28 Best Restaurants in Capitol Hill, Seattle

Altura

$$$$ Fodor's choice

A hand-carved cedar angel statue watches over diners at this lively spot, where chef-owner Nathan Lockwood lends a Northwest focus to seasonal Italian cuisine. The set tasting menu weaves rare, intriguing, and fascinating local and global ingredients into classic Italian techniques. Finger limes dot starters, Hokkaido scallops come lightly seared, and huckleberries pop up in pappardelle. The five to seven courses come interspersed with little bites and extra treats. Those wishing for a beverage pairing can choose between the classic wine pairing and a mixed option of cocktails, beers, and juices. Service is hyper-solicitous but the atmosphere is louder and more lively than you might expect given the price tag. For a more casual meal, head across the street to Lockwood's sibling spot Carrello.

Boat Bar

$$$ Fodor's choice

Renee Erickson made her name serving Seattle's seafood, and takes a new spin on the same at this cool, marble-topped ode to Parisian fish and shellfish bistros. The menu offers seafood both raw and cooked, as well as meaty continental classics like steak tartare and a burger (and steaks borrowed from Bateau next door). Seafoam-green seats pop with color from the white walls in front of the long L-shape bar and tables that surround it. Baskets of fresh oysters await shucking from beds of ice, while nautically named cocktails are shaken nearby. Boat Bar is part of Erickson’s trio of restaurants on this corner: General Porpoise Coffee and Doughnuts serves oversized filled doughnuts until the afternoon, and diners looking for a more substantial meal can head to the steakhouse sibling, Bateau.

1060 E. Union St., Seattle, 98122, USA
206-900-8808
Known For
  • fresh oysters
  • great drink options
  • delightful interior
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues.–Wed. No lunch, Reservations recommended

Dino's Tomato Pie

$ Fodor's choice
Long hailed as the creator of Seattle’s best pizza at his first shop, Delancey, Brandon Pettit perhaps even improves on his previous recipe as he re-creates the neighborhood joints of his New Jersey childhood. The thick, crisp corners of the square Sicilian pies caramelize in the hot oven into what is practically pizza candy, while lovers of traditional round pizza will enjoy the char on the classics. Toppings buck the New Jersey theme by adhering to Seattle style: high-quality and often local. Cocktails at the bar are affordable and simple—including Dino’s own twist on old-school drinks like hard lemonade and Long Island iced tea.

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Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar

$$ Fodor's choice

The first oyster bar from a fifth-generation family-owned aquaculture farm, it's designed to give the diner the ultimate experience of eating a raw oyster. The elegant but casual wood bar and subway-tiled walls frame big tubs of bubbling water keeping the shellfish alive. The menu stays simple, with a focus on the half-dozen varieties of oyster usually on offer and helpful staff that explain each one and shuck them to order. They also sell geoduck (the local giant clam) sashimi, cracked Dungeness crab, shellfish chowder, and a few other dishes for those who want a more complete meal. The wine list is specially curated with glasses that pair well with raw oysters. You can also purchase raw and live shellfish here, to shuck or cook yourself. The Queen Anne and Pioneer Square locations serve more complete meals, while the Samish Bay location makes a great day trip stop.

Analog Coffee

$

The hipster and third-wave coffee dreams combine at this picture-perfect café on the Capitol Hill's west slope. Bright, light, and with big windows onto a quiet street, it invites coffee drinkers in to sit for a spell. As per the name, the music spins on records and they stock paper newspapers, but the coffee is decidedly modern. Beans come from a variety of local roasters, and brews include the standards plus cold brew on tap, pourover, and espresso tonics. 

Blotto

$$

When a pizza obsessive decided to turn his pop-up into a proper restaurant, he recruited an accomplished chef to help him out, and the result is this delightful and precise mini-market, pie counter, and wine shop. Parmesan-sprinkled crusts decorate each of the pizzas, and while the selection is small, chef touches like confit cherry tomatoes keep the toppings interesting. Colorful tablecloths and patio seating open up more space, and to-go pies make great options for eating in nearby Cal Anderson Park. 

1830 12th Ave., Seattle, 98122, USA
206-403–1809
Known For
  • pizza counter seating
  • natural wine bottles
  • chef touches on pizza
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.–Tues.

