The Complete List of Top Restaurants in Seattle

From bakeries to bistros to fine dining, our neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to the best eateries
FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

Bainbridge Island
Hitchcock

Chef and owner Brendan McGill goes out of his way to shop well from local farmers, and then he lets those stellar ingredients do the heavy lifting. The applewood-fired oven is put to good use, scenting the perfectly cooked pork chop and the legendary chicken. Best bet: the always inspired name-your-price prix fixe menu. Dinner nightly. 133 Winslow Way E, Suite 200; 206.201.3789; hitchcockrestaurant.com

Restaurant Marché Bainbridge  

We’re smitten with former Canlis chef and cookbook author Greg Atkinson’s Northwest-inspired bistro on Bainbridge Island. Atkinson is a pro, and it shows: The perfectly cooked steaks and salmon are paired with carefully considered sides. More pluses: friendly service and a stylish dining room. Lunch and dinner Tue.–Sat. Winslow, 150 Madrone Lane; 206.842.1633; restaurantmarchebainbridge.com

Ballard/Shilshole
Bastille
Ballard Avenue’s Parisian-style brasserie comes alive after dark, when the vintage light fixtures cast the fashionable crowd in a flattering golden hue. The best choices are plats du jour (such as a tender-crisp boneless quail). At brunch, the fluffy omelets and the farmers’ market people-watching (from tables in the cozy, enclosed patio) is top-notch. Brunch Sun., dinner daily. 5307 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.453.5014; bastilleseattle.com

Bitterroot
This hip corner spot in Ballard turns out the best barbecue we’ve tasted in Seattle in a long time, especially the ribs and the brisket. Plus brown liquor (the vanilla-scented creamed old fashioned is great) and a choice lineup of local beer. Lunch and dinner daily. 5239 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.588.1577; bitterrootbbq.com

Cafe Besalu
The heady scent of butter wafts out of James Miller’s tiny neighborhood bakery each time the door opens, inviting neighbors to come inside. Miller’s croissants, pastries and quiches are nothing short of superb, and the warmth of the windowed storefront space lingers. Breakfast and lunch Wed.–Sun. 5909 24th Ave. NW; 206.789.1463; cafebesalu.com

Delancey
The humble pizzeria that Brandon Pettit runs with his wife, Molly Wizenberg (creator of food blog Orangette), is such a hit there’s still often an hour’s wait. Pettit’s outstanding pizza has a chewy, salty, smoky crust and bright house-made tomato sauce. Craft cocktail bar Essex is a sparkling addition with its list of house-made bitters. Dinner Wed.–Sun. 1415 NW 70th St.; 206.838.1960; delanceyseattle.com

Honoré Artisan Bakery
Next door to Delancey is this quaint bakery where the buttery croissants rival Ballard’s other fab bakery, Cafe Besalu. But those caramelized canelés? Those shattering macarons? That kouign amann (a layered sweet-salty pastry from Brittany)? Perfection! Breakfast and lunch Wed.–Sun. 1413 NW 70th St.; 206.706.4035; honorebakery.com

La Carta de Oaxaca
Easily Seattle’s most authentic Mexican restaurant, La Carta has a menu that’s eminently craveable. You’ll love the hand-mashed guacamole with house-fried tortilla chips and tender chicken in Oaxaca’s signature sweet, sultry black mole. The tequila/mezcal display is particularly well researched. Lunch Tue.–Sat., dinner Mon.–Sat. 5431 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.782.8722; lacartadeoaxaca.com

Paseo
The pink food stand, with outdoor seating only, is hard to miss; see listing under FREMONT for full description. Lunch and dinner Tue.–Sat. 6226 Seaview Ave. NW; 206.789.3100; paseoseattle.com. Cash only.

