The Best Restaurants in Seattle

Updated: December 6, 2017

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The best places to eat in Seattle

Seattle Restaurants – Tips and Recommendations

  • Seattle’s a laid-back place. Casual attire is suitable just about anywhere (except Canlis).
  • Most of the best restaurants in Seattle take reservations, so call ahead if there’s a spot you really want to to try.
  • Seattle’s best brunch is at Toulouse Petit and Portage Bay Cafe.
  • The best restaurant for a fancy splurge is Canlis.
  • Seattle’s best restaurant patio can be found at Westward.
  • The best Chinese restaurant in Seattle is Din Tai Fung.
  • Seattle’s best Mexican restaurant is La Carta de Oaxaca.
  • The best vegetarian restaurant in Seattle is Café Flora.
  • The best spots for dinner and a show in Seattle are The Pink Door and Teatro Zinzani.
  • Seattle’s best sushi is at Sushi Kashiba and Wataru.
  • Seattle’s best Japanese restaurant is Maneki.
  • Seattle’s best sandwiches are at Salumi and Paseo.
  • The best restaurant in Pike Place Market is Matt’s.
  • The best bakery in Seattle is Macrina. Their Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter might be the best cookie on the planet.
  • Seattle’s best restaurants on the water are Elliot’s Oyster House and Ray’s Boathouse.
  • The best pasta in Seattle is at Il Corvo (weekday lunch only) and Spinasse.
  • Seattle’s best steakhouse is El Gaucho.
  • Seattle’s best late night eateries are Green Leaf and Ba Bar.
  • The best seafood in Seattle is at Etta’s and Rock Creek.
  • Seattle’s best burger is at Red Mill. The best in downtown is at Lil Woody’s.
  • The best dessert in Seattle, hands down, is the coconut cream pie at Dahlia Bakery. (But all Tom Douglas restaurants have it – if it’s not on the menu, just ask.)

The 18 Best Restaurants in Seattle

  1. Armandino’s Salumi • Pioneer Square • $$

    Best Places to Eat in Seattle

    The best cured meats this side of Manhattan can be found at Armandino’s Salumi in historic Pioneer Square. Locals simply call this spot “Salumi,” and know that time spent waiting in line here will be amply rewarded with mouth-watering, hand-cured Italian goodness. A variety of cold deli-style sandwiches and 3-4 hot sandwiches are offered (the meatball and porchetta being particular crowd favorites). This is a small, family owned operation (and what a family: Armandino is Armandino Batali, Mario’s dad), so hours are abbreviated: it’s open exclusively for weekday lunch, and Mondays are take-out only. Come early to avoid the long lines, or call before 10am with your sandwich order (cold sandwiches only) and skip the line altogether.

    309 3rd Avenue S
    Monday 11am-1:30pm (take out only)
    Tuesday–Friday 11am-3:30pm
    Phone: (206) 621-8772
    Reviews

  2. Café Campagne • Downtown • $$-$$$

    Best French Places to Eat in Seattle

    A picture perfect Parisian-style brasserie comfortably nestled into Post Alley in Pike Place Market, Café Campagne consistently delivers French classics, flawlessly prepared. Divine egg dishes like their velvety quiche, brioche French toast, and an impeccable croque madame have made this spot particularly popular for weekend brunch, while the legendary lamb burger, handcrafted charcuterie, steak frites, and roast trout regularly draw crowds at lunch and dinner. Snag a window seat or a table on the sidewalk terrace to enjoy the frenetic energy of the market, or leave the bustle behind – the simple and classic décor of Café Campagne’s large dining space provides a cozy respite and feels intimate, despite the crowds. Reservations are recommended, especially for weekend brunch.

