Restaurant Guide–Seattle

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Washington


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Bellevue

Cafe Ori–14339 NE 20th St. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm).  Cantonese style–excellent and authentic. Portions and prices are right to make this a frequent stop (not just a special occasion restaurant). (3-24-17)

Din Tai Fung–700 Bellevue Way NE (Chinese) Open daily until 10 pm. Specializes in Taiwanese and Shanghainese cuisine. If you follow the on-line reviews, this is the place to go in Bellevue for Chinese food. The problem is that they usually have a waiting line (but I experienced this at several restaurants, and I would say it is normal for good restaurants in the Seattle area). Soup dumplings (xiao long bao) are a specialty of the restaurant, and are best when eaten right after they are served (so you will probably have to wait in line for a table to get the best experience with this). (3-24-17)

Facing East–1075 Bellevue Way NE (Taiwanese) Open daily (closed from 3:00 to 5:00 pm).  Authentic Taiwanese food.  There is a debate whether this or Henry’s is the best. (3-24-17)

Istanbul–405 Bellevue Way NE (Turkish) Open daily except Sun evening.  Flavors are so good people put this on their regular rotation. This is a casual place with good prices. (3-24-17)

Top Gun–12450 SE 38th St. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 4:30 pm).  Dim sum at lunch every day. I felt that this was the best dim sum place in Seattle (but parking is usually difficult). (3-24-17)

Uwajimaya Cafe–699 120th Ave. NE (Japanese) Open daily (open until 8:00 pm).  The old Takohachi from the International District moved here (had a ramen drawing in front of the store). I don’t know if they are still here, but there are several eating places in the food court (reviewers say it is hit or miss if you don’t know anything about them). As far as the grocery store is concerned–I have never seen such a good selection of Asian foods and other items anywhere (although this refers mainly to the downtown Seattle location). (3-24-17)

Black Diamond

Europa–29030 216th Ave. SE (German) Closed Sun (closes at 8 pm weekdays).  Reviewers say this is food like you would find in Germany.  Dinner plates look very large from the photos, but lunch specials are also available. (2-15-17)

Des Moines

Salty’s–28201 Redondo Beach Dr. S (Seafood) Open daily (restaurant closes at 8 pm, but the cafe/bar serves until 9:30 pm).  After hearing about the great seafood in the Northwest, I have to say this was one of the few places which really delivered for me.  However, I only recommend the plain fish dishes (not the ones with fancy sauces). (2-15-17)

Edmonds

Hosoonyi–23830 Hwy. 99 (Korean) Closed Tue.  Excellent food, but reviewers also say it has excellent prices. (3-25-17)

Enumclaw

El Camino–1225 Griffin Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily except Sun lunch.  I did not eat here, but I walked in, looked at the menu, and vowed to return because at last I found authentic Mexican food in Enumclaw. (2-15-17)

Griffin & Wells Cafe–1239 Griffin Ave. (American) Closed Sun & Mon.  Specializes in sandwiches, but has flavorful and very well prepared dinners also. Reviewers say this place is making a name for itself, and that Enumclaw needed this place. (2-15-17)

Teriyaki House–1040 Stevenson Ave. (Japanese) Closed Sun.  Teriyaki restaurants seem to be a particular phenomenon in southern King County, and I have tried several.  This one is my favorite. (2-15-17)

The Kettle–1666 2nd St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon).  Omelettes, muffins are very good. (2-15-17)

Federal Way

Kokiri–32703 Pacific Hwy. S (Korean) Open daily (open until 10 pm).  There are numerous Korean restaurants in Federal Way–this place has a reputation as being one of the best.  Note: in Feb. 2017 Yelp reports this as being temporarily closed. (2-15-17)

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue–32225 Pacific Hwy. S. (Hawaiian) Open daily 10 am to 9 pm). The highest rated place I have found in south King County for Hawaiian style lunches.  Note: for large dinners and luau style food you might want to try Pac Island Grill at 2012 S. 320th St. (2-15-17)

So Moon Nan Jib–33324 Pacific Hwy. S. (Korean) Open daily (open until 11 pm except 10 pm on Sun).  Reported by many to be the best Korean restaurant in Federal Way (which is known for its Korean food). A key phrase for me in the reviews is that it is “home style.” Korean BBQ is the specialty, but they have a wide variety of dishes. (2-15-17)

Issaquah

Jak’s Grill–14 Front St. N (Steaks) Open daily except Mon lunch.  Although I have never eaten here, I know it is good because of what I have heard about it from other people. This is a fairly expensive steak restaurant–it is not a fancy one where you are paying for the atmosphere, but you are paying for good steak (or other items they serve). (3-25-17)

