The Best Restaurants In Belltown

Belltown is so much more than just the hub for a rowdy night out—there are plenty of great restaurants here, too.
interior of Shaker + Spear

photo credit: Suzi Pratt

Belltown has always been a great going-out neighborhood—we have an entire guide dedicated to the awesome places to consume adult beverages, afterall. But Belltown also has a bunch of excellent places to eat, like an Italian restaurant in a courtyard that feels straight out of Eat Pray Love, a Japanese spot with an eight-course kaiseki tasting menu, and a sports bar that serves the best wings in town. 


photo credit: Nate Watters

Bar Food


$$$$Perfect For:Sports!Big GroupsCasual Weeknight DinnerEating At The BarDrinking Good Beer
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Initially, this spot with huge booths, TVs lining the walls, and empty pint glass towers screams “generic sports bar.” But the friendly atmosphere and phenomenal chicken wings quickly prove otherwise. The flats and drums that fly out of this place are Seattle’s best, with crisp potato chip-like skin and tasty sauces—make sure spicy buffalo and lemon pepper hit the table. And, make sure to do some blue cheese dipping while you’re at it. (Vindicktive is a ranch-free zone.)

It can be difficult to find somewhere for a quiet dinner in Belltown when you’re perpetually surrounded by corporate employees heading to Happy Hours and tourists who couldn’t get into Shiro’s. But Chiho is one of the calmest spots in the city, especially for it being in the middle of an extremely loud neighborhood. This cozy Chinese restaurant specializes in soup dumplings—from classic xiao long bao to black-dyed wrappers filled with brothy truffle-spiked pork—and that's what you should prioritize for best results. Though, it's hard to pass up their crisp salt and pepper tofu.

Everything at this sushi institution is stellar (especially the baked crab handroll), but make sure you order at least one salmon sampler and one tuna sampler. The salmon version has four cuts and styles, from seared belly to smoky ikura gunkan maki, and its tuna counterpart is similar, only everything on the plate (lean tuna, negitoro, marinated tuna, and fatty tuna) is from the same fish. You should experience the omakase at the counter at some point, but even if you’re sitting at a table the servers will come over and brush a soy sauce and mirin mixture onto your nigiri, which makes it all feel a bit special.

photo credit: La Fontana Siciliana



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You may not have enough PTO to plan a 12-day trip along the Amalfi Coast this year, but La Fontana Siciliana is the next best thing—there’s enough brick, stucco, and candelabras in this Italian restaurant to prove it. But if the sun is shining, try to grab a table in their garden courtyard, where you can eat garlicky bruschetta, and funky gorgonzola tortellini al fresco as fountain water trickles in the background.

On paper, none of the food at this $175 kaiseki restaurant seems particularly groundbreaking—take a hot kettle full of broth steeped with raw mushrooms, a plate of boiled taro root, and a bowl of rice with shredded carrots for example. But Wa’z strips down ingredients to spotlight their simplicity in a way that you could never pull off in your own kitchen. Like a plain-looking single morsel of grilled chicken that’s somehow richer than red meat. Eating here is like pressing a reset button, and it’s pretty outstanding. And chances are, you’ll be thinking about some of the simplest things you had here—like gingko nuts and buckwheat tea—for days after the fact.

Orchestrating a sushi dinner for a celebration can be tricky if you don’t know how much money everyone wants to spend—especially if your friends bring you gifts even when you say “no gifts,” because societal norms are confusing. Choose a middle-of-the-road spot with positive energy and good raw fish, like Umi Sake House. The massive, tropical plant-decked dining room has plenty of space for groups to spread out, a semi-private tatami room that isn’t too difficult to book, and great sushi. Fill the table with everything from simply prepped nigiri to extravagant, sharable rolls involving things like pickled eggplant and torched spicy snow crab or shrimp tempura and ghost pepper aioli.

photo credit: Nate Watters



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In case the giant pink neon sign of a certain Italian-inspired hand gesture doesn’t immediately tip you off, Cotto serves pizza and pasta. And there should be nothing stopping you from sitting in a sleek wooden booth with a char-speckled margherita or mafaldine ribbons in silky lemon butter. But just let it be known that you can do the same thing for half the price during Cotto’s 4-6pm Happy Hour, otherwise known as the best time to pop in. Inflation, we’re not scared of you.

Tilikum Place Cafe is a Seattle breakfast institution known for powdered sugar-dusted dutch babies. And while these puffy pancakes are nice to look at, it’s the other stuff we like better. Like their thick-cut bacon, smoked salmon eggs benedict on top of potato waffles, and hot baked egg skillets with gruyere and green apples. (More egg and stone fruit dishes in this world, please.) Be sure to have a reservation for this place, because when the doors open at 10am—weekend or not—the small dining room fills up fast.

If you’re a big fan of seared sushi, Aburiya Bento House will become your personal Disneyland. Besides specializing in blowtorched nigiri, they also serve pressed aburi oshi rolls, which come in rectangular pieces, stuffed with spicy salmon or tuna, and topped with more salmon (or tuna) and aioli that gets flame-seared into the fish. Aburiya also serves toro nigiri topped with edible gold—order it if you want to feel like a celebrity during your lunch hour.

If there’s one Tom Douglas spot that holds up to his 2012 heyday, it’s Lola. This Mediterranean restaurant has been around for years, and it’s still a great place for many a brunch situation—be it a casual meal with friends or a fateful meeting of your parents and new significant other over grilled octopus hash. Don’t miss the made-to-order donuts

With a highly attractive space and well-dressed staff, going to Shaker + Spear is like eating inside a Crate & Barrel, only with way better sustenance. We’re talking about things like crusty-edged scallops, pillowy brown butter risotto, and most importantly, some standout truffle fries made even better when dunked in tangy adobo aioli. Come here to people-watch, martini-sip, and be sexy at the bar.

Bangrak Market is named after one of the most popular night markets in Bangkok, and half of the fun here is craning your neck around to look at the woven baskets, colorful beams, and little packages of spices and nuts hung up as decoration. The Thai street food options are practically endless, but make sure to order the noodle-packed kao soi chiang mai, charred crying tiger, and som tum thai salad with crisp ribbons of green papaya that’s more refreshing than being around someone in Seattle who doesn’t own a Carhartt beanie.   

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