Wondering where you should be eating in Seattle right now? You’re in the right place. The Infatuation Hit List is your guide to the city’s best new restaurants.
And when we say “best new restaurants,” we mean it. Because we’ve vetted every single one of these places - and we’ve also left off other new spots that simply aren’t as worthy of your time and paycheck.
The Hit List is our record of every restaurant that’s opened in the past year and a half that we’d highly recommend you try. We’ve arranged it in chronological order with the newest places at the top, and the oldest at the bottom. Happy exploring.
New to The Hit List (as of 1/21): Taurus Ox
Some spots you might have heard about that didn’t make the cut: Kin Len Thai Night Bites, Bar Taglio, Eden Hill Provisions, West Of Chicago Pizza Company, Bistro Shirlee, Arriba Cantina, Spice Waala, Fiasco, Corte Fino
If you can’t decide between khao soi and a cheeseburger, allow us to introduce you to Taurus Ox. This little corner spot on Madison serves great Laotian food, from pork belly stir-fries to rice noodles with peanut and egg. As an all-day, counter-service operation, this place is an excellent choice for a takeout lunch or casual dinner. But we have to give an edge to dinner - that’s the only time you can get the incredible double smash burger with provolone, homemade bacon, taro stem, cilantro, and jaew bong mayo (made with a spicy pork condiment). The Laotian food at Taurus Ox is delicious, but you should come here the next time you want an incredible burger.
Sometimes, when you go out for casual drinks and snacks with friends, you’ll only grab a round of cocktails and a couple of appetizers to graze on before calling it a night. At Rupee Bar, a tiny Sri Lankan small-plate spot in Ballard, it’s extremely easy to end up with a huge spread of twelve dishes because the food is so excellent. While the portions are on the smaller side, nothing’s more expensive than $12 - including tandoori cauliflower, black cod in yellow curry, and the panko-breaded mutton roll with tomato sambol for dipping. In a neighborhood full of loud, crowded bars that serve mostly burgers and wings, it’s a welcome addition to Ballard.
There’s a shortage of great tacos in Seattle, so when we find truly terrific ones, it’s a big deal. Chilolos is a quiet counter-service operation in Georgetown that serves delicious tacos on thick homemade corn tortillas with meats like al pastor and chicken tinga, but they don’t stop there. You’ll also find quesadillas stuffed with chorizo and excellent carne asada and avocado mulitas. Not to mention that they make one of the best grilled burritos in town (make sure you get it with carnitas and add guacamole). The next time anybody tells you Seattle doesn’t have good tacos, blindfold them, put them in the backseat of your car, and take them to Chilolos.
Momosan has easily become one of the most popular Japanese restaurants in town. It makes sense - this is the first West Coast location of the worldwide ramen spot that’s run by an Iron Chef. You’ll find our names on the huge waiting list along with everyone else, patiently reading the massive picture-book menu of ramen, sushi, yakitori, and fried snacks. The ramen is warm and comforting, but the real stars are the appetizers like A5 wagyu skewers with daikon relish, pork gyoza that come to the table deglazed with sake in a sizzling cast-iron skillet, and a delicious gochujang-coated popcorn shrimp. Try to only bring a few friends to dinner since it’s tough to get a table, but make it a priority to share a bunch of small plates. If you’re really in the mood for soup, get one or two orders of ramen for the table. They’ll bring over little bowls so you won’t have to worry about everybody sharing the same soup and catching a cold.
Lady Jaye might be the only BBQ place to have burrata on the menu - and that’s a good thing. This West Seattle restaurant that’s disguised as a cocktail bar specializes in new types of BBQ dishes. We’re talking about things like a fried bologna sandwich topped with potato chips and pickle slaw, pork collar pastrami, a massive smoked turkey leg covered in ancho sauce and lime cream, and the delicious burrata that comes with smoky tomatoes and the best green beans in town. Whether you come to Lady Jaye for a full dinner, or just for excellent cocktails and a side of dirty rice, it should be your new go-to for a BBQ meal.
