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Guide

The Seattle Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Seattle

Whether you’re looking for pop-ups or takeout and delivery, The Hit List is here to help you find a great new spot to support.

23 Spots
Launch Map
23 Spots
Launch Map
Updated January 14th, 2021

It’s been a tough year for restaurants and bars, but that hasn’t stopped the spots on this guide from opening, pivoting, popping up, collaborating, and finding more ways to support their communities. In one way or another, they’re all doing something new - and we’re excited for you to discover them.

And that’s what our Hit List is: a guide to our favorite new food and drink experiences in Seattle. We track new openings across the city, and then try as many as we can. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of every good new spot, one thing you can always rely on is that we’ll only include places that we’ve checked out firsthand. For the time being, we at The Infatuation Seattle are sticking to takeout and delivery, although several of the places on this guide are also open for outdoor dining.

Our goal is for this list to be as diverse as the city itself - inclusive of a wide range of cuisines, price points, neighborhoods, chefs and owners of all backgrounds, and the multifaceted communities within the industry. If you think we missed a great new place, we want to hear about it. Shoot us an email at seattle@theinfatuation.com.

From breakfast sandwiches to dan dan noodles, The Hit List is here to help you find the best things to eat in Seattle. Read on to find your new favorite spots.

THE SPOTS

JESSICA RYCHEAL (PHOTOGRAPHY)/MALINA LOPEZ (FOOD STYLING)

Communion R&B

$$$$ 2350 E Union St

On a break until January 17, 2021 - otherwise open for takeout and outdoor seating

Communion was the last exciting restaurant opening of 2020, but most certainly not least. Owner and chef Kristi Brown (of That Brown Girl Cooks fame) had spent the past year feeding those in need during the pandemic while preparing for the restaurant’s grand opening with her son, Damon Bomar. We’re glad to see a Black-owned business back in the Liberty Bank Building again, serving immensely comforting soul food influenced by Ethiopian and Vietnamese cuisine. The cornmeal-battered catfish po’mi is an ideal cross between a remoulade-laced po’ boy and salty, pork pate-slathered banh mi. Their buttery shrimp and grits (followed by a nutmeg-forward peach cobbler) brought me back to 2009 when I spent a year in Savannah, Georgia. And those lemony lentils are some of the tastiest legumes in town. Communion is a fantastic addition to the entire city, let alone the Central District.

-Aimee Rizzo, Staff Writer

Nate Watters

Spice Bridge

$$$$ 14200 Tukwila International Blvd

Open for takeout, outdoor seating

The first time I left the house in 2021, I went to Spice Bridge, the food hall and community kitchen in Tukwila. It’s part of Seattle’s Food Innovation Network, a food incubator created to give South King County women of color and immigrants the necessary support to start a business. I’m not gonna make the corny joke that the crispy sambusas from Moyo Kitchen or rich beef stew and fermented cassava root from Taste of Congo are “the best things I ate this year.” Even though that would be true. What I will say, though, is that I can’t remember ever being as excited about a food hall as I am with this place. Spice Bridge’s vendor schedule is on a rotating basis, with only three or four restaurants operating each day, and if you want a full rundown of the food hall, check out our guide with all of the spots you’ll find in the market. You should also know that the noumm ka ri from Theary Cambodian Foods (pictured above) is incredibly delicious, and has inspired me to eat more pastries covered in chile oil this year.

-Carlo Mantuano, Staff Editor

SEA

Guide:

What To Eat At Spice Bridge, A New Food Hall In Tukwila

Read
Aimee Rizzo

Umami Kushi

$$$$
$$$$ 9099 Seward Park Ave S

Open for takeout

For a long time, you could only find Umami Kushi’s okasu pan at certain coffee shops and supermarkets around the city. But this past summer, they opened a takeout window at their Rainier Beach production kitchen - which means you can now get these panko-crusted pastries straight from the source and fresh from the fryer. These stuffed dough buns are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with fillings that range from jerk-spiced chicken and plantain to smoked salmon in a potato cream sauce topped with furikake. And while choosing favorites between all of these excellent okasu pans is just as emotionally challenging as picking the cutest dog in a box full of newborn puppies, the classic beef curry and the BBQ pork are the pans not to miss here. And on Saturdays only, Umami Kushi serves excellent beignets covered in everything from cocoa powder to strawberry dust.

