The Complete List of Top Restaurants in Seattle

From bakeries to bistros to fine dining, our neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to the best eateries
Allison Austin Scheff  |   November 2013   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
A warm bowl of goodness from Kukai in Bellevue

Bainbridge Island

Chef and owner Brendan McGill goes out of his way to shop well from local farmers, and then he lets those stellar ingredients do the heavy lifting. The applewood-fired oven is put to good use, scenting the perfectly cooked pork chop and the legendary chicken. Best bet: the always inspired name-your-price prix fixe menu. Dinner nightly. 133 Winslow Way E, Suite 200; 206.201.3789;

Restaurant Marché Bainbridge  

We’re smitten with former Canlis chef and cookbook author Greg Atkinson’s Northwest-inspired bistro on Bainbridge Island. Atkinson is a pro, and it shows: The perfectly cooked steaks and salmon are paired with carefully considered sides. More pluses: friendly service and a stylish dining room. Lunch and dinner Tue.–Sat. Winslow, 150 Madrone Lane; 206.842.1633;

Ballard Avenue’s Parisian-style brasserie comes alive after dark, when the vintage light fixtures cast the fashionable crowd in a flattering golden hue. The best choices are plats du jour (such as a tender-crisp boneless quail). At brunch, the fluffy omelets and the farmers’ market people-watching (from tables in the cozy, enclosed patio) is top-notch. Brunch Sun., dinner daily. 5307 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.453.5014;

This hip corner spot in Ballard turns out the best barbecue we’ve tasted in Seattle in a long time, especially the ribs and the brisket. Plus brown liquor (the vanilla-scented creamed old fashioned is great) and a choice lineup of local beer. Lunch and dinner daily. 5239 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.588.1577;

Cafe Besalu
The heady scent of butter wafts out of James Miller’s tiny neighborhood bakery each time the door opens, inviting neighbors to come inside. Miller’s croissants, pastries and quiches are nothing short of superb, and the warmth of the windowed storefront space lingers. Breakfast and lunch Wed.–Sun. 5909 24th Ave. NW; 206.789.1463;

The humble pizzeria that Brandon Pettit runs with his wife, Molly Wizenberg (creator of food blog Orangette), is such a hit there’s still often an hour’s wait. Pettit’s outstanding pizza has a chewy, salty, smoky crust and bright house-made tomato sauce. Craft cocktail bar Essex is a sparkling addition with its list of house-made bitters. Dinner Wed.–Sun. 1415 NW 70th St.; 206.838.1960;

Honoré Artisan Bakery
Next door to Delancey is this quaint bakery where the buttery croissants rival Ballard’s other fab bakery, Cafe Besalu. But those caramelized canelés? Those shattering macarons? That kouign amann (a layered sweet-salty pastry from Brittany)? Perfection! Breakfast and lunch Wed.–Sun. 1413 NW 70th St.; 206.706.4035;

La Carta de Oaxaca
Easily Seattle’s most authentic Mexican restaurant, La Carta has a menu that’s eminently craveable. You’ll love the hand-mashed guacamole with house-fried tortilla chips and tender chicken in Oaxaca’s signature sweet, sultry black mole. The tequila/mezcal display is particularly well researched. Lunch Tue.–Sat., dinner Mon.–Sat. 5431 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.782.8722;

The pink food stand, with outdoor seating only, is hard to miss; see listing under FREMONT for full description. Lunch and dinner Tue.–Sat. 6226 Seaview Ave. NW; 206.789.3100; Cash only.

Ray’s Boathouse & Café

Head to Ray’s upstairs café, where breathtaking sunsets and standard-issue seafood dishes are a Seattle tradition. Downstairs, Ray’s seaside dining room reopened in January after a renovation, and chef Wayne Johnson (formerly of Andaluca) has taken over the kitchen. And then there is that view. On a clear day, the Olympic Mountains fairly jump into your lap. Café lunch and dinner daily; restaurant dinner daily. 6049 Seaview Ave. NW; 206.789.3770;

Skillet Diner

All your big-boned Skillet faves, including the burger, the waffles with fried chicken, that kale Caesar—plus a few new Scandinavian dishes, such as Swedish meatballs—are here at the new diner in Ballard. See listing under CAPITOL HILL for full information. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 2034 NW 56th St.; 206.922.7981;

Staple & Fancy Mercantile
Ethan Stowell’s Ballard dinner house is a pleasantly funky space with a constantly changing menu, served family style. We love the peekaboo view into neighboring The Walrus and the Carpenter. Dinner daily. 4739 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.789.1200;


Our review will appear in December. Jason Stoneburner’s eponymously named Italian eatery lives in a richly decorated, sprawling space at the foot of the swank new Hotel Ballard. On the menu: house-made pastas, wood-fired pizzas, small plates and local veggies galore. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 5214 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.695.2051;

Veraci Pizza

The traveling wood-fired pizza ovens that helped pioneer Seattle’s mobile food trend churn out some of the most flavorful, inventive, cracker-thin-crusted pizza combinations—by the slice or the whole pie—in this casual, cozy family-friendly neighborhood spot. Lunch and dinner Wed.–Mon. 500 NW Market St.; 206.525.1813;

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Renée Erickson (Boat Street Cafe & Kitchen) has made quite the splash with this breezy small-plates eatery and oyster bar, where raw, on-the-half-shell beauties are the stars. Dessert and cocktails are particularly good. Dinner daily. 4743 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.395.9227;


Looking for even more restaurants in Seattle and on the Eastside beyond the ones on this list? Visit our Restaurant Guide.