Last Updated on February 5, 2024 by Kelly
Seattle is known for its fresh seafood and local ingredients. The city is full of award-winning restaurants, as well as some up-and-coming restaurants that are hidden gems. Although I’ve lived in Seattle for most of my life, I’m still just scratching the surface when it comes to the food scene here. In this post, I’m sharing my picks for some of the best restaurants in Seattle. I’ve organized this post into the best restaurants for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Enjoy!
21 Best Restaurants in Seattle
Honest Biscuits | $
Honest Biscuits is the place to go for breakfast sandwiches. Their biscuits are handmade each morning using locally-produced flour. They are light and fluffy on the inside. Their menu includes classics such as a Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich, but also items like the Mexican Breakfast Sandwich (made with chorizo). Honest Biscuits is owned by Art Stone, who has been devoted to replicating his grandmother’s biscuit recipe while also adding his own spin. In addition to breakfast sandwiches, they also sell Biscuits and Gravy and Biscuit Sandwiches.
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Portage Bay Cafe | $$
This is my favorite restaurant in Seattle for brunch. They currently have four locations in the Seattle area. Make a reservation in advance, because there is often a line out the door for this place! What I love about this restaurant is that they have a breakfast bar with toppings for their waffles, french toast, and pancake meals. Toppings include fruits, whipped cream, and organic maple syrup. I like to order the Bananas Foster French Toast and then hit up the toppings bar. Other notable breakfast options include the Apple Cinnamon Pancakes, the Oatmeal Cobbler French Toast, the Mole Verde Burrito, and the Seattle Benedict.
Simply Soulful Cafe | $
As the name implies, the Simply Soulful Cafe specializes in soul food. For brunch, they have served dishes like Chicken and Waffles, Shrimp and Grits, and Biscuits and Gravy. Simply Soulful Cafe is a black-owned business with its roots dating back to 1922. The cafe’s menu pays homage to the owner’s mother, Elizabeth Hammond, who was known for her sweet potato pie recipe.
Watson’s Counter | $$
Watson’s Counter is famed around Seattle for its Cereal French Toast. You have to try it at least once! They batter their homemade bread in crushed cereal. You can choose between either Frosted Flakes or Fruity Pebbles. It makes for a super-Instagrammable meal! They also serve dishes like eggs benedict, loco mocos, and chicken and waffles.
Charlotte Restaurant and Lounge | $$$
Charlotte Restaurant and Lounge is located in the Lotte Hotel Seattle. (See our post about best hotels in Seattle to learn more about this hotel!) The restaurant has sweeping views of the city and a contemporary feel. It’s open for breakfast and dinner. The restaurant specializes in contemporary Pacific Northwest cuisine, but it’s worth going just for the views!
The Flour Box | $
The Flour Box is one of Seattle’s premier donut shops. The head baker, Pamela Vuong, discovered her love of baking while she was a student at the University of Washington and went all-in on following her donut-creating dreams. In 2022, she was elected as a James Beard semifinalist for Outstanding Baker!
The Flour Box makes hand-filled brioche donuts, cookies, and cinnamon rolls. Every item is made from scratch using local and organic ingredients whenever possible. Pamela writes that everything is made from love, and it’s more than evident. This shop has gained a cult following and many repeat customers. They often sell-out, so get there early! We recommend following their Instagram account because they typically give updates regarding how long the line is to purchase donuts.
Ma’Ono Fried Chicken | $$
I’m starting this list off with Ma’Ono because you have to go there. This fried chicken joint is a counter tucked away within Rachel’s Ginger Beer. They serve up one of the best fried chicken sandwiches we have ever had. (And just so you know how much we love it, my husband chose this spot for his birthday lunch.) Their fried chicken sandwich incorporates Hawaiian flavors. They use a King’s Hawaiian bun with daikon pickles, kewpie mayo, and iceberg lettuce.
8oz Burger & Co. | $$
If you love burgers as much as we do, do yourself a favor and head to 8oz Burger & Co. They offer a variety of mouthwatering burgers named after local Seattle streets. For example, their The Union burger consists of an espresso-rubbed patty, arugula, fried shallots, candied bacon, gorgonzola, and peppercorn aioli. They have two locations in Seattle, so be sure to check them out. We went to 8oz Burger & Co. recently for a date night, and we will definitely be coming back. They made our list of best burgers ever!