-AR

Carlo Mantuano

Phnom Penh Noodle House

$$$$ 913 S Jackson St

Open for takeout, delivery

One of the best things to happen in 2020 was the return of Phnom Penh Noodle House. This Cambodian restaurant closed in 2018 so that one of the owners, Dawn Ung, (whose father Sam Ung opened the place in 1987) could take care of her son who’d been in a car accident. They’ve since received a big wave of support from the community, whether that was from a GoFundMe to help with medical expenses or a grant from the Seattle’s Office of Economic Development. And in early spring 2020, the restaurant reopened, once again serving excellent dishes like fried hay cung rolls, mee katang noodles, and their grilled meat sampler. As somebody who gets irrationally excited about grilled meats, this platter of pork chops, chicken, and short ribs gave me all the joy I usually feel at a summer BBQ without having to deal with charcoal in wet and rainy weather. The boneless chicken thighs pack a great lemongrass-y punch, and both the pork chop and short ribs have this sweet and sticky marinade that clings to every char mark. It’s been well-documented how bad of a year 2020 was, but we should all be thankful that Phnom Penh is back.

-CM

Aimee Rizzo

Market Fresh

$$$$
$$$$ 925 4th Ave

Open for takeout, delivery

I love our community here at The Infatuation. And when we get something wrong, we listen. After publishing our guide to The Best New Fried Chicken Sandwiches without having tasted the new buttermilk-fried chicken sandwich from Market Fresh, it became clear quickly that I messed up. This hot bar spot Downtown recently revamped their menu, thanks to the owners’ son, Justin Choung. Formerly a chef at Marea in NYC, he flew home to Seattle during the pandemic to help his parents pivot from their buffet-style model into a lineup of excellent sandwiches, salads, and grain bowls. I finally ate this glorious, crunchy, nori pepper-spiced chicken topped with garlicky aioli, spicy pineapple gochujang, pickles, and shredded cabbage slaw, and suddenly understood why people were blowing us up - this sandwich is amazing. Please consider this my public apology.

-AR

SEA

Guide:

The Best New Fried Chicken Sandwiches In Seattle

Read
Erin Lodi

Cookie’s Country Chicken

$$$$
$$$$ 121 S King St

Open for takeout, delivery, outdoor seating

If the breading on a fried chicken sandwich isn’t extremely, could-be-used-as-a-weapon crispy, that means it’s no good right? I kinda thought so too, until I tried Cookie’s Country Chicken. The chicken’s coating on the “Cookie’s Country Sando” is still packed with flavor, but has more of a subtle crunch that lets other elements shine - specifically the sunny sauce (which resembles Thousand Island) and perfectly-melted American cheese. And like any good fried chicken spot, Cookie’s serves some excellent sides, like mac and cheese, crispy waffle fries, and the outstanding collard greens. Truly, I have not been able to stop thinking about these saucy collards - the first bite is super sweet, and then the heat immediately kicks in. No side dish has made me feel so pleasantly taken aback. It’s kind of like reading a particularly good literary fiction novel when the author suddenly drops a huge plot twist. Possibly involving collard greens.

