Where To Eat & Drink In Fremont
From seafood spots to bakeries selling quality cake by the slab, here are all of the best restaurants and bars in Fremont.
When it comes to picking a neighborhood for dinner or Happy Hour, Fremont can sometimes get overshadowed by areas like Ballard or Capitol Hill, which have more options than a food court at a good mall. But Fremont doesn't just have to be a place you simply drive by while looking at some concrete troll. Here are all the excellent spots that will make Fremont your new number one.
With highlights that range from pork fat-laced shrimp toast to a mayo-y Dungeness crab roll, Local Tide is a stellar one-stop shop for exciting seafood-based genius. This counter spot in Fremont deserves a mention on this guide for their creamy smoked belly dip alone, served with paper-thin potato chips tossed in a house seasoning that you can and should purchase. But their lineup of sandwiches, like a McDonald’s-style Filet-O-Fish copycat made with panko-coated dover sole, or an option with seared albacore and pickled fresno chile on sourdough, proves that phenomenal Seattle seafood doesn’t have to involve salmon or chowder. But damn, Local Tide has great salmon and chowder too.
Dreamland Bar & Diner
If you’re looking for a serotonin rush without having to snuggle a puppy or pop a molly, just spend some hours out on Dreamland’s balcony patio, a.k.a. Carnelian Bay, for a drag brunch, friend hang, or any other occasion. The whimsical space-galaxy-jungle-grotto surroundings make this diner feel like a hazy movie mashup of Jurassic Park, Alien, and Xanadu in the best way possible. There are $99 large-batch margaritas served in disco balls alongside salty pucker powder-rimmed glasses, frozen grasshopper slushies, Jell-O shots that taste like homemade jam straight from the jar, and some of the best bar snacks in the city—like vegetarian chicken strip baskets, pimento cheese slathered on fried saltines, and a gooey Happy Hour steamed burger that can do no wrong in our eyes. Very much like the title track of Xanadu.
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Sea Wolf Bakers
Sometimes you need a morning pick-me-up, but the bread and pastries at Sea Wolf really act more like a morning pick-me-up-and-throw-me-across-the-galaxy-so-I-can-be-among-the-stars. They specialize in various types of outstanding sourdoughs, from crusty white bread to rye infused with coffee and caraway. The best thing here, however, is their chocolate chip cookie. The way Sea Wolf balances nutty brown butter, dark chocolate, oats, and a heavy hand of sea salt makes us want to host a cookie convention and invite them as the keynote speakers. A flaky croissant for breakfast is pretty much mandatory, but you’ll want a lye roll or hunk of olive-dotted focaccia to snack on later.
photo credit: Nate Watters
Tio Baby’s is a Tex-Mex bar that serves precisely the kind of snacks you’d want while drinking beers or margaritas. We’re talking about things like waffle fries, creative hot dogs, wings, a McRib-style sandwich sticky with bourbon BBQ sauce and mustard seed aioli, and some of the best nachos in town, thanks to the application of both melted cheese and velvety queso. And on weekends, things get a little experimental, when specials pop up like cheeseburger dumplings or fried calabrian chile-marinated cheese curd rangoons. Between the cozy wooden booths, colorful murals, and framed portrait of Danny DeVito as Ongo Gablogian behind the bar, Tio Baby’s is an effortlessly fun space where you can hang out and spend a few hours.
The Pacific Inn
This dive bar that serves the city's best fish and chips is an institution, and our first choice for sitting on a patio, eating crispy seafood, and drinking beer—so beeline here whenever the sun uppercuts its way through a mass of clouds. The panko breading on the fish has a wonderful crunch, and it’s even better submerged in their housemade tartar. Whether you go with fish and chips, crunchy little cajun-spiced shrimps, or the salmon sandwich covered with herby pesto and parmesan, a seafood-fueled meal here is a great way to spend a summer afternoon.
Pizza chased with ice cream has been a sacred meal since the dawn of Chuck E. Cheese. At Lupo, you can experience this same joyful ritual, but with a dimly lit ambience and blustery pies fit for grown adults (without any ball pits). Start with delicious white bean toasts topped with crisped pancetta bits and olives, followed by garlicky cavatelli tossed in chili oil, wood-roasted vegetables, and tangy sourdough pizzas. If all you do is ensure that the cacio e pepe and burrata soppressata pies hit the table, you’ve done your job well. And for dessert, you can get scoops of housemade ice cream with flavors ranging from brown sugar pine to rum-spiked carrot cake.
Manolin's enormous U-shaped bar is perfect for dates or solo eating, there’s a disco ball, and the medieval-looking grill device is awesome to watch in action as it sears your steak. The rest of the menu is heavy on seafood, from super fresh rockfish ceviche with avocado and fried sweet potato strands to squid ink risotto. Start your meal with some oysters on the half-shell, and if the weather’s nice, have an after-dinner drink at the outdoor fire pit with dessert. There’s no wrong time for this place, unless you catch them outside of their operating hours.
