Seattle Travel Guide › Seattle Restaurants
Updated: September 19, 2022
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Where To Eat in Seattle – Tips, Tours, & Recommendations
- Best Food Tours in Seattle: Ultimate Food Experience with Local Guide • Pike Place Market Chef-Guided Food Tour
- The best restaurants in Pike Place Market are Matt’s in the Market, Place Pigalle, and Maximilien.
- My favorite neighborhood restaurants that I go to at least once a month: The Whale Wins • Issian • MKT • Union Saloon
- 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 and downtown view is at Westward.
- The best Chinese restaurant in Seattle is Din Tai Fung.
- Seattle’s best Mexican restaurant is La Carta de Oaxaca.
- Best bar food: Radiator Whiskey (Pike Place Market), Alibi Room (Pike Place Market), Union Saloon (Wallingford), and Russell’s (Fremont).
- 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 Kisaku, Sushi Kashiba, and Wataru.
- Seattle’s best Japanese restaurants are Maneki and Issian.
- Seattle’s best sandwiches are at Salumi and Paseo.
- Seattle’s best new restaurants are June Baby in Ravenna, Sawyer in Ballard, and Aerlume near Pike Place Market
- 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 Spinasse.
- Seattle’s best steaks are found at El Gaucho and Kokakku.
- The best seafood in Seattle is at Etta’s and Rock Creek.
- Seattle’s best burger is at Red Mill. The best burger in downtown Seattle is at Lil Woody’s.
- Seattle’s a laid-back place. Casual attire is suitable just about anywhere (except Canlis).
The 17 Best Restaurants in Seattle
1. Matt’s in the Market • Downtown • $$$
For a quintessentially Seattle dining experience, there’s no better restaurant than Matt’s, serving new American lunch and dinner in the heart of Pike Place Market. The lunch menu here is brief but outstanding – the catfish and pulled-pork sandwiches are two dependable favorites – and the dinner menu changes regularly, determined by what’s available from the market stalls below. With high timber-beamed ceilings and checkerboard floors, Matt’s feels light and airy during the day, and romantic after the sun goes down. Large demi-lune windows frame postcard-perfect views of the iconic market sign, Puget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains beyond. You won’t get a table at Matt’s without a reservation. Book well in advance and ask for a seat with a view.
94 Pike Street
5pm-7pm Happy Hour
Phone: (206) 467-7909
2. Aerlume • Downtown • $$$/$$$$
Excellent special-occasion dining with spectacular waterfront views. Aerlume features Northwest-sourced and inspired New American cuisine at its finest; pan-seared king salmon with corn pudding, buttermilk fried chicken with a superbly decadent ancient grain risotto, Oregon lamb chops with ramp gnocchi and grilled artichoke – all prepared to perfection and priced to match. (Lunch and happy hour menus feature lighter options for lighter wallets.) Aerlume sits on prime real estate near Pike Place Market, and floor-length windows showcase sweeping Elliott Bay views to the west. Guests facing the opposite direction will see an elegant indoor fireplace and the restaurant’s open kitchen. A creative cocktail list and daily happy hour (3-6pm) add to the appeal.
2003 Western Avenue
Sunday–Thursday 4-6pm Happy hour
Phone: (206) 539-2200
3. Café Campagne • Downtown • $$-$$$
A picture-perfect Parisian-style brasserie comfortably nestled into Post Alley in Pike Place Market, Café Campagne consistently delivers French classics, flawlessly prepared. Divine egg dishes like their velvety quiche, brioche French toast, and an impeccable croque madame have made this spot particularly popular for weekend brunch, while the legendary lamb burger, handcrafted charcuterie, steak frites, and roast trout regularly draw crowds at lunch and dinner. Snag a window seat or a table on the sidewalk terrace to enjoy the frenetic energy of the market, or leave the bustle behind – the simple and classic décor of Café Campagne’s large dining space provides a cozy respite and feels intimate, despite the crowds. Reservations are recommended, especially for weekend brunch.
1600 Post Alley
(Weekday breakfast is offered from 8am between Memorial Day and Labor Day.)
