Find Shareable Dishes, Cozy Vibes and Family-like Friendliness at Seattle's Homestyle Eateries

Homestyle cooking; who doesn't crave it from time to time? While on the road, this is one thing travelers often desire–flavorful bites of comfort food that have been prepared with love. Luckily for us Seattle got the memo on this coveted genre, and the city boasts an array of options that serve delicious fare in spaces warm and inviting. (After all, even our Safeco sports stadium has started serving up waffles.) At some of these eateries, when you close your eyes and savor the aromas, you might swear you've been transported to your grandmother's kitchen.

Some choices might seem obvious (diners, intimate cafes and friendly pubs), while other choices like Fremont's Omega Ouzeri, a sleek, Greek spot with friendly vibes, are a bit less expected. Other suggestions include ethnic eateries like Capitol Hill's delightful Omega Ouzeri (Greek fare) and Taste of India near the University District, where the portions are generous and the staff exceedingly kind. We encourage you to work your way through this list, relishing the homestyle flavors along the way.


This lively spot is known for its quarterly-changing menu that highlights a regional cuisine. So, in addition to the regular breakfast menu, you may find specialties like New Orleans po' boy breakfast sandwich, pain perdu (New Orleans-style French toast), or a Bourbon Street omelet. If you sleep through the usual breakfast hours, don't fret â€" Coastal Kitchen serves it till 3pm, and you can get the "All-Day Breakfast" any time (that's bacon, sausage, or ham, hash browns, three eggs, and toast). Local artists supply new themed pieces whenever the menu changes, and all of their masterpieces can be purchased and taken home with you.

Portage Bay Café
Photo courtesy of Portage Bay Cafe

At four bright and airy spaces around town, enjoy consistently delicious fare at four Portage Bay locations, where the food is always "local, organic and sustainable." The menu boasts the tagline "eat like you give a damn" and an impressive list of local farms and producers that the restaurant's chefs proudly work with. Breakfast and brunch items include migas, an array of benedicts (from pork belly to Dungeness crab cake), gluten-free French toast (topped with unlimited fresh berries), goat cheese omelettes and Swedish pancakes. Tuck into a pitcher of refreshing mimosas, or savor Columbia Gorge fresh-squeezed juices (the berry-lemonade is a sure bet). These restaurants are ideal for large groups and families, and patios prove popular summer hangout spots at the 65th and SLU locations.

Taste of India

Featuring a vibrant, neon exterior and an intimate, welcoming interior, Taste of India offers a delightful dining experience from start to finish. The food, service and ambience make this a wonderful spot for enjoying Indian and Mediterranean dishes ranging from rich curries and creamy masalas to tasty vindaloos. Other highlights include the chicken tikka masala, spinach naan and homemade mango pistachio ice cream. Vegetarian diners enjoy dishes like the Madras chili masala with crisp-cooked squash and peppers. Thanks to its family-style dining tradition, this is a perfect option for large groups or those wanting to sample an array of Indian comfort-food dishes.

Hi Spot Café
Photo courtesy of Louisa's Cafe and Bakery

What was originally a lovely Victorian home has been transformed into a hip restaurant. The unbeatable breakfast menu features cheese-baked eggs, omelets, "green eggs n ham," breakfast burritos, ham steaks, bowls of granola and oatmeal and vegetarian selections like the tofu scramble, chock-full of fresh veggies. Be sure to try massive cinnamon rolls and world-class scones, and enjoy the patio during warm weather. The mid-day menu is served from 11:30am and includes fresh salads, sandwiches and soups. This eatery has been a hub of Madrona in the morning hours for some 30 years, and old-timers and newbies alike continue to relish its food and charm.