Max’s World Cafe–212 Front St. N (Indian) Closed Mon & Tue.  Fresh and flavorful Indian food which is very consistent because this is a small restaurant (apparently it has 3 tables and 6 bar seats). Serves Goan style Indian food (probably not something you will find at very many restaurants). (3-24-17)

Noodle Boat–700 NW Gilman Blvd. (Thai) Open daily until 8:30 pm (closed for lunch Sat & Sun).  Best Thai I’ve had in the U.S. The food is not Americanized, so I think it tastes best when it is ordered the the spice level that complements the flavor (ask the chef to make it the right level, and it is not always extremely spicy). (3-24-17)

Taqueria La Venadita–730 NW Gilman Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily 10 am to 10 pm.  Supposedly the most authentic Mexican rest. in the Seattle area. Mostly tacos, burritos, and Mexican “street food,” though. (3-24-17)

Kent

Fil Cuisine–23843 108th Ave. SE (Filipino) Open daily (closes at 8 pm except Sun at 7 pm).  Seems to be the best of several very good Filipino restaurants in the area. Reviews say the food here is home style. (2-15-17)

Imperial Garden–18230 E. Valley Hwy. (Dim Sum) Open daily (open until 10 pm).  Large dim sum menu, but selection is reduced after 4:00 pm. (2-15-17)

Pho Saigon–25632 Pacific Hwy. S (Vietnamese) Open Daily.  Does not have the variety of dishes found at Green leaf in Seattle, but has food so good I find very little reason to go into Seattle if I am on the south side. (2-15-17)

Punjab Sweets–23617 104th Ave. SE (Indian) Open Daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Vegetarian Indian restaurant.  Malai kofta is good. (2-15-17)

Kirkland

Cafe Happy–102 Kirkland Ave. (Chinese) Open Mon-Sat (open until 8:30 pm).  Vegetarian Chinese food and boba drinks (I think people will really like it even if they are not vegetarian). (3-25-17)

Original Pancake House–130 Parkplace Center (Pancakes) Open daily (breakfast & lunch only).  Blueberry, cherry kijafa crepes (Scandinavian). Also in Ballard. (3-25-17)

Newcastle

Yea’s Wok–6969 Coal Creek Pkwy. SE (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed 3:00 to 5:00 pm).  Cantonese, Mandarin, and Sichuan (all of them are excellent, and each one has an expert cook preparing it). (3-25-17)

Redmond

Kanishka–16651 Redmond Way (Indian) Open Daily (closed from 2:30 to 5:00 pm).  Probably the best Indian restaurant I have tried anywhere.  Has both vegetarian and meat thali sampler plates. (3-24-17)

Malay Satay Hut–15230 NE 24th St. (Malaysian) Open Daily.  Look for daily specials. Definitely one of my favorite restaurants in the Seattle area. (3-24-17)

Sichuanese Cuisine–15005 NE 24th St. (Sichuanese) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  Reviewers say this is the “real deal” in Sichuanese food, and it certainly seemed this way to me. The ma po tofu is swimming in oil, and delicious. (3-24-17)

Renton

Taqueria Los Potrillos–2800 NE Sunset Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily (open until 3 am Fri-Sun).  This section of highway is lined with Mexican restaurants, but I never knew which one to try. Many reviewers say the best one is actually a taco truck called Los Portrillos, serving a good variety of very good tacos at amazingly cheap prices. (2-15-17)

Seattle

Green Leaf–418 8th Ave. S (Vietnamese) Open Daily.  My favorite straight Vietnamese restaurant in Seattle (Monsoon is my favorite for high end Vietnamese/ French fusion).  Green Leaf offers a large number of dishes that I have not found in any other Vietnamese restaurant I have visited (Tamarind Tree is close, but I liked Green Leaf better). Now has a second location at 2800 1st Ave. (3-25-17)

Henry’s Taiwan–522 S King St. (Taiwanese) Open Daily.  More authentic than Facing East but some think Facing East is culinarily the better choice. It is probably a good idea to look at the reviews and decide what you want to order before you go because most people are not familiar with the food and it is not explained very well on the menu (according to some reviewers). Also at 4106 Brooklyn Ave. NE (near the University). (3-25-17)

Ivar’s Acres of Clams–1001 Alaskan Way (Seafood) Open Daily (open until 10 pm).  Tourist restaurant, but some items are quite good (also it is worth eating on the waterfront if you have never done so).  The Copper River salmon here (available in late May/early June) is the best I have had anywhere. (3-25-17)

