NFT Seattle Restaurants


Seattle / Restaurants

It's safe to say that Seattle has comfortably settled into its Big Boy Britches when it comes to restaurants. We have nationally recognized (and respected) chefs, many of whom have cultivated their own empires. One could argue that our food scene has begun to outshine our music scene (sorry, Macklemore). We specialize in the casually upscale affair and, while not everyone succeeds with the business model, many of our restaurateurs manage to knock it out of the park. Tom Douglas (Dahlia Lounge (Map 1); Lola (Map 1); Serious Pie (Map 1, 2); Cuoco (Map 2); Palace Kitchen (Map 1); ad infinitum) is the Coen Brothers of chefs. Each of his restaurants is a complete departure from his other work, yet there's a pleasing familiarity to them. The ones that succeed are so good, you forget there were every any bad ones. Ruling at his side are Ethan Stowell (How to Cook a Wolf (Map 13); Tavolata (Map 1); Staple & Fancy (Map 23)), Maria Hines (Agrodolce (Map 24); Tilth (Map 24); Golden Beetle (Map 23)) and Matt Dillon (Sitka & Spruce (Map 4); Bar Sajor (Map 7); Bar Ferd'nand (Map 4)). Linda Derschang (Smith (Map 18); Oddfellows (Map 4); Bait Shop (Map 17)) stands apart with her hipster restaurant kingdom, but you'll get your best meal at Tallulah's (Map 18) with meat-accented vegetables for dinner and sophisticated toasts at brunch. There are also plenty of successful one-offs, like the farm-to-plate genius of Terra Plata (Map 4) and the cozy, inventive flavors of Belltown's Tilikum Place Cafe (Map 1). The national eco-friendly sustainable, free-range organic craze has long been a founding principle of Northwest cuisine, which relies on and reveres locally sourced ingredients. Flavor profiles range from New American (whatever that means) to Pan-Asian flair to rustic Italian to provincial French. But often, it's a pick n' mix of vivacious victuals. With all this awesome grub around, you might want to start biking to work.

Seafood
Because of Seattle's proximity to the Pacific, there's no wonder seafood seems to pop up on every menu in town. But selectivity is key. Ray's Boathouse (Map 28) is a venerable waterfront landmark that's been nailing it for decades, with a prime location and a slightly older crowd (including, yes, lots of tourists). Ivar's Salmon House (Map 25) is the classic place to take out of town guests because the only thing better than the chowder is the view. For a true taste of Pike Place, go straight to Matt's in the Market (Map 3). If you get a jonesing for lubrication by fish and chips, Spud on Alki (Map 35) is traditional, but Pike Street Fish Fry (Map 4) ups the ante with late-night hours, jars of homemade pickles, and fancy-schmancy sauces. The Walrus and the Carpenter (Map 23) has garnered many a devoted follower, not unlike the subjects of Lewis Carroll's famous poem. If you'd like to spite the locavore movement, RockCreek (Map 24) is in your corner, flying their offerings in from all around the world like aquatic, edible rock stars.

Seafood, Nippon-style
Hardcore pescatarians like their fish raw and there's no shortage of sushi restaurants to accommodate them. It's rumored that Trey Parker bought a condo in Belltown just so he could take sushi-eating mini vacations whenever he wanted. Purists swear by Nishino (Map 19), the eponymous establishment of Tatsu Nishino (a former disciple of famed Nobu Matuhisa). Put your meal in his skilled hands omakase-style for a spectacular experience. Kisaku (Map 31) is where the sushi chefs eat. In West Seattle, try the chef specials at Mashiko (Map 35). Chiso (Map 24) and Liberty (Map 18) take sushi for a spin in hip, modern settings, inventing new rolls that are, more often than not, very oishii indeed. The ID offers more traditional sushi experiences, particularly at Maneki (Map 8), Seattle's oldest sushi bar. The U District's Village Sushi (Map 26) gives a solid performance on the cheap, complete with an on-the-ball sake sommelier. For the newly initiated, Blue C Sushi (Map 24, 26) rolls out cheap and crowd-pleasing dishes on a gimmicky (though admittedly fun) conveyor belt system. They love experimenting with tempura batter, cream cheese, and vegetables, making it a great place to bring picky eaters and vegetarians alike. The proprietor of the eponymous Shiro's (Map 1) literally wrote the book on sushi (it's titled Shiro: Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer) and the dude knows his shoyu.