    1600 Post Alley
    11am-10pm Monday-Thursday
    11am-11pm Friday
    8am-11pm Saturday
    8am-10pm Sunday
    (Weekday breakfast is offered from 8am between Memorial Day and Labor Day.)
    Phone: (206) 728-2233
    Reviews

  3. Canlis • Westlake • $$$$

    Best Fancy Places to Eat in Seattle

    Since 1950, this revered restaurant has been universally considered the apex of Seattle fine dining. The warm and polished midcentury interior with sweeping views of Lake Union, downtown Seattle, and the Cascade Mountains; the impeccable service, at the same time gracious and unpretentious; the unique and much-celebrated cuisine that chef Jason Franey calls “comfort geek” – modernist and molecular without being unapproachable: these superb elements combine to create evenings that guests consider more an experience than a meal. It’s special occasion, blow-your-paycheck dining, and you are expected to dress the part – this is the only restaurant in Seattle which requires a suit or sport coat for men. (Leave your Levis at home, there’s no denim allowed.) With nightly live piano music and plush décor, Canlis’ lounge area provides a luxurious spot to wait for your table or enjoy an expertly-crafted cocktail and snacks from the a la carte bar menu. Reservations in the dining room are a must, and should be booked well in advance; lounge seating is available for walk-in guests. Parking is valet only.

    2576 Aurora Avenue N
    Monday-Saturday 5:30pm-10:00pm
    Closed Sundays
    Phone: (206) 283-3313
    Reviews

  4. Cascina Spinasse • Capitol Hill • $$$

    Best Hip Places to Eat in Seattle

    Cascina Spinasse is the place to go for classic Northern Italian cuisine in Seattle. This rustic-casual trattoria serves authentic Piedmontese dinner fare, crafted from local and seasonal ingredients. The menu here is small – a handful each of antipasti, primi, and secondi plates – but every dish is pitch-perfect. The braised rabbit and salt cod bruschetta is rave-worthy, and the pasta has been called “transformative.” (Particularly the finely-cut tajarin, whether ordered enveloped in a rich ragu or divinely dressed in butter and sage.) Those in the mood for a real treat would do well to arrive with an empty stomach and a full wallet: Cascina Spinasse’s Menu Degustazione allows you to try it all – each antipasti, primi, and secondi on the menu for $100 a person. Book table reservations well in advance; bar seating is reserved for walk-in guests.

    1531 14th Avenue
    Sunday–Thursday: 5-10pm
    Friday/Saturday: 5-11pm
    Phone: (206) 251-7673
    Reviews

  5. Cycene • Downtown • $$

    The best southern food in downtown Seattle

    This humble kitchen on the eastern edge of Pike Place Market serves up Southern-style comfort food that’s rich, satisfying, and worth writing home about. Cycene has a limited menu, offering a handful each of grilled sandwiches and grits, plus a couple of sides and dessert choices. Bottled beers, sodas (including Mexican Coke), and juice wash it down. The pimento grilled cheese sandwich with sweet peppers and olives is mouth-watering, served on a bed of crispy, salty home fries. Their grits are unfathomably luscious and cheesy – those topped with sweet corn and a perfectly vinegary North Carolina-style pulled pork are my personal favorite. Cycene is only open for breakfast and lunch, and the menu is the same for both. In contrast to the richness of the food, decor here is spare, with gallon-sized mason jars of spices lining the shelves, and honkey-tonk blues on the stereo.

    1523 1st Avenue
    Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 7am-3pm
    Saturday, Sunday 8am-3pm
    Closed Wednesdays
    Phone: (206) 617-6838
    Reviews

  6. Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant • Belltown • $

    Best Places to Eat in Seattle

    A local favorite for authentic and exquisite Vietnamese cuisine, Green Leaf boasts generous portion sizes, exciting flavors, and bargain basement prices. This jewel of a restaurant takes some digging to find – its subterranean location is marked only by an unassuming green sign – but is well worth the trip. Fresh and vibrant soups, salads, noodle, and rice dishes abound in Green Leaf’s comprehensive menu, with many vegetarian options and too many standouts to count. Casual and friendly, Green Leaf’s grand-sized dining area is made intimate by carved wooden furniture and Vietnamese décor. The cozy and comfortable lounge area is the perfect spot for sipping a specialty cocktail from Green Leaf’s extensive drink menu. Perhaps best of all, this hidden gem is open until 2am nightly, making it the perfect spot for a late night bite.