Cascina Spinasse

$$$$

With cream-colored lace curtains and Italian soul, Spinasse brings the cuisine of Piedmont to Seattle. Chef Stuart Lane makes pasta fresh daily with fillings such as short rib ragu, eggplant, and anchovies, or simply dressed in butter and sage. Secondi options can range from braised pork belly with cabbage to stewed venison over polenta. The dessert selections are lovely; a favorite is panna cotta with cardoon flower honey. With the friendly service and dynamite grappa, amaro, and an Italian-focused wine selection, you likely won't mind paying the price, even if the restaurant is loud and small. Reservations are recommended.  For a well-crafted aperitif, start out next door at companion bar-eatery, Artusi (1535 14th Avenue).

1531 14th Ave., Seattle, 98122, USA
206-251–7673
Known For
  • handmade pasta
  • classic Italian cuisine
  • plentiful amaro
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch, Reservations essential

Dick's Drive-In

$

This local chain of hamburger drive-ins with iconic orange signage has changed little since the 1950s. The fries are hand-cut, the shakes are hand-dipped (made with hard ice cream), and the burgers hit the spot. The most popular burger, the Dick's Deluxe, has two beef patties, American cheese, lettuce, and onions, and is slathered in Dick's special sauce, but many folks swear by the frill-free plain cheeseburger. Open until 2 am daily, these drive-ins are particularly popular among students and late-night bar-hoppers.

Drip Tea

$

This hypebeast destination calls itself a concept store and sells sneakers and streetwear, but the lines stretching out the door are for its popular bubble tea and soft-serve stand. Eye-catching three-color beverages, bear-shaped takeout bottles, and "designer blend" smoothies show off creative combinations of fruit, boba, syrup, and ice cream. For the full experience, order the soft-serve in the bear-shaped waffle pastry, called "bearyaki," too.

Espresso Vivace at Brix

$

Vivace is widely considered to be the home of Seattle's finest espresso. The long, curving bar and a colorful mural add some character to a space in the upscale Brix condo complex. The place definitely has great energy—it's lively and bustling, with Hill residents tippity-tapping on laptops and students holding study groups. Pastries are a bit lackluster, but the espresso beverages more than make up for it.

If the weekend line is too long, there's also a Vivace sidewalk stand just south of here at Broadway and Harrison Street.

Lark

$$$$

The Central Agency Building, a converted 1917 warehouse, is the setting for mouthwateringly delicious set menus with seasonally inspired main dishes. The expert servers can help you choose from an impressive wine list, and will happily help you decide two or three options for each course. Dishes may include chicken-liver parfait with grilled ramps; carpaccio of yellowtail with preserved lemons; veal sweetbreads with black truffle; and poached organic egg with chorizo, but they change each season to reflect what's happening in gardens and ranches locally.

952 E. Seneca St., Seattle, 98122, USA
206-323–5275
Known For
  • set menu
  • welcoming space and service
  • local ingredients
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.–Mon. No lunch, Reservations essential, Strongly recommend no children under 8.

Mamnoon

$$$

The sophistication, elegance, and excitement of Mamnoon are rare in Seattle's excessively casual restaurant culture. Try inventive Middle Eastern foods like pumpkin dumplings, chicory salad with sour mint dressing, and labneh cheesecake, in a transportive environment that matches the enchanting menu. The restaurant also offers easy and affordable options at lunch, making it a convenient choice if you're heading up the hill to explore.

Monsoon

$$$

With an elegant bar and laid-back roof deck, this serene Vietnamese restaurant on a tree-lined residential stretch of Capitol Hill is a better bet than ever. Upscale fare blends Vietnamese and Pacific Northwest elements, including wild prawns with lemongrass, catfish clay pot with fresh coconut juice and green onion, and lamb with fermented soybeans and sweet onions. Homemade ice creams include lychee and mango, but the restaurant's most famous dessert is the coconut crème caramel. The wine cellar has nearly 250 varieties, including many French selections. The weekend brunch—which serves traditional Vietnamese offerings, dim sum, and favorites like French toast and eggs en cocotte—is divine.

Oddfellows Cafe + Bar

$$

Right in the center of the Pike–Pine universe, this huge, ultrahip space anchoring the Oddfellows Building, across from Cal Anderson Park, serves inspired American food from morning coffee to evening drinks. The day might start with breakfast biscuits and thick brioche French toast; later on you can order the "Oddball" sandwich of meatballs in marinara sauce with provolone and Parmesan and roasted free-range chicken. Service is sometimes a bit lacking, but the communal-style seating, Capitol Hill hipster-chic vibe, cold brews, and festive music make this a fun place to watch the day go by or spend an evening out.

