Eating food and seeing a movie immediately afterwards (or vice versa) is a time-honored tradition. Whether you’re on a date, catching a matinee with your roommate, or seeing a movie by yourself because you knocked a candle over and started a fire and are too lazy to put it out, it’s important that you don’t end up resorting to under-buttered $16 popcorn.
Below, we’ve selected 11 major movie theaters in Seattle and a great restaurant nearby where you should eat before or after the show, ensuring that even if the movie is terrible, the night is still salvageable.
Like singing along very loudly to “Mr. Brightside” whenever you hear it, pizza before or after a movie is kind of a no-brainer - but we’re not suggesting lamp-heated slices. Pizzeria 22 is a semi-upscale Neapolitan spot around the corner from The Admiral where pies cook really quickly which gives them a nice charred and bubbly after-effect. We think it’s safe to say that about one pizza here feeds two people, unless you want leftovers.
REGAL CINEMAS MERIDIAN 16
Stateside is a Capitol Hill staple for upscale Vietnamese food in a space that feels pretty tropical, so it’ll get you in the mood to sit in a comfortable chair for a couple of hours. Everything here is really delicious, from the roasted chicken and the crispy duck rolls to the bourbon cocktails you’ll use to wash it all down. End things with a Thai iced tea creamsicle that you can take to-go on the downhill walk to the theater.
SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN
Toulouse Petit is an absolute classic, and it’d only be appropriate to eat here before or after seeing a movie at the SIFF Cinema Uptown (another absolute classic). The New Orleans-style creole food is outstanding, especially if you stick with the usual suspects like BBQ shrimp with grits and/or seafood gumbo. Plus, the antique-ish dining room is an exciting space with a lot of activity, so it’ll keep things lively.
Black Bottle is one of our favorite spots for drinks and small plates in Belltown. The interior feels like a party at the apartment you wish you had, and the menu is filled with lots of little bites from all over the world, like Indian-spiced cauliflower fritters and bulgogi lettuce wraps. So, you could get away with ordering just a few dishes if you plan on heavily participating in an overpriced sack of popcorn later.
ARK LODGE CINEMA
El Sombrero is a magical place where plates are filled from edge to edge with delicious Mexican food, and even the “small” frozen margaritas come in massive goblets. Everything from the chile rellenos to the enchiladas and burritos are excellent, and you’ll probably find it hard not to eat eight baskets of the fresh tortilla chips.
Shaker + Spear is a good place for a serious date if you plan on adorably rubbing noses together instead of actually watching the film. You could keep things relatively simple here by sharing cocktails and upscale bar snacks like fried sausage-wrapped olives and bruleed mac and cheese, or split a bottle of wine and a piece of fish or steak. Save room for the chocolate popcorn at Cinerama, though.
Maybe you’re already running late and if you sit down to a full meal, you run the risk of missing the beginning of the movie. If Christopher Nolan directed it, you’ll probably get confused anyway, but even worse than missing the beginning would be missing the previews. The burgers and fries at Two Doors Down come out fast, it’s never excessively busy inside, and you’ll want the garlic mayo on your taste buds for the entire duration of an action thriller because it has actual hops in it - yes, like “beer hops.”
AMC SEATTLE 10
Cedar’s is a big Indian restaurant that looks like a house (with a porch and all), that serves classics that are lighter than usual. The samosas are light and fluffy, the chicken tikka masala is easy on the cream, and the star of the saag paneer is the spinach. Not to mention the naan is practically the size of an entire pizza, our preferred naan size.
Majestic bay theater
The upscale comfort food menu at Sawyer is kind of all over the place. They have bone marrow matzo ball pho, oxtail nachos, porchetta with hazelnut romesco, an In-N-Out-inspired burger, and we could go on. So if you’re willing to embrace the fact that you could be eating Italian, Mexican, Vietnamese, and American all in one sitting, you’re going to have a good time. Also, there are homemade Choco Tacos and dilly bars which you should be ending your meal with.
CINEMARK LINCOLN SQUARE
If you’re catching a movie on the Eastside, eat at Tavern Hall. You’ll avoid the mess at Lincoln Square, and it’s a fun gastropub with great beer and cider, a tasty menu of bar food like braised brisket nachos, soft pretzels, flatbreads, and chicken sandwiches. If you have time, play some hand-shuffleboard, too.