The Complete List of Top Restaurants in Seattle

From bakeries to bistros to fine dining, our neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to the best eateries
Allison Austin Scheff  |   November 2013   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
A warm bowl of goodness from Kukai in Bellevue


Beacon Hill
Bar Del Corso With a wood-fired pizza oven imported from Naples and chef Jerry Corso at the helm, it’s no wonder this is the restaurant everyone’s in line for. A lush tomato sauce anchors the city’s best pizza margherita, but the sides—hunks of incredible roasted pork over beans, and oh, those tender meatballs—are excellent across the board. Dinner Tue.–Sat. 3057 Beacon Ave. S; 206.395.2069; bardelcorso.com


Travelers Thali House

All those who complain about the lack of Indian food in Seattle should head to Travelers, where the thali plates, samosas, pakoras and curries are outstanding. Lunch and dinner Wed.–Sun. 2524 Beacon Ave. S; 206.329.6260; travelersthalihouse.com

Belltown

Boat Street Cafe & Kitchen

Hidden under the entrance of the Northwest Work Lofts building is this gorgeous surprise, where expert preparations of rustic French dishes—a tarragon-roasted chicken half, sublime double-cut pork chops with pickled raisins and kale gratin—headline candlelit dinners. The Boat Street Kitchen next door—with its lovely courtyard garden and menu of tarts, Benedicts and cornmeal custard cakes—is brunch central. Brunch and lunch daily, dinner Tue.–Sat. 3131 Western Ave., Suite 301; 206.632.4602; boatstreetcafe.com


El Gaucho
 
Let your server earn his tip at this plush, pricey steak house, which prides itself on retro tableside service: Caesar salads are tossed, 20-ounce steaks are carved, and boozy cherries are set afire—all in plain sight. Theatrics aside, serious eaters will come for the famed dry-aged steaks and the high-roller wine list. Dinner daily. 2505 First Ave.; 206.728.1337; elgaucho.com           

    
Green Leaf II
See listing under INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT for full details; the lounge at this cozy subterranean location stays open late. Lunch and dinner daily. 2800 First Ave.; 206.448.3318; greenleaftaste.com


Shiro’s 

The legendary Shiro Kashiba only works behind the counter on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; still, his legacy is formidable. The chefs here serve local albacore that melts on the tongue, impossibly buttery uni and salmon that has never looked—or tasted—more beautiful. Dinner daily. 2401 Second Ave.; 206.443.9844; shiros.com


Tilikum Place Café
The best weekend brunch spot in Seattle? We think so! Chef Ba Culbert’s cooking is comforting—and those Dutch baby pancakes with tender duck confit are addictive. The big-windowed café is an irresistible spot to while away a few hours. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch and dinner daily. 407 Cedar St.; 206.282.4830; tilikumplacecafe.com

Capitol Hill/First Hill

Altura
Chef Nathan Lockwood’s handcrafted pastas, farm-raised meats and carefully sourced veggies are plated just so and can be quite delicious. Service is slick, professional and informed, and the wine list offers some stunners, too. Dinner Tue.–Sat. 617 Broadway Ave. E; 206.402.6749; alturarestaurant.com


Anchovies & Olives

Local, sometimes obscure, stunningly fresh seafood is given minimalist treatment in crudi (geoduck, escolar, sea urchin), but the pastas for which Ethan Stowell’s restaurants are famous are accounted for, too. Dinner daily. 1550 15th Ave.; 206.838.8080; ethanstowellrestaurants.com


Ba Bar

Eric and Sophie Banh, the brains behind the two Monsoon restaurants, serve very good pho, irresistible noodle dishes and generally great Vietnamese food at their eatery, which is open all day. Foodies: Don’t miss the pastries in the morning. Breakfast Wed.–Sun., lunch and dinner daily. 550 12th Ave.; 206.328.2030; babarseattle.com


Bar Cotto
Ethan Stowell’s casual  salumeria does everything right, from the stellar selection of meats (the house-made porchetta is outstanding) to the perfect wood-fired pizzas. But even better: the salads and veggie starters. It’s all really good. Dinner nightly. 1546 15th Ave.; 206.838.8081; ethanstowellrestaurants.com/barcotto 