If you need a place to drink that’s not too expensive but also not boring, you want Add-A-Ball. It’s an arcade bar with reasonably-priced beer and well cocktails that don’t taste like pain and melted ice. We’ve had some of the best nights of our lives getting too emotionally invested in the four-player Pacman here, but there’s also a Killer Queen you should take advantage of, if you can figure out how to play it. Also important: every Saturday from 6-11pm, Good Shape, a pizza pop-up, is onsite serving phenomenal personal pizzas and cheeseburger pinwheels, two dishes practically designed for consumption while gaming.
Fremont Bowl is where you can get tasty seafood in large quantities at relatively low prices. They specialize in donburi bowls, and you want one of those with fish—like consistently tender salmon or zuke maguro— on top. You can also get poke, broiled eel, or, if you’re really indecisive, the $16.45 chirashi with tuna, chopped fatty tuna, salmon, yellowtail, albacore, shrimp, freshwater eel, and masago. Take full advantage of the housemade smoky soy sauce, which is miles better than the regular supermarket stuff.
Kamonegi is a tiny spot focused on homemade soba noodles and tempura. You’ll find a variety of dishes here, from cold soba with nori and avocado, to hot noodles in a curry broth with leeks and fresh mozzarella, to small plates like fantastic sticky yakitori duck meatballs. It’s good for date night or a meal with a small group, but be sure to make a reservation, and avoid sitting at the cramped window counter if you can.
This tiny sake bar in Fremont serves excellent drinking snacks—we wouldn't expect less from the same team behind Kamonegi next door. Hannyatou features a diverse and wonderful lineup of rice-wine flights, as well as actual binders full of information if you want to brush up on your sake knowledge. We can’t say enough about the bar food, though, like katsu sandwiches or Scotch quail eggs with spicy shrimp aioli. Stop in before or after dinner at Kamonegi, but don’t be surprised if you fill up on Muddy Buddies-style Chex cereal tossed in white chocolate, tahini, and matcha.
Russell’s is one of our favorite bars in the neighborhood. There’s a friendly staff, nice-looking wooden booths, a bright red retro refrigerator behind the bar, and a delicious hot pretzel you can liberally dunk in Beecher’s beer cheese. You’ll also find solid beers on tap and some interesting cocktails. Hole up here for a couple of hours with some friends on a rainy weekend for optimal results.
The Masonry is a pizza party waiting to happen. It has a bright space with psychedelic paint swirls on the ceiling, long communal tables, dangling light fixtures made from beer bottles, a skee-ball machine, and lots of taps. Since the pizzas here are on the smaller side, we endorse filling your table with them and engaging in a civilized slice swap, as you pass around everything from charred margherita pies to ones topped with buttery taleggio, mushrooms, thyme, and pancetta. Throw in a few tangy dijon-forward caesars and the best meatballs in the city, and we can guarantee a successful group dinner, or your money back. Just kidding—we don’t have the authority to be able to do that.
Stampede Cocktail Club
Stampede Cocktail Club has a lot going on. On first glance, it looks slightly old-fashioned, but then you turn a corner and a T-Rex head mounted on floral wallpaper is staring you in the face. (Quick, someone get Jeff Goldblum in here). It’s wacky, fun, and they serve excellent cocktails alongside steamed dumplings from Little Ting’s. Come here with someone you like while sipping things like a fresh blueberry mule or a riff on a passionfruit-pineapple margarita. Just make sure beforehand that Jurassic Park didn’t give your date nightmares.
We don’t know why Lucky’s Pho is always empty, but we do know that there’s never a wait, so we’ll take it. It’s a simple space with linoleum tabletops, a soda fridge (note: they don’t serve alcohol), a bottle of sriracha on every table, and a long handwritten list of bubble tea flavors. While the pho and vermicelli bowls are great, get your hands on their bánh mì, which are overflowing with flavorful pork, pickled veggies, cucumber, and aioli. If you love that idea but a baguette isn't the mood, they also do bánh mì tacos.
Simply Desserts is a little bakery with an important lemon blueberry cake. It’s acceptable to buy it whole and tell everyone it’s for a friend’s birthday, but then promptly drive home and chip away at it every few hours with a plastic spork. We fully endorse eating it for dinner, and then again in the morning, because blueberries are a breakfast food. And if fruit desserts aren’t your thing, their cinnamon-kicked Mexican chocolate cake is equally as delicious.
Rockcreek Seafood & Spirits
Unless you’re camping in the wilderness harpooning your dinner with a whittled stick, it’s unlikely you’ll ever have fresh seafood next to a babbling brook. Rockcreek is as close as you get to that experience, and you don’t even have to deal with rafting on river rapids. The seafood is excellent (particularly the shrimp and grits and roasted seabass), and it feels like the kind of forest cabin your elitist in-laws would rent and consider “roughing it” just because there are exposed beams. This is a good place for a date, or a group dinner on the second floor balcony.
