The Seattle Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Seattle guide image

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The Seattle Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Seattle

We checked out these new restaurants and loved them.

The Hit List is where you’ll find our favorite new food and drink experiences in Seattle. We track new openings across the city, and then visit 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 have genuinely checked out.

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

Whether you’re looking for in-person dining, takeout, or delivery, The Hit List is here to help you find a great new spot to support. Read on to find your new favorites.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Nate Watters

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1314 S Jackson St, Seattle
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After Phở Bắc Sup Shop moved out of a wooden boat located in their parking lot, it was mostly deserted for years. Now, they’ve reopened the rickety little ship solely to serve Vietnamese fried chicken rice and waffles—a dynamic duo we’ve replayed in our minds over and over again like the Napoleon Dynamite dance sequence. The fried cornish hens are super moist, blasted with sizzled garlic, and topped with a crackly glazed exterior. On the side, there’s yellow rice, an optional runny egg (exercise that option), a refreshing chrysanthemum greens salad, and phở broth for sipping. That’d be enough for the brunch of the century, but then they go and add crisp-and-fluffy pink pineapple waffles with salted whipped coconut and a peanut sesame crumble. Pair it all with stiff-and-sweet iced coffees, and we can’t think of a better early weekend lunch. Despite being seemingly small from the outside, the boat has plenty of four-tops where you can kick back with friends on a Sunday afternoon.


This Chicago-style pizza joint has the midwestern scene down to a science: ramekins full of (delicious) liquid neon orange cheese, those translucent red plastic tumblers for soda, and Italian beef sandwiches and thick deep dish. After getting their start as a takeout-only pop-up, West Of Chicago now has a permanent spot in West Seattle, and while we’re fans of their thick pan pies, complete with crushed tomato and mozzarella that stretches for days, their crowning achievement is the paper-thin tavern pizza. It has a cracker-like crunch, a tasty oregano-flecked sauce, and toppings like crispy-edged pepperoni cups and dollops of silky ricotta. Round your order all out with incredible parmesan-dusted breadsticks, a broiled crock of tangy Mama Lil’s-spiked sausage dip, and a pitcher of Goose Island for an optimal weekend group dinner.

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By Tae used to be a sushi counter that served excellent hand rolls before they closed in early 2021. Now, they’ve reopened in a brand new Beacon Hill space, but you won’t find any raw fish here. Instead, version 2.0 serves a short menu involving some of Seattle’s best Korean comfort food in a teal-decorated space that could really work for any situation. Sit at the bar for lychee soju sodas while snacking on steamed spam sliders with scallion mayo, pile in a booth with three friends and slurp kimchi-kicked sujebi, or punch a rainy day in the face with cheesy bean burritos dunked in smoky hot sauce. Everything is simple, but it's all executed so well that By Tae feels especially worthy of a big night out.


If you’re strolling up and down Broadway looking for lunch, you’ll be glad to see Boca Argentine Bakery & Pizzeria. Despite being in the middle of northern Capitol Hill, the airy dining room lined with little marble tables and black and white photography has a balmy summertime feel no matter what climate weirdness is happening in Seattle. The versatility of this cafe is unmatched—you could grab a sweet custard-filled bolas de fraile for breakfast alongside cafe con leche, stop in for a toasted caprese empanada to snack on during a walk, or go all in for a sit-down lunch, powered by crispy-edged pan pizzas and a steak milanesa panini that we’d happily eat once a week.

Tio Baby’s is a Tex-Mex bar in Fremont that serves precisely the kind of snacks you’d want while drinking beers or margaritas. We’re talking about things like waffle fries, creative hot dogs, wings, a McRib-style sandwich sticky with bourbon BBQ sauce and mustard seed aioli, and some of the best nachos in town, thanks to the application of both melted cheese and velvety queso. And on weekends, things get a little experimental, when specials pop up like cheeseburger dumplings or fried calabrian chile-marinated cheese curd rangoons. Between the cozy wooden booths, colorful murals, and framed portrait of Danny DeVito as Ongo Gablogian behind the bar, Tio Baby’s is an effortlessly fun space where you can hang out and spend a few hours.


“Easy group meal” and “Ballard” don’t exactly mix when it’s so hard to grab a last-minute reservation in the neighborhood. The exception is Wero. This comfortable Korean spot specializes in ssam platters for two and cocktails featuring ingredients like matcha or sesame oil-washed Indian whiskey, and you can easily book a big booth for a group of six with as little notice as a few hours, even on weekends. With a menu full of shareable appetizers like crunchy gochujang-slicked wings and crackly rice cakes skewered with mini sausages, you could definitely pop in for drinks, but we urge you to go for the fried tofu ssam, which is even meatier and more flavorful than their similar kalbi steak option. Wero works equally as well if you’re solo, as the bar is a perfectly great place to order a soju soda and mung bean kimchi pancake while you hang with a laptop and send some emails. 