Café Presse

Le Pichet’s Capitol Hill sibling has an easygoing, functional charm, with a well-stocked newsstand upfront and a French catch-all menu—ouefs plats, croque madame/monsieur—that’s served from dawn until well after dark. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 1117 12th Ave.; 206.709.7674; cafepresseseattle.com


Chico Madrid
We adore the happy vibe and perfect bocadillo sandwiches at Franz Gilbertson (of Honoré Bakery) and Jacob Daley’s open-all-day eatery. Sangria is on tap, Spanish tortillas with house-made aioli are what’s for breakfast, and you won’t want to miss the magdalena cake, moist with olive oil and lemon. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 711 Bellevue Ave. E; 206.453.3234; chicomadrid.com


Crumble & Flake

Star pastry chef Neil Robertson’s petite, quirky shop (read: there’s little seating and when stuff runs out, it’s out—and that can happen quite early) purveys fine croissants and heavenly macarons. In a city with so much good pastry, these stand out. Breakfast and lunch Wed.–Sun. 1500 E Olive Way; 206.329.1804; crumbleandflake.com


Dinette

Chef/owner Melissa Nyffeler makes her food with an eye for detail (we continue to adore the bruschetta “Toast” menu); her small, offbeat dining room, decorated with a collection of Florentine tea trays and pale gold stenciling, is charming. Dinner Mon.–Sat. 1514 E Olive Way; 206.328.2282; dinetteseattle.com


Kedai Makan

Inspired by the flavors of Southeast Asia, husband-and-wife owners Kevin Burzell and Alysson Wilson started the restaurant (see page 111) as a farmers’ market pop-up before finding their permanent home last winter. We love the roti canai with lentil curry and the nasi goreng (fried rice with an egg), and we’ve found that daily specials—stewed tripe in a warming curry, say—are the best bets. Takeout only. Dinner nightly. 1510 E Olive Way; no phone; kedaimakanseattle.com


La Bête

Chef Aleks Dimitrijevic and his team work in the open kitchen at this sexy hideaway, where the menu seduces with chicken liver mousse, house-made sausage over creamy harissa-carrot purée, and quail that’s perfectly roasted and totally delicious. During the day (Saturday and Sunday), find JuiceBox, a juicery offering cold-pressed quenchers, operating here, too. Brunch Sat.–Sun., dinner nightly. 1802 Bellevue Ave.; 206.329.4047; labeteseattle.com


Lark

The rustic yet elegant home of James Beard Foundation Award–winning chef/owner Johnathan Sundstrom, Lark is a treasure. We’re enchanted by the setting and the food. The pappardelle in a wild boar ragu has us swooning, the cheese selection is unmatched in Seattle, and oft-overlooked ingredients shine beside beloved Lark standbys such as pork belly, potato rösti with clabber cream, or dark chocolate madeleines served warm from the oven. Dinner Tue.–Sun. 926 12th Ave.; 206.323.5275; larkseattle.com 


Le Zinc
The team behind Pike Place Market’s Maximilien brings its casual French bistro aesthetic to Capitol Hill. Look for mussels four ways, onion tarts, pâtés and a nice selection of French wines by the glass. Lunch Sat.–Sun., dinner nightly. 1449 E Pine St.; 206.257.4151; le-zn.com


Little Uncle

Chefs Wiley Frank and Poncharee Kounpungchart do takeout Thai like no other: alive with lime, chiles and funky fish sauce. The smooth curries and noodle dishes are irresistible. Tue.–Sat. 1509 E Madison St.; 206.329.1503; littleuncleseattle.com


Mamnoon

Located in a completely renovated former garage across from Melrose Market, Mamnoon is chic and sophisticated, with utterly craveable food: lamb kefta, whole roasted fish, warm flatbreads, spiced vegetables and sensational mezze. The intriguing cocktail list is worth investigating at length. Plus, for the time-crunched: a takeout window for lunch and dinner (see page 107). Lunch and dinner Tue.–Sun. 1508 Melrose Ave.; 206.906.9606; mamnoonrestaurant.com


