Fremont is usually the second choice for where to go out for a meal or a drink - it tends to get overruled by the allure of Capitol Hill, which has more options than a food court at a good mall. But Fremont is actually pretty underrated in terms of good things to put in your mouth - probably because they’re known more for that stupid concrete troll than anything else. We’ve decided to change that. Here are all the excellent spots that will make Fremont your new number one.
Manolin is our favorite restaurant in Fremont. The 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 to life-changing squid with chorizo and black rice. Start your meal with the plantain chips, and if the weather’s nice, have an after-dinner drink at the outdoor fire pit with dessert. There’s no wrong time or occasion for this place.
Le Petit Cochon translates to “the little pig” in French, but there’s nothing little about the pork here unless we’re talking about the amount of space left in your stomach after eating it. The menu is made up of things Anthony Bourdain would request at a carnival, like ram doughnuts and pork belly corn dogs, and it’s all excellent with wine or a cocktail. Come in with a date for casual drinks and an actually-unique charcuterie board or a full dinner. If you want the $32 pig burger (you want the $32 pig burger), know that it’s topped with foie gras, truffle aioli, onion rings, arugula pesto, pork belly, and your own teacup pig to take home with you as a pet.
Revel is a Korean fusion spot that feels like an art gallery. The space is simple except for the massive pieces of pop art on the walls, and you’ll want to sit at the bar, which doubles as the kitchen counter. A front row view of people flipping your kimchi pancake and garnishing your drunken noodles makes eating them even better. The patio is also nice during the summer months. Whatever the season, always get the short rib dumplings.
Quoin is a tiny cocktail spot next to Revel that’s owned by the same people. The design is pretty minimal, but on Friday nights, it’s packed. If the weather’s nice, bring your craft cocktail mixed from house-infused soju to the back deck, where benches, a fire pit, and Revel’s full menu are yours for the taking.
To eat at Tarsan i Jane, you have to make a reservation and pay in advance for your “experience” (either the $140 dinner tasting or the $60 Sunday brunch), like you’re ordering concert tickets or impulse-buying unicorn socks on Amazon. You can even add a bouquet of flowers to your cart before checking out. Go for the brunch, and once you make it in the door (through their private garden with banzais and buddhas - also a place you can reserve a table for more money), you’re in for a f*cking incredible five-course Valencian paella meal in a space that transports you to a spa resort in some Southwestern small-town. This “experience” isn’t cheap, but if you can find a reason to celebrate, it’s worth the cost. You will want to live here.
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 pretty bare-bones kind of 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 banh mi, which is overflowing with flavorful pork, pickled veggies, cucumber, and aioli. If you love that idea but have an inexplicable fear of baguettes, they also do banh mi 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 drive home like a maniac and chip away at it every few hours with a plastic spork. We fully endorse eating it for dinner, and then again for breakfast, because blueberries are healthy.
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. Rock Creek 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 it has exposed beams. This is a good place for a date or a group hang on the second floor balcony.
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 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.
To call Frēlard Pizza Company a restaurant in Fremont might be a stretch, but Frelard shouldn’t count as an actual neighborhood (plus, what an ugly name). This spot is in the middle of a busy part of Leary Way, and their patio is the best spot around for a beer-and-pizza party with your entire group of friends, thanks to the picnic tables and stone-covered firepit. (If it’s wet outside, the interior’s fun too.) The service is great, a rotating seasonal hard cider is always on tap, and the pizzas are the best New York-style pies you can get in the city. Make sure the prosciutto and arugula is on your table.
Hitting up Bluebird Ice Cream is like going into a time machine and stepping out to an old school soda fountain. There are vintage kitchen gadgets like rusted hand-crank churners, an antique cash register, diner-style glass sundae cups, and some metal knobs and levers whose functions are unknown but look cool. Bring your steady and buy her a double-scoop of peanut butter and chocolate chunk (Bluebird’s best flavors, especially together) in a sweet homemade waffle cone. She’ll be wearing your pin and letterman jacket in no time.
At first glance, The Leary Traveler looks like your average divey spot where you might end up with mozzarella sticks from a freezer or chips and jarred salsa with your beer. But it actually has really excellent bar food. You will not want to share the fries and dipping sauces, the sliders are much better than other pubs around, and the entree chopped salad might be your favorite thing here. Plus, the servers are super friendly, and you can bring your dog inside.
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 (that is, if you are too). They don’t serve food, so it’s a good plan of attack for before or after dinner.
Uneeda Burger has a pretty stupid name, but since we feel this way often, we’ll allow it. The space feels like that weird covered area you were confined to at summer camp when it rained: tin roof, picnic tables, and fine wire mesh. But if summer camp had excellent burgers, special sauces, and milkshakes this good, we’d probably still be there making lanyards and bug juice. Burgers here range from simple to one with mushrooms, truffle salt, and gruyere, to a crispy farro veggie burger. The long tables and counter service make Uneeda a perfect spot for a big group, but burger purists beware: you won’t find American cheese here.
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 frites and drink steins and steins of beer. The stone walls, paintings of what we imagine to be plebeian serf people, and gargoyles chilling on the balcony makes 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.
If you covered the windows with a New Orleans landscape and pumped some jazz through the speakers, Roux could fool you into thinking you’re in the French Quarter. It’s a restaurant with live music, red plush seat backs, and excellent creole food. Their shrimp and grits is easily the best in the city, and their crunchy on the outside/juicy on the inside fried chicken is a remarkable achievement.
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 wished 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 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.
Cafe Turko is a Turkish restaurant with mezzes and kebabs good enough to be worth the fear that comes with wondering if the metal tea kettle suspended above you is secured properly. Come here for a summer patio lunch, a low-key date, or weeknight takeout.