Seattle Restaurants

Thanks to inventive chefs, first-rate local produce, adventurous diners, and a bold entrepreneurial spirit, Seattle has become one of the culinary capitals of the nation. Fearless young chefs have stepped in and raised the bar. Fresh and often foraged produce, local seafood, and imaginative techniques make the quality of local cuisine even higher.

Seattle's dining scene has been stoked like a wildfire by culinary rock stars who compete on shows like Iron Chef, Top Chef, and regularly dominate "best of" lists. Seattle chefs have won big in the prestigious James Beard competition, with Renee Erickson of Bateau, Walrus and the Carpenter, and the Whale Wins taking the "Best Chef Northwest" title in 2016 and creative genius Edouardo Jordan named one of Food and Wine Magazine's "Best New Chefs." The city is particularly strong on new American, Japanese, and Vietnamese cuisines. Chefs continuously fine-tune what can best be called Pacific Northwest cuisine, which features fresh, local ingredients, including anything from nettles and mushrooms foraged in nearby forests; colorful berries, apples, and cherries grown by Washington State farmers; and outstanding seafood from the cold northern waters of the Pacific Ocean, like wild salmon, halibut, oysters, Dungeness crab, and geoduck. Seattle boasts quite a few outstanding bakeries, too, whose breads and desserts you'll see touted on many menus.

Seattle is also seeing a resurgence in American comfort food, often with a gourmet twist, as well as gastropub fare, which can mean anything from divine burgers on locally baked ciabatta rolls to grilled foie gras with brioche toast. But innovation still reigns supreme: local salmon cooked sous vide and accompanied with pickled kimchi or fresh-picked peas can be just as common as aspic spiked with sake and reindeer meat. Many menus feature fusion cuisine or pages of small-plate offerings, and even high-end chefs are dabbling in casual ventures like pop-up eateries or gourmet food trucks. Many, if not most, of the top chefs own their businesses as well, and in recent years they’ve spread their talents around, operating two or three complementary ventures (or, in Ethan Stowell’s case, more than a dozen and counting, while Tom Douglas has nearly 20, plus a cooking school and farm). The trend toward informality and simplicity particularly plays out when it comes to dessert; most neighborhoods boast branches of at least one of the city’s popular, independently owned cupcake, doughnut, or ice-cream shops. Regardless of the format or focus, one thing's for sure: chefs are highlighting their inventions with the top-notch ingredients that make Pacific Northwest cooking famous.

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  • 1. Eden Hill

    $$$$ | Queen Anne | Modern American

    This tiny, 24-seat restaurant quietly turns out some of the most exciting and innovative food in the city. With patterned wallpaper, a location...Read More

  • 2. Lark

    $$$ | Capitol Hill | Modern American

    The Central Agency Building, a converted 1917 warehouse with 25-foot ceilings, is the setting for mouthwateringly delicious small plates to...Read More

  • 3. Art of the Table

    $$$$ | Wallingford | Modern American

    Small, pricey, but utterly unforgettable, the Art of the Table is a constantly changing tour de force where you're sure to experience an inspired...Read More

  • 4. Oddfellows Cafe + Bar

    $$ | Capitol Hill | Modern American

    Smack in the center of the Pike–Pine universe, this huge, ultrahip space anchoring the Oddfellows Building, across from Cal Anderson Park, serves...Read More

  • 5. Place Pigalle

    $$$ | Downtown | Modern American

    Large windows look out on Elliott Bay in this cozy spot tucked behind a meat vendor in Pike Place Market's main arcade. In nice weather, open...Read More

  • 6. Poppy

    $$$ | Capitol Hill | Modern American

    Jerry Traunfeld's bright, airy restaurant on the northern end of Broadway is a feast for the senses, with funky design details, friendly staff...Read More

  • 7. Sitka & Spruce

    $$$ | Capitol Hill | Modern American

    James Beard Award–winner Matthew Dillon helms this popular restaurant at Capitol Hill's Melrose Market; it's romantic, chic, friendly, and cutting...Read More

  • 8. Tilth

    $$$ | Wallingford | Modern American

    A certified organic restaurant by the much-lauded Maria Hines, Tilth serves up wonderful, inventive dishes that can be had as small plates or...Read More

  • 9. Boat Street Café & Kitchen

    $$ | Belltown | Modern American

    Tables at this French–meets–Nantucket bistro often fill up with couples at night, but the lunchtime scene runs the gamut from Downtown office...Read More

  • 10. Spring Hill

    $$$ | West Seattle | Modern American

    West Seattle's most exciting culinary beacon, Spring Hill takes quality and freshness seriously. A quietly hip vibe pervades this large eatery...Read More

  • 11. Crush

    $$$$ | Madison Park | Modern American

    Occupying a converted two-story house, this sleek restaurant helmed by James Beard Award–winning chef Jason Wilson may have you thinking that...Read More

  • 12. Dinette

    $$ | Capitol Hill | Modern American

    Dinette's main claim to fame is fancy toast, which is served with anything from radishes and egg salad to smoked salmon with herbed mascarpone...Read More

  • 13. Restaurant Zoë

    $$$ | Belltown | Modern American

    Reservations are sought after at this chic eatery on a high-traffic corner. Its tall windows, lively bar scene, and charming waitstaff add to...Read More

  • 14. Spur

    $$$ | Belltown | Modern American

    The oft-changing menu from restlessly creative chefs Dana Tough and Brian McCracken sneaks in touches of molecular gastronomy—the eggs will...Read More

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