    2800 1st Avenue
    Daily 11am-2am
    Phone: (206) 448-3318
    Reviews

  7. Il Corvo • Pioneer Square • $$

    Best pasta in Belltown

    The line is long and the menu is short at this hectic hole-in-the-wall pasta shop in Pioneer Square: just three fresh-made pastas daily (a standout pappardelle bolognese and a vegetarian option are always available) and a handful of antipasti. That’s enough to have earned chef Mike Easton a James Beard Award nom in 2016, though, as well as the intense loyalty of local pasta aficionados. The atmosphere here is casual, friendly, and chaotic; the queue cuts through the middle of the dining room and tables are in high demand – there’s no lingering over a glass of wine and a good conversation without incurring the wrath of those standing in wait. Il Corvo is only open during weekday lunch hours; get there before opening to avoid lines of an hour or more. If you can’t get there early, rest assured that it’s worth the wait.

    217 James Street
    Monday-Friday 11am-3pm
    Phone: (206) 538-0999
    Reviews

  8. Lecosho • Downtown • $$-$$$

    Great restaurant near Pike Place Market.

    In the heart of downtown, but tucked into a quiet corner of the Harbor Steps pedestrian corridor, Lecosho features seasonal American cuisine in a graceful atmosphere. The menu here is fairly meat-heavy (the pork chop and homemade sausage are best bets), though there’s always something delicious like artichoke ricotta ravioli to satisfy any vegetarians in the bunch. The restaurant’s dark wood decor feels cozy in the rainy months, and there’s a generous patio and large windows that open wide to balmy summer air – Lecosho’s Harbor Steps location allows guests to enjoy alfresco dining downtown without the street noise. Choose an entree or small plates to share for dinner, sandwiches during weekday lunch, or stop by after going out – an abbreviated late night menu is available ’til 1am every day.
    89 University Street (The Harbor Steps)
    Monday-Friday 11am-1am
    Saturday-Sunday 3pm-1am
    Phone: (206 623-2101
    Reviews

  9. Matt’s in the Market • Downtown • $$$

    Best Places to Eat in Pike Place

    For a quintessentially Seattle dining experience, one can do no better than Matt’s, serving new American lunch and dinner in the heart of Pike Place Market. The lunch menu here is brief but outstanding – the catfish and pulled-pork sandwiches are two dependable favorites – and the dinner menu changes regularly, determined by what’s available from the market stalls below. With high timber-beamed ceilings and checkerboard floors, Matt’s feels light and airy during the day, and romantic after the sun goes down. Large demi-lune windows frame postcard-perfect views of the iconic market sign, Puget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains beyond. You won’t get a table at Matt’s without a reservation. Book well in advance and ask for a seat with a view.

    94 Pike Street
    Monday-Saturday
    11:30am-2:30pm Lunch
    5:30pm-10:00pm Dinner
    5pm-7pm Happy Hour
    Phone: (206) 467-7909
    Reviews

  10. The Pink Door • Downtown • $$-$$$

    Best Italian Places to Eat in Seattle

    Equal parts enchanting, delicious, and entertaining, The Pink Door is an Italian food lover’s dream. Inside this unassuming gray building near Pike Place Market lies a whimsically romantic trattoria that serves up delicious Italian standards with a view. Perfect for lunch and dinner al fresco, the charming dining deck overlooks Elliot Bay; and inside is all about entertainment. Jazz musicians, tarot-card readers, and magicians that perform nightly within the high-ceilinged dining room, with trapeze artists appearing on Sunday and Monday evenings. On Saturday nights, head back after dinner into the lounge area to enjoy The Pink Door’s weekly late night cabaret/burlesque show (separate cover charge). All this razzle-dazzle is grounded by a deliciously simple, seasonal menu of homestyle Italian favorites that manage to hit all the right notes. Reservations recommended – but note that online reservations are for deck seating only, call to reserve a spot in the dining room.

