Must-Try Restaurants in Seattle

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  • Seattle boasts an array of restaurants worth a visit, no matter your taste or budget.
  • Tempt your palate at ramen houses, oyster bars, Greek taverns and neighborhood burger joints.
  • Restaurants such as Canlis and Tai Tung are well-established on the city’s culinary landscape and have been welcoming diners for decades.
  • Enjoy homestyle Jamaican cooking at the Jerk Shack and traditional Native American cuisine at Off the Rez.
  • Cafe Flora serves up delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes.

Whether you’re looking for a place to celebrate an anniversary, gather with friends or grab a quick bite, you’ll find a restaurant for every occasion in Seattle. The city’s local dining spots serve diverse dishes including wild-caught seafood, steaming noodle bowls, honey-topped fry breads and Cuban pork belly.

From upscale dining to hidden gems, discover some of the city’s amazing eateries below.

1. Canlis

For an exquisite dining experience, slip into your dressy clothes and head to Canlis. Family-run for three generations, this legendary restaurant is a place you’ll want to save for special occasions. Its tantalizing multi-course menu features options for you to choose, rounded out by a few courses designed to surprise the palate. Pick from a 90-page wine list or ask the knowledgeable sommeliers to choose the right accompaniment for your meal. Located in east Queen Anne, Canlis boasts generous floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing picturesque views of Lake Union while you dine.

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2. Joule

Joule is a modern and stylish steakhouse in the Wallingford area that creatively fuses Korean flavors and French techniques. Menu highlights include a grass-fed ribeye with cornbread, chanterelle mushrooms and yellow curry and a beef tartare with Asian pear, pine nuts, hijiki seaweed and aji Amarillo aioli. For an artful vegetarian dish, try the smoked tofu with honshimeji mushroom confit and soy truffle vinaigrette. Chefs Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi have been nominated 15 times for James Beard Awards, most recently for the national Outstanding Chef award.

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3. 8oz Burger & Co.

When you’re craving a hearty burger, head to 8oz Burger & Co., where you’ll find high-quality beef patties made from local, naturally raised Black Angus, free from hormones and antibiotics. The restaurant’s signature burger is topped with arugula, balsamic onions, bacon, cheddar, and truffle aioli and served on an organic brioche. Those looking for a little heat may be drawn to the Pike, which comes with fire-roasted Anaheim pepper, habanero jam, cotija, and avocado cilantro crema. Chicken, veggie, and fish burgers are also on the menu. Enjoy whiskey, beer, or handcrafted cocktails with your meal, or opt for a decadent milkshake. This family-friendly restaurant feeds hungry customers at two locations.

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4. Jerk Shack

Inspired by his grandmother’s cooking, chef Trey Lamont serves up authentic Jamaican cuisine at Jerk Shack. Lamont uses house-ground spices and modern techniques to coax bright, bold flavors from his dishes. Warm your belly with slow-smoked ribs, Cuban-spiced salmon or grilled chicken dredged in jerk spices. Fry bake sandwiches are stuffed with your choice of protein (try the deep-fried soft-shell crab) and dressed with garlic aioli, hot sauce, cilantro lime sauce and tamarind. Top things off with the Jamaican hibiscus ginger punch or another tropical cocktail from the bar, and soak up the restaurant’s warm and welcoming atmosphere.

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5. Omega Ouzeri

Meet up with friends at Omega Ouzeri and dig into meze-style dishes. This Greek eatery specializes in small, shareable plates of food, such as zucchini fritters with charred scallion-red peppercorn aioli or olives marinated with herbs, spices and orange zest. Pick from entrees such as chicken souvlaki, lamb kebabs and braised short ribs in a spicy tomato sauce. Depending on the season, you may also find grilled octopus, mackerel and sea bass on the menu. On warm days, folding glass walls open the restaurant to the street, making this a lively place to enjoy a meal and indulge in Greek spirits, such as ouzo or tsipouro.

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6. The Walrus and the Carpenter

Nominated for a national James Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant in 2022, Renee Erickson’s The Walrus and the Carpenter is a bustling destination for great seafood in Old Ballard. Diners come to sip on a cocktail, beer, cider or wine while indulging in platters of fresh oysters. The menu changes to accommodate seasonal ingredients, but you’ll find plenty of tantalizing dishes, such as rock fish tartare, scallops, clams, halibut, roasted cauliflower and grilled squash. Round out your meal with a cheese plate or dessert, such as maple bread pudding.

