The Best Restaurants In West Seattle
photo credit: Nate Watters
Chances are, you’ve heard folks say, "Once you move to West Seattle, you never leave." That's primarily because there are enough great restaurants in this slice of the city for the neighborhood to function as a self-sufficient bubble—bridge or no bridge. Between ice cream from a deli that’s been around for almost a century, a Thai restaurant with crispy garlic chicken we can’t stop thinking about, and a Hawaiian spot that has some of the best skyline views in town, there are more than a few reasons to spend time in the west.
We could scream from the rooftops about Buddha Ruksa’s sticky garlic fried chicken. Unfortunately, we’d be interrupted by a bunch of other people also on rooftops screaming about it. All you need is one trip to this dark wood-filled spot to know it’s special. They’ve got all the Thai classics, like a lime-heavy pad thai and fragrant panang curry that hold their own. But don’t ignore their “Signature Dishes” section of the menu, where you’ll find must-orders like crab fried rice and prawns in a silky pumpkin curry. Come with a group for dinner, knowing tensions may get high when it’s time to decide who takes the leftovers home.
This smokehouse's repertoire is intense—between homemade bologna, slabs of pork belly, and tofu “burnt ends”—and it’s all incredibly worthy of a trip across town or clearing your calendar with no regard to the people you’re letting down. Yes, these smoked meats are good enough to blow off helping that friend move. Best part is, there’s always a daily special to keep things interesting, like a Sunday-only smoked delmonico cheesesteak with tallow-grilled onions and whiz, or the Thursday-only smoked wagyu cheeseburger with smoky singed edges and a perfectly pink middle that has us seriously contemplating buying a Traeger. Add a bunch of creative cocktails and endless free popcorn, and Lady Jaye makes for an exciting last-minute night out.
Permanently parked at a gas station near Lincoln Park, Taquitos Feliz is a go-to spot for when your time management skills and the Fauntleroy Ferry sailing schedule aren’t aligned. Hit this taco truck for a casual lunch, where you can grab consistently tasty burritos stuffed with sweet and salty al pastor pork and a drizzle of smoky chipotle salsa. The burritos come in two sizes: “regular”—which roughly resembles a newborn—or “jr,” which is perfect for a smaller snack. They also serve delicious adobada mulitas topped with plops of guacamole that taste even better eaten on the deck of a boat. (You know, if you do make the ferry).
Marination Ma Kai is not just a West Seattle icon—it’s one of the most important first-timer spots in the entire city. This Hawaiian staple comes in handy for many occasions, whether you need a place to impress out-of-towners, an easy midday lunch, or just a patio to take in the best skyline view of Seattle while snacking on spam musubi. Here, the Hawaiian-meets-Korean menu means that dishes like kimchi fried rice, crispy fish sandwiches with miso slaw, and fries covered in a mess of kalua pork will grace your picnic table. Get out here when the weather is nice.
This tiny house in that happens to look like the one from Up does just two things, but executes them extremely well: thick, rectangular Detroit-style pies and flavor-twisted soft serve piped inside cinnamon-dusted Transylvanian pastry cones. You’ll find pizzas here made with a 100-year-old sourdough starter (her name is Betty), and topped with combinations like Filipino pork belly, sausage, and calamansi lime sauce, or deconstructed clam chowder ingredients. It’s all excellent, down to every last crunch of pepperoni edge and frizzled cheese laced along the crust’s hulking walls. And while there normally is a multi-month waitlist to get a box, they now accept walk-ins, too.
For a cabin experience that involves more wine and pasta than exposure to nature, there’s Il Nido, a fancy restaurant inside the historic Alki homestead where you can eat fresh handmade pasta without worrying about applying a 15th layer of bug spray. This Italian spot has an always-changing menu full of things like rigatoni with black pepper-braised beef ragu, caviar-topped tagliolini, and hunks of focaccia that could send memory foam pillows straight to the unemployment office. It’s a dependable option for date night, a special occasion, or when you want a touch of wilderness without driving to a desolate forest in Sequim.
Husky Deli has been an ice cream mainstay for over 90 years. Their scoops have an ideal balance of creaminess and airiness, and there’s a ton of variety among the 48 flavors—you can have a waffle cone stuffed with peppermint, caramel pecan fudge, blackberry cheesecake, or all three. On any given day, expect to exercise patience, as you might encounter countless out-of-towners or an entire neighborhood baseball team here. And if you want a sandwich with your ice cream, stick to anything pressed on a panini grill or served on nutty marbled rye.
West Of Chicago has midwestern mise en scène down to a science, with ridged ramekins pumped full of neon-orange liquid cheese, red plastic tumblers for fountain soda, and Italian beef-scented air circulating throughout the dining room. Luckily, the pizza lives up to the Chi-Town vérité. Sure, there's some solid deep dish, but you’re making a trip for the tavern pie, with its cracker-thin, earth-shattering crunch, oregano-flecked sauce, and additions like crispy-edged pepperoni cups and creamy dollops of ricotta. The starters don’t play second fiddle either, like Mama Lil’s-spiked sausage dip or doughy breadsticks dusted in parmesan.
As far as classic wings go, this family-owned West Seattle spot serves some of the best, especially when dressed up in lemon pepper dry rub or rich buffalo. But you’ll also want to try the flame sauce: a housemade chunky and charred take on buffalo which comes in multiple heat levels, ranging from hot to “will I ever be able to feel my lips again?” Come on a Monday (when happy hour happens all day) to watch sports and snack on chicken wings while sitting in big booths.
If more than two people are inside this tiny bánh mì spot, it's so cramped that everyone either swaps skincare routines or starts trauma dumping within moments. Either way, the huge sandwiches at Oh's are well worth getting up close and personal with complete strangers. The menu is short and sweet—with only four options—but prioritize their grilled pork and lemongrass-y fried tofu that stays crispy even when smashed into soft halves of a baguette.
There are few things more West Seattle than pouring Alki Beach sand out of your shoes just as a roller skater in a Speedo whizzes by. Sunfish is one of those things. This Alki fish and chips shop closes annually during winter, but usually flicks their neon open sign back on sometime in February, right as our toes just barely start to collectively unthaw. And much like a drunk outburst from Andy Cohen on New Year's Eve, everyone looks forward to it. While you’re here, squeeze a lemon wedge over flaky battered cod and meaty Greek-spiced fried oysters.
Bebop Waffle Shop is, thankfully, a really good place for waffles. Their belgian-style wedges are fluffy and yeasty on the inside, with a golden crust that still stands up to maple syrup and their phenomenal salted cinnamon butter. And the breakfast sandwich, layered with a thick patty of egg, cheddar, bacon, and a zippy turmeric mustard aioli, is also a preferred morning meal route to take. Pair it with a cold brew banana smoothie or an iced mocha topped with Cocoa Puffs.
Sometimes we go into this fish market (that doubles as a restaurant) to buy Alaskan salmon to make for dinner. And sometimes, after one whiff of crab cakes sizzling in the kitchen, we kiss those plans goodbye and eat here instead. Not only does Seattle Fish Company sell fish and crustaceans by the pound, but they also serve a seafood dinner that tops anything from Salty’s. Slip into a booth and enjoy a charred fish taco with coleslaw while sitting among Dungeness crabs chilling on ice. Or, pull up a window stool with an order of herb-loaded clam chowder and people-watch along California Ave.