Classy Joints
Seattle is infamous for its constant state of casual dress. But you can still find establishments that request a bit more refinement from their diners. Sometimes, it feels good to step out of the yoga pants and into the lap of luxury. The Grande Dame is Canlis (Map 13), a Seattle fixture since 1950 with a view to die for, impeccable formal service (crumb brush, bro), and spectacular food. Canlis is the ultimate Treat Yo Self. At Art of the Table (Map 24), what started as a weekend supper club has grown into a hospitable and unforgettable celebration of all things edible. Miyabi 45th (Map 25) is a fine dining soba noodle house where you can feel comforted and pampered simultaneously. Palisade (Map 11) is breathtaking inside and out with the meals to match. Cascina Spinasse (Map 4) is extremely hyped Italian but it's all true, and worth the considerable money and effort required to eat there. La Medusa (Map 40) is the crown jewel of Columbia City. If you want an elegant meal but can't find a sitter, bring the kiddos and give them a taste of the high life. Le Pichet (Map 3) is all class without the cost and about as French as you can get without feeling like an asshole.

No Animals, Please
If your dietary preferences don't involve any fuzzy animals, or even their byproducts, we've got you covered. Seattle does meat-free so well, even the carnivorous have been known to relish the cruelty-free options. The cream of the crop is the fine dining at Plum Vegan Bistro (Map 4). Their creamy mac & yease could only be the result of a nefarious supernatural bargain. Cafe Flora (Map 19) is slightly less polished, but nonetheless a very pleasant place to take your veggie-skeptical great aunt for brunch (they also cater to the gluten-free crowd). The U District is an oasis for the penny-pinching vegan. Wayward Vegan Café (Map 31) (no relation to Roosevelt's vegan-friendly coffee shop) is run by semi-militants, but if you can get past the gruesome pamphlets, they will treat you to the best tofu scramble and biscuits n' gravy in the city. They also sell an array of mind-blowing pies by the slice or whole. The college crowd loves Araya's Vegetarian Place (Map 26), a tasty faux-meat Thai joint with an excellent lunch buffet and Asian-inspired breakfast pastries. Vegans needn't be deprived of the late-night joys of pizza: Pizza Pi (Map 32) has somehow cracked the dairy-free cheese code. The vegan donuts at Mighty-O (Map 31) rival anything on the Top Pot roster. Find them at their flagship store or in pastry cases around the city. For the comfort that only bar food provides, head to the gritty Georgetown Liquor Company (Map 39), where you can dig into flavor-packed meatless sandwiches and Super Nintendo, quite literally, on the wrong side of the tracks.

More Meat, Please
If you find yourself agreeing with Ted Nugent on food matters, Seattle has your back there too. If you aren't lucky enough to work downtown, it's worth a personal day to grab a glorious sandwich and stock up on Armando Batali's amazing pork products at Salumi (Map 7). West Seattle's The Swinery (Map 35) adds burgers and brunch to the shop-and-dine business model. Quinn's (Map 4) was at the forefront of the foie gras revival. To help you reach artery blockage bliss, order the double bacon deluxe at Red Mill Burgers (Map 11, 30). Rancho Bravo (Map 4, 25) makes the most delicious brain, tripe, or tongue tacos this side of the border (though if you're in mixed company, they have a terrific veggie menu too). Ezell's Famous Chicken (Map 5) is so good that Oprah literally has it flown from the Emerald City straight to her constantly fluctuating waistline. It doesn't really get any more Seattle than Damn the Weather (Map 7)--a gastropub housed inside a historical Pioneer Square building, where a former Fleet Fox serves cheeky cocktails alongside cured meats galore and fried pig skins for dessert. Ma'ono Fried Chicken & Whiskey (Map 35) offers just that, but with a Pacific Islands twist. Don't tell Ezell, but some say it's the best fried chicken in Seattle.

Palate Passport
Like most U.S. metropolitan cities, the cuisines of Mexico, Italy, Thailand, China, Vietnam, and Japan are well represented. However, the adventurous foodie can find plenty of other cultures from which to sample. At Vostok Dumpling House (Map 4), you'll feel like you're back in the USSR (minus the oppressive influence of Putin). Mamnoon (Map 4) will get you hooked on their Syrian and Lebanese flavors. Dress up and dine in or do takeaway to enjoy in your pajamas. For more casual (and exceedingly vegetarian friendly) Lebanese bites, stop by Cafe Munir (Map 23). People lost their shinola when Caribbean sandwich institution, Paseo (Map 24), closed unexpectedly. Some super fans took over and did a decent job copying the menu, but the flavors will never live up to the original. Fortunately, you don't have to settle, because the former owners took their celebrated recipes with them to their new joint,Un Bien (Map 29). In West Seattle, the Salvadorean Bakery (Map 37) specializes in fast food from waaaay south of the border. Save room for their decadent tres leches cake. Fans of Malaysian fare will be pleased as punch about Malay Satay Hut (Map 46). Cambodian food is all about the noodles at Phnom Penh (Map 8). Inside the dusty-pink, windowless walls of the mysteriousMarrakesh Moroccan Restaurant (Map 1), all the romance and intrigue of Morocco comes alive. There are numerous Ethiopian spots clustered around Seattle University, but two places stand well above the rest: Enat Ethiopian (Map 34) is widely considered the city's best but Cafe Selam (Map 5) has rightfully earned a legion of devotees including a disproportionate number of cabbies.