At most diners, you’d expect to eat things like burgers, pot pie, and egg creams. While you can get all of these things at Champagne Diner, this place has way more to offer - they serve things like chilled mussel rolls, chicken-seasoned marcona almonds, and also have a great natural wine list. For the people that work (AKA are trapped) in Interbay, you now have a terrific sit-down lunch or dinner option. This place would also work well for a big group since they even have a parking lot. Whether you’re sharing a plate of fried oysters with a glass of pinot gris, or having a round of double cheeseburgers and then some ovaltine pie for dessert, it’s pretty easy to be happy here.
If your idea of a good time is splitting some appetizers, a few bowls of pasta, and a bottle (or two) of wine, you should go to Haymaker in West Seattle. Their pastas are excellent and range from fusilli with clams and sausage to the best bowl of rigatoni all’amatriciana in town. They also serve a tremendous steak frites that comes with a sticky red wine sauce and great small plates like street corn covered in aioli and parmesan.
Paju is easily our new favorite Korean spot. They serve comforting things that make us want to eat here multiple times a week, like a squid ink fried rice with bacon and a smoked quail egg, flavorful salmon and tuna tartare with seaweed, and bulgogi with fluffy rice, quinoa, and just a hint of truffle oil. We appreciate that a lot of dishes have artistic garnishes, like fried shiso leaves, and that the crispy sweet chili wings come with little plastic strips that you’re supposed to use to keep your fingers dry.
Even when Windy City Pie served their pies out of a small pop-up location at Batch 206 Distillery, they still made the best Chicago-style pizza in the city. Now they have a permanent spot in Phinney Ridge, which means we can eat their caramelized-edged pies without being tempted to buy a bottle of whiskey. The blue dining room has a lot of tropical plants, mirrors in antique frames, and a bunch of booths plus a massive communal table. They let you order your pizza ahead of time, down to the specific date and hour, which we strongly recommend. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait for a table - and then 45 more minutes while your pie bakes. If you reserve your pizza, you show up, get seated at the next available table, and then your order comes out of the oven, right on schedule. All of the pies are delicious, but make sure you get one with some candied bacon as a topping. They also make an excellent kale caesar if you want something light to go with your deep dish.
Taneda Sushi In Kaiseki only has eight seats, and with two seatings per night (one early in the evening and one during primetime), only 16 people eat every day. While it’s hard to get in here at times, this is such an exceptional meal that you should put in the work to get a reservation - you can book a week ahead if you’re dining solo, but you’ll have to wait a couple of months if you’re going with someone else. Once you get a seat, prepare yourself for an extremely special, intimate omakase involving about two dozen courses. What’s on the menu changes every month, but some of our favorites were a sea salt-marinated flounder nigiri from Tokyo and seared A5 Miyazaki wagyu topped with caviar. There are also a few seasonal hot Japanese dishes like a fried soba maki roll and grilled corn teriyaki. During the entire dining process, the chef will personally walk you through the origin and preparation of each dish. For $110, it’s the best omakase value in town.
When you think of “hotel restaurants,” a few things might come to mind. Continental breakfasts with stale muffins and cold packets of butter, loud children eating chicken fingers while dressed in snorkeling gear, and entrees for the adults that never seem worth the steep price tag. Ben Paris is here to break those stereotypes. This all-day restaurant on the ground floor of The State hotel serves such delicious food that you’d want to eat here even if you weren’t reluctantly sharing a deluxe queen room with your parents upstairs. Their dinner menu has everything from English pea risotto to fried chicken with sesame honey. We’d even stop by the big marble bar just for a cocktail and a plate of short rib poutine.