This 10-seat omakase has locations in AustinMiami, and Los Angeles, and their outpost in SLU has quickly become a raw fish staple in Seattle for a few reasons. Even though the dark setting feels like you’re underwater with glowing jellyfish above you, the atmosphere is fun and relaxed, and there’s ample opportunity to chat with the chefs and people sitting next to you. Throughout the night, you’ll receive 16 pieces cut from high-quality fish, with nigiri toppings that are inventive without being over the top, like brûléed pineapple on toro, Anaheim chili yuzu kosho on scallops, corn pudding and sourdough crumbs on hamachi, and roasted red beet mustard on saba. It’s the perfect place for anybody wanting to try an omakase for the first time, while also being impressive for somebody who eats at sushi counters twice a week. Reservations are nearly impossible to get, but if you’re too slow to book a seat online on the 1st of the month at 10am, we joined the waitlist and pretty easily got a last-minute spot.

“Snacks for dinner” sounds like a sad fate of Chex Mix and almonds, but in reality, it’s the route you should take at Kamp in Madison Valley. The Jamaican-influenced restaurant serves entrees too, but the finger foods are the kinds of bites we want to eat at every wedding cocktail hour ever. We’re talking about things like simple charred beef sliders topped with a sweet onion jam, peppered shrimp tostadas with corn salsa on flattened plantains instead of tortillas, and crispy egg rolls stuffed with spicy homemade boudin sausage and pepper jack. The small plates are all done extremely well in an exciting space covered in framed art prints featuring things like hot sauce bottles, cartoon smiley faces, and the word “OK” blown up to 800-point font. Grab a bunch of friends, order a bunch of appetizers with cocktails or mocktails (containing zero-proof spirits instead of club soda and a lime wedge), and end things with some coconut or Mexican chocolate soft serve. 


If you’re planning a last-minute dinner Downtown, you might have difficulty finding something that isn't a hotel restaurant or The Capital Grille. Shama seems to always have availability though, and this is a good thing, because it should be one of your first choices in the area. The second-floor Moroccan spot just outside Pike Place is an excellent choice for a big family meal or a kind-of-healthy tagine feast, especially if you like eating in a greenhouse that’s as tall as the surrounding trees. Make the baked fish your priority—it has a brittle sear, a flaky interior, and sauce made from briny olives and burst cherry tomatoes that tastes even better spooned on cinnamony semolina couscous. Start with some mezze, like labneh with mint oil and nigella seeds, or phyllo-wrapped basteela with a floral orange honey sauce, and add on another tagine or two like chicken in a rich saffron broth or braised lamb with prunes and sesame for something more substantial.


If you take a shuttered Beacon Hill travel agency, slap up some bricks and art deco bird-patterned wallpaper, and fill it with bottles of champagne, you get The Coupe & Flute. This funky little bistro is officially the best spot in town for sparkling wine, whether you casually enjoy bubbles or your phone’s lock screen is currently the French countryside. Come here on a late afternoon to sip fizzy wine alongside snacks like battered prawns tossed in tamarind BBQ sauce, pomme frites with Sichuan chili mayo, and gnocchi with green pea pesto. It’s all served without any pretentiousness—the staff won’t assume you’re a viticulture novice, but they also won’t totally leave you on your own to navigate the world of carbonated grape juice. And with other drinks like spritzes and non-alcoholic aperitifs, you don’t have to be champagne-obsessed to appreciate a night out (or a weekend brunch) here.

This cafe in Georgetown doesn’t serve too many types of bánh mì, but the ones on their menu are some of the best we've tried recently for a couple of reasons. Seek out their pork sausage sandwich that comes on crackly bread and gets filled with a juicy and lemongrass-studded patty, a slick coating of mayo, tangy pickled vegetables, a shake of black pepper, and mint. The mint in particular is a genius addition, adding a pop of freshness that you might appreciate if you’re part of the soapy cilantro collective. Rounding out Voi Cà Phê’s menu are phenomenal cold drinks, like a cinnamon-kicked, phin-dripped latte on the rocks with foam and a shining example of the perfect Thai iced tea. It all makes for a tremendous lunch that you’ll want to repeat five days a week.

