Where To Eat & Drink In Lake City

The best restaurants and bars in the neighborhood.

When people think of Lake City, what comes to mind might be used car dealerships and the law offices of Reed Schifferman. But there are also a bunch of great places to eat and drink in the neighborhood. You’ll find one of the city’s best falafel sandwiches, excellent Ethiopian food, and overwhelmingly good panang curry from a gas station parking lot.



Lake City

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerCheap EatsQuick EatsQuiet Meals
Earn 3x points with your sapphire card

At Ethiopian spot Jebena Cafe, three people can eat dinner for around $20 total. The menu includes dishes like beef tibs and stewed lentils on spongy injera, but you should order the Jebena combo. It comes on a very large plate and has a little bit of everything, including a few types of meats, a couple of vegetable sides, and homemade ayib cheese. Get a cup of coffee after your meal, which they brew from imported beans they roast in house. The staff here is friendly, and there’s a little patio that’s a great place to have a meal when the weather’s nice.

photo credit: Chona Kasinger

Out of all the Thai restaurants in Lake City, you can find the best curries and noodles at this cash-only truck that parks at the Shell station. In fact, we'd be so bold to say that Bangkok serves Seattle's greatest Thai food to begin with. The panang is creamy and thick, and the pad see ew has an excellent char from where rice noodles clung to the wok. We’d even stop by just for a neon orange iced tea and a few crispy cream cheese-stuffed wontons dunked in sweet chili if we needed to fill up our tank. Just expect to wait a bit or show up to find nobody there—the truck is only operated by one (very talented) person.

Not to be confused with Manna Deli Teriyaki on Aurora, Manna in Lake City is easily one of the best teriyaki restaurants in town for a few reasons. First, they’re quite skilled at getting char marks on every bite of chicken or marinated short rib. Second, they package their iceberg salad in a separate container, which prevents the lettuce from getting soggy from their sweet, thick, and sticky sesame dressing. Third, their eggrolls are gloriously crunchy bundles of ground pork and cabbage that taste particularly wonderful when dragged in the puddle of teriyaki sauce/salad dressing/sriracha that you made on your plate. From spicy thigh to katsu, you’re in good hands with Manna for a reliable takeout dinner at home.

You’re probably familiar with popular fried chicken joint Ezell’s. But what you might not know is that the original owner of Ezell’s doesn’t actually own it anymore. He went off to open an even better spot called Heaven Sent Chicken. Even though this chicken sits for an undetermined period of time under heat lamps, it’s still moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside at least nine times out of ten. Heat lamps will be heat lamps, after all. The macaroni and cheese is creamy and saucy, we're fans of the mashed potatoes even though we do add our own salt to it, and their rolls could be rebranded as fluffy bread pillows. It’s a great bet for a quick takeout lunch or casual dinner, but remember this, no matter whether you prefer Heaven Sent or Ezell's: the spicy breading is always better than the original.

Toyoda is a little Japanese restaurant on the main strip of Lake City that serves some great, reasonably-priced sushi. You get a free noodle salad and miso soup after sitting down and the pieces of nigiri are on the larger side. Come here for a quick and casual dinner and get one of their tempura-fried spicy tuna rolls. It sounds like it could be greasy, but it’s actually light and comes with a delicious ponzu sauce for dipping.

Seattle has some pretty wacky ice cream flavors, and sometimes you don't want smoked vanilla and pine needle-steeped coconut milk, or pear with blue cheese. Sometimes you just want rocky road, and Lil' Tiger understands this. This Lake City shop keeps it simple, and the result is an old-fashioned, fluffy scoop that satisfies a frozen dessert craving even though there's no artisanal dairy, housemade shortbread, or farmers market produce. And with standouts like cappuccino irish cream and fudgy Theo's chocolate, we really like it that way.

If you want to grab a few beers in Lake City but don’t know where to drink, check out Hellbent. It’s a fun brewery pouring interesting beers like tangerine pilsners and coconut stouts, and they have a bunch of different seating arrangements—be it a giant sofa on the patio or comfortable tables on the second floor. There’s also a daily-rotating food truck (Mexicuban and Buddha Bruddah are frequent visitors) if you get hungry.

You’ll find a bunch of permanently-parked taco trucks all over Seattle, but few are quite as good at Loxicha, a cash-only Oaxacan taqueria. Unlike other trucks where you’re forced to eat an oversized burrito in your car or on the curb, there’s a ton of seating at Loxicha, via some picnic tables and a built-in deck attached to the truck. When choosing a protein, stick with the al pastor, marinated pollo, or the super tender carnitas that only gets better with a squirt of fresh lime.

Seatango isn’t just a great place for the occasional sweet fill in the morning by way of dulce de leche-filled alfajores, syrupy-glazed medialunas, and pastafrola packed with quince. It’s the empanadas that make this cafe somewhere that will inspire you to flag down all the cars driving down Lake City Way and beg them to stop for lunch. The golden-brown batches are often fresh from the oven, filled with bubbling warm cheese and ham or spiced chicken with a side of minty chimichurri to pour on top. Don’t be surprised if, like us, you feel inclined to buy some as savory gifts to share with people you care about.

You can find some of the best cannoli in the entire city at this random pink shack on the side of the 522. At Kelly Cannoli, each pastry is piped with sweet ricotta to order, so the shells stay crispy and the filling stays fresh. They’re $6 each, which seems pricey until you see that they’re practically the size of a hot dog. You can even choose what your cannoli ends get dipped in—whether that’s pistachios, Oreo crumbs, or mini chocolate chips.

When it comes to Middle Eastern food on the north end, cash-only spot Man’oushe Express is the best option. It’s our go-to for crispy falafel sandwiches with pickled turnips and tahini or lamb gyros with tzatziki. But the mana’eesh, which are flatbreads topped with things like za’atar and salty cheese, make this place special.

If you smell cookies and cake as you’re heading down Lake City Way, it’s probably coming from this German bakery. All their sweets are very good, like apple turnovers, bienenstich, a.k.a. honey almond custard cake, and rugelach. They make excellent soft pretzels as well, which they sell to a lot of pubs in town. Grab a biscuit and jam for a quick breakfast, or pick up a bunch of pretzels destined to be swiped through buffalo chicken dip at a Seahawks-watching party.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested Reading

The Best Bars In Ballard image

The Best Bars In Ballard

Ballard is known for its breweries, but there’s plenty to drink here in addition to beer. Here are the best bars in the area.

The 18 Best Restaurants In Ballard image

There’s a lot going on in Ballard—we’ll help you navigate. Here are the best Ballard restaurants.


From seafood spots to bakeries selling quality cake by the slab, here are all of the best restaurants and bars in Fremont.

Where To Eat Along The Burke-Gilman Trail image

The best spots to stop for a meal along the Burke-Gilman Trail.

Infatuation Logo


2024 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views and opinions expressed on The Infatuation’s site and other platforms are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan Chase. The Infatuation and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content of this site, or any errors or omissions. The Information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store