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The best restaurants in Seattle

Local seafood, excellent sushi and more iconic eaters are on the menu in tasty Seattle

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Let’s go on a culinary journey to the gem of the Pacific Northwest: Seattle. Now, the Emerald City might be known for its iconic Space Needle, grunge music and, yes, as the birthplace of Starbucks, but let me tell you, this city's gastronomical scene is an adventure in and of itself. The best restaurants in Seattle are a vibrant mix helmed by innovative chefs creating mouthwatering dishes from the region's bounty, including fresh seafood from local fishermen. Cultural influences play a big part in the food scene in Seattle, and you can find some of the best Asian food in the United States here. From top-rated establishments near Pike Place Market to favorite neighborhood gems, let’s delve into the sizzling kitchens of Seattle. 

This guide was updated by Seattle-based writer Tess Arnold. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines

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Best restaurants in Seattle

There's nothing quite like fine dining, and Canlis know it. Great for an important date or a super fancy celebration, the restaurant has expert sommeliers to help you pick out a perfect pairing from their extensive wine list, gorgeous panoramic views of the city (including the Cascade Mountain range and Lake Union), and delicious dishes to boot. 

Spinasse is loved by first-time visitors and regulars alike and is possibly the best place for fresh pasta in Seattle. Chef Stuart Lane hones in on traditional dishes and techniques of the Piedmont region of Italy with the most popular dish being the Tajarin con Burro e Salvia (pasta with a butter sage sauce)—your tastebuds will thank you. 

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This intimate, inventive restaurant in Hillman City melds Pacific Northwest cuisine with Filipino-American flavors. Offering a seasonal tasting menu, the meal weaves flavors with the story of the chef-owner's journeys as immigrants to the region. The focus is on local produce, enhanced with a bit of history.

For those of you who are visiting Seattle for the first time and are curious as to why there is a random pale pink door in Post Alley—it’s actually an intimate Italian restaurant, a very delicious one. It can be difficult to snag a reservation: The Pink Door serves crowd-pleasing food (don't pass on the fresh seafood),  features live music and an outdoor terrace, and even brings in an aerialist to perform on certain nights.

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Part of the Ethan Stowell restaurant group, How to Cook a Wolf, has two locations: Queen Anne and Madison Park. Prepare to be delighted by how simple, seasonal ingredients are turned into culinary delights with a rustic feel. The Queen Anne location is small, cozy and perfect for date night. The idea of sharing is the focus at How to Cook a Wolf and everything on the menu is fantastic.

Stepping into Homer will feel more like entering a friend's home than a restaurant. A shining star in Beacon Hill, Homer serves dishes inspired by Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine and encourages sharing plates for the table. Aside from mouth-watering food, they’re also known for their soft serve window, rotating two seasonal flavors (think apple butter and smoked maple).

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Located in Ballard, Rupee Bar draws from Sri Lankan and Indian cuisine for its menu of shareable small plates, including dhal curry, Kerala fried chicken and bhel puri. The cocktail program is equally impressive and features craft cocktails blended with Southeast Asian flavors. Rupee's intimate dining room—awarded a James Beard for best design in 2020—packs up weeks in advance but select seats are reserved for a few lucky walk-ins each night.

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  • Pine Market
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If you’re in Pike Place market and you need to get away from the crowds, you’ll want to head to Matt’s in the Market. A little hard to find—it’s up some pretty nondescript back stairs off of First Avenue—Matt’s in the Market serves fish and veggies found in the market below it. With a view of the Olympic Mountains, the Pike Place Market Sign, and the bustling street below, you will be Instagramming your meal and your surroundings.

Believe it or not, Pike Place Market is home to a James Beard Outstanding Chef nominee. Seats at the bar are the most coveted, as you can watch said master sushi chef at work. The omakase option will feature seasonal offerings, but every item on the menu will be fresh and delicious.

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  • North Broadway
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Overlooking Seattle’s Lake Union, Westward shows off all the goodies the Pacific Northwest offers in every dish. The venue is a fantastic destination for a romantic evening, during which lovers can gaze at the sunset from one of the Adirondack chairs overlooking the lake.

For spot-on Neapolitan pizzas, head to Beacon Hill. Though slightly hidden, Bar del Corso is frequently packed, but the wait is worth it for the pizzas with a bubbly, crispy crust. The rest of the menu is equally tasty, with items like meatballs, salt cod fritters, or grilled octopus with corona beans.

