Surrounded by the water and home to thick evergreen forests and snowcapped peaks, Seattle is as much known for its striking natural beauty as for its robust food scene. Thanks to its forward-thinking and sustainable ethos – plus influences from diverse cultures – foodies can expect creativity on every plate.
U.S. News used expert knowledge and dozens of restaurant, dining and travel industry review sites to determine the area’s top places to eat. Whether you’re looking to sample seafood along the famed waterfront, gorge on handmade pasta on a dinner date, or indulge in a sinfully glutinous pizza after a day on the trails, here are the best restaurants in Seattle.
(Austin Quach/Courtesy of Taku)
Headed by chef Shota Nakajima, a finalist in season 18 of “Top Chef,” Taku first opened its doors in March 2020. Its menu spotlights karaage (Japanese fried chicken), served in a few different forms. Savor the chicken on its own, as an accompaniment in a rice bowl or in a sandwich – drizzled in one of Taku’s signature sauces. Wash it all down with cocktails featuring flavors like plum wine and yuzu. Recent guests also particularly enjoyed pairing their meal with an order of the hot and addictively crispy furikake fries. Note that Taku is a 21-plus venue.
Dedicated to sourcing the freshest ingredients from local growers, this stylish eatery in Capitol Hill serves farm-to-table Mediterranean dishes with a menu that changes seasonally. Its covered rooftop garden is by far diners’ favorite spot to enjoy their meal, granting the ability to catch plenty of rays in the summer and stay cozy when it’s heated in the winter. Gorge on seafood paella and patatas bravas (crispy fried potatoes served with a red sauce), then end your dinner on a sweet note with an order of hot churros.
(Courtesy of Spinasse)
With rustic tables set up throughout its dimly lit space, this cozy trattoria is perfect for a romantic date night or special occasion. Helmed by chef Stuart Lane and serving northern Italian dishes from the Piedmont region, Spinasse focuses on buttery handmade egg yolk pasta, which diners continually rave about. Tuck into the Tajarin al Ragù, the signature dish featuring pork and beef ragu. This eatery features communal seating, a curated wine list and local ingredients.
Meet Korean BBQ
(Courtesy of Meet Korean BBQ)
Meet Korean BBQ aims to deliver the traditional Korean barbecue experience with a modern adaptation. Offering only the finest cuts of meat, the restaurant serves up prime Angus, American wagyu and kurobuta pork sourced from reputable ranchers and cooked on a sizzling grill by chefs at your table. These meats are accompanied by an array of sauces and served alongside a rotating selection of banchan, or side dishes, like kimchi to balance the flavors. For first-time visitors, recent diners recommend the signature feast as a way to sample a variety of the menu items and say the experience here is worth the cost.
Elliott’s Oyster House
Though situated along Seattle’s touristy waterfront, Elliott’s Oyster House has been winning over locals too since 1975. Its sustainable seafood dishes are served alongside scenic views of Puget Sound. And, as the restaurant name suggests, the main focus of Elliott’s Oyster House is the two dozen varieties of fresh oysters caught from the waters surrounding both Washington state and British Columbia. Previous guests recommend popping in for happy hour on the weekdays, when freshly shucked oysters are at times as little as $1.50 each.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
(Courtesy of Geoffrey Smith Photos)
It’s no surprise that The Walrus and the Carpenter was nominated as one of 2022’s finalists for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant. The fresh oysters offered at this Seattle institution have earned it plenty of praise. Chef and owner Renee Erickson serves up several varieties of Washington oysters at this beloved neighborhood spot, as well as a selection of small plates to share, such as shrimp toast and grilled sardines. The menu can change daily based on availability. Recent diners compliment the customer service and recommend the steak tartare to go along with the fresh oysters.
