The growth of Seattle's restaurant scene has continued to be explosive this year, giving diners so many more incredible options all around the city. Starting with a from-scratch brewery and distillery in Bothell and continuing across Lake Washington to a cozy shared plates spot in Queen Anne, the culinary landscape looks as lush as a farmer's market smack in the middle of summer. Here are the latest and greatest to launch, with plenty more on deck.
John Howie (Seastar, John Howie Steak, Sport) and Erik Liedholm are behind this Bothell comfort-food specialist, featuring a brewery in the basement and their own Wildwood Spirits distillery next door. With pizza, sausages, homemade breads and thick, juicy burgers, everything is made in-house from local ingredients, and the convivial pub takes upcycling seriously with tables made from wood harvested from the property.
Must-Order: Everything — from the malted grains pizza dough to the gin in your cocktail — is made in-house at this Bothell hot spot. Make sure to get an order of the grilled kalbi pork meat candy paired with a smooth Widow Maker Wit.
Insider Tip: Ask for the secret menu offering called Fries Big Foot Style: fresh-made pomme frites covered with smoked Gouda sauce.
Feeding Capitol Hill’s appetite for top-notch eats, Ericka Burke’s convivial New American uses Northwest farm ingredients and boasts that there’s always a chop (think the double pork chop with honey gastrique) as well as inventive veggie dishes and baked goods on the menu. A sibling of the celebrated Volunteer Park Café, the vintage industrial-chic digs sit in the re-fabbed Chophouse Row building.
- New American
- First Hill
Must-Order: There's always a chop on the menu at this new Capitol Hill spot. Right now it's a robust double pork chop with chewy spaetzle, peaches and honey gastrique.
Insider Tip: Don't forget to check out the juice and provisions bar stocked with espresso, pastries, fresh-pressed juices and loads of great grab-and-go items.
Named for his favorite Seattle singer Brandi Carlile, Tom Douglas’ Downtowner headlines modern American dishes (think Berkshire pork roast larded with chorizo), plus lots of plants and veggies on the menu. Theater crowds from the neighboring Paramount Theater applaud the prompt pre- and post-performance service, and the nifty circa-1960s and -'70s decor, complete with DJ booth.
Must-Order: Get something off the Plants section of the menu, featuring a dozen herbivore-centric dishes. The items change seasonally, but keep an eye out for the Fairy Tale eggplant and the chanterelles.
Insider Tip: Craving eggs late night? The restaurant serves the Hunter's Breakfast (an ode to Hunter S. Thompson) from 10 PM to midnight.
Chef-owner Maximillian Petty, who has cooked with celeb chef José Andrés, fields a seasonal menu of share-worthy plates at this inventive New American in upper Queen Anne. The chic, 24-seat space has window tables overlooking the street, and the cozy vibes are suitable for date nights and casual outings.
- New American
- Queen Anne
Must-Order: The crispy pig-head candy bar, a crisp slab of housemade headcheese placed upon a bright chilled champagne and pear soup and finished with crunchy pickled cabbage and serranos. It's a dish that hits wonderfully upon each taste region.
Insider Tip: The menu might not look too veg-friendly, but chef Max Petty has so many vegetable components going into other dishes he's more than willing to whip up something off-menu to accommodate.
Chef-owner Brian Clevenger (ex Staple & Fancy, Tavolata) opened his very own Italian place in prosperous Madrona, where locals dig into his artisanal and handmade pastas (think gnocchi with braised rabbit) and inspired secondos. In the heart of the charming old business district, the well-groomed room is industrial and airy with an open kitchen, and, in warm weather, the huge sidewalk windows open to catch the breeze.
Must-Order: The spaghetti with tomato sauce sounds simple, but tastes stunning. Steaks are cooked sous vide and then seared for the best combo of juicy and sizzle.
Insider Tip: Grab a seat at the chef's counter where you're just feet away from the action.
“Fantastic” ssam-style meats anchor a “mouthwatering” menu at this “elevated” Pioneer Square Korean from chef Brandon Kirksey (Rione XIII) and owner Steven Han (Momiji, Umi Sake House); the organic-chic space boasts blond wood and a rock/tree garden, and “pricey” tabs are tempered by “good value” during the daily happy hour.
Must-Order: It's a massive menu, but the signature ssam stands out if you're a fan of rolling your own. Grilled meats and seafood served alongside sauces and accompaniments allow you to create flavor-bomb bites.
Insider Tip: Go with a big crew to sample the widest variety the kitchen has to offer.
Transforming from a buzzy pop-up to a brick-and-mortar restaurant, this Eclectic congee house, in the former Little Uncle space, offers rice porridge with global add-ins (think pork-belly adobo or duck confit) to the techies and office types who crowd the neighborhood. In subterranean digs in the heart of hip Pioneer Square (and part of the underground Seattle passageways), there’s plenty of room to bring your buddies and spread out with a feast.
- Pioneer Square
Must-Order: Duck confit and pickled blueberry pinch buns bring a whole lot of yum in a few bites to start; then do a deep dive on the clever signature dish, topped with savories like chicken thigh, Chinese sausage, mushrooms and summer peppers.
Insider Tip: Save room for the fab Hood Famous ube cheesecake for dessert.
Tex-Mex and house-smoked BBQ sit side by side on the menu at this Capitol Hill eatery where locals hang out over ceviche, taco platters and babyback ribs. Literally rising from the ashes of the old Galerias restaurant, there’s a festive south-of-the-border feel and plenty of tequila and whiskey at the bar.
- Capitol Hill
Must-Order: It's a challenge to pass up the traditional Tex-Mex dishes, but the slow-smoked barbecued ribs are hot stuff.
Insider Tip: Head in on Mondays for discounted Moscow mules, extra refreshing with the spicy fare.
Artisanal beer, cocktails and upscale pub eats are the focus at this brewpub in Capitol Hill’s rehabbed Sunset Electric building. The handcrafted beverages and hard-to-find beers are highlighted by hanging orb pendant lights, handcrafted metalwork and a sprawling mural by local artist Tina Randolph.
- Capitol Hill
Must-Order: Mac 'n' cheese with bacon and three kinds of fromage is an amazing accompaniment to the deep selection of craft beer on tap.
Insider Tip: Brunch fills up fast, but you can beat the rush by getting in early. Kicking off at 9 AM, it's one of the earliest on Capitol Hill.
Columbia City welcomes this classy new seafooder focusing on New American/Vietnamese flavors and top-notch local purveyors. The menu is at home with both fried oyster bahn mi sandwiches and salmon sliders with candied bacon, and the very cool wood and metal room (there’s a raw bar too) makes it a great place for a night out.
- New American
- Columbia City
Must-Order: Roasted Dungeness crab is finished with a fiery citrus-chile butter, bringing out the sweet in this shellfish.
Insider Tip: The daily happy hour from 3 to 5 PM makes it a breeze to transition from a late brunch on weekends.