Omega Ouzeri

$$$

Open the door into Greece and be welcomed by the white-washed walls, blond-wood tables, bold-blue chairs, and most importantly, the open kitchen full of grilling and olive oil. Greek classics dominate here, with lots of seafood. The cocktail menu provides drinkers with an opportunity to enjoy Greek spirits such as ouzo, mastiha, and rakomelo—“ouzeri” actually means a restaurant that specializes in small plates to go with ouzo (or other drinks). 

1529 14th Ave., Seattle, 98122, USA
206-257-4515
Known For
  • fresh seafood
  • Mediterranean ambience
  • Greek spirits
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.–Mon., Reservations recommended

Qin Xi'an Noodles

$

Silky, chewy noodles, named biang biang for the noise made when they're slapped on a counter as they're stretched by hand, are the specialty at this tiny spot—and you can watch them being prepared while you eat. Aside from the signature hot oil–seared noodles, the shop serves Xi'an delicacies such as stewed pork sandwiches and cold spicy appetizers. Positioned between Downtown and Capitol Hill, it's a great halfway stop for a quick bite.

Salt and Straw

$

Though the Portland-based ice-cream chain has since opened stores up and down the West Coast, it found a welcoming home on Capitol Hill, where its "farm-to-cone" style of ice cream is respected, and the creative, sometimes a little out-there monthly specials don't scare anyone.

Serafina

$$$

To many loyal patrons, Serafina is the perfect neighborhood restaurant: burnt-sienna walls topped by a dark ceiling convey the feeling of a lush garden villa, a sense heightened by the small sheltered courtyard out back. Menu highlights include grilled eggplant rolled with ricotta and basil; asparagus with an egg and truffle oil; and gnudi with rotating ingredients such as mushrooms, nettle, or beef cheeks. Note that Serafina is close to Capitol Hill, in the Eastlake neighborhood, so definitely spring for the short cab ride here.

2043 Eastlake Ave. E, Seattle, 98102, USA
206-323–0807
Known For
  • live music on some nights
  • eggplant rolls
  • handmade gnudi
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch, Reservations recommended

Son of a Butcher

$$$

Forget smoke and mirrors, this Korean barbecue spot fills up every night with smoke and meat-eaters. While most of the city's Korean food scene sits in the suburbs, this quality-focused restaurant presents trays of impeccable sliced beef, pork, and chicken. The extensive menu of soju, along with beer and cocktails, draws a crowd in for the bar, which fits with their other specialty: drinking snacks.

2236 Eastlake Ave. E, Seattle, 98102, USA
206-946–6574
Known For
  • assortment of sauces
  • Korean drinking snacks
  • high-quality meats
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon. No lunch, Reservations recommended

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room

$

You could call it a coffee amusement park for its many ways to keep audiences entertained, but the sprawling combination café and showroom is deadly serious about its beans. Fans of the chain, and the coffee curious, will find lots to taste and explore here in 15,000 square feet of coffee culture. The main floor holds the latest model of Starbucks café, a gallery of Starbucks Reserve coffees—the rarest and finest the brand offers—including an outlet of Princi, the company's Italian-style bakery. As visitors walk around the space, they get a glimpse of the coffee roasting operation. Downstairs, you’ll find a smaller coffee bar where baristas show off the latest and trendiest brewing methods.

Stateside

$$$

Low lights, ceiling fans, and palm-patterned wallpaper combine with weathered gold fixtures to evoke a sense of Vietnam with nearly the same precision as the chef’s rendition of bun cha Hanoi. The setting transports, while the food impresses: great Vietnamese food isn’t hard to find around town, but chef Eric Johnson brings an outsider’s playfulness—as well as a pedigree at Michelin-starred restaurants—to the cuisine. Vietnamese coffee finds its way into frozen treats and tropical cocktails find their ways into coconuts, but what’s most impressive is the sheer amount of flavor—through technique, herbs, and spices—that Johnson packs into each of his dishes. These drinks are the focus at next-door sibling bar, Foreign National.