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  • Pine Market
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Francophiles are going to feel right at home at Le Pichet. Another Seattle institution, the eatery’s menu is almost entirely in French. Don’t fret, though: No matter what you order, you will end up with something fantastically delicious.

  • Belltown
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At one point, every newspaper reporter from the Seattle Times would head to 13 Coins to grab a steak and a beer after a long day at the newsroom. Now that both the Seattle Times and 13 Coins have moved from their original locations, the steak/news legacy is only part of Seattle lore. One thing has remained the same: The steak is still oh-so-delicious.

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  • First Hill
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If you’re looking for a strong cup of coffee and a warm meal while strolling through Capitol Hill, Oddfellows is the best place to rest your weary self. Serving traditional cafe eats, this is the ultimate cool place to hang out during a rainy afternoon in Seattle. Fun fact: 90 percent of Oddfellows decor is salvaged and repurposed to save on waste and give the space that vintage feel everyone seems to appreciate.

The best thing to eat on a cold, rainy Seattle day is ramen; Ooink is where you need to go. Conveniently located in Fremont and Capitol Hill, Ooink’s Japanese Malay-style ramen will surely have you slurping every last bit. The team at Ooink follows the philosophy of “respect the ingredients” and ensures no ingredients go to waste: you can even find extra noodles free for the taking sometimes at the Fremont location.

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Known as one of the best places to eat sushi in Seattle, Shiro’s was also the first Edomae-style restaurant in town when opened by master sushi chef Shiro Kashiba. Shiro Kashiba has since left Shiro’s Sushi and has opened Sushi Kashiba, which is also on this list. Shiro’s Sushi only offers two set course menus, starting at $85 for 19 pieces of seasonal nigiri.

Maneki is not only the oldest Japanese restaurant in Seattle but also the oldest restaurant in the Emerald City! Maneki opened its doors in 1904, and the lines haven’t stopped. Reservations are highly recommended, but it’s a dining experience that can’t be missed in the International District. For a more unique experience, try booking the private tatami room. Note: Maneki is currently closed for renovations.

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  • East Queen Anne

Master chef Rachel Yang helms both Revel and Joule in Seattle, and Joule is her crowning achievement. The upscale yet casual Korean eatery focuses on different cuts and beef preparations—each one more delicious than the next.

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Taking a ferry to visit a restaurant may sound a bit excessive, but in this case, it’s exactly what you should be doing. With a wood-burning stove on-site, Bruciato serves one of the best slices you’ll ever nosh on. Offering pies bursting with chorizo, honey, and morel mushrooms (only when they are in season, of course), the eatery promises to deliver one of the most transcendent pizza-eating experiences of your life.

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Taste Indian cuisine in a whole new way at Meesha. The contemporary dishes are bursting with flavor, a simple celebration. Familiar dishes like pakoras and butter chicken are on the menu but don't miss Amritsari fish (pan-fried rockfish with cardamom and fenugreek), paneer in a spiced tomato sauce, or Bukhara dal. 

  • International District
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Sure, all the restaurants lining the International District offer delicious Chinese BBQ pork, but to enjoy the very best, you’ll want to dine at Kau Kau. The festive and casual Chinese restaurant sells so much BBQ pork and duck that the staff has even set up a window service for takeout—the ideal excuse for a late-night snack if you ask us.

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In need of something comforting to warm you up on a chilly day? A cup of Seattle’s most famous chowder will do the trick. Pike Place Chowder has made fresh, locally sourced, small-bath chowder daily for over 20 years. There are eight different chowders on the menu and we highly recommend getting the sampler, which lets you try four to eight types of chowder. If the line is too long, head to their other nearby location inside Pacific Place Center.

  • Whittier Heights
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Chew on what many consider Seattle’s most delicious sandwich offerings at Un Bien. Hours-long cooked meats drenched in the best Caribbean juices make waiting on the side of the street for your order worth it. Trust us on this one.

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Xi'an Noodles is an unassuming spot in the University District where you'll find some of the best noodles in Seattle. Chewy, tender, hand-pulled noodles are best served with hot chili oil, and toppings like spicy cumin lamb and stewed pork.

  • University District
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In the mood for noodles? Thai Tom in the University District is your best bet. This Thai noodle shop offers a limited menu and even fewer seats (less than 20)—but don’t let that deter you! The wait is completely worth it.

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  • Wallingford
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It’s not a trip to (or a regular week in) Seattle without a meal at Dick’s Burger. The low-key burger joints are scattered throughout the city and have been a favorite of all Pacific Northwesterners for years. 

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