    1919 Post Alley
    Monday–Thursday 11:30am-11:30pm
    Friday/Saturday 11:30am-1:00am
    Sunday 4pm-10pm
    (Lounge open nightly until 1am)
    Phone: (206) 443-3241
    Reviews

  11. Place Pigalle • Downtown • $$$

    romantic restaurant in Seattle

    Utterly charming French fine dining, tucked into a cozy corner of Pike Place Market. This is your quintessential intimate date night spot: candles on white table cloths, romantic waterfront views (call ahead and ask for a window table if you can), and wait staff that make you feel special. The cuisine is upscale French with a Northwest twist: heavy on seafood and local ingredients like mushrooms – and man is it good. From the best onion soup you’ve ever had to a killer pot-de-creme, every dish sings. Take note: like any true gem, this place can be hard to find – look for the sign just to the left of the Pike Place fish throwers, then exit out the back and head down the stairs.

    81 Pike Street
    Lunch: Monday-Sunday 11:30am-3pm
    Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 5:30-9:30pm, Friday-Saturday 5:30-10pm
    Phone: (206) 624-1756
    Reviews

  12. Serious Pie • Belltown • $$
    Best Pizza to Eat in Seattle

    There’s pizza, and then there’s Serious Pie – thin and amazingly crispy-crusted, and created by iconic Seattle chef, Tom Douglas. Serious Pie’s pizzas are baked in an apple wood-fired oven and crafted using fresh, local ingredients, house-cured meats, and innovative toppings such as smoked duck and Penn Cove clams. The atmosphere is cozy and boisterous, with most of the seating at communal tables. Large parties can call ahead and reserve the “Kitchen Table,” which is exactly what it sounds like (it’s where they shape their dough), and enjoy full menu access and a truly behind-the-scenes experience.

    316 Virginia Street
    Daily 11am-11pm
    Phone: (206) 838-7388
    Reviews

  13. Shiro’s Sushi • Belltown • $$$
    Best Sushi Places to Eat in Seattle

    For over 20 years, Shiro’s has been considered the gold standard of Seattle Sushi restaurants. Highly-trained chefs craft their sushi in the edomae method, traditional to Tokyo. This unique blend of Eastern tradition and ultra-fresh Northwest seafood will impress both sushi connoisseurs and novices alike. Don’t expect any flashy décor – expertly-prepared food shines within the simplicity of this small and casual space. Seats at the sushi bar are hard to come by, and the only way to order the open-ended chef’s-choice omakase – customers line up before opening to snag these coveted seats. If waiting in line isn’t for you, two omakase tasting menus are available with table reservations, or order the black cod; a stand-out that’s been featured in the New York Times.

    2401 2nd Avenue
    Daily 5:30-10:30pm
    Phone: (206) 443-9844
    Reviews

  14. Steelhead Diner • Downtown • $$-$$$

    Best Places to Eat in Pike Place Market

    Perched above Pike Place, with a view of the Market and Puget Sound, Steelhead Diner offers contemporary comfort food with a Pacific Northwest twist. The atmosphere here is family friendly and casual, serving up thoughtfully upscale renditions of the classics we all know and love. Modern seafood standards like beer battered fish & chips, cioppino, and crab and shrimp tater tots are standouts in Steelhead’s menu, which also includes signature soups, salads, and sandwiches, as well as more sophisticated options like grilled whole trout and coffee-crusted New York Steak. Their commitment to local and sustainably-sourced ingredients means that even the soda hails from nearby. Reservations recommended for dinner and large lunch groups.

    95 Pine Street
    Daily 11am-10pm
    Phone: (206) 625-0129
    Reviews

  15. Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge • Queen Anne • $$$

    Best Places to Eat in Seattle

    A taste of the Big Easy in Seattle, Toulouse Petit will win the heart of any fan of Cajun cuisine and French Quarter-style excess. Their beignets, fried chicken gumbo, and shrimp and grits are on par with the best that New Orleans has to offer, and they’ll serve you a mean Sazerac at any time of day. The voluminous menu extends beyond New Orleans inspired fare, however, into impeccably-prepared rustic European, Mediterranean, and steakhouse-style offerings. (It can be difficult to choose, so it’s good that Toulouse Petit’s two daily happy hours proffer a plethora of their most popular menu items for under $10 apiece – bring friends and share.) The décor here is fittingly rich and ornate – think velvet-clad booths, hand-cut tile floors, and inlaid-wood tables – and the vibrant atmosphere can get loud, especially after dark, when late night drink and food specials attract the young, local crowd. Reservations accepted (and recommended) for dinner.

