like it’s right next door. The truck’s sandwich of fried oysters, bacon, pickled hot peppers, and Crystal hot sauce shoved into a soft bun give you all of the flavors of Louisiana... (*sigh*), if only it were legal to sip an Abita on the street as you ate it.
Columbia City Bakery (address and info)
They are serious about their soft pretzels here: they come in the standard form (an impeccable study in the genre), as well as mini-knot and bun form (yes, you want to put your sandwiches, hot dogs, and burgers on these).
30. Bánh xèo
Tamarind Tree Provincial Vietnamese Restaurant (address and info)
Also called the Tamarind Tree Crepe, this omelet-looking folded pancake hides treasures inside: scallops, shrimp, pork, and mushrooms are all buried in the crisp rice flour and coconut milk wrapper.
31. Bánh mì
Q Bakery (address and info)
There are hundreds of places to buy great bánh mì (Vietnamese sandwiches) in Seattle, but Q Bakery bakes the bread that makes most of them, so why not go straight to the source?
32. Short rib dumplings
Revel (address and info)
The fried and filled dough here is not in the style of any particular cuisine, though the restaurant does claim some inspiration from Korean food. Instead, it’s all about what tastes best, which is why thick wrappers are fried to a crisp, filled with rich short ribs, and topped with scallions and pickled shallots.
33. Dungeness crab
Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar (address and info)
Oversized and bright red, this crustacean is practically a symbol of the bountiful seafood of the Northwest. As shellfish farmers, the Taylor folks know exactly how to serve it best: cooked, chilled, cracked, and most importantly, unadulterated.
34. Smoked half pig head
Radiator Whiskey (address and info)
Pike Place Market
Grab a few friends and call ahead for this one, ‘cause you’re going to be busy all night taking down this cutting board full of meat. Aside from the title character, which is presented as bluntly as the name implies, this porcine bacchanal comes with crispy fried ear, braised tongue, and roasted loin, plus hot peppers, aioli, and stone-ground mustard for dressing.
35. Salade verte
Le Pichet (address and info)
Pike Place Market
Despite the fancy French name, this is a simple dish -- it translates to “green salad” -- but until you try it, you don’t know how good a green salad can be: it features fresh, soft Bibb lettuce, crunchy-sweet candied hazelnuts, and a tangy mustard vinaigrette.
36. New England clam chowder
Pike Place Chowder (address and info)
Pike Place Market
Sorry, New England. You might get the name and the glory, but we here in the Northwest have the clams and flavor and oh, yeah, the actually great chowder.
37. Pad Thai
Thai Tom (address and info)
It’s inconsistent and crowded, the wait is often long, and the seating uncomfortable. But the intricate dance of the cook and his flying ladles as he works magic on the woks turns out flame-kissed noodles at fire-sale prices.
38. BBQ chicken
Viengthong (address and info)
This tiny, cash-only hole-in-the-wall that closes at 8pm is hardly obvious in the sea of Thai restaurants in Seattle, but anyone who’s sampled the chicken here -- slightly sweetened by coconut milk and served with a sweet chili sauce -- has hurried back.
39. Egg bake
The Fat Hen (address and info)
Nothing will turn a rough morning around faster than eggs bubbling about with layers of cheese and sauce, and this twee place does it better than anywhere else.
40. Long-bone ribeye
Metropolitan Grill (address and info)
What with Paleo all the rage, who wouldn’t want to sit down to this caveman-esque, 36oz beast of a meat hunk? Good luck making it through that without taking home leftovers for the world’s best steak sandwich for lunch tomorrow.
41. Butterscotch bourbon pie
A la Mode Pies (address and info)
It’s definitely not the prettiest pie in the pageant, but the dense butterscotch pudding means it’s more substance than style. Mounded high with whipped cream, crowned with pecans, and crusted by vanilla wafers and more pecans, it’s ready for its close up.
