Food & Drink

Lunch Rush: These 12 Seattle Meals Are the Perfect Midday Bites

Skip that lunch at your desk in favor of one of these 12 standouts

By Chelsea Lin & Naomi Tomky February 1, 2019


This article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of Seattle magazine.

This article appears in print in the February 2019 issue, as part of the 100 Best Things To Eat cover story. Click here to subscribe.

Chirashi bowl
Fremont Bowl
Better than any poke, this bowl of raw seafood—a Japanese smorgasbord of tuna, shrimp, salmon, eel and more ($14.95)—is as fresh and tasty as it is photogenic.

Zaatar and cheese mana’eesh
Man’oushe Express
Lake City
The flatbread in this Mediterranean market and restaurant (Goodies is the market; Man’oushe Express, the restaurant) is the best of its kind—the zaatar spice and cheese blend ($5.49) that tops it is the perfect complement.

Camarones al tequila
Señor Moose
Folks flock to this colorful Mexican restaurant, particularly for the generous brunch plates. But this delightful dish—a creamy, saucy shrimp dish served with rice and black beans—is better suited for lunch or dinner.

“It’s the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. The shrimp ($18.95) are perfect; plump and juicy, and the tequila cream sauce is beautifully tangy. Start with the fresh fried chips and salsa flight with peanut salsa!” Brandon J. Simmons, actor

Jack’s Fish Spot
Pike Place Market
It may have origins in California, but we’re not above honoring a great import, especially when it features such a bounty of fresh fish.

“Fishmonger and songwriter Jack Mathers says he put the peppery fish soup ($5.49/bowl) on the menu when he opened in 1982. You can get cups or bowls of a rich mixture of tomato, onion and celery stew studded with thick pieces of salmon, halibut, snapper and whatever fresh cuts of fish are available.…People are familiar with the milky clam chowder he sells, Mathers was telling me, but once they get a taste for cioppino, they’ll come back an hour or two later and ask for more.” Steve Scher, journalist and podcast host

Banh cuon
Ba Bar
multiple locations
On weekends, you can find these alluring made-to-order rice paper rolls ($13.50 for a large plate), stuffed with a mix of ground pork and mushrooms, at any of the locations of this chic Vietnamese eatery.

Classic chili tacos
Off the Rez
food truck
Native American fry bread sets this “taco” ($5)—filled with beef chili or chicken chile verde—apart from its tortilla-clad counterparts; get one wherever this food truck is parked.

Il Corvo
Pioneer Square
Does it matter what’s in the bowl? We’d eat whatever super seasonal pasta—orecchiette with artichokes, mafaldine with watercress-pistachio pesto (all $9)—chef Mike Easton is making any day at this petite lunch-only spot.

Khao soi gai
Little Uncle
Capitol Hill
Many Thai restaurants offer this deeply flavorful curry chicken noodle soup, though it’s best at this family-run joint, where everything is made from scratch ($14).

Spam sliders
multiple locations
The slider that launched a food truck and, perhaps, an entire Korean-Hawaiian restaurant group, remains Marination’s savory claim to fame. The Spam is served crispy in a sweet roll, with crunchy slaw and beguiling “Nunya” sauce ($3 each).

Aviv Hummus Bar
Capitol Hill
If you’ve ever wondered how much room for improvement there could be in the world of falafel, the crispy outside and pillowy innards of these fried chickpea-based balls will deliciously demonstrate ($3 for 3/$5 for 7).

Tavern burger
Loretta’s Northwesterner
South Park
This dive-bar special doesn’t show off: It’s wrapped in brown paper, with a skimpy beef patty, raw onions, white-bread bun and American cheese. But with this small but mighty burger ($5), the sum is far greater than the parts.

Willie Lee biscuit
Seattle Biscuit Company
In its upgrade from truck to storefront, SBC expanded its menu, but the Willie Lee ($9) remains the sweet and savory, time-tested star: a feather-light biscuit stuffed with egg, bacon, cheese and (surprise!) jam.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated since print publication.

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