Ray’s Boathouse & Café

Head to Ray’s upstairs café, where breathtaking sunsets and standard-issue seafood dishes are a Seattle tradition. Downstairs, Ray’s seaside dining room reopened in January after a renovation, and chef Wayne Johnson (formerly of Andaluca) has taken over the kitchen. And then there is that view. On a clear day, the Olympic Mountains fairly jump into your lap. Café lunch and dinner daily; restaurant dinner daily. 6049 Seaview Ave. NW; 206.789.3770; rays.com

Skillet Diner

All your big-boned Skillet faves, including the burger, the waffles with fried chicken, that kale Caesar—plus a few new Scandinavian dishes, such as Swedish meatballs—are here at the new diner in Ballard. See listing under CAPITOL HILL for full information. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 2034 NW 56th St.; 206.922.7981; skilletdinerballard.com

Staple & Fancy Mercantile
Ethan Stowell’s Ballard dinner house is a pleasantly funky space with a constantly changing menu, served family style. We love the peekaboo view into neighboring The Walrus and the Carpenter. Dinner daily. 4739 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.789.1200; ethanstowellrestaurants.com


Stoneburner

Our review will appear in December. Jason Stoneburner’s eponymously named Italian eatery lives in a richly decorated, sprawling space at the foot of the swank new Hotel Ballard. On the menu: house-made pastas, wood-fired pizzas, small plates and local veggies galore. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 5214 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.695.2051; stoneburnerseattle.com

Veraci Pizza

The traveling wood-fired pizza ovens that helped pioneer Seattle’s mobile food trend churn out some of the most flavorful, inventive, cracker-thin-crusted pizza combinations—by the slice or the whole pie—in this casual, cozy family-friendly neighborhood spot. Lunch and dinner Wed.–Mon. 500 NW Market St.; 206.525.1813; veracipizza.com


The Walrus and the Carpenter

Renée Erickson (Boat Street Cafe & Kitchen) has made quite the splash with this breezy small-plates eatery and oyster bar, where raw, on-the-half-shell beauties are the stars. Dessert and cocktails are particularly good. Dinner daily. 4743 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.395.9227; thewalrusbar.com

 

Looking for even more restaurants in Seattle and on the Eastside beyond the ones on this list? Visit our Restaurant Guide.



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; kedaimakansea.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

Chinatown—International District

Green Leaf
Visit sweet, petite Green Leaf for refreshing Vietnamese bites, including bun (vermicelli bowls) loaded with grilled pork, chicken or shrimp, and minted shrimp rolls with crispy eggroll bits inside. Lunch and dinner daily. 418 Eighth Ave. S; 206.340.1388; greenleaftaste.com  

 
Harbor City
Our current choice for dim sum in the Chinatown–International District, where the steamed dumplings are better than most. The full menu—including tender mixed seafood in XO sauce—offers surprising range, too. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 707 S King St.; 206.621.2228

Columbia City/Rainier Beach

La Medusa
Longtime chef Gordon Wishard is the new owner (with Meredith Molli) of this, one of Seattle’s best neighborhood restaurants. The menu’s Sicilian bent shows up on famously good pastas, but the affordable Italian wine list is nice, too. Specials here—perhaps a steak from locally raised beef or a perfect fillet of fish—tend to be ringers. Dinner Tue.–Sat. 4857 Rainier Ave. S; 206.723.2192; lamedusarestaurant.com


Pizzeria Pulcinella

Owners of the pizza chain Vince’s created a neighborhood pizza joint where Neapolitan pies fly out of the wood-fired oven wearing vibrant, fresh tomato sauce. Lunch, dinner daily. 10003 Rainier Ave. S; 206.772.6861; pulcinellapizza.com

Downtown

Dahlia Lounge
The menu at Tom Douglas’ 23-year-old flagship is all over the place—you might find Berkshire pork loin, Peking duck and local troll-caught salmon on any given night, often accompanied by veggies grown on Tom and Jackie’s Prosser farm. Dahlia is also the home of Douglas’ oh-so-famous coconut cream pie. Get a slice. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 2001 Fourth Ave.; 206.682.4142; tomdouglas.com


Lecosho
Matt Janke (the original Matt of Matt’s in the Market) now runs this easygoing restaurant on the Harbor Steps. The restaurant’s name is Chinook for swine, and the pig is represented well; the porchetta with white beans and turnips is especially good. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 89 University St.; 206.623.2101; lecosho.com 


Lola

Seattle doesn’t have many bustling, business-ready breakfast spots, and this one is the best. Adventurous? Try Tom’s Breakfast: octopus hash with a fried egg and harissa yogurt, or those cinnamon doughnuts served with crème fraîche. At night, lamb kebabs and red wine draw dinner daters. Breakfast, lunch, dinner daily. 2000 Fourth Ave.; 206.441.1430; tomdouglas.com