300 E. Pike St., Seattle, 98122, USA
206-557-7273
Known For
  • great ambience
  • inventive takes on Vietnamese cuisine
  • bun cha Hanoi
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.-Tues. No lunch, Reservations recommended

Sushi Kappo Tamura

$$$$

The seafood is as blindingly fresh as one would hope for at a Seattle sushi bar, but chef Taichi Kitamura ups the ante by adding seasonal, sustainable, and Northwest touches such as pork loin from sustainable Skagit River Ranch with organic watercress. Order a series of small plates at the blond-wood tables, like oysters from nearby Totten Inlet in ponzu sauce, or impeccable spot prawns in soy-butter sauce—or put yourself in Kitamura's more-than-capable hands for omakase at the 13-seat bar. This is in the Eastlake neighborhood, a short cab ride from Capitol Hill.

2968 Eastlake Ave. E, Seattle, 98102, USA
206-547-0937
Known For
  • high-quality fish
  • Pacific Northwest touches
  • creative sushi
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.–Mon. No lunch, Reservations recommended

Taku

$$

After closing two fine-dining restaurants and landing as runner up on Bravo's Top Chef, Shota Nakajima decided to use his talents to create this laid-back, super casual, fun-focused Japanese-style fried chicken shop. Though technically a bar (sorry, kiddos, this one is 21+), most people don't come for the kegged cocktails, sake, or Jell-O shots. Instead, the crowds pack this place for the "thicc nugs," served dry (rubbed with spices), wet (in sauce), over rice, or in a sandwich. Sides include both Japanese and American bar snacks, and everything comes with a choice of the nine different dipping sauces.

706 E. Pike St., Seattle, 98122, USA
206-829–9418
Known For
  • late-night eats
  • crispy Japanese fried chicken
  • celebrity chef Shota Nakajima
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues. No lunch

Taneda Sushi in Kaiseki

$$$$

This tiny space hidden inside an aging mall is modern and lovely and the food is transportive. Reserve far in advance for one of the few coveted spots at Hideki Taneda's counter where each diner receives a progression of dishes, built from seasonal ingredients transformed into elaborate flavors and stunning presentations. While the menu changes often, guests can expect to see plenty of seafood, both local and imported from Japan.

219 E. Broadway, Seattle, 98102, USA
Known For
  • Kaiseki service
  • see the food as it's prepared
  • coveted reservations
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.–Tues. No lunch, Reservations required

The Harvest Vine

$$$

Arrive early for a perch at the upstairs kitchen-side bar of this tiny tapas-and-wine bar,  because the downstairs room isn't nearly as atmospheric (though you can get a reservation there). Though no longer the citywide destination it was in its heyday, it remains a sweet spot and cheerful place to enjoy often-delicious Basque tapas, including chorizo with grilled bread, pan-seared tuna belly with vanilla bean-infused oil, grilled sardines, or duck confit. There is an impressive wine and sherry list that focuses on Basque-region wines.

Victrola Coffee Roasters

$

Victrola is one of the most loved of Capitol Hill's many coffeehouses, and it's easy to see why: the sizable space is pleasant and the walls are hung with artwork by local painters and photographers. The coffee is fantastic, the baristas are skillful, and everyone, from soccer moms to indie rockers, is made to feel like this neighborhood spot exists just for them. If 15th Avenue East is too far off the beaten path for you, there are also branches at 310 East Pike Street, between Melrose and Bellevue, as well as in Beacon Hill and Downtown.

411 15th Ave. E, Seattle, 98112, USA
206-325-6520
Known For
  • laid-back feel
  • art-decked walls
  • fresh-roasted beans

Volunteer Park Café

$

Cute as a button, and beloved by the locals who flock here, VPC gives off a general store/farmhouse feeling. Wholesome, decadent pastries, cookies, and breads are piled high at the counter, and the breakfast sandwiches are legendary. The simple lunch menu includes a few types of toast, salads, and soups, perfect for a light meal after wandering the park or a snack before starting out.

1501 17th Ave. E, Seattle, 98112, USA
206-822–6566
Known For
  • sweet space
  • light lunches
  • great breakfast sandwiches
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.–Tues.

Yalla

$

Conveniently located in the heart of the Olive Way bar scene, this walk-up window caters to the drinking crowd with its late-night hours but serves its Middle Eastern sandwiches all day. The menu centers on saj, a thin bread that wraps around eggplant, meat, cheese, or falafel like a burrito, or comes with dips like muhummara, baba ghanouj, or hummus. There's no seating in the restaurant, so many customers bring their food next door to Montana Bar or to one of the parklets lining the street.