The Best Gyoza In Seattle
photo credit: Nate Watters
When it comes to dumplings, we have to give credit to gyoza where credit is due. These Japanese pleated beauties are powerful in their simplicity and versatility. Steamed, pan-sizzled, or fried, gyoza are loaded with things like sesame-scented minced pork or ground shrimp, and are perfect for rounding out a meal. Overstuffed, seared, floating in ramen—all of the gyoza of your dreams are in Seattle.
Fighting over the last gyoza at Maneki is a cherished Seattle pastime, up there with drinking espresso and convincing out-of-towners that the rain really isn’t that bad. These plump dumplings at the oldest Japanese restaurant in the whole city are absolutely delicious, complete with a pan-seared crust, soft pork, homemade dipping sauce, and sweet cabbage salad on the side. The filling is so juicy that the tasty drippings become one with the sauce mid-dunk.
Speaking of oversized gyoza, the ones at Ooink, a ramen shop on Capitol Hill, are also excellent. They’re crispy on the outside and meaningful on the inside, with chives adding a bright oniony flavor and some celery for crunch. You could eat these on their own, or slide them right into your bowl of ramen.
This International District spot specializes in onigiri, though you'll also want to nab what we consider to be the platonic ideal of gyoza, with a delicate wrapper, plump filling that drips with pork juices, and a golden lacy pan-seared crust. They shine among a spread full of fish-stuffed rice parcels and soothing soup.
Deep-fried gyoza tend to have brittle edges that get soggy fast—but not the ones at Issian. Instead, the wrapper on these pork-filled bundles stay blistered and crackly, with air bubbles from the hot oil and nary a dry crimp in sight. They come with a smear of hot mustard that cuts through the grease while also clearing your sinuses quicker than a puff of Flonase ever could. While you’re at it, grab their prawn shumai too, which are also deep-fried.
This Belltown sushi staple is one of the rare Seattle places to find seafood-stuffed gyoza, and Umi’s scallop and shrimp versions are perfectly juicy shellfish packages. And the accompanying chili oil-spiked ponzu gives the seafood a boost of citrus and heat without masking their oceanic pizzazz. Occasionally, Umi Sake House will have pork gyoza on special, so we highly recommend ordering both for a surf-and-turf moment—and note that Momiji on Capitol Hill (owned by the Umi team) serves the same exact dumplings.
The daily homemade gyoza at this South Lake Union ramen spot are not particularly packed with flavor. They rely on the simplicity of ground chicken and tender crunch of cabbage bits to do the heavy lifting, and the result is a pleasant pan-seared dumpling light enough to enjoy on loop alongside a bowl of noodles in duck miso broth. Meanwhile, the sesame oil-slicked shoyu dip zaps the filling to life on each dunk without making it taste like slugging a beer bong of Kikkoman.
When it comes to Momosan, their gyoza is nothing short of good enough, but what really sets these suckers apart is how the dish is served—the dumplings come to the table topped with a scallion-ginger paste that’s equal parts grassy and earthy, and sizzles in a skillet. A server finishes the whole thing by pouring in sake to deglaze the pan, which gives the gyoza a bright zing.