Monsoon

The Banh family uses fine ingredients and a slightly Westernized style to execute classic Vietnamese cuisine. Not to be missed are the stir-fried wheat noodles with duck egg. Weekend brunch features the city’s best dim sum. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 615 19th Ave. E; 206.325.2111; monsoonrestaurants.com


Olivar

We adore chef and owner Philippe Thomelin’s sweet hideaway, where  evocative Spanish-French fare—especially the made-to-order paella—and the well-chosen wine list charm us every time. Dinner Tue.–Sun. 806 E Roy St.; 206.322.0409; olivarrestaurant.com


Poppy 

Chef Jerry Traunfeld’s happy eatery is a great place to eat healthy and locally: The Northwest thalis provide lots of small tastes, all locally sourced, with an emphasis on veggies served all at once. Cheers to the creative cocktails and the duck naanwich, served only at the late-night happy hour. Dinner nightly. 622 Broadway E; 206.324.1108; poppyseattle.com


Poquitos

This sibling to Ballard’s Bastille is big, fun and made for parties (especially with a heated patio open year ’round). On the menu: spicy prawns, customized guacamole, a really good seasonal fish ceviche and birria made the proper way, with goat. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 1000 E Pike St.; 206.453.4216; vivapoquitos.com (Left: A ceviche tostada at Poquitos on Capitol Hill)


Quinn’s

The food—from the legendary burger to farro salads and sensational short ribs—is as finessed as any you’ll find in the neighborhood. Really. And then there’s the stellar beer list, the efficient, informed service and the charged atmosphere. What’s not to like? Dinner daily. 1001 E Pike St.; 206.325.7711; quinnspubseattle.com
   
Restaurant Zoë
The relocated (from Belltown after 12 years) and reinvented Zoë has an airier feel and a more moderately priced menu, but the thrills are still there: abalone with citrus and bitter greens; heavenly beef tartare with house-made potato chips; and a menu with something for everyone. The half-bottle wine list is especially smart. Dinner nightly. 1318 E Union St.; 206.256.2060; restaurantzoe.com


Sitka & Spruce

Matt Dillon’s locavore mecca finally has a room worthy of the food; the Melrose Market space is glorious. Dillon’s resolute focus on fine, local foods remains, now accented with North African, Spanish and Persian seasonings. Lunches are especially pleasant, and vegetarians are well served here. Lunch Mon.–Fri., brunch Sat.–Sun., dinner Tue.–Sun. 1531 Melrose Ave.; 206.324.0662; sitkaandspruce.com


Skillet Diner

Put on your fat pants for brunch, lunch or dinner at this minty-fresh, bustling corner spot. Pork belly and waffles, homey soups, enormous sandwiches and that famous burger will fill you up.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 1400 E Union St.; 206.512.2000; skilletstreetfood.com


Spinasse and Artusi 

Chef Jason Stratton’s incredible pastas are perfectly at home in this rustic trattoria, where candles drip onto Carrara marble and lace curtains cast a romantic air. Artusi, the neighboring “modern aperitivo bar,” also owned by Stratton, has a small-plate-focused menu of its own that just keeps getting better and better. Select either place and you’ll have chosen well. Dinner daily. 1531 14th Ave.; 206.251.7673; spinasse.com, artusibar.com


Terra Plata 

At chef Tamara Murphy’s warm, bustling Melrose Market eatery, vegetables freshly dug from the earth are given star treatment, and supreme (and supremely local) meats and fish shine. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch Tue.–Fri., dinner Tue.–Sun. 1501 Melrose Ave.; 206.325.1501; terraplata.com


Via Tribunali

Dark and even a little goth, with exposed brick and a sexy vibe, this local chain’s eateries don’t feel generic in the least. And the Neapolitan-style pizza is as good as any in town, with a delicate but toothy crust and sporting a few charry bubbles from the red-hot oven. Drop in for $5 pizzas during early and late happy hours. Dinner daily. 913 E Pike St.; 206.322.9234; viatribunali.net

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