Sichuan spot Noodle/Bar, from the team behind Plenty Of Clouds, has easily become one of the best restaurants in South Lake Union. It’s an ideal place for dinner and cocktails that won't be packed (or closed) on a Monday, or somewhere to have a post-work date that's not as chaotic as Tapster. There are soupy bowls of wanza mian with ground pork, tender Chinese broccoli, and chickpeas if the weather is garbage, and when it’s one of those classic Seattle scorchers, go for some cold buckwheat noodles tossed with chicken and pickled vegetables in a chili-spiked soy sauce. Either way, you’ll want an order of outstanding dumplings, stuffed with pork and swimming in a tangy hot and sour broth that stains each wrapper bright orange.

The most exciting place to eat Vietnamese food in Seattle right now is Lotus Pond in Bitter Lake. While the giant menu featuring glutinous tapioca dumplings, summer rolls, bánh mì, and vermicelli noodles is well worth exploring, the regional soups are the real highlights—from Bún Bò Huế Sườn Bò with a giant short rib to silky Mì Hoàng Thánh Xá Xíu filled with incredible shrimp and pork wontons. But it’s really the Bún Riêu Ốc that we can’t stop talking about, thanks to chewy escargot-embedded shrimp sausage in a rich tomato, dried shrimp, and pork bone broth that is basically the umami equivalent of the Powerpuff Girls. There’s not a lot happening in the dining room, but there’s plenty of space to spread out, whether you’re bringing along your kids or looking for a casual weeknight dinner. 


Maripili is a Galician-style Tapas spot on Capitol Hill that fully delivers on the concept of good things coming in small packages. Among the stellar bite-sized dishes here are phenomenal ling cod bacalao with nutty manchego gnocchi and peas soaked in a tangy fish broth, tender tortilla española filled with grassy olive oil-poached potatoes, and the star of the show: paella tahdig with smoky chorizo, spice-rubbed prawns, dollops of triple garlic aioli, and a brittle, barely-there socarrat crisp. With a friendly staff, Spanish-forward wine list, and all-around good energy, it's easy to order upwards of a dozen dishes here. It makes Maripili a no-brainer for something like a double date, or even a solo meal at the bar if you wanted a mix-and-match appetizer sampler for dinner.


When the best bakery in town starts making bagels, it turns out those bagels are going to be really damn good. Oxbow is a new Montlake breakfast operation from the team behind Sea Wolf, and their boiled and baked circles might just be as good as their bread. Fresh from the oven at 7am, the bagels have a crackly, Magic Shell-like exterior, complete with a dense chew and slightly sour tang. Our favorite combination of the bunch is a garlic bagel, crunchy charred dehydrated flakes and all, spread with spicy calabrian chili cream cheese. They often sell out around 11am, but they’re absolutely worth getting up early for. If you show up too late, an orange-glazed poppyseed scone is a good consolation prize.


Sushi in Seattle can absolutely get it, but we haven’t seen many Japanese restaurants focus solely on handrolls. Enter Sugo, located right off Pike Place Market. This small counter is almost impossible to get into, thanks in part to only being open Friday-Sunday. But if you stop by for a solo lunch, it’s the best time to be handed temaki after temaki fitted with crackly nori, high-quality fish, and warm rice. Go for the set of five, which comes with options like buttery king salmon, spicy mayo-tossed bay scallops, and a heaping pile of snow crab with avocado and optional juicy ikura—which we consider mandatory. What makes this place even better is their small plates, like a generous portion of spicy tuna with tonkotsu-flavored ramen chips for scooping, and “Norichos” with fried nori chips, tobiko, and grated jerk-spiced Beecher’s New Woman cheese. You’ll probably be in and out in under an hour (since the handrolls come fast) but it all makes for a blur of exciting fish in a space that feels destined to become a Pike Place-area staple.


This Peruvian-Nikkei spot’s causa crocante Nikkei might be the greatest bite of food we’ve eaten in Pioneer Square. It’s a mellow panko-crusted potato cake topped with spicy mayo-coated tuna tartare, sesame oil, sticky unagi sauce, and pops of fresh avocado and radish. Between the juxtaposition of cold vs. hot, crunchy vs. creamy, salty vs. sweet, spicy vs. cooling, the elements in this thing all duel flawlessly—like a beautifully-shot battle royale between superheroes in an action flick, only with exponentially more mashed potatoes. Señor Carbón has more to offer, though, from an excellent lomo saltado to rockfish nigiri topped with a tangy acevichado sauce and sandy crumbles of Andean corn. We like it best for a casual weeknight dinner date, but we’d even come here just to drink tasty pisco sours and take selfies with their giant plush llama.


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