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.
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.
Contadino is one restaurant with two dining rooms: a pizza side, and a pasta side. Do not choose the pizza side, because it is not worth your time or money. But Contadino’s pasta restaurant? That’s worth all of your time and money. In fact, consider taking out a second mortgage to eat here every day and keep a futon on hand so you can never leave. We’ve tried a good deal of Italian places with menus that glorify the carbs and half-ass everything else, but you’ll be just as happy ordering a nice piece of fish as you would eating a bowl of handmade pasta here (get the strozzapreti with spicy pork sausage and kale). Contadino is perfect for dinner with the parents or date night, but also works really well for birthdays - provided you secure the awesome semi-private room in the back.
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.
Seattle has no shortage of kickass pasta, but Raccolto could very well be this city’s new holy grail of carbs. It’s from the same people behind another one of our other new favorite Italian restaurants, Contadino in Capitol Hill - but Raccolto’s in West Seattle. Everything in the restaurant is either black, white, or wooden, the cocktails are good, and they have a bar that was practically designed for solo eating - so if your friends flake on the dinner plan you made a month ago, drag your pasta-loving self here anyway. Get the charred broccolette (new band name idea), a cured meat plate, and unless you enjoy living with regret and sadness, the cavatelli cacio e pepe. It’s a bowl of black pepper-covered luxury, and also what we’ll be imagining the next time we hit rock bottom and have to resort to a cup of easy mac at home.
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.
Copal is a highly charming place to eat tacos. The menu is small and kind of pricey, but the people in the kitchen know their way around some queso and fresh flour tortillas. The tacos are good, but add the very excellent smashed avocado plate (with radishes, cotija cheese, and the aforementioned homemade tortillas) and one of their poolside-worthy strawberry tequila-campari slushies and you just beat the boss level of happy hour.
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).
You know that vegan/gluten-free friend you secretly resent for making you sacrifice your burger so that he/she has some hummus or a mushroom stir-fry or a tree branch to chew on? Frankie & Jo’s is the new dairy-free, wheat-free ice cream spot that will keep your friendship with this person intact. As questionable as that concept sounds, this ice cream is so good that it could fool anyone who eats animal products and bread (and is perfect if you love the vegan ice cream at Molly Moon’s, but have had it already with the coconut milk). Frankie & Joe’s is a pretty accurate glimpse into what the world would be like if Urban Outfitters opened a scoop shop, and there are only about a half-dozen seats -- both excellent reasons to take your cup or cone to-go.