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). (2-5-19)

Din Tai Fung–700 Bellevue Way NE (Chinese) Open Daily. 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). (3-2-19)

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. (3-2-19)

Istanbul–405 Bellevue Way NE (Turkish) Closed Mon; closed Sun evening.  Flavors are so good people put this on their regular rotation. This is a casual place with good prices. (3-2-19)

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). (2-5-19)

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). (3-2-19)

Xiao Chi Jie–278 106th Ave. NE (Chinese) Closed Sun (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  This is “Chinese street food” with a small menu of bao, bowls, and jian bing (crepes). It is highly rated, but may be expensive even for something this good (according to reviewers). (3-2-19)

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. (2-5-19)

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). (5-1-19)

Edmonds

Hosoonyi–23830 Hwy. 99 (Korean) Closed Tue.  Excellent food, but reviewers also say it has excellent prices. (2-5-19)

Noodle Hut–8418 Bowdoin Way (Thai) Closed Sun & Mon. Reviewers say it is absolutely authentic and quite good (and the details make me think they know what they are talking about). (Moved from Everett). (4-18-19)

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. (5-27-19)

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. (5-27-19)

Pho Real–1118 Stevenson Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  People say the pho and vermicelli bowls are authentic and have a very good flavor. (5-27-19)

Teriyaki House–1040 Stevenson Ave. (Japanese) Closed Sun.  Teriyaki restaurants seem to be a particular phenomenon in southern King County, and I tried several. This one was my favorite. (5-27-19)

The Kettle–1666 2nd St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon).  Omelettes, muffins are very good. (2-5-19)

Federal Way

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. (5-1-19)

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. (5-1-19)

SuRaSang Korean–1636 S. 312th St. (Korean) Open Daily.  Reviews of the food are equal to or better than So Moon Nan Jib but it seems to be in a sketchier area. Most of the really good dishes are things I have never heard of, which makes me think they serve some of the more authentic dishes that you cannot find at most restaurants. (5-1-19)

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). (5-16-19)

Max’s World Cafe–212 Front St. N (Indian) Closed Mon (now open for breakfast & lunch but soon will have dinner hours).  Fresh and flavorful Indian food which is very consistent because this is a small restaurant. Serves Goan style Indian food (probably not something you will find at very many restaurants). (5-16-19)

Noodle Boat–700 NW Gilman Blvd. (Thai) Dinner daily, lunch Mon-Fri.  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). (5-16-19)

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. (5-16-19)

Kent

Bahn Sip Song–1734 Central Ave. S. (Lao) Open Daily.  Several reviewers say it serves authentic Lao food. Papaya salad and larb are recommended items. They also have Thai food which is served on the lunch specials (and are said to be good food at a good price). (5-1-19)

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. (5-1-19)

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. Beijing duck is their signature dish but it has to be ordered a day ahead of time. (5-1-19)

Pho Saigon Garden–25632 Pacific Hwy. S (Vietnamese) Open daily (closes early on Sun).  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. (5-1-19)

Punjab Sweets–23617 104th Ave. SE (Indian) Open Daily 11 am to 8 pm.  Vegetarian Indian restaurant. Malai kofta is recommended. Has thali. Sweets (desserts) are what sets it apart from many other restaurants (in addition to the fact that many restaurants do no seem to have the food quality that they have here). (5-1-19)

Szechuan First–18124 E. Valley Hwy. (Chinese) Open Daily.  I’m not sure if everything here is authentic but some of it seems to be, and it gets good reviews. (5-1-19)

Kirkland

Beijing O’Chef–206 Main St. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  This seems to be authentic northern Chinese (Beijing style) cuisine. Ratings are excellent for it. (3-2-19)

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). (2-5-19)

Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen–170 Lake St. S. (Thai) Open Daily.  Seems to be very authentic, but many of the reviewers say they do not really like Thai food all that much except for here (I know that Isan style is different from mainstream Thai so this may be one of the reasons). Some say the reason this is different is that it is street food. (3-2-19)

Note: Cafe Juanita (Italian) is probably the most well known and highest rated restaurant in Kirkland, but is $$$$

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). (2-5-19)

Redmond

Kanishka–16651 Redmond Way (Indian) Open Daily (closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Probably the best Indian restaurant I have tried anywhere. Has both vegetarian and meat thali sampler plates. (2-5-19)

Malay Satay Hut–15230 NE 24th St. (Malaysian) Open Daily.  Look for daily specials. Definitely one of my favorite restaurants in the Seattle area. (3-2-19)

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. Was more casual and lower priced than other authentic restaurants in the area. The spice level is also the real deal. (3-2-19)

Renton

Five Sisters Thai Cuisine–14252 SE 176th St. (Thai) Open Daily.  Reviewers say the food is at the same level as Bai Tong (which I think is one of the best in Seattle). (5-16-19)

Himalayan Cafe–202 SW 43rd St. (Nepalese) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  What I know from reviews is that it has an Indian buffet and that it has Nepalese food. It seems that few people have tried the Nepalese food but those who have say it is good. They also like the buffet. (5-16-19)

Renton Bistro–212 S. 3rd St. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Small restaurant with a surprisingly large menu and surprisingly good food (according to reviewers). (5-16-19)

Taqueria Los Potrillos–2800 NE Sunset Blvd. (Mexican) Open Daily.  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. (5-16-19)

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. (4-5-19)

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). (5-27-19)

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. (4-5-19)

Kisaku Sushi–2101 N. 55th St. (Japanese) Closed Sun. lunch (and closed from 2 to 5 pm). 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. (4-5-19)

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). (5-27-19)

Little Ting’s Dumplings–14411 Greenwood Ave. N (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 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. Small restaurant with large demand for its food sometimes means slow service, problems when trying to call in an order, etc. (2-5-19)

Maneki–304 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. (4-5-19)

Matt’s In the Market–94 Pike St. (Northwest) Closed Sun.  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). (2-5-19)

Monsoon–615 19th Ave. E (Vietnamese) Open daily (open until 12 am Fri & Sat). 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. (4-5-19)

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. Has another location at 600 Pine St. (5-27-19)

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). Now has 3 locations. (5-27-19)

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). (2-5-19)

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). (2-5-19)

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). (4-5-19)

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. (2-5-19)

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. Note: now has locations in Redmond, Capitol Hill (Seattle), and Issaquah. (5-27-19)

Din Tai Fung–181 Southcenter Mall (Taiwanese) Open Daily.  This is a chain that is very popular in the Los Angeles area. There are two locations in Seattle and one in Bellevue (I expect that all of them have the same food). Has xiao long bao. (5-27-19)

Salaama–13820 Tukwila Intl. Blvd. (Somali) Open Daily.  There used to be two Somali restaurants in town, but this is the one still operating (and apparently is very popular). (5-27-19)

 

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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