The 11 Most Exciting Dinner Spots In Seattle Right Now guide image


The 11 Most Exciting Dinner Spots In Seattle Right Now

A night out at one of these places—whether it’s for a catch-up with a friend or an impressive date night—feels overwhelmingly of the moment.

For anyone wondering which sit-down restaurants are currently hot in Seattle right this second, you have arrived at the right figurative Internet place. What does “hot” mean, you ask? Well it’s safe to say that we put on relatively cute outfits to dine at each restaurant below (possibly even eye makeup and our “good deodorant”). A night out at one of these places—whether it’s for a casual catch-up with a friend or an impressive date night—feels overwhelmingly of the current moment. Plenty of them are newer, but there are also old favorites who’ve been exciting from day one.

And, as always, we wouldn’t be recommending any of these restaurants simply for having a memorable scene. We’ve been to each and every spot and loved the food they serve—so you can plan your dinner confidently.



3315 Beacon Ave S, Seattle
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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.

photo credit: Nate Watters

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.

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You’ll have one of the best meals all year at Beast & Cleaver, a tiny butcher shop in Ballard. This isn’t in reference to the porterhouse you could pick up and grill at home, but rather to their after-hours wine bar nights on Tuesdays through Thursdays. With a menu of expertly cooked steaks, snacks, and surprises, this operation makes for one of the most unique dining experiences in Seattle. The menu changes each time, but the constant is the surplus of beef that you should shape your meal around, like the barely-seared, browned butter-glistened London broil, or ribeye with enough marbling to be a West Elm coffee table. But the meat options stretch beyond steaks, like a hefty smashburger, snappy homemade sausages, and incredible custard-based desserts. You can't get much better than eating outstanding food and drinking a bottle of great wine (sold at retail price without a corkage markups) while sitting catty-corner to a display case of raw links, patties, and chops.

“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. 

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.

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.

Eating dinner at Musang is like being a guest at someone’s home—and we’re not just saying that because this Filipino restaurant is located inside a renovated craftsman. Throughout our many visits here, we’ve joined in on dining room-wide toasts and “Happy Birthday” singalongs, which would be enough to make Musang an exciting place to have a meal. But we’d also sit in a dark coat closet just to eat their outstanding food. From juicy pork and shrimp lumpia with a crackly shell to a flame-seared short rib kare kare basted in peanut butter bagoong, these are dishes that make us want to stop everything and sing about them as if life were a movie musical. It’s possible to have a memorable evening celebrating virtually anything at Musang, even if the occasion is, “I composted my coffee grinds today instead of dumping them down the drain.”

After a year or so consuming naturally-leavened pies, Detroit squares, and Neapolitan margheritas, we can definitively say that Blotto serves the best new pizza in town. Their crust is a gorgeous cross between sourdough and New York-style, with a brittle crispness throughout the bottom and puffed ends that resemble pool noodles (but taste a whole lot better). Between the small dining room on Capitol Hill that’s decorated with shelves of pantry items for sale like Rancho Gordo beans, red and white-checkered pizzeria tablecloths, and refrigerators stocked with natural wine, Blotto already makes for a fun place to hang out with friends. Add phenomenally blistered pies topped with things like spaghetti all’amatriciana ingredients or roasted kale with breadcrumbs and lemon (not to mention tasty slice dips like Calabrian chili vinaigrette and dill-flecked ranch), and you’ve got more than a neighborhood hang—you’ve got a dinner destination that’s worth braving potentially horrendous Capitol Hill parking.

We don’t have many tips on how to grab a table at the eternally booked Communion, other than to check their online reservations often and/or to show up the millisecond they open. But your perseverance pays off with a delicious journey involving outstanding soul food influenced by Ethiopian and Vietnamese cuisines. The crisp, cornmeal-crusted catfish should make its way to your table no matter what, whether it’s in maki roll form with pickled vegetables and watermelon hot sauce, stuffed in a baguette as a cross between a po’ boy and bánh mì, or on top of parmesan grits with a deep red shrimp Creole gravy. Round out the spread with some terrific cocktails, like an apple mint julep or a rich bourbon drink made with toasted pecan liqueur. Communion is a fantastic addition to the entire city (let alone the Central District) for a celebratory dinner out.

Tomo serves the kind of meal that makes us wish time travel were real. Not just to see a stegosaurus, but also to go back a few weeks and replay our first dinner here. This tasting menu spot with Japanese influences coaxes intense flavor out of seemingly simple ingredients. A totally vegetarian barley porridge with eggplant and dill pollen could take on any meaty stew, and geoduck is transformed into a deeply rich xo sauce that supports salted seared scallops and potato puree effortlessly. To match these exciting dishes is an equally-as-lively space with brunette walls, dramatic lighting, and speakers that blast calming whale noises in the wood-paneled restroom. Add it all up, and you have the ideal restaurant for your next big night out. One that starts with a clarified milk punch and should end with a sorrel kakigori add-on topped with hazelnut butter and funky whipped cheese fluff.

Walk into Jackalope during peak dinner hours, and don’t be surprised if the wait for a table is longer than a flight to California. This Columbia City Tex-Mex spot from the team behind Jack’s BBQ is a perpetually busy party, complete with a soundtrack of sizzling fajita platters and chatty groups squeezed into large booths. But with a little planning, you too should be able to secure excellent tequila- and mezcal-based cocktails and delicious smoked brisket-focused plates. In particular, seek out the brisket and guajillo enchiladas. There's a great smoke-on-smoke moment that happens when the pit-barbecued bark of beef meets the chile, as the flavors come together in a way that will make you want to hoard it all for yourself. If you are amenable to sharing, pass around an order or two of guacamole and saltine-accompanied campechana loaded with shrimp and plump pieces of Dungeness crab.

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