Phone: (206) 728-2233
4. Canlis • Westlake/Queen Anne • $$$$
Since 1950, this revered restaurant has been universally considered the apex of Seattle fine dining. The warm and polished midcentury interior with sweeping views of Lake Union, downtown Seattle, and the Cascade Mountains; the impeccable service, at the same time gracious and unpretentious; the unique and much-celebrated cuisine that chef Jason Franey calls “comfort geek” – modernist and molecular without being unapproachable: these superb elements combine to create evenings that guests consider more an experience than a meal. It’s special occasion, blow-your-paycheck dining, and you are expected to dress the part – this is the only restaurant in Seattle which requires a suit or sport coat for men. (Leave your Levis at home, there’s no denim allowed.) With nightly live piano music and plush décor, Canlis’ lounge area provides a luxurious spot to wait for your table or enjoy an expertly-crafted cocktail and snacks from the a la carte bar menu. Reservations in the dining room are a must, and should be booked well in advance; lounge seating is available for walk-in guests. Parking is valet only.
2576 Aurora Avenue N
Phone: (206) 283-3313
5. Cascina Spinasse • Capitol Hill • $$$
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
Phone: (206) 251-7673
6. Lecosho • Downtown • $$-$$$
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)
Phone: (206) 623-2101
7. The Pink Door • Downtown • $$-$$$
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
(Lounge open nightly until 1am)
Phone: (206) 443-3241
8. Place Pigalle • Downtown • $$$
Utterly charming French fine dining, tucked into a cozy corner of Pike Place Market. This is your quintessential intimate date night spot: candles on white table cloths, romantic waterfront views (call ahead and ask for a window table if you can), and wait staff that make you feel special. The cuisine is upscale French with a Northwest twist: heavy on seafood and local ingredients like mushrooms – and man is it good. From the best onion soup you’ve ever had to a killer pot-de-creme, every dish sings. Take note: like any true gem, this place can be hard to find – look for the sign just to the left of the Pike Place fish throwers, then exit out the back and head down the stairs.
81 Pike Street
Lunch: Monday-Sunday 11:30am-3pm
Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 5:30-9:30pm, Friday-Saturday 5:30-10pm
Phone: (206) 624-1756
9. Re:Public • South Lake Union • $$-$$$
Excellent and unassuming farm-to-table cuisine in the high-tech hub of South Lake Union. The upscale New American menu is meat-heavy, with standout dishes of steak frites, mussels, and pork tenderloin with gruyere grits, but vegetarian options are well-thought-out and well-prepared. Like most places in Seattle, Re:Public has a casual vibe; the concrete, wood, and brick interior is airy and sparsely-decorated, with black-painted wooden booths and a centerpiece bar. The cocktail menu excels at both classic and innovative quaffs, and their whiskey selection is huge. Rounding things out with a great late-night happy hour and weekend brunch, Re:Public is an all-around solid option for groups, dates, and solo dining.
429 Westlake Ave N
Lunch: 11am-2:30pm Monday-Friday
Dinner: 5-10pm Sunday-Thursday, 5-11pm Friday & Saturday
Brunch: 10am-2:30pm Sunday
Happy Hours: 4-6pm daily, 11pm-1am Friday & Saturday
Phone: (206) 467-5300
10. Serious Pie • Belltown • $$
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
Phone: (206) 838-7388
11. Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge • Queen Anne • $$$
A taste of the Big Easy in Seattle, Toulouse Petit will win the heart of any fan of Cajun cuisine and French Quarter-style excess. Their beignets, fried chicken gumbo, and shrimp and grits are on par with the best that New Orleans has to offer, and they’ll serve you a mean Sazerac at any time of day. The voluminous menu extends beyond New Orleans inspired fare, however, into impeccably prepared rustic European, Mediterranean, and steakhouse-style offerings. (It can be difficult to choose, so it’s good that Toulouse Petit’s two daily happy hours proffer a plethora of their most popular menu items for under $10 apiece – bring friends and share.) The décor here is fittingly rich and ornate – think velvet-clad booths, hand-cut tile floors, and inlaid-wood tables – and the vibrant atmosphere can get loud, especially after dark, when late night drink and food specials attract the young, local crowd. Reservations accepted (and recommended) for dinner.
