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


Eastlake

Blind Pig Bistro
Chef Charles Walpole is riding high in the space that was once home to Sitka & Spruce, then Nettletown, on Eastlake. A chalkboard menu reads like a chef’s dream—all carefully sourced meats and fish, prepared with flair but without fuss. Plus, good wine, blood red walls and the easy spirit of food lovers enjoying really good food. Dinner nightly. 2238 Eastlake Ave. E; 206.329.2744; blindpigbistro.com


Cicchetti

Nestled behind Serafina is this small platery, where our favorites include the salt-cod fritters with piquillo peppers and the wood-fired chanterelle and fontina pizza. Dinner Tue.–Sat. 121 E Boston St.; 206.859.4155; serafinaseattle.com/cicchetti


Serafina

For more than two decades, Eastlake’s date haven has served rustic pastas and braised meats to savvy regulars. In warmer months, we adore the enclosed patio. Brunch Sun., lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 2043 Eastlake Ave. E; 206.323.0807; serafinaseattle.com


Sushi Kappo Tamura

Taichi Kitamura heads the best sushi bar in town: absolutely stellar fish—from line-caught king salmon to local albacore belly to live spot prawns served (of course!) with their fried heads—plus a relaxed scene and a strong focus on sustainability. Brunch Sat.–Sun., dinner nightly. 2968 Eastlake Ave. E; 206.547.0937; sushikappotamura.com

Eastside

Black Bottle Postern
Belltown’s Bellevue sibling does a whole lot right: tasty, affordable shared plates—blasted broccoli, pork belly and kimchi skewers, and the famous tacos—all in a modern, industrial room that feels energetic and unstuffy. The flatbread pizzas are an outstanding value at $9. Dinner daily. Bellevue, 919 Bellevue Way NE; 425.223.5143; blackbottlebellevue.com


Cafe Juanita

The last thing you’d expect to find in this humble house turned restaurant is a near-perfect meal, and that’s part of the charm. From the first sparkling aperitif to the house-made pastas, James Beard Award–winning chef Holly Smith manages a rare dining trifecta: sensual northern Italian cooking by way of Northwest farms: pleasant, professional service; and a lovely, intimate room that is exquisitely conducive to conversations. Dinner Tue.–Sun. Kirkland, 9702 NE 120th Place; 425.823.1505; cafejuanita.com


Cantinetta

An alluring spot for pastas and people-watching. See listing under WALLINGFORD for a full description. Dinner Tue.–Sun. Bellevue, 10038 Main St.; 425.233.6040; cantinettabellevue.com


The Commons
With schoolhouse charm and big blackboards listing the menu, The Heavy Restaurant Group’s (Purple, Barrio) new Woodinville café has something for everyone. Big biscuit sandwiches star at breakfast, the pretzel bites with bacon-jalapeño cream cheese are irresistible, and comfort food rules, come evening. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Woodinville, 14481 Woodinville-Redmond Road; 425.892.7012; thecommonscafe.com


Din Tai Fung

This is only the second stateside location of the popular Asian chain. The Taiwanese soup dumplings are legendary, but the steamed dumplings are divine. Noodle dishes, fried rice, sautéed veggies—it’s all good. Lunch and dinner daily. Bellevue, 700 Bellevue Way NE (Lincoln Square); 425.698.1095; dintaifungusa.com


El Gaucho

See listing under BELLTOWN for a full description. The space here is sprawling and dramatic, just the right place for inking that big deal over an expense-account meal. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. Bellevue, City Center Plaza, 450 108th Ave. NE; 425.455.2715; elgaucho.com


The Herbfarm 

Co-owner Ron Zimmerman has promoted longtime sous-chef Chris Weber to chef de cuisine, who is now helming the nine-course themed menus, paired with wines, for this hours-long dining experience. Dinner Thu.–Sun. Woodinville, 14590 NE 145th St.; 425.485.5300; theherbfarm.com


John Howie Steak

The airy dining room is happily absent of the usual old-school steakhouse vibe, but the menu specializes in luxe 28-day USDA Prime beef. And oh my! The cheese-stuffed bacon burger is divine. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. Bellevue, 11111 NE Eighth St., Suite 125; 425.440.0880; johnhowiesteak.com

Kukai Ramen & Izakaya
The first U.S. outpost of an esteemed Japanese ramen chain is a stylish destination in an otherwise nondescript strip mall. Here, the shio (salt-soy sauce), shoyu (soy sauce) and dipping ramen (tsukemen) are very good: comforting and delicious. And trust us: Order an extra half-cooked egg. Lunch and dinner daily. Bellevue, 14845 Main St.; 425.243.7527; kukai-ramen.com


Monsoon East
Chef/owners Eric and Sophie Banh's sexy dining room is always packed. Best bets: anything from the raw bar (pristine sashimi, perfect oysters), seasonal wok-prepared veggies, vibrant cocktails and a sensational pho served at lunchtime. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. Bellevue, 10245 Main St.; 425.635.1112; monsoonrestaurants.com


Pomegranate Bistro

Culinary power couple Lisa Dupar and Jonathan Zimmer bring their can-do attitude here—from freshly baked pastries to pizza-like “firebread,” along with the newly opened Pombar, which offers a full bar menu. The colorful décor and open kitchen lend the industrial space a warm, family-friendly feel. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch daily, dinner Tue.–Sat. Redmond, 18005 NE 68th St.; 425.556.5972; pomegranatebistro.com


Purple Café & Wine Bar
It’s wine, wine, wine here; bottles line the walls, and there’s an extensive global list and themed tasting flights. The menu suits a variety of moods, from filling salads and shareable appetizers to pizzas, pastas and meaty treats. Lunch and dinner daily. Woodinville, 14459 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE, 425.483.7129; Kirkland, 323 Park Place Center, 425.828.3772; Bellevue, 430 106th Ave. NE, 425.502.6292; thepurplecafe.com


Trellis
Kirkland’s plush Heathman Hotel is home to this understatedly luxurious restaurant, where executive chef Brian Scheehser creates refined seasonal dishes from his own 10-acre garden. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Kirkland, 220 Kirkland Ave.; 425.284.5900; trellisrestaurant.net


Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria
At the newest location of this family-friendly pizzeria, you’ll find fresh salads and chewy Neapolitan pizzas. Affordable wines, a boisterous noise level and scoops of chocolate hazelnut gelato sate kids and parents alike. Lunch and dinner daily. Issaquah, 715 NW Gilman Blvd.; 425.391.6838; tuttabellapizza.com   


Wild Ginger

The Eastside edition of this wildly popular restaurant is a gorgeous (and huge!) space. Along with a menu of now-familiar Pan-Asian dishes, dim sum is served on weekends. See listing under DOWNTOWN for a full description. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch and dinner daily. Bellevue, 11020 NE Sixth St., Suite 90; 425.495.8889; wildginger.net

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