Kisaku Sushi–2101 N. 55th St. (Japanese) Closed Sun. lunch & Tue.  This is not the kind of sushi restaurant that is normally found across the country.  This is high end, very professionally prepared sushi (but not at exorbitant prices).  It also has a large menu of cooked Japanese items.  Both the sushi and regular menu are the best I have had in Seattle. (3-25-17)

La Carta de Oaxaca–5431 Ballard Ave. NW (Mexican) Closed Sun; closed Mon lunch.  Supposedly has authentic Oaxaca style food, but in any case it has mole and the reviews are good (it has had excellent reviews for a number of years). (3-25-17)

Little Ting’s Dumplings–14411 Greenwood Ave. N (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Authentic northern Chinese style dumplings, onion pancakes, hand shaved noodles. Multiple sources indicate this is one of the best, if not the best in Seattle. (8-26-16)

Maneki–324 6th Ave. S (Japanese) Dinner only (closed Mon).  My second favorite Japanese place (behind Kisaku).  However, this is located in the International District, is a very old and well known restaurant, and is probably more fun because of the large crowds who come as much for the atmosphere as the food.  I definitely recommend this restaurant also. (3-25-17)

Matt’s In the Market–94 Pike St. (Northwest) Closed Sun (and closed between 2:30 and 5:30 pm).  Small upscale restaurant that many times has more people who want to eat here than they have space to accommodate (but if you are able to get a table you will be richly rewarded with some of the very best food in Seattle).  The view of Pike Place Market out the window is great, but this is a bonus (the food is the reason to come here). (8-26-16)

Monsoon–615 19th Ave. E (Vietnamese) Open daily (open until 12 am).  This is an upscale French/Vietnamese fusion restaurant that makes the Vietnamese food even better (rather than dumbing it down to a “fusion” style that I find in a lot of restaurants).  One of the few places with outdoor seating that I found to be very comfortable. (3-25-17)

Pike Place Chowder–1530 Post Alley (Seafood) Open daily 11 am to 5 pm.  Based on the Yelp rankings this is the best place to eat in Pike Place. Serves several flavors of chowder, and you can either get a sampler plate or pick the one that suits you. (3-25-17)

Portage Bay Cafe–4130 Roosevelt Bay NE (New American) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily).  Fresh and sustainable food that has been getting good reviews for a number of years (most people go for breakfast or brunch). (3-25-17)

Queen’s Deli–9808 14th Ave. SW (Cambodian).  Small hole in the wall place with good food. There are also Cambodian rests. in Tacoma (where there is a large Cambodian population). (8-26-16)

Rocking Wok–4301 Interlake Ave. N (Taiwanese) Closed Tue.  Seemed to be authentic Taiwanese food, and I really enjoyed it. Located in an old house–all the dining rooms are very small. Some say it is better than Din Tai Fung because it is cheaper and the food is just as good. Serves congee (at least some of the time). (3-25-17)

Shanghai Garden–524 6th Ave. S (Chinese) Open Daily.  This was my favorite restaurant in Issaquah (because of the variety of choices, the price, and the comfortable setting). Bean curd sheet rolls, hand shaven noodles, hot and sour soup are very good. (There is a link to my review of the Issaquah location, which is now closed). (3-24-17)

Shoreline

Old Village Korean–15200 Aurora Ave. N (Korean) Open Daily.  Reviewers say to get the grilled meat because the table grills use charcoal briquettes that give it an excellent flavor. (3-25-17)

Snoqualmie

Gianfranco–8150 Railroad Ave. SE (Italian) Dinner only (open daily).  I think this is quite a special Italian restaurant, serving an outstanding “penne Gianfranco” dish with gorganzola and seasonal specials such as Copper River salmon. (3-25-17)

Tukwila

Bai Tong–16876 Southcenter Pkwy. (Thai) Open Daily.  Quality is in the same league as Noodle Boat in Issaquah, and Bai Tong has a larger menu with items that will appeal to just about everyone (including those who do not like it spicy).  This restaurant was started to serve the Thai pilots and airline personnel who flew into the Seattle airport. (2-15-17)

Marwa–15035 Tukwila Intl. Blvd. (Somali).  Authentic and very good Somali food, but it is a hole in the wall. (2-15-17)

Salaama–13820 Tukwila Intl. Blvd. (Somali) Open Daily.  From reading the reviews it seems to be more upscale than Marwa (not as much of a hole in the wall), but the food is comparable. (2-15-17)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Chowhound (Seattle)

City-Data “What are Your Favorite Restaurants in Seattle?”

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Washington)

Zomato (Seattle)

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