42. Hommous bi Lahm ou Snobar
Cafe Munir (address and info)
Hummus, that Middle Eastern chickpea dip, is hardly a food most would consider to be wow-inducing. But only because they haven’t tried it here, where ground lamb sizzles across the top, adding more flavor and texture than any version you’ve ever eaten before.
43. Dan dan hand-shaven noodles
Seven Stars Pepper (address and info)
Let’s toss out the word "authentic" because, to be very clear: these are nothing like what dan dan noodles are in Sichuan, China. However, the thick, nutty sauce, dotted with pockmarks of pork, and coating ropy noodles shaved from hunks of dough, is so good that it'll make you re-think the original concept of the dish.
44. Pho tai nam
Ba Bar (address and info)
This bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup will cost more than the same dish at nearly any other restaurant in town. But here, they take Seattle’s new staple comfort food and reimagine it using techniques and ingredients chosen for flavor rather than savings.
45. Dutch baby
Tilikum Place Café (address and info)
Lower Queen Anne
With history in Seattle (it was maybe invented here?), this oversized baked pancake is right at home in the shadow of the Space Needle. Puffy and hot, jumping out of the pan it is both cooked and served in, it comes in either sweet or savory, so basically you have no reason not to order it.
46. Cheeseburger with salad
Wedgwood Broiler (address and info)
This steakhouse is so old that everything it serves has come back into fashion. like grinding all the meat for hamburgers in-house. Well, we’re not positive that salad graced by sliced salami and a handful of Cheez-It crackers was ever cool -- or will be -- but it definitely should be!
Mawadda Cafe (address and info)
If you were to discuss your ideal foods, it’s unlikely “hard balls made of chickpeas” would top the list. And yet, when expertly fried and smothered in creamy tzatziki and zingy garlic sauce, suddenly falafel is the ultimate comfort food -- and this place knows how to make them best.
48. Triple coconut cream pie
Dahlia Bakery (address and info)
Seattle’s most famous chef’s signature dish has made appearances on the menu of more than one of his restaurants and has a long line of fans (President Obama included). Why? Perhaps it’s the heap of whipped cream with coconut and vanilla; maybe it's the way it almost melds right into the coconut custard below; or maybe it's the flaky coconut pastry on the bottom layer? Most likely, it’s the ridiculous indulgence of all three at once.
49. Tasting menu
Altura (address and info)
Though it still somehow flies under the radar, the five-course, evening-long prix fixe parade of dishes deserves to be named to any list of best eating experiences in Seattle. Considering Altura's rare ingredients, impeccable pairings, and fastidious attention to detail, there is nowhere better in the city to impress or celebrate.
50. Gray Salt Caramels
Fran’s Chocolates (address and info)
Long before salted caramel became the trendy ice cream flavor du jour, this local chocolatier had already sussed out the perfect pairing and was enclosing them in its signature chocolates.