Cheap Eats
A high concentration of higher learning institutions means droves of intoxicated and hungry students prowling for food they can buy with their Coinstar winnings and leftover laundry change. Good thing there's an endless supply of local restaurants for the hard up, hungry, or hung over--with no unnecessary sacrifice in taste. At Aladdin Gyro-Cery (Map 26), soak up booze the British way with a lovely kebab or falafel. (Be leery of the inferior imposter Aladdin Falafel Corner, a couple blocks north.) Hill trolls swear by Hot Mama's Pizza (Map 4), where a gargantuan, foldable slice costs less than a bus ride. Even in Seattle, pizza proprietors endeavor to be the most New York-style, and Big Mario's (Map 4) makes a strong case. A native Neapolitan, the Vellotti family business gained notoriety in the Big Apple before bringing their bona fide pies westward. On the lighter side, Pho (pronounced "fuh") is one of the most mouthwatering meals you can get for a fiver. Seattleites couldn't face the winter without this eminently filling and fragrant Vietnamese noodle soup. Pho Cyclo (Map 17, 39) ladles out a most intriguingly flavored version, but the ubiquitous Than Brothers (Map 17, 23, 26, 30, 35) chain undercuts the rest and throws in a free cream puff with every bowl). For gourmet sandwiches on the cheap, pick up a Brown Box lunch from Le Fournil (Map 20), which includes an expertly brewed espresso and one of their amazing French pastries. If a late-night craving for the lovably limp burgers you downed as a kid proves unshakable, local staple, Dick's (Map 15, 17, 25, 33, 34), will sling you a paper sack full for not much more than your leftover change from that evening's bar-hopping.

Take Out
For a city averaging 140 days of rain each year, Seattle has woefully few food options. East Coasters are often appalled. Given the limitations, we usually just sigh and order a pizza. Pagliacci (Map 15, 17, 26, 35, 45) or Flying Squirrel (Map 31, 40) are your best bets there. If you want something else, you'll need to muster up enough energy to pick it up yourself. In the U District Thai Tom (Map 26) is usually packed, but you can always call in an order. The crack-like sauces at Taste of India (Map 31) will make you a regular. Kedai Makan's (Map 4) Malaysian street food is one of the best meat and carb based alcohol sponges in the city (and open till 2 am on weekends). However, Seattle isn't completely devoid of delivery. Some of Seattle's best Thai restaurants will provide dinner without the need for pants. A lot of Thai food is created equal, but Savatdee (Map 31), serving the U District and surrounding areas, is unmatched in its awesomeness and even has a special Laotian menu to expand your horizons. Judy Fu's Snappy Dragon (Map 34) will bring UD and Maple Leaf residents their divine dumplings and hand-shave noodles, but be prepared to wait as long as 90 minutes for your food (pick-up is faster). In the Bowl (Map 4) will also deliver its delectable vegetarian noodle bowls to those not willing to vie for one of their scant seats.

Food Trucks
Time was, some silly law made it prohibitive as hell to open a food truck in Seattle. Until 2011, sidewalk vendors could sell only hot dogs, popcorn and espresso unless they wanted to shell out a ton of cash and jump through some daunting hoops. But thanks to new regulations, our very own mobile food scene has emerged and now there are so many trucks (over 180) that someone had to make a website (www.seattlefoodtruck.com) to keep track of them all. We've got sweets, savories and every kind of taco and sandwich imaginable. Some of the more successful trucks have opened brick-and-mortar restaurants to keep up with the demand (Skillet, El Camion, Marination Mobile) while several popular and established restaurants (Plum, Ezell's, Top Pot) have taken to the streets to spread the love around. Other favorites include the life-changing fry bread tacos of Off the Rez (available for lunch or the perfect weekend drunk snack). 314 Pie bakes locally sourced ingredients into savory pies with cinnamon sugar "fries" (more pie crust!) for dessert. Where Ya At peddles authentic and lovingly made Cajun cuisine. My Sweet Lil Cakes takes chicken and waffles to the next level (it involves a stick and maple butter dipping sauce). There are two meat and two veggie options each day. Save room for more waffles for dessert.