-CM

Aimee Rizzo

Hangry Panda

$$$$
$$$$ 7815 Aurora Ave N

Open for takeout, delivery

Hangry Panda is a Greenwood spot that serves terrific Taiwanese street food, like crispy sweet potato starch-encrusted chicken sandwiches, minced pork with mushrooms and jammy caramelized onions over rice, sesame scallion noodles, and waffle fries. Not to mention their phenomenal signature “Panda Milk,” a deliriously rich concoction swirled with nutty black sesame paste and topped with salted cream cheese foam. This place is incredibly accommodating to food allergies, with dairy-free milk options and dedicated gluten-free fryers and grills (hello, celiac-safe teriyaki). If that sounds great to you too, call to order at 1-866-U-HANGRY. That’s seriously their phone number, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

-AR

Erin Lodi

Hi Helen

$$$$
$$$$ SW Holden Street

Open for takeout

Having grown up on Long Island, I’m no stranger to the baconeggandcheese. Usually, I’d have to fly home to grab one. Not anymore. Hi Helen is a pop-up in West Seattle where you buy a ticket in advance, pull up to a residential street corner, and owner Sarah Decelle appears and hands you a paper bag full of East-Coast morning brilliance that meets all of the prerequisites. Eggs? Softly-scrambled, with coarsely-crushed peppercorns thrown in like confetti. Bacon? Crispy and abundant. Homemade poppy kaiser roll? Fluffy, yeasty. American cheese? Perfectly gooey, sticks to the parchment wrapper, and in places is indiscernible from the runny egg. And creamy chipotle sauce? A kick I never saw coming. Behold, the greatest breakfast sandwich you can find in Seattle.

-AR

Erin Lodi

The Flour Box

$$$$
$$$$ 5520 Rainier Ave S

Open for takeout

Every day, owner Pamela Vuong’s selection of pastries sells out online in around 30 seconds flat. That’s because the brioche donuts at this former pop-up-turned-permanent-bakery in Hillman City are stupendous. They range from vanilla bean crème brûlée custard glazed with slick torched sugar to a savory chive cream cheese-filled one topped with a shake of everything spice, along with weekly specials like Oreo or Thai Tea. And the incredible baked goods here are just the right amount of sweet - even the frosted pillowy milk bun cinnamon roll. Pair your treats with Anchorhead coffee (get the cold brew with burnt honey), and you’ll want to strategically plan pastry orders for multiple days in a row - I did.

-AR

Nate Watters

Sisi Kay

$$$$
Thai  in  Wallingford
$$$$ 1612 N 45th St

Open for takeout, delivery, outdoor seating

Every Saturday for the past eight months, I typically forgo any semblance of a normal dinner and eat snacks instead (“Snackurday,” get it?). But then one Saturday, I turned to this new Wallingford Thai spot instead, and discovered some of my new favorite Thai dishes, including their roast duck curry. This outstanding tub of comfort involves an entire tender duck breast with crispy, almost crackling-like skin submerged in a coconut curry made with apple, lychee, and pineapple. It’s sweet, spicy, savory, and I love serving it on top of their black pepper fried rice.

-AR

Nate Watters

The Fish Box

$$$$ 172 20th Avenue

Open for takeout, delivery

One of the more memorable takeout experiences I had this summer involved biking from Mt. Baker to The Fish Box’s Central District location, huffing and puffing up the hills with only the thought of deep-fried salmon pushing me through. Drenched in sweat, I devoured the crispy catfish sandwich, flaky hunks of fried halibut, and phenomenal hushpuppies immediately. And I wouldn’t hesitate to bike up even more hills for some of the best fish and chips in the city.

-CM

SEA

Guide:

The Best Fish & Chips In Seattle

Read
Erin Lodi

Dantini Pizza

$$$$
$$$$ 601 Bellevue Ave E

Open for takeout

This pop-up, which operates out of Harry’s Fine Foods on Sundays and Mondays, used to be a series of backyard pizza parties thrown by owner Garrett Fitzgerald - but it’s no longer a secret. Their outstanding red pie has crispy pepperoni cups, dough with a sourdough-like crackle and chew, and the pièce de résistance: sweet, candy-like garlic confit that melts into the smoky cured meat and toasty globs of mozzarella like butter (sorry to all of our vampire readers). There are benches right outside Harry’s where you can eat that first slice before heading home, but their pies reheat really well, too.