Palace Kitchen

This congenial watering hole is doing some stunning stuff since former Dahlia sous-chef Desi Bonow took over the kitchen. Check out the wow-worthy vegetarian options, if you’re not in the mood for a terrific burger or perfect plin. It’s still the go-to late-night spot for food-industry types. Dinner daily. 2030 Fifth Ave.; 206.448.2001; tomdouglas.com 


Purple Café & Wine Bar 

See listing under EASTSIDE for full description. This location, with its soaring ceilings and spiral staircase, attracts a handsome after-work crowd. Grab a seat upstairs at the tiny tasting counter to be close to the action. Lunch and dinner daily. 1225 Fourth Ave.; 206.829.2280; thepurplecafe.com


RN74

Michael Mina's plush wine bar showcases Washington wines (seven are offered by the glass), but the food is just as compelling, especially the lamb cassoulet, the duck fat fries ($5 during happy hour), and the charcouterie plate, with house-made duck rillettes and cherry compote. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 1433 Fourth Ave.; 206.456.7474; michaelmina.net


Serious Pie

James Beard restaurateur of the year for 2012, Tom Douglas has defined his own style of pizza with an applewood-fired oven and a distinctive, chewy-bubbly crust. The boldest flavors are best here, such as Penn Cove clams with pancetta and lemon thyme, or roasted pepper and fennel sausage. The South Lake Union location offers brunch daily. Lunch, dinner daily. 316 Virginia St.; 206.838.7388; tomdouglas.com


TanakaSan

Erik Tanaka (Tom Douglas’ exec chef) created a menu of all his Asian faves for this upbeat eatery in the Via6 apartment building, and with pretty tasty results. We love the Osaka pancake; the shareable plates at dinner, such as a perfectly cooked pork shoulder in banana leaf; and the fun dim sum plates at lunch. Plus: sake slushies! Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 2121 Sixth Ave.; 206.812.8412; tanakasanseattle.com


Wild Ginger

Rick and Ann Yoder’s crowd-pleasing Asian fusion restaurant is a hit with locals, out-of-town guests and big groups. Soaring ceilings and an award-winning wine list have kept the eye-candy crowd interested for more than 20 years—no small feat in the restaurant business. Lunch Mon.–Sat., dinner daily. 1401 Third Ave.; 206.623.4450; wildginger.net


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

Fremont

Agrodolce
At Maria Hines’ (Tilth, Golden Beetle) certified organic Fremont eatery, we love the veggies and the house-cured meats. The cocktail menu is also especially inspired. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 709 N 35th St.; 206.547.9707; agrodolcerestaurant.net


Art of the Table

Well, well! Chef and owner Dustin Ronspies’ little hideaway on the edge of Fremont is a very well-kept secret, and we’re tempted to keep it that way. Unpretentious service, homey appeal and marvelous—and affordable!—prix fixe menus (served Fridays and Saturdays) with utterly spot-on cooking. It has got it all.  Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 1054 N 39th St.; 206.282.0942; artofthetable.net


Dot’s Delicatessen

You won’t believe how good the house-made charcuterie—sausages and pâtés—are here, and the sandwiches are boss, too. Don’t miss the steak frites. Lunch and early dinner (closes at 9 p.m.) Tue.–Sat. 4262 Fremont Ave. N; 206.687.7446; dotsdelicatessen.com  


Joule

At its new location Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi’s Korean-fusion eatery is a sexy, spicy night out in the making. Don’t miss the rice cakes with chorizo, the oysters and bone-marrow-topped toasts, and a slew of tasty steaks. Brunch Sat.–Sun., dinner daily. 3506 Stone Way N; 206.632.5685; joulerestaurant.com


Paseo
At the top of our sandwich bucket list: Paseo’s drippy, sloppy, messy and utterly indulgent Caribbean roast. A secret marinade makes the pork here nothing short of awesome, and the jalapeños and cilantro punch everything up. Lunch and dinner Tue.–Sat. 4225 Fremont Ave. N; 206.545.7440; paseoseattle.com. Cash only

 
Revel

A stylish Korean street-eats joint from Joule chefs Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, where the irresistible pan-fried dumplings, inventive rice bowls and some seriously awesome salads keep us coming back. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sat.–Sun. 403 N 36th St.; 206.547.2040; revelseattle.com