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7. Ooink Ramen

Tuck into a steaming bowl of noodles at Ooink Ramen, chef Chong Boon Ooi’s labor of love. Start your dining experience with plump, pan-fried gyoza or spicy ayam goreng, an irresistible fried chicken seasoned with aromatic spices. Then, move on to your choice of ramen in a rich, silky pork broth. The shio ramen comes with pork chashu, bamboo shoots and seasoned eggs. Meanwhile, spicy mapo tofu ramen is topped with Szechuan-style ground pork and tofu cooked in umami chili oil. You can also request a vegetarian dashi broth made from kumba, shiitake and dried dates. This laid-back ramen house serves up delicious noodles in two locations.

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8. Tai Tung

Established in 1935, Tai Tung is Seattle’s oldest Chinese restaurant. This family-run eatery has been handed down through the generations and is a mainstay in the International District. Sit at the counter for a casual, quick bite — combination plates offering soup, rice and three other dishes are a popular choice. Or, gather the family around a table for Peking duck, steamed crab, hot and sour chicken pot and crispy Hong Kong-style chow mein. While Tai Tung is humble and unassuming, it has plenty of retro charm. Stop by to see the famous table where actor Bruce Lee often came to eat his favorite dishes: oyster sauce beef and garlic shrimp.

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9. Café Flora

Café Flora transforms fresh, locally grown produce into flavorsome vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes. Swing by for weekend brunch and enjoy pancakes, frittata or breakfast scrambles with seasoned tofu. Add a mimosa or Bloody Mary as a treat. For dinner, try their version of a French dip: grilled portobello mushrooms, caramelized onion and Swiss cheese on a baguette, with savory mushroom garlic au jus. Tacos Dorados will satisfy your Mexican cravings with cheesy mashed potatoes stuffed into corn tortillas and served with black beans, garlicky greens, fire-roasted salsa and lime crème fraiche. This charming Madison Valley restaurant also serves breakfast and lunch during the week and offers a kids’ menu, so you can bring the whole family.

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10. Off the Rez

Mark McConnell and Cecilia Rikard launched Off the Rez as Seattle’s first Native American food truck, building the menu around traditional Blackfeet fry bread recipes and Indian tacos. While you can still find the truck in various locations, the success of their mobile venture has led to a brick-and-mortar cafe at the Burke Museum at the University of Washington. Both the food truck and cafe serve handmade, sweet fry bread with jam, lemon curd, Nutella or cinnamon and sugar. The thick, soft fried dough is also served with savory toppings, such as chili, smoked pulled pork or braised, shredded bison. These Indian tacos are finished with cheddar cheese, lettuce, crema sauce and pickled red onions.

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11. Fonda la Catrina

Fonda la Catrina brings Mexican flavors to Georgetown, with dishes inspired by traditional family recipes. You’ll find enchiladas, tamales, quesadillas and other classic dishes on the menu. Sit down to a plate of Camarones a la Diabla, featuring fresh prawns in a zesty chile de arbol sauce, or Carne Asada made from grass-fed chuck steak accompanied by grilled cactus and creamy avocado. Come early for happy hour and have a margarita to go with a plate of bacon-wrapped, cheese-filled jalapenos or a duo of crispy tacos dorados. This colorful eatery is also open for weekend brunch. Seating is available inside or on the patio.

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12. Spinasse

Brimming with rustic charm, Spinasse whisks diners to northern Italy. The menu is inspired by the cuisine of the Piedmont region, and dishes are served as traditional Italian courses. Choose from an array of antipasti to start, followed by risotto or handmade pasta for the primo course. Secondi dishes include braised pork belly stuffed with prosciutto or pan-seared salmon with polenta, kale and roasted garlic. If you can’t decide between the enticing options, consider the tasting menu. The kitchen will bring every antipasto, primo and secondo on the menu to your table to be shared by all. Save room for dessert, whether you pick the baked chocolate almond pudding or rum-soaked pastry with cardamom mousse and nectarines.

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Anita Wong

Anita Wong

Anita Wong is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience. She specializes in researching and writing online content for the marketing, business, travel, and health sectors, but can tackle any topic that piques her curiosity. She has a background in journalism and communications and lives on Canada's West Coast.

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