Essential Mobile Food Trucks
BeanFish (Taiyaki) www.beanfish.net
Beloved Mexico (Mexican) www.belovedmexico.com
Bread and Circuses (Ecelectic/Gastropub) eatbreadandcircuses.com
Brown Bag Baguette (Vietnamese Sandwiches) brownbagbaguette.com
Caravan Crepes (Crepes) caravanseattle.com
Cheese Wizards (Sandwiches) wizardsofcheese.com
Cotigo (Mexican) www.contigoseattle.com
Dante's Inferno Hot Dogs (Hot Dogs) dantesinfernodogs.com
Ezell's Express (Fried Chicken) twitter.com/EzellsExpress1
Fez! (Mediterranean) twitter.com/fezonwheels
Fish Basket (Fish & Chips) www.fishbasketnw.com
Hallava Falafel (Mediterranean) www.hallavafalafel.com
Happy Grillmore (Sandwiches) www.happygrillmore.com
I Love My GFF (Gluten Free) www.ilovemygff.com
Jemil's Big Easy (Cajun) jemilsbigeasy.com
Marination Mobile (Hawaiian/Korean) www.marinationmobile.com
My Sweet Lil Cakes (Sweet and Savory Waffles) mysweetlilcakes.com
No Bones About It (Vegan) nobonestruck.com
Nosh (Eclectic) www.noshthetruck.com
Now Make Me a Sandwich (Sandwiches) www.nowmakemeasandwich.com
Off the Rez (Native American) www.offthereztruck.com
Outside the Box (Paleo) www.eat-otb.com
Papa Bois (Carribean) www.papaboisfood.com
Pinky's Kitchen (BBQ) www.pinkyskitchen.com
Plum Vegan Burgers + More (Vegan) www.plumbistro.com
Snout & Co (Cuban) www.snoutandco.com
Skillet (Seasonal) skilletstreetfood.com
Street Treats (Sweets) www.streettreatswa.com
Streetzeria (Pizza) www.streetzeria.com
Tat's Truck (Sandwiches) tatstruck.com
Where Ya At Matt (Cajun) www.whereyaatmatt.com
Xplosive Truck (Vietnamese/Filipino) www.xplosivemobilefoodtruck.com



On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter

Toronado
Do you love beer, but find yourself let down by the paltry 10-12 options you usually find at a bar? The California-originated Toronado has your back with 40 rotating taps and a giant LCD menu that's just begging for you to make a night of it. View the live beer board on their website so you're not so overwhelmed once you get there. They've got equally massive lists of bourbon, whiskey, scotch and tequila for the more spirited folks. Somehow, they also find time to maintain a farm-to-table menu full of decadent sandwiches and charcuterie plates. Or just get a plate of bacon for $10.



Posted By:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter

Sushi Kanpai
What's better than an awesome happy hour? How about a happy hour that lasts all weekend and features what is practically a dinner-sized menu at low prices? Order more traditional sushi rolls or YOLO with the Heart Attack (basically a Japanese jalapeno popper). Don't miss the tempura or the gyoza. The catch is a one-drink per person minimum, which means you can't share that Saki unless you get a beer back. It's a convenient spitting distance from Town Hall, so you get your buzz on and fill your belly before catching a reading by that author you heard on NPR. Of course, you can always order from their regular menu, where the food gets fancy but the prices stay reasonable. Kanpai!



Posted By:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter

Vittles Neighborhood Bistro & Bar
This up-and-coming bistro in Belltown is poised for stardom. The soft brown décor makes it ideal for dates and parents alike. The classed-up comfort food and thoughtfully crafted cocktails have something for everyone. For me, the star attraction is the generously portioned Crispy Green Beans with Broccoli, tempura breaded with a truffle aioli drizzle for dipping. Make a meal out of one or two apps or share the love. Also notable: Crab and Corn Beignets and the House Poutine, which uses a cheesy sauce in lieu of traditional toppings. For even heartier fare, venture into the surf and turf laden entrees. The service is just how I like it--attentively laid-back. Things get even cheaper at happy hour.



Posted By:  Karen Watson
Photo:  Karen Watson

Plaka Estiatorio
I'm down with any cuisine that promotes fried cheese as a basic food group. The Haloumi at Plaka Estiatorio is off the charts and there is a very good possibility it could even give you a spontaneous food orgasm. Yes, it is that good. Tucked away from the visiting hordes that dominate Ballard on the weekend, Plaka epitomizes a casual neighborhood joint. The savory aromas of lemon and garlic wafting from the open kitchen will lure you in better than any pied piper.