RockCreek

Chef and owner Eric Donnelly’s ode to the river on which he loves to fly-fish has a local, seafood-centric menu and a rustic interior, with screen prints of riverbeds and hand-hewn wood tables. Dinner nightly. 4300 Fremont Ave. N; 206.557.7532; rockcreekseattle.com


Vif

Our review will appear in December. Airy and light, with tender muffins still warm from the oven and espresso that’s expertly pulled, this airy Fremont hangout is a swell place to spend the morning. At lunch, garden-veggie salads and rustic soups keep things healthy and bright. Excellent wines for purchase, too. Breakfast and lunch Tue.–Sun. 4401 Fremont Ave. N; 206.557.7357; vifseattle.com


The Whale Wins

Renee Erickson’s (Boat Street Cafe, The Walrus and the Carpenter) latest is an airy oasis for vegetable-focused dishes cooked in the wood oven. Located in the Fremont Collective building (also home to the relocated Joule), it’s an especially pleasant place for a long lunch, with good French wine (see page 108). Lunch and dinner daily. 3506 Stone Way N; 206.632.9426; thewhalewins.com

Georgetown

The Corson Building
Chef Matt Dillon’s picturesque stone building is surrounded by lush gardens, an oasis in gritty Georgetown. Inside, it’s the essence of rusticity, and likewise the food prepared by chef de cuisine Emily Crawford: wood-roasted meats and hearty vegetable dishes matched with a host of truly unusual wines. Check online for specific menus, seating and reservations info. 5609 Corson Ave. S; 206.762.3330; thecorsonbuilding.com


Via Tribunali

See listing under CAPITOL HILL/FIRST HILL for a full description. This location is quieter than its siblings, so you can almost always grab a table. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 6009 12th Ave. S; 206.464.2880; viatribunali.net

Green Lake  

Eva
Chef Amy McCray’s Green Lake hideaway begs for dinner daters, and her menu of seasonally eclectic dishes includes the best lamb burger in town and an utterly delicious Cabrales flan. Wine is a passion at Eva, too. Dinner daily. 2227 N 56th St.; 206.633.3538; evarestaurant.com


Kisaku

What a surprise to find such stellar sushi in an off-the-beaten-path locale. Lunchtime also brings a number of donburi, udon and bento choices. Lunch Mon., Wed.–Sat.; dinner Wed.–Mon. 2101 N 55th St., Suite 100; 206.545.9050; kisaku.com

Greenwood/Phinney Ridge

Stumbling Goat Bistro
This beloved restaurant has a revamped menu by chef Joshua Theilen (formerly of Kirkland’s Trellis), who upholds the French-influenced restaurant’s philosophy of using local ingredients. Especially good: pork tenderloin with glazed figs. Dinner Tue.–Sun. 6722 Greenwood Ave. N; 206.784.3535; stumblinggoatbistro.com

Madison Park/Madison Valley/Madrona

Bar Cantinetta
Our review will appear in the January 2014 issue. See listing under WALLINGFORD for full description. Opened earlier this fall, a pocket-size version of the popular pasta house, with more of a drop-in, wine-bar approach. Dinner nightly. 2811 E Madison St.; no phone yet; cantinettaseattle.com 


Crush

Inside this pretty Victorian home, subdued modern décor sets the stage for James Beard Foundation Award–winning chef/owner Jason Wilson’s boundary-pushing cooking. Decadent foie gras, sublime wine pours and crispy-skinned duck breast are just the beginning. Expect to break the bank. And watch for his new spot, Miller’s Guild, a steak house in the Hotel Max downtown. Dinner Tue.–Sun. 2319 E Madison St.; 206.324.7549; crushonmadison.com


The Harvest Vine

This 14-year-old restaurant has long been a sure thing for delicious Spanish tapas, and the wine list remains a high point. Brunch Sat.–Sun, dinner daily. 2701 E Madison St.; 206.320.9771; harvestvine.com


Luc
Local star chef Thierry Rautureau’s French-Mediterranean corner bistro conveys a mood that’s easygoing and welcoming. We love the house-made sausage, the steak frites are divine, and the wine list is bargain central. Brunch Sat.–Sun., dinner daily. 2800 E Madison St.; 206.328.6645; luc-seattle.com