Vinnie’s is a natural wine bar that also specializes in seafood from the team behind No Anchor and Navy Strength. While we’d come here just for a glass of wine, we highly recommend making a full meal out of the small plates, from the “seacuterie” plate involving rilettes and octopus terrine to a delicious butter-poached shrimp cocktail. If you’re entertaining out of town guests and don’t have the patience for crowds on the waterfront, walk a few extra blocks and do oysters at Vinnie’s instead.
Imperial Lounge is a dark, romantic bar that serves great pisco cocktails, but they also have a full dinner menu too. The Peruvian food here is delicious - from the perfectly-seasoned lomo saltado (steak sauteed with soy sauce, tomatoes, and onions on top of crunchy fries) to the roasted chicken with green cheesy rice and a spicy cilantro sauce. Most people come here to drink after work, but we advise coming in for a full meal. And of course, have something cold and spiked with pisco to go with it all.
There’s a lot going on at Bangrak Market in Belltown. It’s named after one of the most popular night markets in Bangkok, and the Thai street food options are practically endless, but half the fun is craning your neck around to look up at the woven baskets, colorful beams, little packages of spices, nuts, and other food products. The menu ranges from snacks like skewered meats to creamy curries like mussamun and panang. It’s all great, but if we could have two things here on repeat, it would be the moo ping pork sticks chased with a rum-spiked Thai iced tea. You just found your new after-work Happy Hour spot.
This spot in Ballard feels like a cozy corner coffee shop, but in addition to good espresso drinks, they serve some Korean-inspired brunch food, like eggs benedict with pork belly or chicken and waffles made with gochujang sauce. Weekend breakfast here is relaxed but not sleepy, mostly due to the aesthetically simple interior. Don’t miss the Fruity Pebbles French toast topped with whipped cream, because unlike in second grade, there’s nobody here telling you what you can and can’t order.
If you’re in the market for a setting to impress your parents, a significant other, or your parents and your significant other simultaneously, go to Samara. It’s an upscale spot in Ballard with a real living flower on every table and an American menu of things like almond-crusted halibut and fancy mangalitsa bacon with a tangy fennel cabbage slaw. Everything is very tasteful without being stuffy, and the housemade pastries, crackers, and breads will make you want to break out your rolling pin and open that bakery you dream about every time you consider quitting your job.
Eating at Dacha Diner kind of feels like having a meal inside of a humongous doily, mostly because the Eastern European restaurant is filled with white lace curtains and a ton of natural light. This spot is open for brunch on the weekends, when you can eat latkes and blintzes, but we prefer dinner when we can have dill-y matzo ball soup, Russian dumplings that soften the blow of Vostok’s 2015 closure, and an incredibly tender braised brisket that tastes like someone gave it hourly pep talks and even slipped it some birthday money. Dacha is actually from the same team behind one of our favorite pizza spots, Independent Pizzeria, and keeping true to their roots, the menu here does involve pizza. Only it’s Georgian boat-style, and topped with a combination of farmer’s cheese and sausage from George’s deli.
The chairs and tables at Little Duck kind of make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time to a classroom in the ’70s where you might learn every step of the Krebs cycle. This is a cool place to spend an hour eating delicious Chinese food like sweet and sour pork, pickled cabbage dumplings, and spicy pepper chicken that tricks your tongue into thinking the tap water is carbonated.
It’s been seven years since the original Bisato closed, and we can only guess that the kitchen staff has been holed up in a cave perfecting their recipes for this restaurant’s second life in Pioneer Square ever since. Bisato is a place that you should be saving for your birthday or anniversary because the upscale Italian food here is incredible and you’re going to wish that the kitchen here was your own. From the beef prosciutto topped with parmesan ice cream to the single ricotta gnocchi pillow with Calabrian sausage, this is the meal that takes the place of your usual late-night thoughts (bills that need to be paid and what the neighborhood raccoon is up to right now).