601 Queen Anne Avenue N
Daily 9am-2am daily
Daily happy hours at 4pm-6pm and 10pm-2am
Phone: (206) 432-9069
12. Westward • Fremont/Wallingford • $$-$$$
Westward serves up seafood and Mediterranean/new American cuisine in a charming lakeside location on the north shore of Lake Union. The atmosphere inside is casual and cool, done up in a fresh and modern maritime theme. In good weather, however, the place to be is outside. Chilling lakeside on Adirondack chairs, or sipping champagne around the bonfire; the beachy atmosphere of Westward’s patio area is truly unique and delightful. (Boaters are welcome to use Westward’s dock or pull kayaks and paddleboards up onto the beach.) If a light or quick meal is in order, the oyster bar at attached Little Gull Grocery offers a generous selection of snacks, and their knowledgeable bartenders are happy to teach you everything you never knew you wanted to know about oysters. Reservations recommended.
2501 N Northlake Way
Dinner Sunday – Saturday: 4pm-10pm
Brunch Saturday/Sunday: 10am-3pm
Phone: (206) 552-8215
13. Mkt • Tangletown/Greenlake • $$-$$$
Big Italian flavors inside a teeny tiny storefront in north Seattle’s Tangletown neighborhood. Squeeze in and rub elbows with your neighbor as you enjoy an excellent menu made of inspired small plates, handmade pasta, and meaty mains. Dishes are meant to be shared; standouts include the Grilled Green Beans with Sea Salt and Lemon, Burrata, and literally any of the pasta dishes. (Green beans? Trust me.) Five bar seats overlook the busy open kitchen, and in summer the seating spills out onto the sidewalk out front. Lasagna is offered on Sundays and Mondays, alongside a $30/bottle wine special. Well-curated wine list, full bar, and creative signature cocktails – great early evening and late-night happy hour menus, too. Since Covid Mkt has added 4-covered outdoor tables but with only 28 indoor seats it fills up fast – reservations are essential on weekends. One block east is Leny’s Place, one of Seattle’s most iconic dive bars, if you’re looking to extend the evening.
2108 N 55th St
Phone: (206) 812-1580
14. The Walrus and the Carpenter • Ballard • $$$
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
Phone: (206) 395-9227
15. Coro by Salumi • Pioneer Square • $$
The best cured meats this side of Manhattan can be found at Coro Salumi in historic Pioneer Square. Locals simply call this spot “Salumi,” and know that time spent waiting in line here will be amply rewarded with mouth-watering, hand-cured Italian goodness. A variety of cold deli-style sandwiches and 3-4 hot sandwiches are offered (the meatball and porchetta are particular crowd favorites). This used to be a small, family-owned operation (and what a family: Armandino is Armandino Batali, Mario’s dad), taken over by 2 long-term fans of the store. Come early to avoid the long lines, or call before 10am with your sandwich order (cold sandwiches only) and skip the line altogether.
404 Occidental Ave South
Monday through Saturday, 11am-3pm. Closed on Sundays
Phone: (206) 621-8772
16. Joule • Fremont • $$-$$$
Awesome Korean fusion restaurant with a trendy vibe and great food. For me, the steaks are the highlight but there are a variety of must-try dishes, all best shared. Joule shares space with equally wonderful The Whale Wins (European food) and is an easy walk from several of Seattle best neighborhood bars like Russell’s, Bar Charlie, the Pacific Inn, and Union Saloon.
3506 Stone Way N
Wednesday through Sunday 10am-8pm.
Phone: (206) 632-5685
17. San Fermo • Ballard • $$
Traditional Italian food in the heart of charming Ballard. Paired with a show at the Tractor Tavern or some of Seattle’s best breweries, San Fermo is perfectly situated to wander one of the city’s favorite neighborhoods.
5341 Ballard Ave NW
Phone: (206) 342-1530
Going to Seattle with a group of 8. Want to make dinner reservations at a nice place but also one that has some significance to the city. Preferably with a good view or cool vibe for a group dinner. Any suggestions out of the above, or any others?
Ps. Used your guide last summer when island hopping in Greece and everything was awesome!
Black Bottle in Belltown is awesome. Should really be on my list as it’s absolutely delicious and has a great vibe. Dishes are designed to be shared and arrive at your table slowly and intermittently (not all together). One of the few restaurants in Seattle that is adults only.
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.
I’ve heard great things and have been meaning to stop in.
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 favorites and lesser-known venues that I love to death, and it’s good to see a shout-out to them.
I love the 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.
Seattle is lucky to have such an amazing and diverse dining scene.
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?
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. 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.
Is Shiro owned by the Shiro from the movie “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”?
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.
If you’re interested in sampling some of Shiro’s omakase, though, you’re not out of luck. He recently opened 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.
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?
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.