    601 Queen Anne Avenue N
    Daily 9am-2am daily
    Daily happy hours at 4pm-6pm and 10pm-2am
    Phone: (206) 432-9069
    Reviews

  16. Trove • Capitol Hill • $$-$$$

    Best Places to Eat in Seattle

    Capitol Hill’s Trove is four restaurants in one – each featuring the big, bold flavors of chef Rachel Yang’s inventive take on modern Korean cuisine. Noodle offers quick and casual counter service and a front row view of the chefs preparing a handful of knock-out seasonal dishes (the Rice Cake with Lamb Curry was named one of Bon Appetit’s five best pasta dishes of 2015). At Trove’s intimate and enclosed Bar, enjoy food service from the noodle bar, as well as custom cocktails, six local beers on tap, and a variety of international beers, wines, and sake. The largest (and most fun) jewel in Trove’s crown is the BBQ; diners sear their own expertly-marinated beef, pork, and prawn platters on built-in tabletop grills within this vibrant and club-like Korean-style barbecue. Sides and starters are top-notch and perfect for sharing – come with a group and order a variety. Guests preferring a less hands-on experience can sit at one of the many non-grill tables and leave the cooking to the chefs, or pick a perch at the bar and watch the show in the open kitchen. Desserts are from Parfait, Trove’s street-side “ice cream truck” window – a rotating menu of multilayered custard creations, based on traditional Korean desserts and served in individual mason jars. Reservations are taken for parties of four or more in BBQ, and recommended for weekend night dining.

    500 E Pike Street
    Noodle: 12pm-11pm daily
    Bar: 4-11pm daily
    BBQ: Sunday-Thursday 5-10pm, Friday and Saturday 5-11pm
    Parfait: 12-11pm daily
    Phone: (206) 457-4622
    Reviews

  17. Westward • Fremont/Wallingford • $$-$$$
    Best Places to Eat in Fremont

    Westward serves up seafood and Mediterranean/new American cuisine in a charming lakeside location on the north shore of Lake Union. The atmosphere inside is casual and cool, done up in a fresh and modern maritime theme. In good weather, however, the place to be is outside. Chilling lakeside on Adirondack chairs, or sipping champagne around the bonfire; the beachy atmosphere of Westward’s patio area is truly unique and delightful. (Boaters are welcome to use Westward’s dock or pull kayaks and paddle boards up onto the beach.) If a light or quick meal is in order, the oyster bar at attached Little Gull Grocery offers a generous selection of snacks, and their knowledgeable bartenders are happy to teach you everything you never knew you wanted to know about oysters. Reservations recommended.

    2501 N Northlake Way
    Dinner Sunday – Saturday: 4pm-10pm
    Brunch Saturday/Sunday: 10am-3pm
    Phone: (206) 552-8215
    Reviews

  18. The Walrus and the Carpenter • Ballard • $$$

    Best Places to Eat in Ballard

    The small menu and small plates at this humble Ballard oyster bar have garnered huge amounts of national praise – Bon Appetit has called The Walrus and the Carpenter one of the 20 most important restaurants in America. Only the freshest local oysters are served here, along with regional clams and mussels, house smoked fish, specialty meats (including a killer steak tartare), and fresh vegetable sides prepared to perfection. Amid the accolades, The Walrus and the Carpenter has retained the friendly feel and casual charm of an old neighborhood fishing pub; expect to rub elbows with your neighbors within this bustling and light-filled space – the dining room seats around 40, and it’s always chock-full. This popular spot is walk-in only, so line up before opening or be prepared for a wait.

    4743 Ballard Avenue NW
    Daily 4-10pm
    Phone: (206) 395-9227
    Reviews

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10 Questions and Comments

  1. The Butcher's Table – best new steakhouse in Seattle?

    I would love for you to come into The Butcher’s Table. We have been open a year and while Gaucho is very good at what they do….many do it. I guarantee that if you come in and dine with us, you will change your choice for Seattle’s best steak house.

