In recent decades, the Emerald City has become renowned for its consistently innovative and delicious food scene, delighting diners from near and far. With its location on the shores of Puget Sound and its access to Pacific Rim and Alaskan fisheries, Seattle has long been a seafood savvy city. The popular sustainable and farm-to-table food movements took root here long ago, too, and they continue to flourish, thanks to chefs who have their own produce farms or simply grow herbs in planters on restaurant patios. In the hearty Northwest, steak has a stake as well; global flavors from international chefs also abound, with culinary teams often using Northwest ingredients to put creative local twists on other cultures’ traditional fare.
The food scene here is forever evolving, and recently it seems that several new hot spots are opening, even after a very challenging year. Whether you’re looking for a chic eatery with a “see and be seen” vibe or a low-key gem that blends a casual, under-the-radar feel with sneakily sumptuous dishes, we’ve gathered delicious–and fun–ideas on where to explore. Come see what’s new, recently reopened and consistency celebrated on the Seattle culinary circuit; we promise you’ll leave happily satiated.
This vibrant venue celebrates community in Seattle’s thriving Georgetown neighborhood, south of downtown. You’ll find two spaces inside the Oxbow Building, Ciudad Grill (a happening restaurant and bar with colorful murals and soaring skylights) and neighboring Bar Ciudad, a coveted cocktail bar and rotisserie. Ciudad Grill’s menu focuses on tasty meats and vegetables cooked over a charcoal grill, with sharable plates offering good value and a fun, relaxed dining environment. Standout dishes range from flatbread sandwiches, pomegranate honey chicken wings and pork belly with grilled pineapple and cabbage to grilled delights like harissa-marinated chicken and beef and lamb kofta. At the bar, order a cocktail through the windows to enjoy outdoor seating as you watch planes landing at nearby Boeing Field.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Ciudad Grill’s menu focuses on tasty meats and vegetables cooked over a charcoal grill, with sharable plates offering good value and a fun, relaxed dining environment.
Corinne’s expert tip: Note that the restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Takeout is a great option for those wanting to savor a meal at home.
On the ever-evolving Capitol Hill restaurant circuit, Omega Ouzeri continues to whisk diners away to the rich flavors, welcoming vibes and cool hues of the Mediterranean; it’s an experience you won’t want to miss. Executive Chef Zoi Antonitsas (Food & Wine’s Best New Chef 2015) fills the menu with delectable Greek fare (authentic and contemporary), and the venue aims to “redefine traditional Greek recipes from earth and sea, around the long-standing tradition of mezedes � small portions, of exceptional food, to be shared by everyone around the table.” Some of chef’s favorite shareable dishes include Fava Santorini (fava: red onion, capers, evo, lemon), Kolokithokeftedes (zucchini fritters: graviera, mint, Aleppo aioli), Horiatiki (Greek salad: tomato, cucumber, pepper, feta, Kalamata olive, oregano), Keftedakia (grilled lamb meatballs: ouzo tomato jam, lemon yogurt, parsley, red onion, sumac) and Lavraki (whole, grilled Mediterranean sea bass: oregano-grilled lemon dressing). Diners will quickly fall for the welcoming venue’s family-run feel and flavorful, inspiring dishes.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: As part of the Capitol Hill lineup, Omega Ouzeri continues to whisk diners away to the rich flavors and welcoming vibes of the Mediterranean.
Corinne’s expert tip: On evenings the restaurant is closed, you can enjoy wonderful food and vibes at their sister business, Vios Cafe & Maketplace, at 19th and Aloha on Capitol Hill.
There’s an eatery, now with expanded patio seating, located on the cusp between Fremont and Wallingford that brings an industrial-chic vibe and delicious Mexican fare to the neighborhood. Pablo y Pablo is “a Mexican restaurant and bar that opens its pantry to ingredients and techniques from around the world.” According to the restaurant team: “By bringing together combination of diverse tastes on our menu in a warm and inviting environment, we strive to evoke the same harmonious spirits of Pablo Picasso and Pablo Neruda; two artists who’s friendship found a common cause in both art and peace from different corners of the world.” Enjoy the venue’s warm ambiance (and enjoyable patio); standout dishes range from the vegan nachos and chopped salad to chipotle-braised chicken enchiladas and tacos galore (think pork belly banh mi, grilled pineapple and bacon or a “farmers market” cornucopia of seasonal veggies).
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: This buzzing eatery, located on the cusp between Fremont and Wallingford, brings an industrial-chic vibe and delicious Mexican fare to the neighborhood.
Corinne’s expert tip: The brunch menu features gems like biscuits & gravy and fried chicken & pancakes, accompanies by clever cocktails like the Oaxacan Maria.
Funky and hip, this Italian eatery features rustic food and boasts live entertainment in the adjacent lounge. The interior has a certain bohemian charm, but the best area to dine is on the rooftop deck, which affords a magnificent view of Puget Sound. Begin your meal with bruschetta or the antipasto plate of savory morsels. Entrees include must-haves like Tuscan grilled chicken, gnocchi with wild mushrooms, roasted pork loin and Muscovy duck. You’ll also find a vast range of pastas as well as a daily risotto special that’s usually a great bet! Comforting desserts include such fare as bread pudding and apple crisp.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Funky and hip, this Italian eatery features rustic food and is a great finale to a day spent wandering around bustling Pike Place Market.
Corinne’s expert tip: Try to score a table on the rooftop deck for fantastic views of the Puget Sound! Reservations can be made online.