Die-hard sushi fans line up two hours before opening time for a chance to experience omakase at the counter at Sushi Kashiba, where the entire meal is left in the hands of the chef and is dependent on the day’s produce. But guests agree that even though the Chef’s Counter Omakase Experience doesn’t accept reservations, the meal is worth the wait. Others echo the sentiment that Sushi Kashiba still offers one of the most coveted omakase experiences in Seattle. Diners can also sample the Edomae-style sushi via the a la carte menu. The restaurant is headed by chef Shiro Kashiba, a three-time James Beard Award nominee for Outstanding Chef.
Through its fresh seafood dishes amid stunning views over idyllic Puget Sound and the snow-dusted Olympic Mountains, this Ballard restaurant celebrates the bountiful beauty that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Ray’s Boathouse, which began as a boat rental and bait shop, now focuses on fine dining. If you seek a romantic evening, diners recommend reserving a table for sunset. For a dish that’s hard to beat, guests enthuse about Ray’s Pacific Northwest sablefish paired with garlic fried brown rice and shiitake mushrooms. You can make a reservation to dine indoors on the first floor, while alfresco seating on the seasonal patio is provided on a walk-in basis. Upstairs, Ray’s Café is a more casual bar and eatery.
(Courtesy of Fremont Bowl)
This restaurant’s name is an ode to the many varieties of rice bowls it serves, whether you want short ribs, freshwater eel or crispy chicken cutlet atop a steaming bed of rice. But what foodies enjoy most here is the chirashi bowl, with generous portions of fresh tuna, salmon, freshwater eel, yellowtail and more. This casual counter-serve joint also dishes out poke bowls if that’s how you’d prefer to enjoy your seafood. Among other homestyle Japanese comforts are fried pork and veggie dumplings and miso soup.
This tortilleria – situated right next to the first-ever Starbucks at Pike Place Market – is aptly named. Maíz is the Spanish word for corn, an essential ingredient in Mexican cuisine, and this restaurant features quality nixtamal corn tortillas as a base for many of the street foods it serves. Gorge on a crunchy tostada or sink your teeth into a taco while sipping on a refreshing hibiscus-based jamaica drink. The guisados, or meat fillings, rotate daily. Recent patrons especially liked the tamales served in this small but cheery space, which is adorned with colorful tiles.
Phở Bắc Sup Shop
(Courtesy of Phở Bắc)
Though pho is aplenty in Seattle and a go-to comfort food, especially on those chilly winter days, Phở Bắc Sup Shop in the International District stands out for its consistently flavorful broth – the foundation of any satisfying bowl of pho. Steamy bowls of noodles are served alongside small plates like shrimp spring rolls and jumbo chicken wings. Diners note that the short rib pho is a must-try; they also suggest arriving just before the lunch and dinner rushes to snag one of the limited parking spots in the lot.
Café Campagne’s rustic wooden tables, French posters and sidewalk seating for alfresco dining will transport you to the streets of Paris. First welcoming diners in 1994, this laid-back French bistro on Post Alley is dedicated to serving classic Parisian fare, with menu items like boeuf bourguignon and duck confit salad. Savor the roast chicken or steak frites, and pair your meal with a pour from the extensive list that offers 30 wines by the glass, from Champagne to whites to reds. Travelers call Café Campagne cozy and the food delicious.
Tilikum Place Cafe
Housed in a historic building in Belltown, this European-style bistro oozes charm. Its lofty ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows invite plenty of natural light and offer views of the Space Needle. Guests especially recommend a visit for brunch, which is offered on the weekends. Among classic brunch dishes like eggs Benedict and quiche, don’t miss the visitor-favorite Dutch babies: pancakes baked in giant skillets. If you stop by for dinner, try the hand-cut pasta or the oysters.
Matt’s in the Market
(Courtesy of Matt’s in the Market)
The arched windows throughout this top-floor establishment invite diners to observe the action below at Pike Place Market and admire the scenic Puget Sound. Given its close proximity to the water, the menu items at Matt’s in the Market focus on fresh fish. Try the bestselling Fishwich over lunch for a meal that lingers with diners even after it’s finished: Slices of thick-cut bacon are served alongside halibut, drizzled with tartar sauce and sandwiched between a soft brioche bun. Dinnertime favorites include the seafood stew and seared scallops. Recent restaurantgoers praise the atmosphere at Matt’s in the Market and suggest sitting by the windows facing the market for the best experience.
