Pike Place Market
The city’s most beloved French restaurant earned its reputation with its excellent roasted chicken and ultrarich hot chocolate as well as with this decadent pool of melting cheese.
“My husband and I have a running yearly date with the raclette from Le Pichet ($23). It all started nearly 15 years ago when we tucked into this unknown-to-us French restaurant to escape the rain.…The bartender led the way and introduced us to the Swiss mountain cheese that landed in front of us in a small cast-iron skillet, melted and just bubbling at the edges. To its right, a platter of things for dipping: potatoes, thinly sliced ham, apples, pears and walnuts. The cheese has a soft funk and smells of sweet cream. In that moment, a tradition was born; something delightful to anticipate in the gray winter months.” Ashley Rodriguez, cookbook author and blogger at notwithoutsalt.com
Pepperoni Paint Job
Breezy Town Pizza
Windy City Pie’s younger sibling boasts a menu of pan pizzas not as hefty as traditional Chicago deep dish, meaning you can eat more than one slice of this insanely good pie ($21) with the signature caramelized cheese edge.
Heaven Sent Fried Chicken
There’s fussier—some may argue better—fried chicken in town, but for quick and reliable, the crispy, salty bird at this regional chain ($7.50/leg and thigh combo), from the original owner of Ezell’s Famous Chicken, is our go-to.
Khao nam tod
Amazing Thai Lao Cuisine
Head straight for the Lao menu here and order this textural wonder: a salty, citrusy do-it-yourself wrap ($9.50) involving crispy rice, herbs, crushed peanuts and peppers.
The very best beef stars in this deceptively simple burger ($17)—please don’t order it well-done—at Renee Erickson’s stunning, award-winning steak house.
Little Ting’s Dumplings
These classic little parcels ($8.59 for 15) at this bare-bones restaurant are handmade—you can watch the chefs fold them as you eat—and as satisfying as they come.
A tried-and-true favorite for vegetarians, this lovely eatery makes the very best meat-free Wellington ($20)—an umami bomb wrapped in puff pastry.
Mole negro Oaxaqueño
La Carta de Oaxaca
The smoky-sweet regional specialty, served with chicken or pork and a plate of rice
and tortillas ($15), at this neighborhood institution has been a thing of legend long before other Oaxacan restaurants moved to town.
Salad of Dungeness crab
As beautiful as it is delicious, the bright, delicate crab salad ($18) at this reliably impressive restaurant is a must to start any meal.
Wild boar shoulder
FlintCreek Cattle Co.
The picture of braised perfection, this rich stew ($28) at one of the neighborhood’s best restaurants is at once homey and refined, excellent over Parmesan-potato gnocchi.
This Kerala-style Indian restaurant wows with its seafood, such as this complexly flavored sea bass fillet cooked in a banana leaf ($18).
Bacon and onion pizza
Brandon Pettit’s Goldilocks-like amounts of char gained his pizzas fame, but the toppings deserve equal billing, especially the crispy bacon contrasted by sharp onion ($14).
Hommous bil lahm ou snobar
Hummus is ordinary; this hummus (plated with flavorful lamb cooked in spices) is exceptional, even on a menu with so many exciting options.
“This is special. It arrives at the table sizzling and sputtering with the aroma of lamb, nutty brown butter and spices ($7). It’s intoxicating. This dish literally hits all of your senses. It is served with house-made flatbread, also beautifully prepared.” Dustin Ronspies, chef and co-owner of Art of the Table
Straw-smoked red snapper
The unique flavors of Kotaro Kumita’s sushi brings sushi aficionados to his omakase counter, but the star is the low-temperature-smoked snapper, with its subtle sweetness and tender texture ($3.75).
An Indonesian take on fried rice, this intensely flavorful dish is one of the stars at this creative restaurant with top-notch cocktails.
“Kedai Makan has to be one of, if not my favorite restaurant in Seattle. The reason that I always get the nasi goreng ($13.50) is that they always have it on the menu and it’s so flavorful! Also, if you put a fried egg with a runny yolk on anything, I’m down.” Jeff Vance, executive chef at No Anchor
Among the many retro charms here (namely, Cheez-its on the salad) is a steadfast adherence to the traditions of old-school steak houses—including using the same cuts to carve into sandwiches, such as this dip ($11.50).
‘Long Bone’ rib eye
The closer to the bone, the better the flavor of the meat. That’s why this rib eye
tastes so good: 40 ounces of wildly marbled, boldly flavorful meat—plenty to share, or save for tomorrow’s lunch and dinner ($140).
Pike Place Market
The mussels at this Market hideaway are the simplest of pleasures ($20). Savored from the patio, which looks out over Elliott Bay, the local bivalves taste only of butter, wine and the saltwater below.
Vegetarian combo from Meskel
Seattle is blessed with more than a dozen Ethiopian restaurants serving a great combination of stews and salads (vegetarian combination, $15.99), but nowhere is it more pleasant to dig into than at this restaurant in a remodeled house.
The line at Franklin Barbecue in Austin stretches for blocks for the tender, smoky central Texas beef barbecue, but in Seattle you’ll find the closest thing this side of
Route 66 at Jack’s ($18)—and it tastes even better without the wait.
There’s no restaurant in town serving Polish dumplings ($11) this good. You have to descend into this private community cultural center basement on a Friday night for these crescents, filled with sauerkraut and mushroom, meat, potato or sweet cheese.
Louisiana flavors meet those of Vietnam in the seafood boils at this scrappy spot, which works hard to keep the local and imported fresh mudbugs aboiling in the secret, many-starred spicy sauce—if you dare (market price).
Ahadu Ethiopian Restaurant
Steak tartare gets a flavor upgrade in this Ethiopian version at a combination butcher shop and restaurant, so you know the meat is fresh before it gets mixed with clarified butter, spices, peppers and onions ($17).