West Meets East at These Chinese Restaurants Where Authentic Flavors Shine

At 10Best, we're always on the lookout for Seattle's best restaurants, and while we appreciate places that have a broad culinary range, we can't help but adore restaurants that specialize in one specific cuisine. Thanks to its thriving Asian community, Seattle happens to be an excellent city in which to enjoy delectable cuisine from countries ranging from China to Vietnam. When we're in the mood for Chinese food in Seattle, we head to crowd favorite Din Tai Fung, or we count on Wild Ginger's solid track record (and the chance to hear live music after or while eating our meal). You'll find these places - and any of the restaurants on our list - to be fantastic options for Chinese cuisine; if you're looking to concentrate your efforts, start in the bustling International District neighborhood. Other zones that feature a variety of Asian eateries include Capitol Hill, Fremont, Ballard and the University District, as well as Bellevue (over on the "Eastside").

Regardless of whether you've ever actually walked the Great Wall or wandered the bustling Shanghai Bund (or have always dreamed of doing so), these Chinese restaurants will make you feel as though you've been magically transported. Be on the lookout for newcomers later this year, too, like HaiDiLao which will come to downtown's Pacific Place. An experience once described by famed Los Angeles Times Food Critic Jonathan Gold as the “Ferrari of Chinese hot pot restaurants," HaiDiLao will open here as only the second U.S. location. And if you're craving Chinese food this February, read up on Lunar New Year programming happening at The Bellevue Collection, where you'll enjoy food samples from Din Tai Fung and Baron’s Xi’an Kitchen & Bar.


Uptown China
Photo courtesy of Uptown China

Convenient to the Seattle Center, this understated little Chinese joint has made quite a name for itself in Queen Anne circles, thanks to its terrific prices and tasty Mandarin fare. At lunchtime, especially, the place stays packed with the hungry clientele enjoying everything from moo shu pork to kung pao chicken (all combinations come with rice and an egg roll). Owner Yu-Mei Wang has been called a "hands-on entrepreneur with a warm, smiling countenance and lots of style," and since she likes to connect with her patrons, she's been known to make the rounds and sit down for a friendly chat with her customers.

Highly regarded by local food critics, Judy Fu has firmly cemented herself in the company of the Puget Sound's finest Chinese chefs. Scintillating Mandarin and Szechuan dishes include shrimp or chicken mu shu, crispy tea-smoked duck with hoisin sauce and Land and Sea clay pot stew. With its contemporary yet unpretentious ambiance and a great menu, Snappy Dragon tends to get quite crowded at times, so reservations are recommended (but will only be taken for groups of six or more). Aside from its delightful name, this eatery in the Maple Leaf neighborhood is lauded for its spectacular service, friendly vibe and favorite dishes like boiled dumplings with pork.

Honey Court
Photo courtesy of Corinne Whiting

Ideal for those looking for something a bit different that won't break the bank, this Chinese standby in the International District earns high marks from regulars. Honey Court emphasizes quality food, fresh ingredients and friendly service over the fancy decor you might find at rival places. Specialties include steamed whole tilapia, sautéed fresh squid with broccoli and shredded squab with crispy lettuce, but what the customers truly adore is honey-walnut prawns. In addition, the dim sum is a terrific lunch option. On weekends after the clubs shut down, Honey Court has been known to stay open even later than usual.

Tai Tung

One of the district's grand old-timers (open since the 1930s), Tai Tung capably keeps pace with the flashier, hipper establishments by keeping its focus on what's really important: the food. Indeed, menu stalwarts like Kung Pao shrimp, Singapore-style vermicelli, and mou shu pork have been drawing raves from three generations of customers. Once a haven for Seattle's night owl diners, Tai Tung looks to have changed little decor-wise from its heyday (think dark wood paneling and Formica tabletops) as one of the town's only late night eateries. Patrons laud this International District venue for gems like the garlic spare ribs (served Chinese-style, of course).