(Courtesy of Marination)
The Hawaiian-Korean fusion concept started with a food truck and expanded with the support of loyal fans; Marination now enjoys three locations throughout the city. This laid-back downtown joint features bold flavors running the gamut from spicy to tangy to sweet in beloved grab-and-go classics like kalbi beef tacos, kimchi quesadillas and spam on kimchi fried rice. True to its name, Marination stands out for its soaked meats, and diners note that the flavors and hours of labor shine through in the dishes. For non-meat eaters, tofu taco options are available and just as saucy. Past guests say there’s usually a line at peak times, so you may want to head there before the lunch rush.
Staple & Fancy
Housed inside a historic brick building, the stylish space is furnished with wooden tables and accented by black seats and light fixtures for an industrial chic look. There are two ways to dine at this restaurant at the south end of Ballard Avenue – by ordering a la carte, or by indulging in the four-course tasting menu, which changes according to the day’s produce offerings. As noted by previous diners, the chef-curated tasting menu is a memorable way to sample a variety of dishes. To try the house-made pastas and cocktails for less, visit during the daily happy hour.
The Pink Door
The peachy pink door and touches of pink throughout this space are inspired by the tiles in the famous cathedral in Florence, Italy. Dining here can be an all-night affair, as the entertainment is as much of an experience as the food. Since it opened downtown in 1981, The Pink Door has been providing nightly entertainment in the form of live jazz, aerial performances, tarot readings and cabaret acts. The menu features fresh, farm-to-table dishes and Italian classics like spaghetti with meatballs and potato gnocchi. Other favorites among previous guests are the Lasagna Pink Door, whose layers of spinach pasta are topped with bubbling marinara sauce, and the squid ink pasta.
Bar del Corso
For perfectly charred pies, head to crowd-favorite Bar del Corso in Beacon Hill. Margherita pizza with buffalo mozzarella is a popular pick among its selection of Neapolitan-style pizzas. Start the meal with the grilled octopus or another small plate, and pair your dinner with a pour from its curated wine list. While walk-ins are welcome, previous guests note that this place is always crowded, so you’ll want to make a reservation to avoid waiting in line.
(Courtesy of mbar)
Situated in South Lake Union, this expansive 2,800-square-foot terrace on the 14th floor offers sweeping views over Seattle and stretches from downtown to the Olympic Mountain range. Guests especially love watching vibrant sunsets from this chic rooftop bar. While mbar focuses on expertly crafted cocktails, it also boast an extensive wine list with pours from France and Italy if you’re in the mood for wine. For something to munch on, sample Middle Eastern-inspired small plates like green chickpea hummus and green pea falafel. If you seek something more substantial, try the spiced lamb chops.
(Courtesy of Aerlume)
Aerlume enjoys a stunning location downtown on a hillside above Elliott Bay, and the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer uninterrupted views of Puget Sound toward West Seattle. Despite its open space, the place is made cozy by a 20-seat communal fire table, where diners are encouraged to enjoy their meal. Previous guests suggest starting with the Peruvian steak bites, followed by the ever-popular seared scallops and paired with one of the many wines that come mainly from Washington, Oregon and California.
(Courtesy of Canlis)
Reservations at this exclusive Queen Anne restaurant are hard to come by, and Canlis is often booked up months in advance. First opened in 1950, the fine dining destination is now run by brothers Mark and Brian Canlis, and serves a multicourse dining experience featuring Pacific Northwest favorites. Guests, often dressed to impress, get to choose three different courses for the multicourse menu, while the remainder of the meal (several other courses) is up to the restaurant. Bask in the delicious flavors of sablefish or strip loin while soaking in panoramic views of the rugged Cascades and Lake Union from the glass-enclosed dining room.