Readers and friends of The Infatuation constantly demand, “Tell me where I should be eating in Seattle right now. Tell me, or else.” We don’t really want to see out that threat, so we’ll just make this easy. 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.
Our Hit List is presented in partnership with Delta Air Lines. Fly Delta Comfort+® and you’ll get complimentary wine and spirits on all Delta flights from Sea-Tac.
New to The Hit List (as of 8/28): Pablo Y Pablo, Backyard, Iconiq, Tu Cantinas, Wood Shop BBQ, Foreign National, The Atlantic, Ciudad, and Tarsan i Jane.
Tarsan i Jane is one of the most unique restaurants in Seattle right now. It’s a prix-fixe spot that feels like a Southwestern spa on the inside and a zen garden on the outside. And while they serve dinner, we endorse the Sunday Valencian brunch, which involves five courses, including f*cking incredible paella. Find a reason to celebrate (it’s pricey), and leave your credit card at home - you have to make a reservation and pay in advance for your “experience” like you’re impulse-buying Spice Girls reunion tickets. You can even add a bouquet of flowers to your cart if you’re feeling especially fancy.
The word “fusion” has basically lost all meaning, but Iconiq is actually the first time we’ve seen a Japanese-French combination in Seattle. The menu includes things like braised beef with red wine miso, squash blossoms with yuzu salt, and a salmon crepe with wasabi cream. It’s all interesting stuff that’s done really well, and the minimally-designed space could be used for pretty much anything: first date, 101st date, dinner with parents, or ball-out group hang. Just be sure to make a reservation.
Pablo Y Pablo is a slightly upscale Mexican spot from the team behind Barrio, and the menu is basically the rebellious teenage version of a taqueria. The swanky-looking inside was practically designed for a date, the patio has old-school lawn chairs and picnic tables, and the taco options include vegan chorizo with spicy cashew cheese (actually pretty good) and pork belly banh mi. Even if you’re not on a date, make it your next spot for drinks and a light bite.
Ciudad is a charcoal grill-centric spot where you can order marinated meats by weight, sauces for dipping, Mediterranean flatbreads and mezzes, charred vegetables, and cocktails like mezcal lemonades. The casual space is also far from boring, with its indoor wall mural with characters you’d see in a demonic children’s book, like vampire werewolves and some kind of skull shaman casually taking a phone call. It’s in a very under-trafficked part of Georgetown, and is a great spot for the entire crew or a solo meal at the bar.
Tu Cantinas is a small taco bar that has already earned its status as one of the best taquerias in the city. The thick corn tortillas are pressed and grilled when you order your $3 tacos, the fillings are piping hot and extremely flavorful (the slow-cooked pork is our favorite), and you get personal squeeze bottles of the killer homemade avocado sauce and spicy red salsa for ultimate taco enhancement. Get yourself in here for a quick lunch or set up camp with your crew and grab a bite before going out drinking.
Our new favorite date night spot is in a small, dimly-lit dining room in the Central District. The Atlantic looks what would happen if Martha Stewart was being held hostage on the deck of a pirate ship. There’s a wall that looks like house siding, succulents on every reclaimed wooden table, and submarine-looking lamps. As for the food, it’s a gastropub menu that works when you want to go out for something casual - it has a lot of burgers, a fancy grilled cheese, a banh mi, chicken salad, and a killer French dip.
If you’ve been watching too many spy movies lately, the inner secret agent in you needs to go to the speakeasy Foreign National. Every piece of ’70s paraphernalia inside this dark hidden bar - from the massive disco ball to the psychedelic wallpaper to the golden swan tchotchkes - feels like it’s from Austin Powers. Not only is it the perfect place to escape with a date, but it also has excellent cocktails and Asian-fusion bar snacks that are way better than they should be. Two words: cheeseburger bao.
Wood Shop BBQ2513 S Jackson St
The cool thing to do in Seattle is own a food truck, and then say “f*ck this truck,” and open a brick-and-mortar. Woodshop BBQ is another example, and it has some pretty fantastic barbecue. The sides are excellent too (we want to keep the smoked jalapeño macaroni and cheese in our pants pockets). Head here for a casual brisket sandwich at the bar, but know that if you don’t do so before 9ish, some of the meats will have sold out.
Down a nondescript alley near some newly-constructed townhomes in Columbia City is Backyard - a barbecue restaurant/bar and overall enjoyable place to spend a few hours. It has a neighborhood feel, a jukebox, games, and a solid lineup of draught beer. When you don’t want to worry about getting a table or what happens when your friend gets a little tipsy and loud, head here for a couple games of Big Buck Hunter and surprisingly excellent housemade barbeque.
