If you're always like, "I can't figure out where to eat, and I don't even know of any sandwiches named after Shawn Kemp", rest easy, because Seattle editor Bradley Foster is about to drop recommendations for his favorite restaurants/dishes around town faster than Shawn Kemp can say, "Please stop suing me for back child support payments and give me some of that sandwich I've been hearing so much about."
Best Late-Night Eats: The proliferation of sweet pizza joints makes this category almost impossible, but you can't go wrong at Big Mario's, a dive-y pie slinger in the heart of Pike/Pine, coincidentally the City's go-to nightlife corridor.
Best Sandwich: Yes, it's also a laid-back bar, an experimental kitchen, and a wine shop, but, at it's heart, Delicatus is an unparalleled sandwich slinger specializing in oven-roasted behemoths like the roast beef/horseradish aioli Reign Man.
Best Dish: In a city of constantly rotating seasonal menus, super-chef Tom Douglas is nice enough to keep his Plin, a Piedmontese-style ravioli filled w/ roast pork in a sage butter sauce, on the Palace Kitchen menu year-round
Best Italian: Maybe it's the surprisingly quiet residential location, maybe it's the evocative flavors of the seasonal Northern Italian menu, or maybe it's just the restaurant's sepia-toned lighting, but dinner at Cantinetta has an almost unreal quality. Don't miss it.
Best Chinese: Arranged in seven old-fashioned train cars, Orient Express would be awesome even if it weren't slinging legitimately tasty pan-Asian eats
Best Mexican: Possessed of one of the city's sweetest patios, as well as one of The Town's better bartender margarita's, cozy, brightly colored El Camino specializes in handmade South-of-the-Border classics with occasional nods to the Northwest via ingredients like wild king salmon
Best Burger: Places like Lil Woody's, Marjorie, and Uneeda Burger all do a great job, but Seattle's best burger might just be found at Bellevue's John Howie Steak, where a 60/40 prime chuck & Kurobuta bacon Juicy Lucy is stuffed w/ cheddar & jack, then topped w/ sweet onion jam mayo & crispy fried onions
Best Fine Dining: The finest of Seattle's relatively few fine dining destinations, Canlis is worth it for its unusual views alone, but it also brings it with an unbeatable version of Seattle's signature Dungeness crab cakes, and possibly the city's best steak
Most Romantic: Once you enter from an alley through an unmarked door, would you rather duck into a subterranean dining room where burlesque dancers swing above your head, or rise to a roof-top deck overlooking Pike Place Market and Elliot Bay? That choice is the first that will confront you at The Pink Door
Best for Partying: It might seem like just a boisterous after-work spot in burgeoning South Lake Union, but the spacious, brick-walled Re:public is also one of the city's sweetest restaurants, with a small line-up of can't-miss gastropub-style eats
Best for Work: Impress your boss/co-workers by picking a bottle of something red from RN74's giant mechanical menu board, then tuck into some Hudson Valley foie gras sliders and duck-fat-poached filets on the expense account
Weirdest Food: Sure, Maneki serves some of the best sushi around, but it's also the place to go for Asian oddities like octopus-stuffed donut holes
Best Wings: Well-worn sports hang The Attic is famous for being just steps away from the beach at Madison Park, and for its deep-fried wings w/ buffalo sauce topped with a smattering of sesame seeds/chives, and served with the classic -- blue cheese & celery sticks
Best Donuts: Local institution Daily Dozen Doughnuts may only make four varieties of its bite-size treats (plain cake, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, and chocolate frosting w/ sprinkles), but the super-thin crust formed by their extremely hot oil and the fact that they're always super-fresh more than makes up for it.
1. The Walrus and the Carpenter4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle
2. Big Mario's Pizza1009 E Pike St, Seattle
3. Delicatus103 1st Ave S, Seattle
4. Palace Kitchen2030 5th Ave, Seattle
5. Tanglewood Supreme3216 W Wheeler St, Seattle
6. Cantinetta3650 Wallingford Ave N, Seattle
7. Orient Express2963 4th Ave S, Seattle
8. El Camino607 N 35th St, Seattle
9. John Howie Steak11111 NE 8th St, Ste 125, Bellevue
10. Katsu Burger6538 4th Ave S, Seattle
11. Canlis2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle
12. The Pink Door1919 Post Alley, Seattle
13. Il Corvo217 James St, Seattle
14. re:public429 Westlake Ave N, Seattle
15. RN741433 4th Ave, Seattle
16. La Bete1802 Bellevue Ave, Seattle
17. Maneki304 6th Ave S, Seattle
18. The Attic Alehouse & Eatery4226 E Madison ST, Seattle
19. Local 3602234 1st Ave, Seattle
20. Matt's in the Market94 Pike St, Seattle
21. Daily Dozen Doughnuts93 Pike St, Seattle
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.