Sitting down to a great Italian dinner is usually a whole thing, complete with linen-draped tables, comically large pepper grinders, and a lot of pressure riding on your spaghetti twirling technique. But Esters Enoteca is a casual Italian-ish tapas spot that’s incredibly useful if you just want some wine, pasta, and snacks without any drama. It's also incredibly useful if you don't consume wheat, as their entire menu is virtually gluten-free. Grab a bowl of amatriciana or carbonara alongside crunchy arancini and battered cauliflower dusted with fennel pollen.
While there are many reasons to check out The Barrel Thief, the 300 different whiskeys and 175 different wines by the glass should be convincing enough. Come on a date, with your parents, or with a big group, and make some progress on your Whiskey or Wine Passport. And no, that’s not just a corny term we invented—each time you return, you can check off what you’ve tried in order to work your way toward a discount on drinks there for life. You don’t even have to schlep to CVS to get your photo taken.
Schilling Cider House
You’ve probably stumbled into QFC before a housewarming party and grabbed a six-pack of Schilling Cider without realizing it was an actual place in Seattle where you could drink. Now you know: Schilling Cider House is a tasting room that features their own hard ciders as well as guest rotations, plus a refrigerator case of spiked apple juice to-go. Get one of the large high top tables and make a flight from the 32 cider choices on tap that range from pineapple passionfruit to sriracha lime to simply dry. They don’t serve food, so it’s a good plan of attack for before or after dinner.
For an easy special occasion brunch, or a daytime date powered by natural wine and herbs de Provence-infused omelettes, Le Coin is the French bistro you should seek out. Covered in a velvety mustard seed polka-dotted hollandaise, their eggs benedict with smoky thick-cut ham and a side of potatoes fried to the ideal shade of Pantone 18-0940 TCX is pretty mandatory. So is a round of mini apple fritters. But their breakfast sandwich, layered with pork belly, peppery arugula, pepperoncini, fresh radish, and runny fried eggs on a big seedy bun is great, too.
We’re not sure whether The Backdoor is a Prohibition-era speakeasy that’s making fun of itself, or just a bar that’s making fun of speakeasies, but it’s the best place to drink in Fremont regardless. There are a ton of vintage chandeliers, bookcases stacked with liquor bottles, and a bar crowned with a very fancy naked angel/Statue of Liberty hybrid. The long list of classic and not-classic cocktails is excellent, and you should also put your faith in the bartender to mix you something custom. The menu comes from Roxy’s next door, which isn’t great, but you’ll also be sitting in a booth with friends, sipping on a sidecar, and going to town on a diner mug full of fries with aioli, so you’re not going to hate it.
Brouwer’s is where you go to eat too many Belgian fries and drink steins and steins of beer. The stone walls and gargoyles on the balcony make the place feel like a castle dungeon you actually want to be in. Come for a first date or with the crew, and put the bourbon dragon sauce on everything you order.
There isn’t much Mexican food in Fremont, but El Camino is a fantastic option for all your taco needs in the area. The colorful deck is a great place to hang out when it’s light out, and at night it turns into more of a party with string lights and frozen margaritas.
A classic grinder/hoagie/whatever you want to call them is not really a thing in Seattle, so life gets pretty tough when what you need most is a sub with a bag of potato chips. But Royal Grinders is doing its part to fill that void—some of the greatest sandwiches in the city are coming from their small counter joint. Their Italian is especially insane: the bread is crispy on the outside but thick and soft on the inside, and topped with pepperoni, salami, smoked ham, provolone, swiss, chopped pepperoncinis, and a really good ranch spread that we wish they sold by the bottle. Or kilo. Your sandwich will be huge no matter what, so split it with a friend. Or don’t.
Fremont Brewing Company
Fremont Brewing Company is day-drinking central, and our favorite place in the entire city to grab a beer. Stalk a massive table for your entire group of friends, and knock back pints of their excellent Lush IPA and Randalls while you eat whatever takeout you want (they don’t have food, but don’t care if you bring it in). You’ll be much happier than you would’ve been at that day rave you almost went to.
Seattle Biscuit Company
It might seem obvious, but we are morally obligated to tell you that Seattle Biscuit Company has excellent biscuits. You’ll find a lineup of sandwiches like the Gus (our personal favorite, with fried chicken, pickles, Walla Walla sweet onion mustard, an egg, and gravy) and the Willie Lee (egg, Beecher’s Flagship, bacon, and berry jam for a curveball). But you could also get one topped simply with butter, honey, and rock salt. It’s also always a great time hanging out in their space that looks like a boxcar diner. Pair brunch with a Bloody Mary or a carafe of mimosas.