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1. Mee Sum Pastry1533 Pike Place Market, Seattle
2. Il Corvo217 James St, Seattle
3. Nasai Teriyaki4305 University Way NE, Seattle
4. The Walrus and the Carpenter4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle
5. Delancey1415 NW 70th St, Seattle
6. Kurt Farm Shop1424 11th Ave, Seattle
7. Maximilien81 Pike St, Seattle
8. Ma'ono Fried Chicken & Whiskey4437 California Ave SW, Seattle
9. Canlis2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle
10. Coyle's Bakeshop8300 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle
11. Crumble & Flake Patisserie1500 E Olive Way, Seattle
12. Miyabi 45th2208 N 45th St, Seattle
13. Salumi309 3rd Ave S, Seattle
14. The Independent Pizzeria4235 E Madison Street, Seattle
15. Jebena Cafe1510 NE 117th St, Seattle
16. Un Bien7302.5 15th Ave NW, Seattle
17. Paseo Caribbean Restaurant4225 Fremont Ave N, Seattle
18. Staple & Fancy4739 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle
19. Maneki304 6th Ave S, Seattle
20. Mashiko4725 California Ave SW, Seattle
21. Geraldine's Counter4872 Rainier Ave S, Seattle
22. Columbia City Bakery4865 Rainier Ave S, Seattle
23. Tamarind Tree1036 S Jackson St, Seattle
24. Q Bakery3818 S Graham St, Seattle
25. Revel and Quoin403 N 36th St, Seattle
26. Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar410 Occidental Ave S, Seattle
27. Radiator Whiskey94 Pike St, Ste 30, Seattle
28. Le Pichet1933 1st Ave, Seattle
29. Pike Place Chowder1530 Post Alley, Seattle
30. Thai Tom4543 University Way NE, Seattle
31. Viengthong2820 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, Seattle
32. The Fat Hen1418 NW 70th St, Seattle
33. Metropolitan Grill820 2nd Ave, Seattle
34. A La Mode Pies5821 Phinney Ave N, Seattle
35. Cafe Munir2408 NW 80th St, Seattle
36. Seven Star Pepper1207 S Jackson St, Seattle
37. Ba Bar550 12th Ave, Seattle
38. Tilikum Place Café407 Cedar St, Seattle
39. Wedgwood Broiler8230 35th Ave NE, Seattle
40. Mawadda Cafe2352 California Ave SW, Seattle
41. Dahlia Bakery2001 4th Ave, Seattle
42. Altura Restaurant617 Broadway E, Seattle
With BBQ pork and supersize potstickers, Mee Sum Pastry is a tried and true institution in the market. It's a no frills, fast moving grab ‘n go joint.
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.
With large portions, stand-out teriyaki, and yakisoba noodles, this student-favorite is a no-brainer for Asian eats in the University District.
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.
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.
Quite literally a shop of goods from the farm, Kurt Farm Shop offers cheese, ice cream (some of the city's best), plants and flowers all from Kurtwood Farms on Vashon Island.
At this French restaurant, diners can most frequently be found eating happy hour mussels (bathed in white wine, garlic, and parsley) while dining al fresco on the deck. Get at it.
Ma'ono means flavor. Flavor means Hawaiian cuisine. This Junction joint is helmed by island native Chef Mark Fuller, who sources ingredients from the Northwest and the Pacific Rim to bring Seattle authentic Hawaiian dishes like poke and the beef- and sausage-based Loco Moco. It wouldn't be a visit to Ma-ono, however, without a round of chicken, twice-fried and umami spiced, and a least a little taste of their 40+ bourbons, ryes, single malts, imported, and domestic whiskys, either on their own or in a house cocktail.
The finest of Seattle's relatively few fine dining destinations, Canlis is worth it alone for its gorgeous views of Lake Union and unusual setting inside a refurbished mid century modern home. But Canlis also brings the heat with an unbeatable version of Seattle's signature Dungeness crab cakes, and possibly the city's best steak.
After a couple of years as a pop up shop, Rachel Coyle has opened her brick and mortar location in Greenwood. Stop by to get some of her magical croissant-pretzel hybrids (called cretzels, naturally), strawberry tarts, savory pastries, and brownies.
The dude with the dopest resume in Seattle baking (Canlis, Mistral) is now slinging his butter-heavy, mostly breakfast-inspired pastries from this small Olive Way shop, featuring impeccably arranged and easy to pronounce offerings like kouign amann, and scones, as well as desserts like macaroons and a cream puff, which Suge Knight has been trying to order since 1996.
Formerly known as Soma, Miyabi 45th is Wallingford’s hole-in-the-wall joint for modern Japanese food. While the focal point of the menu is no longer Soma’s famous soba, it still reps the toothsome, buckwheat noodles, hot or cold (try the braised beef cheek soba bowl). Miyabi also offers sushi and sashimi, tempura, and unconventional items like uni shots (with quail egg, shiro ponzu, and wasabi), and foie gras tofu. If you find yourself craving Miyabi 45th’s sushi but can’t make it to Wallingford, stop by sister restaurant Miyabi Sushi in Southcenter and Tacoma.