Madison Kitchen

Every neighborhood should have such a happy place to stop for perfect scones, excellent salads and destination-worthy sandwiches to eat in (the place is small but bright and sunny) or to take home. Madison Park is lucky to have it. Breakfast and lunch Tue.-Sun. 4122 E Madison St.; 206.557.4640; madison-kitchen.com
 
Madison Park Conservatory

One of Food & Wine’s best new chefs of 2012, Cormac Mahoney puts out a sophisticated, satisfying spread of local-ingredient-driven meals. Enjoy the wood-roasted chicken, beef tongue on toast and an expertly mixed craft cocktail. Dinner Tue.–Sat. Madison Park, 1927 43rd Ave. E; 206.324.9701; madisonparkconservatory.com


Nishino

When owner Tatsu Nishino is in his groove, his eponymous sushi spot sets the local standard for neo-Japanese cooking and puts forth an impressive omakase menu. Dinner daily. 3130 E Madison St.; 206.322.5800; nishinorestaurant.com


Montlake/Ravenna/University District

Cafe Lago
Owner Carla Leonardi has been the standard-bearer for delicious pastas and house-made pizzas at her Montlake trattoria for more than two decades. The pizza crusts are thin and crisp, and the lasagna is a dream. Dinner daily. 2305 24th Ave. E; 206.329.8005; cafelago.com


Pair
The feel is elegant cottage, and the small-plates menu reflects that. Mix items to create your own grazing dinners; best are the puffed gougères, potato-leek gratin and fontina mac and cheese. Dinner Tue.–Sat. 5501 30th Ave. NE; 206.526.7655; pairseattle.com


U:Don

There’s something refreshing about this bright, spare udon noodle shop on The Ave, where the addictive house-made noodles (we especially like the cold versions) are simple and just right. Lunch and dinner daily. 4515 University Way NE; 206.453.3788; freshudon.com

Pike Place Market

Café Campagne
Charm your date in this dim, candlelit hideaway in Pike Place Market with the seasonal cassoulet and a dusty French red. This is a true favorite and a sure bet for spot-on French bistro fare. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 1600 Post Alley; 206.728.2233; cafecampagne.com

 

Le Pichet
This is as close to a perfect French bistro as you’ll find in Seattle. Favorites: chef/co-owner Jim Drohman’s butter lettuce salads with perfect vinaigrettes; divine roasted chicken; and hearty house-made pâté with honey and walnuts. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 1933 First Ave.; 206.256.1499; lepichetseattle.com


Marché

The reimagined Campagne is a lovely place to stop for delicious pâtés, tasty small dishes and a stellar list of wines by the glass. Brunch Sat.–Sun., dinner daily. 86 Pine St.; 206.728.2800; marcheseattle.com


Market Grill
Grab a fish sandwich and do some people-watching at this tiny spot in the middle of Pike Place Market. Blackened salmon, grilled halibut, sometimes even grilled prawns are cooked while you wait. Order a bowl of the best chowder in town to take the edge off. Lunch daily. 1509 Pike Place, Suite 3; 206.682.2654.


Matt’s in the Market

Matt’s always feels fresh, open and convivial. For lunch, opt for the stellar banh mi sandwich with pork belly; come evening, starters shine and seafood dishes are reliably good; the cheese plate is a stunner, too. Also worth checking out: Radiator Whiskey Bar, across the hall, opened by the same owners in summer. Lunch and dinner Mon.–Sat. 94 Pike St., Suite 32; 206.467.7909; mattsinthemarket.com 


Steelhead Diner

Chef Kevin Davis’ upbeat dining room is best at lunchtime, when the views are spectacular. The best dishes have a retro appeal: caviar pie, oversize sandwiches and yummy desserts, but chef de cuisine Anthony Polizzi also displays a talent for showcasing stunningly fresh produce in superb salads. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch and dinner daily. 95 Pine St.; 206.625.0129; steelheaddiner.com

Pioneer Square/SoDo

Bar Sajor
Matt Dillon’s (The Corson Building, Sitka & Spruce) contribution to the reinvention of Pioneer Square began with this, an exceptionally beautiful corner eatery where the Euro wines flow and the menu has a distinct focus on ingredients. Plates are artful, salads feature house-made and smoked yogurts, and there are wood-fired meats and fishes, and house-made pickles of every variety. It is a modern take on eating (see page 111). Lunch and dinner Tue.–Sat. 323 Occidental Ave.; 206.682.1117; barsajor.com 


