Blowout or Budget: A High-Low Guide to Seattle Dining

By Leslie Kelly  |  February 17, 2014
Credit: Photo courtesy of Canlis

Fried chicken, burgers, dim sum and sushi are among the constant barrage of cravings that hit innocent, food-loving bystanders at any given moment. And there are times when you must answer to your appetite, regardless of how much money is in your wallet. For those moments, we bring you this useful High-Low Guide to Dining in Seattle. Whether you're hankering for pizza, steaks or the perfect special-occasion dining spot, we've got options for budgets small and large - so you can dig in with abandon. 

  • Credit: Leslie Kelly


    Blowout: Seattle's a seafood-loving city, and there are few prettier dining rooms to enjoy beautiful preparations of our beloved wild salmon than ART at the Four Seasons, where stellar fish will set you back $30. 99 Union St.; 206-749-7070

    Budget: A trio of salmon sliders are just $5 during happy hour at Anthony's. 6135 Seaview Ave. NW; 206-783-0780 

  • Credit: Luuvu Hoang


    Blowout: Leave it to the Chef in the Hat to add a foie gras option to the succulent ground-chuck sandwich at Loulay - a burger that's already pretty rich from a porky schmear of bacon jam. Add the goose liver, a duck egg and cheese to the basic burger, and it all adds up to $21, including fries. 600 Union St.; 206-402-4584

    Budget: Hometown favorite Dick's Drive In wows fans with 100% fresh beef burgers, hand-cut fries and a tab that's less than the cost of a triple mocha Frappuccino. Multiple locations.

  • Credit: Leslie Kelly


    Blowout: Brandon Petit's way popular pizza place in Ballard couldn't really be considered spendy, except that everything on Delancey's seasonally driven menu sounds so good, you'll be tempted to order one of everything. Two or three excellent pies - a clam pizza is pictured here - a few starters and dessert with wine and you're looking at three figures. So worth it. 1415 NW 70th St.; 206-838-1960

    Budget: A slice of Big Mario's New York-style pie is a must after a cocktail-filled night on Capitol Hill. A slice of cheese pizza is just $3. 1009 East Pike St.; 206-922-3875

  • Credit: Leslie Kelly


    Blowout: Sitka & Spruce's ever-changing selection of pâté, including the silky-smooth chicken liver, pictured here, is a bit precious at $16 for a starter. You're not going to want to share. 1531 Melrose Ave.; 206-324-0662

    Budget: Salumi is the homey mom-and-pop shop credited with starting the city's cured-meat revolution and through the years, they've managed to keep the cost reasonable. A large assortment of salami is $13 and easily enough for two. 309 Third Ave. S.; 206-621-8772

  • Credit: Leslie Kelly

    Dim Sum

    Blowout: At $6.50 and up, TanakaSan's dim sum items are twice the price of the typical dish in the International District, but we're down to pay more for the twice-fried chicken wings, smoked duck sausage in pinch buns, and much more. 2121 Sixth Ave.; 206-812-8412

    Budget: It's possible to get stuffed for well under $20 at Sun Ya. Don't miss the gai lan with oyster sauce. Note the exciting bonus of free parking out front. 605 Seventh Ave. S.; 206-623-1670

  • Credit: Geoffrey Smith

    Fried Chicken

    Blowout: Ma'Ono Fried Chicken and Whisky changed the way Seattle thinks about the down-home poultry classic, introducing us to the succulent, highly seasoned legs, breasts and thighs from local, raised-sustainably birds. A whole chicken is $39. 4437 California Ave. SW; 206-935-1075

    Budget: Oprah put Ezell's on the map, but folks in Seatown have been loving this chicken shack long before that. A two-piece dinner with two sides is $5.50. 501 23rd Ave.; 206-324-4141

  • Credit: Willows Lodge

    Woodinville Wine Country

    Blowout: The Herbfarm has won about every honor under the sun, making it the must-visit dining destination in the Northwest for its inventive menus and deep wine cellar. An inclusive nine-course meal with wine is $200+. 14590 NE 145th St., Woodinville; 425-485-5300

    Budget: Barking Frog's kitchen makes top-notch bar snacks for Willows Lodge's Cellars Lounge, just steps from the super-luxe Herbfarm. Make a pig of yourself feasting on the $12 pulled pork sandwich or the $10 pizzette. 14580 NE 145th St., Woodinville; 425-424-2999

  • Credit: Canlis

    The Special Occasion Spot

    Blowout: Canlis is the reservation to book when you want to celebrate a birthday or pop the question. And the third generation now running this landmark has pushed hard to move the menu forward while still paying tribute to its beloved beginnings. Chef Jason Franey's tasting menu is $125, with optional wine pairings chosen by award-winning sommelier Nelson Daquip, available for $65 or $125. 2576 Aurora Ave. N.; 206-283-3313

    Budget: You can also hit Canalis on a budget. Sidle up to the lovely bar, pictured, and have a glass of Washington state Malbec and an order of steak tartare ($20) while listening to free live music almost every night. 

  • Credit: Metropolitan Grill


    Blowout: The city has a bunch of steakhouses, but when we're craving a big hunk of beef, we head to Metropolitan Grill, where a perfectly grilled prime 18-oz. bone-in rib-eye is $60. 820 Second Ave.; 206-624-3287

    Budget: The Met's handsome bar serves up one of the best happy hours in the city, where you can score bacon-wrapped tenderloin skewers for $7 between 3 and 6 PM on weekdays. 

  • Credit: Leslie Kelly


    Blowout: Shiro's has been in the spotlight for decades, and the restaurant's sushi master continues working his magic most evenings. Here, the signature omakase menu is $65. 2401 Second Ave.; 206-443-9844

    Budget: Tsukushinbo is so under the radar, it doesn't even have a sign. But find it and get whatever's on the special board, written in Japanese and English. A whole lot of fish on rice will add up to $25-30. 515 S. Main St.; 206-467-4004