Helmed by Marilyn and Armandino Batali (yes, as in Mario's parents), this contemporary incarnation of a traditional Italian salumeria prepares gourmet cured meats. Once a small neighborhood deli, Salumi has become a major contender in Seattle's culinary scene, selling individual orders of its artfully prepared products en masse in addition to filling wholesale orders for local restaurants. A partial open kitchen allows customers to watch the Batali family roll chorizo and prep specials like hand-pulled gnocchi. Hot and cold sandwiches, stuffed with the likes of sopressata and meatballs, are available to-go at the counter.
This beachside pizza shop in Madison Park open by a former sommelier turned dough slinger serves New York/Neapolitan style mash-ups. Expect creatively topped but not the over the top pies like the Stevedore with salami and Little Mama's hot peppers or the Twin Peaks with fontina and cremini mushrooms. The tiny, eclectically-furnished space is cozy and quirky.
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.
Un Bien serves tasty Caribbean-inspired sandwiches, like the Smokin' Thighs (marinated and grilled boneless chicken thighs) and the Caribbean Roast (slow roasted, marinated pork shoulder). Sandwiches at this vibrant island shack spot are served on a toasted baguette, smothered with aioli, and topped with fresh cilanto, pickled jalapeños, and caramelized onions. They can (and should) be ordered with sides of fire-roasted corn and rice & beans.
A cash-only counter-serve in Fremont, Paseo has garnered a mass following thanks to authentic Caribbean food that's as vibrant as the salmon-and-teal shack itself. There are plenty of sandwiches and platters of roast chicken, grilled pork, and seared scallops to choose from, but without question, the thing to order is the Caribbean Roast, a tender sandwich overflowing with slow-roasted pork shoulder coated in a garlicky aioli and topped with cilantro, pickled jalapeños, and caramelized onions. The lightly toasted baguette soaks up only so much of all the rich juices, so prepare to get a little messy. There aren't many tables, so eat quickly and relinquish your seat to the next crazed customer.
This place's name says it all. Chef Ethan Stowell offers à 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.
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.
Chef and owner Hajime Sato has dedicated Mashiko to being a fully sustainable sushi bar: fish and other products used in the sushi are all chosen with this concept in mind and often teaches food classes at Diane's Market Kitchen. You know your meal isn't only good for the environments but also that it's made from the highest quality ingredients. Try the noodle stir-fry in all its fat, chewy glory—white udon noodles are pan fried with bite-size pieces of teriyaki chickens, thin strips of carrots, and green onions.
Deep in Columbia City, Geraldine’s Counter takes breakfast very seriously. Closed daily at 3pm, the place serves a hearty brunch menu of classic American comfort food, offering six omelette specials in addition to every egg, pancake, bacon, or French toast combination that one might possibly crave (that is to say, a bacon egg sandwich on French toast is not out of the question). For those who, for whatever reason, might choose to abstain from sausage-topped buttermilk pancakes or homemade biscuits with bacon and gravy, there is a lunch menu as well, with plenty of soups, salads, and Geraldine's famous "Columbia City Corned Beef Sandwich," all of which is served in a dining room enclosed by walls of exposed red brick and floor-to-ceiling windows.
This bakery, located in (surprise) Columbia City, is serving all the classic bakery treats and then some. Local favorites include Pistachio Snails and their Pecan Sticky Buns, which are only available Friday-Sunday and sell out quickly. The housemade soft pretzels are pretty killer too.
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.
Bánh mì isn't hard to find in Seattle, but have you ever wondered about the bread the Vietnamese sandwiches come on? A lot of it comes from this Hillman City bakery, so why not just get your fix there?
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.
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?
Radiator Whiskey is a brewpub in Downtown that's dishing out barrel-aged, gravity-poured cocktails as well as American classics that may or may not include Fritos.