Frelard Tamales | $
This is a restaurant with heart. Before we even talk about their homemade tamales, first we want to recognize that this restaurant donates a sizable percentage of their profits to local community organizations. In addition to all of that goodness, they make some amazing tamales! You can choose between a variety of flavors, including Chorizo & Cheese, Salsa Verde Chicken, and Sweet Pineapple.
Cafe Campagne | $$
When I used to work downtown, I would often meet my aunt for lunch at Cafe Campagne. This French bistro is located right next to Pike Place Market. (If you haven’t checked out our Complete Guide to Pike Place Market, before to check it out to find out what to eat and drink while in the market!) At this cafe, you’ll find traditional French dishes such as Quiche Lorraine, Les Croques, and Calamars à la Provençal.
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Dick’s Drive-In | $
With multiple locations in the greater Seattle area, you are sure to find a Dick’s near you. This burger joint is extremely popular with locals. (We actually just went there yesterday!) Dick’s Drive-In has been a Seattle staple since 1954. This to-go service counter (no indoor dining) makes fresh cheeseburgers that are delicious and affordable. I spent many an evening in college visiting Dick’s after a night out. If you’re visiting Seattle for the first time, don’t leave without trying Dick’s.
Off the Rez Cafe | $$
Off the Rez Cafe is Seattle’s first native food truck and cafe. (See their website to find both locations!) They specialize in Blackfeet frybread recipes and Indian tacos. Try their BBQ Pulled Pork Indian Taco or the Sweet Frybread.
La Carta de Oaxaca | $$
I first dined at La Carta de Oaxaca when I was in grad school. I quickly found out that they have the best mole sauce of any of the places I’ve tried around here. If you go, you have to try their Mole Negro Oaxaqueno (served with chicken or pork ribs). Pair that with homemade guacamole and one of their many tequila offerings, and you’ll be in heaven.
Sushi Kashiba | $$$$
Chef Shiro Kashiba created Seattle’s first sushi bar in 1970. Chef Kashiba was trained by the famous Jiro Ono (from the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi). Chef Kashiba has been a three-time James Beard Award nominee for Outstanding Chef, and he was recently appointed as an official Goodwill Ambassador of Japanese Cuisine by the Government of Japan. If you love sushi, then you have to visit his signature restaurant: Sushi Kashiba. This restaurant is located right next to Pike Place Market, so you know the seafood is as fresh as it gets.
Din Tai Fung | $$
Another one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle is Din Tai Fung. I recently went there for the first time, after hearing about how amazing it was for quite some time. We started our dinner with the cucumber salad appetizer. The cucumbers was crunchy and crisp, and they were tossed into a slightly spicy oil dressing. The appetizer was addictive! (I’ve already gone back and ordered it again!) We also shared two orders of the Kurobuta Pork Xiao Long Bao. The dumplings were so tender and savory. (They make their dumplings from scratch in-house!) Finally, we shared an order of the Shrimp & Kurobuta Pork Spicy Wontons. The spice-level was perfect! Overall, we had the best time at Din Tai Fung, and I would highly recommend this restaurant to others. We went on a weeknight and there was a line for seating, so I recommend that you get there early if you can. It’s a popular place!
Art of the Table | $$$
One of my absolute favorite restaurants in Seattle is Art of the Table. I’ve had the opportunity to dine there twice for special events, and the meals were truly outstanding. I also highly recommend purchasing the wine pairings, because they really added to the experience. Art of the Table serves a tasting menu that typically consists of 5 courses. This fancy restaurant is located off of Stone Way in the Fremont neighborhood. I think of this restaurant as a hidden gem, because of its unassuming location.
Canlis | $$$$
Canlis is Seattle’s most well-known fine-dining restaurant. The restaurant has been a Seattle icon and has been serving the people of the city, as well as visitors, for over 70 years. The restaurant has received multiple James Beard awards and nominations. Their menu is outstanding, and they have one of the best wine lists in the world. Their restaurant also has some of the best views of the city, so you are really getting the best of everything when you dine at Canlis.
