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Best New and Popular Restaurants in Seattle

New-on-the-scene and perpetually popular Seattle restaurants continue to create 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; 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 couple of years. 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. (Be sure to check King County's latest mandates for showing proof of vaccination before dining indoors.)

 


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10
Waterfront


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 (that recently turned 40!) features rustic food and is a great finale to a day at 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.

Read more about The Pink Door →


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: Enjoy happy hour Mondays through Thursdays from 4 to 5 p.m.

Read more about The Walrus and the Carpenter →


8
Waterfront
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: 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. The Dinner Menu is also available to go Tuesdays through Saturdays; call 206.539.2200 to place an order for pick-up.

Read more about Aerlume →


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Le Coin
Photo courtesy of Le Coin

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: Every Sunday, all oysters are 50% off any variety that the restaurant has on hand (while supplies last)! They also offer bottles of bubbles at 30% off to pair with the delicious oysters.

Read more about Le Coin →


Brimmer and Heeltap
Photo courtesy of Brimmer & Heeltap

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 on-site wine shop.

Read more about Brimmer and Heeltap →


Bamboo Sushi
Photo courtesy of Charles Koh

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, 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.)

Read more about Bamboo Sushi →


Made in House
Photo courtesy of Helen Kwak

Made in House, deli sibling of Georgetown's popular BopBox, recently opened in the heart of Fremont. The lovely, light-filled space, which has some tables and counter seating too, has been delighting diners ever since. The fast-casual Korean spot features a delicious, takeout-friendly lineup of colorful bibimbap, japchae and bentos. Recent menu additions included chickpea korokke (vegan) and kimchi pancakes, among other treats, and beverage options range from Timber City ginger beer and hot matcha green tea with fresh mint to lattes featuring House Hemp Cashew Mylk. (Find beers and wines here, too.)

Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Made in House is a brand-new, fast-casual Korean spot in Fremont that features a takeout-friendly lineup of colorful bibimbap, japchae and bentos.

Corinne's expert tip: The venue is currently open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will offer online ordering soon.

Read more about Made in House →


3
Downtown
Olympic Bar
Photo courtesy of Fairmont Olympic

For a truly special Seattle experience, settle into the recently refreshed lounge-bar-lobby at downtown's Fairmont Olympic Hotel. The soaring space features elegant Italian marble floors and a central bar that proves a gathering hub for travelers and locals alike. In a relaxed yet elegant living room-type setting, enjoy seasonal breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings, alongside tasty beverages, too. Evening highlights include the Dungeness crab cake, albacore tuna tartare, roasted red beets with burrata cheese, truffle fries and almond-crusted Dover sole with cauliflower, golden raisins and curry. As of early April, the hotel will also open its new signature restaurant, The George, a grand space that features a brasserie-inspired menu by Executive Chef Thomas Cullen.

Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: For a truly special Seattle experience, settle into the recently refreshed lounge-bar-lobby at downtown's Fairmont Olympic Hotel; signature restaurant The George opens this spring, too.

Corinne's expert tip: As of early April, the hotel will also feature its new signature restaurant, The George, an exquisite space with soaring ceilings that features a brasserie-inspired menu by Executive Chef Thomas Cullen. After your meal, grab a fancy cocktail (for which bartenders might even chisel your ice block into a diamond!) in Founders Club, a chic speakeasy bar tucked behind nearby bookshelves.

Read more about Olympic Bar →


Bourbon Steak
Photo courtesy of Angelo Clinton/MINA Group.

A warm, inviting haven in downtown, Bourbon Steak was recently introduced to Seattle (in the former RN74 space) by award-Winning Chef Michael Mina. This modern American steakhouse features innovative interpretations of classic dishes, while also celebrating Pacific Northwest seafood and seasonal vegetables (think glazed mushrooms, butternut squash, etc.). Whether it's through relationships with Pike Place vendors just down the road, or businesses like Hama Hama Oyster Company, the team loves to support its local community. The restaurant also focuses on all-natural, organic and hormone-free cuts of beef, tempered in herb-infused butter and grilled to order. Highlights from a recent scrumptious feast ranged from a trio of duck fat fries and Michael's tuna tartare, a staple from Chef's menu for 30-plus years, to phyllo-wrapped scallops, A5 Wagyu served on a hot stone with pickled cucumbers, wasabi, yuzu ponzu and pine-spruce salt (a restaurant speciality) to dry-aged, bone-in strip from Washington State.

Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: A warm, inviting haven in downtown, Bourbon Steak was recently introduced to Seattle (in the former RN74 space) by award-Winning Chef Michael Mina.

Corinne's expert tip: This restaurant is anchored by its central bar, which features a thoughtfully composed wine list (the sommelier here exhibits incredible pairing expertise, no matter the dish!) plus hand-crafted signature cocktails highlighting spirits from local distilleries (like Westland Whiskey) and other global gems. The bar also offers a unique happy hour menu.

Read more about Bourbon Steak →


1
Ba Bar Green
Photo courtesy of Look at Lao Studio

The owners of Seattle's popular Ba Bar have opened up Ba Bar Green as a walk-up window at the restaurant's South Lake Union location. The dazzling new vegan, East Asian street food concept by husband-and-wife proprietors Eric Banh and Teresa Nguyen, along with Chef de Cuisine Chris Michel, offers an entirely plant-based menu (showcasing both made-to-order and grab-and-go options). Menu highlights include the Kabocha & Sweet Potato Malay Laksa, cooked with red curry, coconut milk, tofu crackling, tofu puffs, cilantro, bean sprouts, green onion, chili oil and rice noodles; the Lao Crispy Rice & Quinoa Salad; Lemongrass Tofu Singapore Noodle; and the not-to-be-missed Dan Dan Noodles, that combine mustard greens, roasted sesame vinaigrette, Beyond Meat, green onion, toasted sesame, Tianjin preserved vegetable, Szechuan peppercorn oil, noodles and tamari.

Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: The dazzling new vegan, East Asian street food concept by husband-and-wife proprietors Eric Banh and Teresa Nguyen offers an entirely plant-based menu in South Lake Union.

Corinne's expert tip: There's free parking available behind the restaurant ( in an underground garage), off Republican. Remember to bring your ticket for validation.

Read more about Ba Bar Green →


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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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