Posted By:  Karen Watson
Photo:  Karen Watson

Saffron Grill
I was skeptical about Saffron Grill because (a) it's in a building that looks like it used to be a TGI Fridays and (b) it's in the car park of a scary looking "business" hotel. But the old cliche really fits -- never judge a book by its cover. Owned by the same family that runs the U-District staple Cedars, I instantly recognized the coffee pots full of chai going round the room. That stuff is like milky delicious crack. The food isn't outstanding but it's definitely tasty and flavorful, especially if you're in need of a tikka after a hard day of shopping. And the cocktail list reads like a Webster's Dictionary of exotic tropical flavors. Jai Ho!

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NFT Top Picks:
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13 Coins
Aladdin Gyro-Cery
Araya's Vegetarian Place
Art of the Table
Assimba Ethiopian Cuisine
Bagel Oasis
Bar Sajor
Bento World
Beth's Café
Big Chickie
Blind Pig at Eastlake Teriyaki
Blind Pig Bistro
Boom Noodle
Bread and Circuses
Brown Bag Baguette
Café Flora
Cafe Racer
Cafe Selam
Caffe Lieto
Canlis
Caravan Crêpes
Cederberg Tea House
Chiang's Gourmet
China Harbor
Country Dough
Crumble & Flake Patisserie
Cuoco
Dahlia Lounge
Dick's Drive-In
Dick's Drive-In
Dick's Drive-In
Dilettante Mocha Cafe
Dilettante Mocha Café
Dilettante Mocha Café
Dragonfish
El Camion
El Camión Adentro
El Gaucho
El Sabroso
Elliott Bay Cafe
Ezell's Express
Ezell's Famous Chicken
Fainting Goat Gelato
Flying Squirrel Pizza Co
Flying Squirrel Pizza Co
Fogón Cocina Mexicana
Georgetown Liquor Company
Hello Robin
Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery
Hot Mama's Pizza
How Pickle Got Out of a Jam
How to Cook a Wolf
Jade Garden
Jemil's Big Easy
Kedai Makan
Kisaku
La Carta de Oaxaca
La Creperie Voila
La Fontana Siciliana
La Toscanella Bakery & Paninoteca
Le Fournil
Le Panier
Lola
Long Provincial Vietnamese Restaurant
Louie's Cuisine of China
Lumpia World
Madison Park Conservatory
Mamnoon
Marination Mobile
Matt's in the Market
Maximus Minimus
Mee Sum Pastry
Mighty-O Donuts
Miyabi 45th
mkt.
Morsel
My Sweet Lil Cakes
Nate's Wings and Waffles
Nell's Restaurant
No Bones About It
Off the Rez
Ohana
Pagliacci Pizza
Pagliacci Pizza
Pagliacci Pizza
Pagliacci Pizza
Pagliacci Pizza
Palace Kitchen
Papa Bois
Paseo
Pho Thân Brothers'
Pho Thân Brothers'
Pho Thân Brothers'
Picnic : A Food & Wine Boutique
Pie
Piroshki on 3rd
Piroshki on Madison
PlayDate SEA
Plum Vegan Bistro
Plum Vegan Burgers + More
Po Dog Hot Dogs
Portage Bay Cafe
Portage Bay Café
Rain Shadow Meats Squared
Rancho Bravo Tacos
Rancho Bravo Tacos
Red Mill Burgers
Red Mill Burgers
Restaurant Roux
Roxy's Diner
Salumi Artisan Cured Meats
Serious Pie
Serious Pie
Shaker and Spear
Shanghai Garden
Shiro's Sushi
Sitka & Spruce
Skillet
Slim's Last Chance
St. Dames
Staple & Fancy Mercantile
Tallulah's
Tamarind Tree
Taqueria la Pasadita #2
Taste of India
Tavolata
Terra Plata
The 5 Point Café
The Crumpet Shop
The Hurricane Café
The Kingfish Cafe
The London Plane
The Swinery
The Walrus and The Carpenter
Tilikum Place Café
Tilth
TNT Taqueria
Top Pot Doughnuts
Top Pot Doughnuts
Top Pot Doughnuts
Top Pot Doughnuts
Top Pot Doughnuts
Top Pot Doughnuts
Top Pot Doughnuts
Un Bien
Uwajimaya
Village Sushi
Vittles Neighborhood Bistro & Bar
Vostok Dumpling House
Wayward Vegan Café
Where Ya At Matt
Wild Ginger
Zeek's Pizza