Named for the creek it rests beside, this fantastic restaurant is influenced by Italian cuisine, although it’s not the red-sauce-and-cheese variety. Instead, dishes are more refined, featuring first-rate ingredients and careful preparation. Among the offerings, you’ll find silky foie gras, sweetbreads in marsala sauce, seared yellowfin tuna and bacon-wrapped roasted rabbit. Accompanying dishes include such delicacies as fava beans, polenta, asparagus, artichokes and a medley of earthy mushrooms. Desserts follow suit and include several Italian classics: tiramisu, panna cotta and berries laced with balsamic vinegar. The excellent wine list offers a perfect accompaniment, whether you decide on an Italian favorite or regional vintage.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: This beloved Kirkland restaurant has made waves for many years now, although the menu keeps getting refreshed with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients.
Corinne’s expert tip: Longtime patrons still come from far and wide to enjoy the restaurant’s signature dish â” Arneis-braised rabbit. At-home orders are now available, and must be placed 24 hours in advance.
Award-winning Chef Renee Erickson (The Whale Wins, Bateau, Barnacle, Bar Melusine) partnered with Business Manager Jeremy Price and Developer Chad Dale to realize her long-time vision for an oyster bar. It makes perfect sense then, that she would do it in her own neighborhood. The Walrus and the Carpenter blends the elegance of France with the casual comfort of a local fishing pub. “The idea is to serve the highest quality food and drink in a space that is stripped of pretense and feels like home.” Opened in 2010, The Walrus and The Carpenter proves one of the city’s most delicious and popular culinary scenes (and for good reason). Expect tallboys, Muscadet, piles of chubby oysters, a delightful array of local cheeses, meat delights like steak tartare and smart plates served in a lively, approachable space in Old Ballard.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Although not a new hot spot, Chef Renee Erickson continuously lures loyal fans to this Ballard gem, an absolute must on any Seattle culinary list.
Corinne’s expert tip: A recent addition that has made many diners happy at this popular venue: Reservations are now available via OpenTable.
Seattleites are thrilled to see the return of the University Village outpost of Bamboo Sushi (founded in 2008), the world’s first certified sustainable sushi restaurant. The sleek and welcoming eatery’s Japanese-inspired menu includes nigiri, sashimi, crispy rice, signature and traditional rolls, small plates, bowls, Wagyu beef burgers, sake, wine, beer and cocktails. With delicious offerings that are sustainably caught, humanely raised and naturally grown, diners can feel good about their choices as they enjoy one of the best meals they’ve had in a long time.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Seattleites are thrilled to see the return of the University Village outpost of Bamboo Sushi (founded in 2008), the world’s first certified sustainable sushi restaurant.
Corinne’s expert tip: DoorDash is the restaurant’s current delivery partner, and takeout is available too. (However, they only allow a certain number of orders per time slot per location for both takeout and delivery, to allow for quality standards and physical distancing best practices.)
This neighborhood spot brings its warm hospitality and rich flavors to a quiet Fremont corner. The amiable staff at this self-described “modern French American restaurant in the Upper Fremont neighborhood” proudly serve the freshest seafood, meat and game that they can find here in the Northwest. The venue also features locally-sourced produce from nearby sustainable farms, as the restaurant collaborates with an impressively lengthy list of regional purveyors. Don’t miss menu standouts like the Grilled Carrots (with braised rabbit), Rock Fish Crudo, Scallops and Northwest Wagyu. The dessert menu dazzles with pavlova and seasonal treats like the Rhubarb Galette.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: This unassuming neighborhood spot (with new patio seating) brings its warm hospitality and rich flavors to a quiet Fremont corner.
Corinne’s expert tip: For a cozy weekend brunch, dive into the chicken and waffles platter or the rotating quiche (with gluten-free crust).
Near Pike Place Market, Aerlume offers sweeping Puget Sound views and seasonal menus that showcase the bounty of the region. Don’t miss menu standouts ranging from the wild mushroom and goat cheese dumplings to the grilled Spanish octopus and seared jumbo sea scallops. The bar menu showcases locally-sourced herbs, fruits and flowers, cleverly paired with top-notch spirits from the Northwest and around the globe. The venue’s design features live fire elements, including a dramatic indoor fire table that warmly welcomes guests. The restaurant is the first independent project from Fire & Vine Hospitality, led by CEO Chad Mackay and James Beard Award-winning Chef Jason Wilson.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Near Pike Place Market, Aerlume offers sweeping Puget Sound views and seasonal menus that showcase the bounty of the region.
Corinne’s expert tip: Aerlume partners with local farms and producers, and their culinary team works closely with Fall City Farms on a custom farming operation, as well as Sound Sustainable Farms, Tonnemaker Farms, Frog Hollow Farms and many others.
Since late 2013, this charming neighborhood venue has been delighting loyal patrons in an environment they call “inviting, lively and comforting.” (We concur; it’s all true!) The friendly staff pridefully brings “a sense of playfulness” to everything they do–from the authentic hospitality and warm ambiance to an inventive menu of fresh, seasonal dishes. Veggie lovers savor the delightful Poached Radish Salad and seasonal goodies like grilled, local asparagus, while stand-out mains range from the Salmon Aguachile (cured, sockeye salmon, radish, coriander) to the Guajillo Braised Beef Cheek (masa gnocchi, olive confit). For a memorable grand finale, tuck into the Horchata Panna Cotta (chile caramel, chocolate crisp) or seasonal delights, while vowing to return this to this welcoming Seattle oasis as soon as possible.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: For a true Seattle “neighborhood” experience, enjoy the warm hospitality and exquisite, locally-sourced menu of this friendly Ballard gastropub.
Corinne’s expert tip: Be sure to check out the magical garden patio that turns into Red Arrow Cafe during daytime hours. Also consider a newer option: the restaurant’s enticing Wine Club and Cheese Pairing online offers.