Junebaby serves the kind of pinkies-up Southern food you could have for a special occasion with a champagne toast. There’s not much else like it in Seattle, and as a result people are pretty excited about this place. The good news is that it actually lives up to the hype. Normally you wouldn’t impress your parents or a date with pimento cheese, but then there’s Junebaby’s pimento cheese, which is probably better than anything you’d find in Nashville (is that where they eat pimento cheese?). The space is classy-tropical and feels like you’re in the good part of Florida, and on Fridays they do a 15-hour smoked brisket dinner that you should consider building your weekend plans around.
No Anchor is a beer bar with very upscale food, and is probably the only restaurant that can pull off glass displays of fancy nautical memorabilia on one shelf and a mason jar full of creepy baby doll arms on another. You have to make a reservation to get a table, or if you’re feeling lucky, hope there’s space at the bar. Once seated, you’ll find cool beers like blood orange sours and smoked pear weisses, and excellent seaside-style snacks like Dungeness crab rolls on pretzel buns with homemade chips seasoned with ketchup salt. This place is so good you’ll be planning your next visit before you even leave your first.
If HGTV designed a tiki bar very meticulously down to every last bright blue backsplash tile, it would look like Navy Strength. This place is perfect for casual drinks and light snacking (on potato chips with caramelized onion dip or duck sliders) before some Belltown bar-hopping, and even better for a post-dinner cocktail and dessert (get the root beer-glazed donut holes) when you’re coming from their sister spot No Anchor around the corner. In terms of alcohol, there are tons of options - from fruity tiki drinks and fancy cocktails to large-format stuff for sharing and a few so booze-heavy there’s a limit of two per person.
Windy City Pie’s location leaves a lot to be desired. You have to roll up to an eerily quiet, covered parking area with a lot of concrete and columns, and from the looks of it, you might as well be entering a medical office park. But when you walk inside, it’s like stepping into a dimly-lit speakeasy pizza society filled with fun people, a full bar with reasonable prices, and possibly the best Chicago-style deep dish in Seattle. We would tell you what to get, but as long as you make sure that you order one pie per four people and involve the candied bacon in some way, just listen to whatever the staff tells you to do. They know their sh*t, and are extremely friendly, like if Windy City Pie was somehow certified a Seattle-Freeze-Free zone by the mayor. Unlike a medical office park, you won’t leave with hunger, a frown, or a decade-old issue of Highlights magazine smuggled under your shirt.
San Fermo looks like a rickety old house that got swept away from the countryside by a tornado and jettisoned over the rainbow all the way to Ballard. Except instead of a confused red-shoe-wearing lady, this cottage contains fantastic Italian food. There are well-made brown liquor drinks, a carbonara that will restore your hope in the world, and gelato from D’Ambrosio next door that you’ll want to eat a pint of in one sitting. The vibes are romantic, but not so over-the-top intimate that it would be awkward for a small group dinner. During the summer, the covered side porch opens up and you can do date night outside.
The only thing mean about Mean Sandwich is the fact that we didn’t know about it sooner. This is the sandwich experience that will spike your cholesterol, ruin your white shirt, and unequivocally blow your mind. The space is small and has that old-school deli-counter feel, but the ingredients and flavor combinations are modern - try the housemade thick-sliced corned beef (with mustard, pickled cabbage, and a fistful of mint), or the chicken cutlet (our favorite thing here), and don’t miss the “skins and ins” (baked potato chunks and skins fried and tossed in salt/pepper). Everything’s made from scratch, and there’s a patio for warm-weather sandwiching.
Citizen Six is a place to keep in mind the next time you’re looking for a vibey but low-key dinner with your crew. The menu is like if a Korean BBQ spot and a taqueria had a love child, and a classic pub was their doula. Case in point: the bulgogi fries that we would run half-marathons to eat more of (marinated beef, sriracha mayo, caramelized onion, queso fresco, and scallions on top of crispy french fries). Get a couple orders to share with some sweet-and-spicy chicken wings and call it a day, or destroy a plate of really solid fish tacos. When the weather is warm you can get a spot on the patio and watch freight trains zip by, which isn’t particularly the best view, but it’s different from the usual waterfront skyline and we like it.
Gracia is a “cute,” admittedly expensive taqueria that needs a disclaimer: come here during happy hour and happy hour only to reap the full benefits of a screaming deal on fancy Mexican food. Gracia makes interesting tacos you won’t find anywhere else, and when you have the choice between four dollars per taco (best two: crispy rockfish and the lamb barbacoa) or 14 dollars for two tacos with a side of lifeless, dry rice, haul your ass here before 6pm, or regret it forever. Add a margarita and guacamole, and your early dinner date is a success. If you don’t want tacos, first see a doctor, then order the tomatillo chicken enchiladas.
Copine is like a Woody Allen film - you’re not quite sure what genre it fits into, but it’s fun to go along for the ride. The menu is kind of American and kind of French, and there’s some pasta thrown in there too. The space is elegant enough to charm the pants off of a date (literally, if things go well, but that’s none of our business) but also chill enough for a solo dinner at the bar - if you’re the kind of person willing to throw down for a solo meal (it’s pretty pricey here).