-AR

Aimee Rizzo

84 Yesler

$$$$
$$$$ 84 Yesler Ave.

Open for takeout

“Date Night” is tricky to define when you and your partner haven’t been to a restaurant since March - there are only so many weekends you can slap a wheel of brie on a wooden plank and watch Frances Ha before things get old. But 84 Yesler in Pioneer Square got us in the date night spirit again. From the nutty parmesan churros and fresh carrot cavatelli with goat cheese to some of the best steak I’ve ever had, all of the excellent food was packaged so carefully that we forgot for a moment that we weren’t sitting at a table inside a restaurant.

-AR

Nate Watters

Sazon D'la Baja

$$$$
$$$$ 2232 Queen Anne Ave N

Open for takeout, delivery, outdoor seating

I first came across the new Queen Anne location of Sazon D’La Baja when I was researching Seattle’s best tortas. Their Diabla Shrimp Torta is a spicy, tangy sandwich with shrimp, bacon, cheese, mayo, and avocado - a messy endeavor for a picnic, but I enjoyed mine in Gasworks park sitting on a blanket that covered a bunch of goose sh*t. It felt good to have a somewhat normal Seattle summer experience aided by some of the best new Mexican food you can find in the city.

-CM

SEA

Guide:

6 Great Tortas In Seattle

Read
Nate Watters

L'Oursin

$$$$
$$$$ 1315 E Jefferson St

Open for takeout, delivery

Before the pandemic, the Monday night burger-at-the-counter special was what I loved most about this natural wine bar in the Central District. A griddled smashburger with salty fries and a cold glass of funky hopped riesling on a Monday? Sign me up. But when L’Oursin reopened earlier this year as a takeout counter called Old Scratch, serving that same burger alongside other outstanding little potato bun sandwiches filled with things like crunchy popcorn shrimp, fried chicken thigh, or meaty smoked BBQ tofu, I fell in love with this spot all over again. There are a lot of pop-ups floating around Seattle right now, but Old Scratch is one you don’t want to miss.

-AR

SEA

Guide:

The Best Pop-Ups In Seattle

Read
Erin Lodi

Post Alley Pizza

$$$$
Pizza  in  Downtown
$$$$ 1123 Post Ave

Open for takeout

I already knew that this pizzeria on an alleyway corner down by the waterfront serves terrific pies. Then, one day, they decided to use their dough to make seeded sourdough English muffins, source some sausage and ham from local pork farms, and casually whip up breakfast sandwiches on Saturday mornings from 9am to noon. The result is a piping hot, beautiful mess of egg, melty cheddar, and some of the best ham and sausage I’ve had lately. And to top it all off, when you bite into your sandwich, you’ll experience a kind of sonic boom crunch that only happens when someone toasts an English muffin in the blaze of a pizza oven.

-AR

Nate Watters

Tang Food Mart & Deli

$$$$
$$$$ 6249 Airport Way S

Open for takeout, delivery

During early fall, it was my mission to find Seattle’s next great bánh mì sandwich, which sounds like a reality television competition but is actually my real life. Turns out, I didn’t need to look further than this Georgetown convenience store. They serve very tasty tamarind chicken wings and fried salmon belly among many other things, but all of their bánh mì are standouts. With bread that’s fluffy on the inside and crusty on the outside, creamy mayo, crisp pickled vegetables, and fillings like lemongrass-y pork or flavorful fish patties with a sweet chili glaze, these are hands down the best new bánh mì sandwiches you’ll find in the city.