14 Carrot Cafe

A breakfast haven for locals since the late '70s, this friendly, offbeat cafe in the Eastlake neighborhood is known far and wide for its great breakfasts. From traditional eggs-bacon-potatoes combos to more unusual dishes like tahini French toast and Greek omelets, the menu has all bases covered. Coffee cake and cinnamon rolls are freshly baked, and there are four kinds of pancakes. Don't expect a fancy scene, though, because it's the type of place people head to having just rolled out of bed. On Saturday mornings, 14 Carrot tends to stay quite packed, so expect a wait. Lunch is good too!

Tavolata (Belltown)
Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Smith

In Belltown (and now Capitol Hill, too), Ethan Stowell has done it once again by wowing diners at his Italian gem Tavolata. Here, pasta reigns--from rigatoni to casarecce, conchiglie to linguini. A restaurant whose name means "to gather around a table," Tavol?ta is an ideal space for large parties and private events. Monthly Sunday Feast dinners mean four-course family meals served at the communal table (that seats up to 26 diners), perfectly embodying the venue's philosophy. Enjoy nightly happy hours (from 5 to 7 p.m.) as well as dishes like brushcetta and salumi boards to start, rigatoni and potato gnocchi for pasta dishes, salmon and beef short ribs as entrees and grilled carrots as a side.

Photo courtesy of Amber Fouts

The owners of Pintxo, Bar Abajo and The Upstairs have opened Branchwater, an alluring Kentucky Bourbon-focused bar in Belltown. The concept, developed after a series of pop-up nights at The Upstairs bar and inspired by co-owner Amanda's Kentucky roots, showcases an expansive craft cocktail and delicious bites menu with Southern flair. The cozy, casual neighborhood bar features a stunning stained-glass ceiling piece, an indoor circular fireplace and sweet touches of Southern hospitality (including furniture from Amanda's parents' home). Menu highlights include mint juleps (of course) among other delightful cocktails; also try Amanda's mom's potato salad, the Mac and Cheese (corkscrew pasta, Iberico cheese, mahon cheese, milk, cream and egg, topped with bread crumbs), Shrimp and Grits (polenta and brown butter grits served with fried shrimp, red pepepr, tomato-shallot relish) and the Southern Hot Fried Chicken (buttermilk-brined, hot fried chicken thigh served with a smoky, spicy and sharp blue cheese dressing).

Omega Ouzeri
Photo courtesy of Sarah Flotard

A fairly recent addition to the Capitol Hill restaurant lineup, Omega Ouzeri whisks diners away to the rich flavors, welcoming vibes and cool hues of the Mediterranean, and 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.

Skillet Diner Ballard
Photo courtesy of Sarah Flotard

This Skillet outpost may look and feel like the original on Capitol Hill, but it has its own unique features. Take, for example, the 40-foot curved bar and a welcoming patio on which to enjoy handcrafted cocktails and contemporary comfort food--a delightful twist on modern American fare. The diner is housed in the Greenfire Campus, an eco-friendly building doing its part to keep Seattle green. Enjoy all of the Skillet classics here, like the maple-braised pork belly and waffle, the beloved Skillet burger with hand-cut fries, southern fried chicken with biscuit as well as the pork chop, pan-roasted steak frites, cheddar bacon hush puppies, legendary kale caesar and other veg-friendly sides. A full bar hosts happy hour daily and offers hand-crafted artisan cocktails along with beer and wine on tap.

Restaurant Roux
Photo courtesy of Restaurant Roux

This friendly spot in Upper Fremont boasts perks ranging from easy street parking and a lovely, laid-back neighborhood vibe to delectable French Creole cuisine and occasional live music. Chef Rodel Borromeo takes the flavors, ingredients and style of Creole food and brings in Pacific Northwest influences and his classical French training. According to the website (and we'd have to agree), "The combination of the bold, assertive flavors of New Orleans, the commitment to quality ingredients that Seattle prides itself on, and the attention to detail in technique and presentation that are hallmarks of French cuisine make for a truly unique, memorable and most importantly delicious experience." To complement your meal, enjoy local beers that Roux keeps on tap, a thoughtful wine list and an enticing lineup of classically-inspired cocktails that truly help "les bon temps rouler!"


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