There aren't many places in Seattle where you can slug an Olde English 40 and bask in the glory of true New York-style pizza, but Big Mario's is one of them. Located in Capitol Hill, this is one of the best spots for quality, thin-crust pie. Hipsters flock to Mario's for its retro style and late-night deals.
Delicatus has plenty to offer -- including an experimental kitchen, a full bar and a vino shop -- but at the end of the day, they do sandwiches best. By using ingredients from the Northwest bought from local farms, they ensure that your food is as fresh as possible.
From renowned restaurateur Tom Douglas, Palace Kitchen is a casual Belltown spot bursting with flavor. You'll want to start off with the tangy goat cheese lavender fondue (wood grilled bread, apples, pears) before moving onto the famed Palace Royale burger, made with hand-ground Washington natural chuck, house-made Dijon aioli, thinly sliced white onion, dill pickles, and served on a Dahlia Bakery bun. Be sure to pair it with a drink from the extensive, wine, beer, and cocktail lists, and top it all off with an order of the plum cobbler. All of the ingredients here are as fresh as it gets -- some are even sourced from Douglas' own farm.
The only way you could get fresher seafood would be if you were on a boat in the Pacific. Tanglewood Supreme practices a “fisherman to table” philosophy that relies on only a handful of local anglers to snag premium ingredients and deliver them to your dinner plate.
An Italian restaurant with strong Tuscan roots, Cantinetta calls Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood home. And you will feel at home once you're dining on hand-made pasta and sipping on wine with origins the Alps of Northwestern Italy, within the restaurant's tastefully modest, wood-furnished abode.
Orient Express, located in Seattle's SODO neighborhood, is designed to resemble to the interior of overnight train cars. It's not often you are served gourmet Chinese food in an unmoving vehicle.
El Camino has been serving some of the best traditional Mexican food around for more than 15 years. Making regular trips across the border and sourcing ingredients from local, independent farms, its owners deliver a double roundhouse of flavor and freshness on a daily basis.
Grab lunch at John Howie Steak and let your taste buds score one of the best prime beef bacon cheeseburgers in the country. For dinner, this restaurant is the go-to for dry-aged steaks. Also try the foie gras with caramelized honeycrisp apples and, for dessert, the Grand Marnier crème brulee.
Japanese Katsu-style fried meats and the American-style hamburger unite to form Katsu Burger, a colorful counter-service joint. They have signature burgers like the Wabi Wasabi (grass-fed beef katsu, pepper jack, wasabi mayo, and tonkatsu sauce) and mega-burgers that practically require a strategy to eat, like the Mt. Fuji (beef, chicken, and pork patties, plus three types of cheese and bacon). If you have room, be sure to add a side of fries with nori (roasted seaweed flakes).
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.
Once you enter from an alley through an unmarked door, would you rather duck into a subterranean dining room where burlesque dancers swing above your head, or rise to a roof-top deck overlooking Pike Place Market and Elliot Bay? That choice is the first that will confront you at The Pink Door.
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.
It might seem like just a boisterous after-work spot in burgeoning South Lake Union, but the spacious, brick-walled Re:public is also one of the city's sweetest restaurants, with a small line-up of can't-miss gastropub-style eats.
Restaurateur Michael Mina reproduces a version of his San Franciso original in Downtown Seattle with RN74, bearing the same name as a highway in Burgundy. The French bistro menu has upscale international touches (seen in signatures like ahi tuna tartare, roasted foie gras, seared halibut, steak frites au poivre) that are enjoyed under a dramatic row of yellow and orange cylindrical lamps hanging form the high ceilings amid concrete pillars. Bottles of wine sourced from Burgundy, Washington and Oregon and their prices are listed on a series of throwback train ticker signs, with letters and numbers flipping to update with new arrivals. Pride is taken in the bar's version of the classic French 75 champagne cocktail (and a couple twists on it, served with lemon twists).
Opened in the old Chez Gaudy space by two gastro-whizzes who met working for Ethan Stowell, and go by superhero-ish nicknames like The Vapor (the former Licorous chef), and The Beastmaster (the former Lark sous), this 40-seater's serving up adventurous French-inspired eats.
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.
Well-worn sports hang The Attic is famous for being just steps away from the beach at Madison Park, and for its deep-fried wings w/ buffalo sauce topped with a smattering of sesame seeds/chives, and served with the classic -- blue cheese & celery sticks.
Local 360 sources most things from within 360mi of the city, and Matt's in the Market gets almost everything from the stalls in Pike Place Market downstairs.
You'll find this bar/restaurant hybrid inside Pike Place Market, where you can order seasonally changing dishes made with lots of local ingredients. It’s a bit of a labyrinthine path to find it, so you aren’t going to just stumble in unless you were looking for it, and they seem to like it just fine that way. Call ahead and get yourself a big table in front of the window so you can watch the sunset over Puget Sound.