P.F. Chang's China Bistro
Photo courtesy of P.F. Chang's

This fashionable Chinese bistro gets high marks with Seattle diners who like reliable, family-friend chains; loyal fans also adore the contemporary interior and eclectic menu. Start with do-it-yourself lettuce wraps; some say that these alone are worth the trip. Afterward, go any route you like, from Szechwan to Hunan, Cantonese to Shanghai. Chang's daily specials are always worth considering; keep your fingers crossed that they include Szechwan shrimp or pan-fried noodles. According to owners, "Many guests don't realize that P.F. Chang's has a scratch kitchen...We hire chefs, not kitchen managers. Even the simplest tasks, like julienning carrots, are done with passion. The pinches and folds in the dim sum must be perfect." This attention to detail has helped the restaurant gain longstanding popularity.

Ask around, and you'll quickly discover that Wild Ginger is a definite Seattle favorite. The James Beard Award-winning restaurant that introduced the satay bar to the U.S. also welcomes an eclectic mix of business people, families and celebrities. Fragrant Duck is the signature dish, but the Princess Prawns and Hanoi Tuna are excellent choices as well. The lively atmosphere is made even better by friendly servers and live jazz, which is a Monday night specialty. Attached to popular, subterranean music venue Triple Door and its Musicquarium Lounge, this is the perfect spot to grab a delicious meal before hearing live tunes; why not make a night of it?

Sichuanese Cuisine Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Courtesy Sichuanese Cuisine Restaurant

Lovers of Asian cuisine delight in this Chinese restaurant in the International District that opened in 1992. Sichuanese cuisine is known for its spiciness and diversity of fresh ingredients. Flavors come from "three peppers: pepper, chili and peppercorn," and the beauty of Sichuan dishes lies in its spicy spectrum. The eatery, "Old Szechuan Restaurant" in Chinese, was founded by Chef Kao Hsiao-Suna, who is said to have introduced the "Mala Huoguo" - "Hot and Spicy Hotpot" to the United States. Popular dishes include Mapo Tofu ("Pocked Face Grandmother Bean Curd"), Huiguo Rou ("Twice-Cooked Pork") and Liang Fen (or "Cold Noodles").

Baron's Xi'an Kitchen & Bar
Photo courtesy of Baron's Xi'an Kitchen & Bar

This fine dining Bellevue destination deems itself a "truly modern Chinese restaurant" that benefits from the bountiful Pacific Northwest harvest in its midst. Baron's proudly offers its signature Peking Duck, fresh local seafood, grass-fed Wagyu beef and authentic stir-fried rice. Guests also love sampling delicious Chinese street food dishes during early and late "Happy Hour" offerings. Whether you come here to host an extravagant dinner in the venue's private dining rooms, to enjoy a quick work lunch with colleagues or to dine with friends before an evening of music or dancing, Baron's "has something to offer everyone."

For diners with exotic palates, this is one of the most popular spots in the International District (or perhaps the entire city). If the crowded restaurant lobby doesn't deter you, then you're in for a treat. Choose from a wide selection of Hong Kong-style dim sum as waiters push bamboo steamer-adorned carts past your table. The steamed pork buns are moist and perfectly salty-sweet, while the steamed shrimp dumplings are plump, firm and bursting with flavor. To finish up, be sure to try a dish of egg tarts, which exhibit perfect flaky pastry shells to go along with the smooth custard filling.

Din Tai Fung
Photo courtesy of Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung was founded in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1958 as a cooking oil retail shop, before transitioning in 1972 into a full-fledged restaurant. It has since become world-renowned for its soup dumplings and noodles, and Seattleites are thrilled to have two outposts of this delectable, raved-about restaurant here in their fair city. (The tradition of Din Tai Fung continues in global locations like Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Thailand.) Guests laud the shrimp and pork shao mai dumplings, as well as other, noodle and rice dishes.


Meet Corinne Whiting

Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's...  More About Corinne