    Carolyn

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I’ve heard great things and have been meaning to stop in.

  2. Great list!

    This is a genuinely good list. I am, honestly, pretty sick of all the top ten lists with the same names being repeated over and over. But this one mentions my favorite and lesser known venues like Steelhead Diner and Trove. I love these two restaurants to death, and it’s good to see a shout-out to them.
    I love this kind of quiet moderately priced restaurant that treats its clients with casual-like respect. No expensive wine-dine stiffness, no cheap grunge. Very clean and comfortable experience in both places.

    Kim W.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Steelhead Diner is a gem of a sit-down experience to have in Pike Place Market, and Trove is so delicious and unique. Seattle is lucky to have such an amazing and diverse dining scene.

  3. How to Dress for Dinner in Seattle

    Hi there,

    Great website! My boyfriend and I will be in Seattle next week. We have reservations at The Pink Door in Pike’s Market for our anniversary dinner, and I’m wondering what I should pack to wear. It seems like a bit of a fancy place, but I know that Seattle has a reputation for casual dress. I just don’t want to stick out either way. Help?

    Thanks,

    Lauren

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      You’re right that Seattle has a reputation for casual dress, and that reputation is well-deserved. A nicer pair of jeans, dressed up with a fashionable top are acceptable just about everywhere – in fact, I can think of only one restaurant in town where this is not the case. (That would be Canlis, Seattle’s creme de la creme of fine dining, where there’s a dress code.) That said, the lovely and elegant Pink Door is one of our better restaurants; if you would like to fancy up a bit more, no one will look askance at you. Pack and wear what you’re comfortable in, and expect to see a range of dress – in Seattle, fine dining is much more about food than it is about fashion.

  4. Shiro's Ownership

    Is Shiro owned by the Shiro from the movie “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”?

    Mike

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Shiro Kashiba trained as a sushi chef in Tokyo in the 1960’s with Jiro Ono, the featured chef in “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” He opened Shiro’s, his legendary Belltown sushi joint, in 1994, and remained as head chef there until passing the restaurant on to new ownership in 2014.

      If you’re interested in sampling some of Shiro’s omakase, though, you’re not out of luck. He recently opened up a new sushi restaurant in Pike Place Market, Sushi Kashiba. The vibe there is chic-er and sleeker than Shiro’s in Belltown, and your Shiro-made sushi comes paired with killer views of Pike Place Market and Puget Sound. Do be aware that the famous chef and the great location will cost you – Kashiba is among the most expensive sushi spots in town.

  5. Seattle Restaurant Good for Large Groups

    I’ll be in Seattle for a large family event, and while we’ll probably all be doing our own things during most of our free time, we’d like to have one nice restaurant meal together. $$-$$$, with room to accommodate a group of 15-20. We’ll have some older diners who are more set in their ways, so nothing too experimental/weird. Suggestions?

    Lynda

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Orfeo is a great restaurant with private/semi private dining areas for groups, and has a fantastic and eclectic menu that appeals to a wide variety of tastes: think standards, but thoughtfully and perfectly prepared. Entrees run from $15-$35.

      Many Tom Douglas restaurants are great at accommodating groups. Dahlia Lounge is the best and swankiest – but it’s also the most expensive (with entrees running $30-$40) and has the smallest menu. For a larger group with differing tastes, Palace Kitchen (entrees $20-$30) is a good choice. It’s got a low-lit, warm vibe, a well-rounded menu, and a private dining room. Tom Douglas’ amazing pizza restaurant, Serious Pie, offers large groups the unique opportunity to dine at the large communal “Family Table” in the restaurant kitchen – if this option isn’t too “out there” to appeal to your older relatives, this is what I’d choose.

      Another great option is Purple Cafe and Wine Bar. They offer a good range of delicious menu options (entrees $20-$40), and have a kids’ menu for any little folks you might have along. The atmosphere is fun and chatty, and the space is beautiful. The one caveat is that the room might be a bit loud for your older guests. If Purple’s your choice, I’d be sure to request a quieter spot when you call to reserve.

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