Gastropod

You’ll be as shocked as we were when you taste the food at this tiny, hidden pub in SoDo (see page 107). Chef Travis Kukull’s cooking is playful, his flavors are balanced and unexpected, and it’s all meant to pair with Epic Ales brews. It’s casual, there’s nothing to the décor, and yet we’d eat here once a week if we could. Dinner Tue.–Sat. 3201 First Ave. S, Suite 104; 206.403.1228; gastropodsodo.com


Il Corvo
Chef Mike Easton became famous for his pasta joint inside Procopio Gelateria, but in January he up and moved to a place of his own in Pioneer Square (see page 109). Now you can get his pasta five days a week—and whoa, that pasta is good, and affordable. Plus, there’s take-home pasta. Lunch Mon.–Fri. (Visit the blog to learn about Saturday dinners.) 217 James St.; 206.538.0999; ilcorvopasta.com. Cash only


Little Uncle

The duo behind Capitol Hill’s cult-fave Thai takeout has table service at their basement locale in Pioneer Square. See listing under CAPITOL HILL for full description. Lunch Mon.–Fri. 88 Yesler Way; 206.223.8529; littleuncleseattle.com


The London Plane

Look for our review in an upcoming issue. Across the street from Bar Sajor is Matt Dillon’s midday wine bar, where charcuterie and simple plates are offered, and where (eventually) the excellent breads and pastries made at The Corson Building will be baked. For now, stop by after 2 p.m. for a loaf. Lunch and bar menu Tue.–Fri. 322 Occidental Ave.; 206.624.1374; thelondonplaneseattle.com

Rain Shadow Meats Squared
You’ll be hard pressed to find more perfectly crafted sandwiches, with house-cured meats and delicious spreads, clever combos (the chicken and egg salad is genius) and great salads, too. Oh, and the butcher shop is top-notch, so you’ll have dinner covered (see page 113). Lunch daily. 404 Occidental Ave. S; 206.467.4854; rainshadowmeats.com


Queen Anne

Book Bindery
In one of the city’s most urbane dining rooms, chef Shaun McCrain’s French-tinged seasonal cooking is gorgeous, precise and delicious, especially the “Flavor Curve,” a steak you have to taste to believe. Dinner Tue.–Sat. 198 Nickerson St.; 206.283.2665; bookbinderyrestaurant.com


Canlis

For decades, Canlis has been celebrated for its wine selection and special-occasion address as much as for its expensive dinners and outstanding view. Executive chef Jason Franey oversees the menu, which includes Canlis classics (the namesake prawns and salad, for instance) and several modern dishes, too. And whether for an aperitif or just a visit, stop by the lounge for inventive cocktails, an excellent selection of Scotch and twinkling piano tunes. Dinner Mon.–Sat. 2576 Aurora Ave. N; 206.283.3313; canlis.com


Crow Restaurant & Bar

Craig Serbousek and Jesse Thomas’ menu makes the most of each season. Preparations are simple but impeccable. Dinner daily. 823 Fifth Ave. N; 206.283.8800; eatatcrow.com


How to Cook a Wolf
Ethan Stowell’s shoebox-size restaurant is a beacon for bright, clear flavors and disarmingly simple preparations. The small-plates menu showcases seafood, and beloved house-made pastas make welcome guest appearances. Dinner daily. 2208 Queen Anne Ave. N; 206.838.8090; howtocookawolf.com


LloydMartin

Chef Sam Crannell’s bold, hearty dishes are ideal for wine sipping and couples sharing several small plates. The masculine setting—all dark wood and flattering lighting—makes it an ideal place for a date, too. Dinner Tue.–Sat. Queen Anne, 1525 Queen Anne Ave. N; 206.420.7602; lloydmartinseattle.com


Mezcaleria Oaxaca

From the owners of Ballard’s always tasty La Carta de Oaxaca, this is a lively spot for a spicy, tippling dinner. Don’t miss: the classic cóctel de camarones (Mexican shrimp cocktail) and killer barbacoa goat. The mezcal sampler is a must. Dinner Mon.–Sat. 2123 Queen Anne Ave. N; 206.216.4446; mezcaleriaoaxaca.com 