At times, the two-hour meal at Archipelago feels like a Filipino history lesson. For all of the nine courses in the mandatory, $130 tasting menu, the chef will explain how a course is inspired by his Filipino heritage and where certain ingredients and products come from. Like the incredible Orosa sauce made from charred squash, which is a riff on the popular Filipino condiment banana ketchup (invented by University of Washington graduate and amazing Filipino women Maria Orosa). Everything on the menu is outstanding, whether it’s the housemade pandesal roll you’ll receive at the beginning of dinner, the housemade rye miki noodles with scrambled eggs and longanisa sausage, or the pasalubong muffin with honey butter that comes in a box to take home for next morning’s breakfast. Toward the end of dinner, the owners even take a moment to thank the Filipino farmers and winemakers for the produce and wine you enjoyed throughout the meal. For one of the best dining experiences of the year, book a reservation ASAP.
Finding By Tae is kind of like finding the tiniest Russian doll inside of all the others. Once you get through the random doorway at Chophouse Row on Capitol Hill and into the lobby, you’ll find a little seven-seat counter. Behind it, there’s miso soup boiling on a hot plate and a man who tends to it. By Tae is his lunchtime sushi spot. You’ll find only one thing on the menu, and it’s a handroll tasting that involves three handrolls for $25. You never know exactly what you’re going to get, but the fish is extremely fresh, and if you tell the chef in passing that you’re into seared salmon, he’ll probably whip up something special on the house.
Next in the boxing ring to compete with Il Corvo (who currently holds the title of inexpensive, lunchtime-only pasta champion) is G.H. Pasta Co., a counter-service spot from the same team behind Le Messe and Raccolto. G.H. has substantial bowls of incredible pasta that cost less than $10 each. Some of our favorites are the gemelli with braised pork, cacio e pepe, rigatoni all’amatriciana, and bucatini with shrimp. It’s all amazing, down to the side order of garlic bread covered in parmesan and chives. We can’t say this is the best lunchtime pasta in the city, but do they have Il Corvo beat on convenience - you can walk right into this Denny Triangle spot and get outstanding pasta without waiting for hours in the rain.
Imagine a dinner party hosted by a friend who owns a lifestyle and wellness blog - that’s Homer in a nutshell. There’s a huge brick oven firing up pita bread at all times, patterned wallpaper, and soft serve ice cream that comes in earthy flavors like fig leaf and elderberry cardamom. Food-wise, the Mediterranean dishes are on the healthier end of the spectrum and range from mezzes like hummus and lamb ragu to things like grilled pork with spicy tomato and lentils. Use Homer for a date spot when you want some fresh small bites and a couple of cocktails.
Deep Dive is an underwater grotto-themed cocktail spot where the bar snacks will tempt you to ditch your other dinner plans. Beware that there’s typically a substantial wait involved with a visit here that could be upwards of two hours (invite your most patient friends along). But, once you’re eating a hazelnut-smoked, caviar-topped hot dog while sitting inside a classed-up version of Ariel’s treasure trove in The Little Mermaid, you’ll see what we mean when we say this is about as great as a bar experience gets.
Sawyer serves upscale comfort food. It’s the perfect place for when you want to have a nice dinner, but you also want to just eat some ribs. It’s clear from the shell of this place that it used to be a sawmill, but the HGTV “after” photo interior sets the scene for any kind of special scenario. The menu sounds just about as all over the place as an episode of Adventure Time, but we really like the rotisserie porchetta, the oxtail nachos, and the animal-style burger. Always end things here with a cookie dough semifreddo dilly bar.
Plenty Of Clouds is a Sichuan spot in Capitol Hill that replaced Anchovies And Olives, and we’re pretty excited about it. The space is just as perfect for early-in-the-game dates and group dinners as it used to be, and the Chinese small plates here are all excellent, ranging from pork dumplings in chili oil that we could eat by the pound to lamb meatballs with a tangy fermented tomatillo sauce for dipping. We’d pop in for a cocktail or two and some of the appetizers before going out to the bars, but the stir fries and noodles here are also great if you’re looking for a full dinner.