The regional and classic style of French food at this Pike Place restaurant has made it a prominent fixture in the area. With an all day charcuterie menu, wine list, full bar, and diner menu there is always something worth stopping in to try.
This seafood soup-slinger in Pike Place Market serves up some of Seattle's best clam chowder, made with fresh oysters. These guys don't stop there, also serving up Japanese and Mandarin cuisine that's available for catering.
You're not a true resident of Seattle until you've waited for a counter seat at this Thai hole-in-the-wall that gets you up-close and personal with badass chefs working their magic behind flaming woks. The menu at Thai Tom is all about pan-fried dishes, including pad thai, basil chicken, and pad see ew, plus assorted curries with steamed rice. The service is speedy, the flavors are spicy, and the prices can't be beat.
Viengthong may be hidden in a small strip-mall a block away from a major thoroughfare, but this cash-only hole-in-the-wall has garnered a loyal following who swear it's the best Thai around. There are Tom Yum soups and fresh salads, but fans swoon over the Lao-Thai specialties, particularly the barbecue chicken, which marinates in coconut milk, garlic, and black pepper before its charred to a lovely crisp. You'll be surrounded by plant life and trellises as you feast in the unfussy dining room.
Contrary to its name, The Fat Hen is rather small -- dainty, even -- with white wainscoting and marble-topped tables. The daytime eatery is a sunny neighborhood nook, popular for breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch, with only 20 seats available. Under Italian ownership, the Seattle favorite offers a menu featuring the best of Italian and American eats, in addition to French pastries delivered daily from Honoré bakery right across the street. The cafe serves a full breakfast menu of classic morning dishes (mimosas included), but the kitchen's standout mainstay is the "egg bake" -- two eggs baked in a pool of rich house-made tomato basil sauce, served to each guest in an individual cast iron skillet topped with generous portions of ham, mozzarella, pork sausage and mushrooms.
A steakhouse with a meat-laden menu, Metropolitan Grill serves up 100% Mayura Station Australian Wagyu in their historic downtown location. The 60 ft marble bar boasts an extensive array of top shelf liquors from around the world, which pair well with Metropolitan Grill's award winning Manhattans and Martinis.
Unlike most of the foods that were cool for people to have sex with in the '90s, pie has aged pretty damn well, which is why Seattle's sweetest online slinger of encrusted goodness, A La Mode, is going offline with a minimalist concrete-floored spot in where else but a former doll shop, complete with a soda-fountain-style counter and over-sized windows looking into the kitchen so you can personally affirm that Jason Biggs' goods weren't anywhere near yours.
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.
This International District Restaurant takes some liberties in terms of preparation, so it may not be "authentic," but their variation on the classic Dan dan noodles is good enough to let that slide.
A Vietnamese restaurant, Ba Bar proudly serves "street food", a principle defined by simplicity and quality. The other half of this eatery's maxim is "cold drink," as in cocktails. Many, many cocktails.
This European bistro is nestled in the shadow of the Space Needle and serves a variety of salads, soups, and full entrees. The real star menu is their weekend brunch, which includes Dutch Babies -- baked pancakes that come classic (lemon & powdered sugar), sweet (raspberries), or savory (broccoli, bacon, & cheddar).
Complete with carpeted floors, big fabric booths, and memento-lined brick walls, Wedgwood Broiler is the epitome of an old-school steakhouse. The place has been open since the 60s, and many of the waitresses seem to have been there just as long, but their sassy ways are all in good fun and make the end result -- unfussy egg and hash breakfasts and Swiss cheese-topped burgers -- well worth the wait.
This welcoming cafe cooks plates of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes to order, including some of the best falafel in the city -- it's fried to perfection and served with tzatziki & garlic.
This bakery, from Tom Douglas, is home to Triple Coconut Cream Pie, homemade breads, pastries, and cakes. They also serve breakfast and lunch, including a weekly sandwich menu that they update and change regularly.
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.