Via Tribunali

See listing under CAPITOL HILL/FIRST HILL for full description. A favorite haunt of stroller-pushing parents in the neighborhood. Hipsters, better arrive on the late side. Dinner daily. 317 W Galer St; 206.264.7768; viatribunali.net

South Lake Union

Brave Horse Tavern

A loud, boister-ous space that features a who’s who of West Coast breweries on tap. To eat: luscious burgers, beer-boiled pretzels with clams, and mighty fine brats. 21 and older. Breakfast and lunch Mon.–Fri., brunch Sat.–Sun., dinner daily. 310 Terry Ave. N; 206.971.0717; bravehorsetavern.com


Cuoco

Subtly wonderful pastas headline at Tom Douglas’ charming brick trattoria. Add in sensational seasonal veggies and a convivial, family-friendly atmosphere, and you’ve got a hit on your hands. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 310 Terry Ave. N; 206.971.0710; cuoco-seattle.com


MistralKitchen

Chef William Belickis of the late, great Mistral returns with an industrial-chic boîte offering impressive prix fixe menus ($60–$90 per person). But one can opt for a more affordable experience in the windowed dining room. The cocktails are stunners. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch and dinner daily. 2020 Westlake Ave.; 206.623.1922; mistral-kitchen.com


Serious Pie

See listing under DOWNTOWN for full description. A lot roomier than its big sister downtown, this spot is also a beacon for those seeking affordable weekend brunch, featuring the outstanding biscuits baked downstairs at Serious Biscuit. Lunch and dinner daily. 401 Westlake Ave. N;  206.436.0050; seriouspiewestlake.com


Shanik
This, the first stateside effort from the co-owner of Vancouver, B.C.’s world-renowned Vij’s, is a lovely spot for creative Indian dishes. Swoon-worthy curries are the draw (and the jackfruit salad is great), and warm service adds to the popularity of the place. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner Mon.–Sat. 500 Terry Ave. N; 206.486.6884; shanikrestaurant.com 

Wallingford

Cantinetta
At this dimly lit date-night destination, Tuscan fare is the focus, as are sensational starters and inspired house-made pastas. Dinner Tue.–Sun. 3650 Wallingford Ave.; 206.632.1000; cantinettaseattle.com 


May
The food here is classic Thai, but also quite unexpected: red curry, not too sweet, with succulent slices of duck breast; charry lemongrass chicken; ketchup-free pad thai. Ask for the wonderfully authentic sticky rice, as it’s not on the menu. The downstairs bar has tasty happy-hour fare. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 1612 N 45th St.; 206.675.0037; maythaiseattle.com


Tilth

James Beard Foundation Award–winning chef Maria Hines is the star at this certified-organic restaurant, bringing to life dishes such as her famous duck burgers. Brunch Sat.–Sun., dinner daily. 1411 N 45th St.; 206.633.0801; tilthrestaurant.com

West Seattle/White Center

Bakery Nouveau
William Leaman’s twice-baked almond croissants and buttery baked goods have lines spilling out the door on weekends. Also drawing a crowd are gorgeous (and delicious) cakes, such as the hazelnut chocolate praline dream cake, loaves of fine bread and shockingly good pizza. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Mon.–Sat. 4737 California Ave. SW; 206.923.0534; bakerynouveau.com


Marination Ma Kai

The  Korean-Hawaiian fusion we’ve come to crave—those Kahlúa pork tacos, that kimchi-laced rice bowl with a fried egg—at the Marination truck and the Capitol Hill location are all present at this brick-and-mortar location, this time with a sweeping view of the Seattle skyline, a spacious waterfront patio and breakfast, too! Breakfast, lunch, dinner Tue.–Sun. 1660 Harbor Ave. SW; 206.328.8226; marinationmobile.com/ma-kai

Ma‘ono Fried Chicken & Whisky

The Hawaiian flavors of chef/owner Mark Fuller’s youth star on the menu, and the restaurant’s famous fried chicken is now a staple. But worry not: The famous burger from Spring Hill, Fuller's restaurant's previous incarnation, remains. Brunch Sat.–Sun., dinner daily. 4437 California Ave. SW; 206.935.1075; maono.springhillnorthwest.com


Zippy’s Giant Burgers
In its spacious new home in White Center, one of the best burger joints in Seattle is even easier to love. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. White Center, 9614 14th Ave. SW; 206.763.1347; zippysgiantburgers.com