The Walrus and the Carpenter | $$$
One of the things that Seattle does best is prepare seafood. At The Walrus and the Carpenter, you’ll enjoy the best seafood the city offers. If you like oysters, their oyster menu contains seven different varieties (baywater sweet, wildcat cove, eagle rock, olympic wild, eld inlet, indigo, and blue pool). This restaurant was recently rated as a James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant.
Bateau | $$$
Our list of Seattle’s best dinner spots would not be complete without a steakhouse. At Bateau, you will choose a specialty dry aged steak cut and an assortment of delicious side dishes. You can also choose to have your steak topped with one of their signature butters (bone marrow, preserved lemon and brown butter, or anchovy).
Nue | $$
This restaurant is named after a supernatural monster in Japanese mythology that is a beast composed of many different parts. Because the menu at Nue is a fusion of many different cuisine styles, the name was a perfect fit for the restaurant. Currently on their menu you’ll find offerings like the South African Bunny Show, the Chengdu Spicy Jumbo Chicken Wings, and the Danish Drømmekage Dream Cake.
Ray’s Boathouse | $$$
Ray’s Boathouse offers the best of Seattle’s seafood along with unbeatable views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. It’s the perfect spot to go to for a special occasion. They have menu offerings such as Pan Seared Sea Scallops, Dungeness Crab Cakes, and Seared Pacific Northwest Halibut.
Chinooks | $$
What I love most about Chinooks is the view! Many of the tables have views directly of the marina. Chinooks specializes in seafood, so you’ll also get a good opportunity to try some of Seattle’s famous seafood. I especially liked their clam chowder and fish tacos.
Matt’s in the Market | $$$
Located in Pike Place Market, Matt’s in the Market is one of Seattle’s most famous restaurants. The menu is constantly evolving based on fresh ingredients.
We recently visited Matt’s in the Market for lunch. I ordered the Dungeness Crab Roll and my husband ordered a Cornmeal Crusted Catfish sandwich. We thought both were good!
The restaurant is pretty small, so be sure to make reservations in advance. We were lucky to walk-in and get a table for lunch during the weekend. We visited with our daughters, but we don’t think this is the most family-friendly restaurant for young children. (There’s only one menu item for kids, not a lot of room for strollers, and no changing area in the bathroom.) However, we think this is the perfect restaurant for a date night or for families with older children.
Matt’s in the Market also has a unique view of the Pike Place Market sign through its large glass windows. We highly recommend that you add this restaurant to your Seattle itinerary!
Salty’s | $$$
Located in West Seattle, Salty’s has excellent views of the Seattle skyline. I’ve been to Salty’s on several occasions, and I’ve always enjoyed their seafood and views. After dinner, be sure to take a beach walk along Alki Beach. It’s one of my favorite things to do in Seattle!
Palisade | $$$$
Palisade is located in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood. The restaurant is located right in front of the Elliott Bay Marina, and it has excellent views of Elliott Bay, the Seattle skyline, and even the Space Needle. I’ve dined at Palisade numerous times, and I’ve always enjoyed their meals and their service. If you’re looking for a nice seafood restaurant in Seattle, consider Palisade. You can read our full review of Palisade for more photos.
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Travel Tip: If you’re planning a trip to Seattle, consider buying a Seattle CityPASS. You’ll be able to save money if you plan on visiting multiple attractions.
What are some 5-star restaurants in Seattle?
If you’re interested in fine dining while you’re in Seattle, there are numerous 5-star restaurants to choose from. These include Canlis, Altura, Art of the Table, Palisade, the Capital Grille, Daniel’s Broiler, and Ascend. I’ve personally dined at most of these restaurants. We particularly recommend Art of the Table if you are looking for an excellent prix-fixe menu. We also really enjoyed Ascend’s steak and sushi!
What is the most famous restaurant in Seattle?
The most famous restaurant in Seattle, we would argue, is Canlis. As Seattle locals, there’s no other restaurant that has the fame and prestige as Canlis. Many refer to it as the best restaurant in Seattle.
We hope that you enjoyed this post on the best restaurants in Seattle! We worked hard on researching the different shops and sharing with you the best of the best. If you’re looking for a restaurant with a view of Seattle, we recommend Canlis, Ray’s Boathouse, or Matt’s in the Market. Enjoy!
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