Where To Eat & Drink In Pioneer Square

The best restaurants and bars in Pioneer Square.
Where To Eat & Drink In Pioneer Square image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Ask any local what neighborhood shouldn’t be missed on a trip to Seattle, and the answer will always be Pioneer Square. Not only does it have plenty of history (with picturesque old buildings, Smith Tower, and the underground tour), but there are also lots of restaurants and bars that are worth your time, whether you’re just visiting or you actually live here. Oh, and exposed brick. Get ready for a lot of that.


photo credit: Brooke Fitts


Pioneer Square

$$$$Perfect For:LunchCasual Weeknight DinnerOutdoor/Patio SituationDining SoloEating At The Bar
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Sometimes we just want to enjoy carbs and the sanctity of being alone without bearing witness to a restaurant-wide PDA contest. At this enthusiastically casual all-day Italian spot, the only romantic vibes are between us and a plate of penne all'amatriciana—despite their playlist of wedding dance floor bangers. Darkalino’s menu is loaded with small plates and focaccia sandwiches, but lean into the fresh pastas dressed in sauces like rich, meaty ragu or a burrata-topped pesto jazzed up with burst tomatoes and mint. And whatever you do, make sure there’s an order of chili oil-drizzled carrot tartare on your table. This spread of sweet pureed carrot served with nutty buckwheat crackers is such an outstanding snack that you may want to tell everyone you know, except your friends in relationships.

photo credit: Nate Watters

This vegan Mexican counter would be voted “most likely to succeed” in a yearbook. Rojo's works perfectly for a leisurely sit-down lunch (or a quick one), and here you’ll find plant-based alternatives like al pastor, asada, chick’n, and carnitas packed inside hefty burritos, tortas, and tacos. The faux carne asada’s meaty texture holds up well when stuffed into a bolillo loaf with refried beans, vegetables, and dairy-free sour cream, but the al pastor is by far the best protein on the menu. Marinated in adobo, it has hints of sweet pineapple combined with pork-like salty charred bits from the grill. Meat or no meat, these are tacos that deserve more than just “HAGS” on their yearbook’s autograph page.

photo credit: Nate Watters



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If you’re trying to have a big night out, there are only so many weekends you can house a wheel of brie at a wine bar before things get old. But 84 Yesler should revitalize that special occasion spirit. From nutty parmesan-showered churros and fresh carrot cavatelli with goat cheese to some of the best steak in the city, it's worth the steep price tag.

This Peruvian-Nikkei spot’s causa crocante Nikkei might be the greatest bite of food we’ve eaten in Pioneer Square. It’s a mellow panko-crusted potato cake topped with spicy mayo-coated tuna tartare, sesame oil, sticky unagi sauce, and pops of fresh avocado and radish. Between the juxtaposition of cold vs. hot, crunchy vs. creamy, salty vs. sweet, spicy vs. cooling, the elements in this thing all duel flawlessly—like a beautifully-shot battle royale between superheroes in an action flick, only with exponentially more mashed potatoes. Señor Carbón has more to offer, though, from an excellent lomo saltado to rockfish nigiri topped with a tangy acevichado sauce and sandy crumbles of Andean corn. We like it best for a casual weeknight dinner date, but we’d even come here just to drink tasty pisco sours and take selfies with their giant plush llama.

For a cozy Korean lunch in the neighborhood, Ohsun is a great choice. The restaurant has a menu of hot entrees as well as a deli case full of banchan you could also build a meal around, like apple cucumber potato salad, spicy squid, or, our favorite, marinated eggs. The eggs are jammy in the middle and tamari-soaked on the outside, and are well worth including in a banchan-based trio—or added alongside gochujang-y bibimbap with bulgogi and greens. If it's blustery outside and only something soup-adjacent will do, order their spicy potato stew "Sara's Way," which essentially means the addition of rice and chili oil drizzled directly into the bowl. It's hard to imagine a better midday spot to slow down for an hour in the neighborhood. And heads-up, the entire menu is gluten-free.

Pioneer Square is a lot of things, but it sure lacks in drinks-and-snacks patio potential. Tacolisto is here to change that. This taqueria in the Rail Spur building has strong drinks, tasty Mexican food, functional air conditioning, nooks for group hangs, and a flower-filled courtyard that turns a back alley into someone's summer garden party. While there’s a sizeable lineup of meat and vegetable-based tacos, seafood is what Tacolisto does best, so prioritize the mariscos and baja fish. The yellowfin tuna tostada is a clear standout—bright, crunchy, and drizzled with a nutty salsa macha that we'd like to douse on everything. Wash it all down with a vodka-spiked pineapple Jarrito or a frozen chamoy margarita.