-AR

SEA

Guide:

9 Great Banh Mi In Seattle

Read
Nate Watters

Tyger Tyger

$$$$
$$$$ 114 Republican St

Open for takeout, delivery, outdoor seating

If I was trapped in a Groundhog Day-style situation, and every night I could only eat Tyger Tyger’s fantastic pork dumplings tossed in black vinegar and chili oil, it would be 100% worth the existential dread and loneliness that comes with living the same 24 hours on repeat. This Sichuan spot in Queen Anne has a wonderful showing of noodles, rice cakes, and vegetables, but these dumplings are what won me over. Another highlight is the incredibly flavorful rockfish with sour mustard greens, which has an ideal balance of acidity and heat, and travels particularly well as far as takeout fish goes.

-AR

Nate Watters

Milk Drunk

$$$$
$$$$ 2805 Beacon Ave South

Open for takeout

This summer was not very summery, but then Milk Drunk came along. I had a feeling this sister spot to Homer was going to be good, but I didn’t realize it was going to be this good. Milk Drunk specializes in soft serve and fried chicken sandwiches - and one drippy malted chocolate ice cream cone, shatteringly-crunchy fried chicken sandwich, and thick mozzarella stick dipped in herby green aioli later, Milk Drunk made summer feel like summer instead of the apocalypse with pleasant weather.

-AR

SEA

Guide:

The Best Soft Serve In Seattle

Read
Jakob Layman

Chengdu Taste 滋味成都

$$$$ 504 5th Ave S Ste 106

Open for takeout, delivery

Chengdu Taste is a Szechuan staple in SoCal that our LA team loves. When I asked them about it, they told me things like, “pumped to hear you have a Chengdu Taste!” and “good news for Seattle, it’s incredible.” After a few bites of outstanding minced pork dan dan noodles, wontons in pepper sauce, garlicky cold shaved beef, and mapo tofu that tastes like a warm hug in edible form, I whole-heartedly understand why my California colleagues love this place so much. This isn’t the first time Seattle has inherited a new location of a Los Angeles spot, but Chengdu Taste is the first one to really get excited about.

-AR

Aimee Rizzo

Local Tide

$$$$
$$$$ 401 N 36th St Suite 103

Open for takeout, outdoor seating

Local Tide in Fremont mostly does seafood, but they also serve my favorite new burger of the year - with a juicy pork-and-beef patty, jammy caramelized onions, American cheese, and mayo on a squishy bun. That doesn’t mean you should overlook the seafood though - like little sesame shrimp toasts and a McDonald’s-style fishwich made with panko-breaded Dover sole. In a city known for seafood, this is where you should come if you want to want to eat something other than oysters or fish and chips.

-AR

SEA

Guide:

The Best New Burgers In Seattle

Read
Your Kuyas

Your Kuyas

$$$$
$$$$ 5300 Rainier Ave. S

Open for takeout

The first thing I had from this Filipino pop-up, which operates out of Sam Choy’s in Hillman City, was the mechado dip - a glorious sandwich filled with tomato-y braised beef, sauteed peppers and onions, and crumbled queso fresco with a cup of pan drippings perfect for the baguette to soak up and/or for you to drink from the container. And while that’s what hooked me, the rich adobo short ribs, flavorful marinated grilled chicken with garlic rice, and the burger topped with longanisa sausage, chicharron, and calamansi slaw is what made this place one of my favorite pop-ups of the year.

-AR

Aimee Rizzo

Blotto

$$$$
$$$$ 219 Broadway E.

Open for takeout

My first bite of Rubirosa in New York showed me that vodka-sauced pizza is objectively better than red-sauced pizza. This Capitol Hill pop-up’s vodka pie backs up that theory - it’s a pink work of art, from the sauce itself to the charred, parmesan-covered crust that’s nice and light but sturdy enough to hold up to all of the shredded mozzarella. What I’m still thinking about, though, is their “pear treat,” a slab of brown butter wheat germ shortbread with pear curd and cardamom sugar. It’s tangy, nutty, and the most genius fruit tart/cookie collaboration I’ve ever seen.

-AR

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