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New-on-the-scene and perpetually popular Seattle restaurants creating buzz



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; ethnic restaurants also abound, with chefs 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 new hot spots open every time we turn our head. 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 (and consistency celebrated) on the Seattle culinary circuit; we promise you'll leave happily satiated.

 


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Ciudad Grill
Photo courtesy of Ciudad Grill


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: Check out #DinnerAndADJ, a monthly series featuring pop-up chefs collaborating with DJs for a fun-filled night of food and music!

Read more about Ciudad Grill →


Omega Ouzeri
Photo courtesy of Sarah Flotard


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: Keep your eyes peeled for special events like winemakers' dinners as well as the daily "Early Happy Hour" in the bar from 5 to 6 p.m. and "Late Happy Hour" from 9 to 10 p.m.

Read more about Omega Ouzeri →


Café Juanita
Photo courtesy of Bruce Miyahara


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.

Read more about Café Juanita →


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The Walrus and the Carpenter
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Price/The Walrus and the Carpenter


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: There is almost always a line at this walk-ins-only hot spot, so arrive early and be prepared to grab a leisurely drink or two in a nearby venue like Percy's, Hazlewood or The Gerald, which sometimes features pop-up menus (like Camp Firewood this past summer).

Read more about The Walrus and the Carpenter →


FlintCreek Cattle Co.
Photo courtesy of FlintCreek Cattle Co.


From the folks behind Fremont's popular RockCreek Seafood & Spirits, FlintCreek Cattle Co. brightens up the Greenwood neighborhood, much to the delight of local, meat-loving customers who have become fast fans. The open-air restaurant, inspired by the free-range cattle and cattlemen roaming the golden hills of Western Montana, aims to serve premium meats sourced from "well-managed, small-scale farms and ranches that produce responsibly raised, pastured, grass-fed animals without added hormones and antibiotics." The talented culinary team wants diners to enjoy lean meats with bold flavors in a fun, inviting atmosphere. But don't be fooled; fresh and flavorful veggies shine here, too. Try the grilled kuri squash with burrata and the grilled baby eggplant, as well as an array of innovative salads.

Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: The talented culinary team at FlintCreek Cattle Co. delights Greenwood diners with meat-centric dishes that showcase bold flavors, served in a fun, inviting setting.

Corinne's expert tip: FlintCreek takes reservations for parties of all sizes, in two-hour time slots. (For parties of less than six, you can book online or by phone after 4 p.m. For parties of six or more or private parties, email eat@flintcreekseattle.com.)

Read more about FlintCreek Cattle Co. →


Le Coin
Photo courtesy of Le Coin


This fairly new 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 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).

Read more about Le Coin →


Brimmer and Heeltap
Photo courtesy of Will Foster


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 "secret" patio, as well as seasonal events and special pop-ups often hosted by the venue often (featuring everything from tiki drinks to goods made by local artists).

Read more about Brimmer and Heeltap →


Pablo y Pablo
Photo courtesy of Brooke Fitts


There's a new eatery 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: Monday through Friday (from 3 to 6 p.m.), check out delicious happy hour food items like tacos (from pork belly banh mi to grilled pineapple with bacon) plus 50 percent off a featured pour of tequila or mezcal.

Read more about Pablo y Pablo →


Adana
Photo courtesy of Adana/Gruman Public Relations


Chef Shota Nakajima closed Capitol Hill's Naka Kaiseki in order to open in its stunning space Adana (meaning �"nickname�"), a new concept highlighting Shota�'s beautiful Japanese fare. Diners can enjoy his simple, clean and flavorful dishes thanks to rotating three-course menus (with three selections per course for a set price of $37 per person, plus tax and gratuity). Shota says, �"Adana�'s food will be more like what my family cooks at home, but still focused on highlighting seasonal ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. Guests will experience authentic Japanese cuisine but with multiple choices to curate their own tasting menu.�" Guests also enjoy à la carte-priced desserts, as well as delicious bar food and beverages, focused on Japanese whiskeys and spirits from the talented team behind the bar.

Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Enjoy Japanese comfort food served in a beautiful Capitol Hill space; the multi-course meals feature fresh Northwest ingredients that rotate with the seasons.

Corinne's expert tip: Take advantage of the introductory tasting menu, which rotates every month and costs $37 per person. If you're looking for something a bit more grand, order the five-course feast, which means nine courses ($62 per person). Also be on the lookout for Chef Shota's brand-new eatery Taku, which is opening six blocks away and will serve casual Japanese street food until 2 a.m. (and 2:30 at the pick-up window).

Read more about Adana →


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Aerlume
Photo courtesy of Aerlume


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: Cozy up in the lounge for a daily happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m.; discounted drinks are accompanied by tasty happy hour snacks like the Aerlume Burger and crispy cauliflower.

Read more about Aerlume →


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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

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