Turns out, speakeasy drinks and pub food go together excellently. Bad Bishop is a bar with Victorian wallpaper, elegant cocktails like chai daiquiris and ginger hot toddies, and one of the best burgers in town. There are plenty of board games to play if you’re with friends, and, if you’re by yourself, you can have a martini at the bar and look pensively at an old piano.

Let’s say you were in a terrible mood somewhere on the East Coast. You might end up eating a pastrami sandwich, or a Philly cheesesteak, or literally anything covered in buffalo sauce. Head to Tat’s instead—it takes less time to get there. This is a dive with subs, wings, fries, and a lot of Pennsylvania-based sports team flags on the walls. Go for a cheesesteak with hot peppers or the Tatstrami sandwich, loaded with pastrami, creamy coleslaw, melted swiss cheese, and russian dressing on a hoagie roll.

The Pastry Project is not an ice cream shop—it's an organization that provides baking training to those who face barriers. And in the summer, their front door turns into a soft serve window, selling cones, cups, ice cream cakes, and cookie sandwiches. While they typically have standard flavors like (purple) vanilla and chocolate, they're delicious, and made even better when loaded with The Pastry Project's homemade peanut crunch topping—which tastes like the middle of a Butterfinger bar but won't stick to every single molar in your mouth.

Salumi is a Pioneer Square go-to for Italian sandwiches, hot or cold, filled with homemade cured meats, also-homemade fresh mozzarella, and a delicious olive oil spread made with capers and garlic that does bad things to our breath but good things to ciabatta bread. There are rotating pasta and sandwich specials, too.

At Damn The Weather, you can have a glass of natural wine and a hot bowl of pasta with a date. But you can also have a beer and a burger and a paper cone full of fries cooked in chicken fat all by yourself. Or drink a cocktail and share some oysters with your parents. The overall versatility of this spot makes it one of our favorite places to drink in Pioneer Square. Plus, the name is a solid conversation starter.

Dead Line is a sleek, dark bar with a bottle collection so extensive that a massive ladder is necessary to get to the top-shelf stuff. Not only is it a fantastic place to go for fancy cocktails, but the South American-leaning menu is also strong. Take advantage of Happy Hour, when you can get a Fernet and coke alongside a plate of garlic parmesan fries for $20 total.

Swinging golf clubs around while drinking is usually not encouraged—but that’s exactly the activity at Flatstick Pub, a dog-friendly mini-golf bar perfect for a big group (you can even rent out private course space). If you’re not into mini golf, Flatstick also has duffle ball, a tabletop version of golf where you use your hands and get even more frustrated.

Nirmal’s is an upscale Indian restaurant that works for many situations—dinner with the parents, Happy Hour, a date, an awkward networking meetup with your cousin's coworker’s dog-walker, etc. We like the tandoori grilled paneer and spicy chicken pakoras, not to mention the delicious cocktails ranging from curry margaritas to coffee martinis. And if you were wondering where to find all the exposed brick we were talking about earlier, some of it is in here.

Underbelly is a basement bar that specializes in natural wine and snacks like hot pretzels and grilled cheese. This place doesn’t take itself too seriously—there’s ska music in the background while nature documentaries play on a projector. Come here with anybody who likes to drink wine and simultaneously listen to syncopated saxophone honks.

Taylor Shellfish is a Seattle oyster institution. And while one could theoretically sip sparkling wine and whisper sweet nothings (about oysters) to a date here, one could also drink local beer and watch some sports on TV with a fried prawn po’boy on the side. That’s what we’ll be doing.

Good Bar is a cocktail bar that used to be a bank (you won’t forget this, because you can still see the vault door). While it’s an excellent option for a corporate-sponsored Happy Hour, it’s equally as good for a big friend hang before a Mariners game, complete with mezze, flatbreads, and walnut-infused Old Fashioned.

Located at the bottom of Temple Billiards, The Pharmacy feels like a basement that's fun to spend time in. It looks like somebody ransacked a garage sale in the late 1970s to furnish this place with sofas, coffee tables, and mismatched decorative pillows, but somehow it all works. The cocktail menu is massive, ranging from tiki drinks to different riffs on a French 75, and the bartenders will happily make you something custom on the spot.

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