The Best First Date Spots In Seattle
You just spent three hours deciding which blue shirt you should wear, so let us make your choice of locations a lot easier.
First dates are hard. Maybe you’ve been doing you for a while and are finally getting back out there. Maybe you just moved to Seattle and are wasting no time finding someone, because SAD is no joke. Or, maybe you just got broken up with three hours ago and surprised yourself with how quickly you got a phone number. No matter why you’re single, you’d rather not be, and that’s where we come in.
Whether you’re looking for a spot with enough atmosphere to camouflage awkward silences, or something fairly low-key that will allow you to show off your sparkling conversational skills, any place should have a good mix of drinks, small plates, and a full food menu if things are going well. With all that in mind, here are our best first date restaurants and bars in Seattle. You got this.
Sometimes, a first date is about enjoying a drink or two while emphatically laughing at jokes that didn’t quite land. Other times, you’re looking to share a really special meal with someone you’re excited about. For the latter, head to Kamonegi for sake and small plates like battered shiso leaves topped with ikura and fresh uni and salmon tartare marinated in coffee with a swipe of chive-speckled sour cream. The dining room feels like a big deal even though it’s quiet and calm, so it’s the perfect venue for quality conversations and/or doing spicy habanero plum umeshu shooters together.
photo credit: Good Voyage
Keep Good Voyage in your rolodex of date spots for when you want to appear impressive without trying too hard. This market and natural wine bar right next to Left Bank (and from the same team) is complete with black walls, stark white subway tile, bistro tables inside and out, dried flower buds hanging from the ceiling, and groovy music, so you really could use it no matter how high the stakes are. While the space is what makes the South Park spot so versatile, it also doesn't hurt that they’re an espresso counter by day. Meet up in the morning for a pastry and latte or grab a round of pét-nat at 8pm alongside baguette sandwiches or a handful of marcona almonds.
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Bar Del Corso
When you want to get to know somebody, pizza and a spritz is an ideal meal. And there's really no better place to do that than Bar Del Corso. This Beacon Hill classic always has a constant buzz of people to prevent any awkward silences, the charred Neapolitan pies are worth having charcoal-dusted fingers the entire night, and despite the restaurant's fancy vibes, dinner can be a relatively quick operation, just in case you learned something non-negotiable about this person during the first margherita slice.
photo credit: Nate Watters
At Itsumono, you'll find a relaxed space that has everything from Iron Chef to New Girl playing on TV. You'll also find a short menu of mash-ups like tonkatsu tikka masala, loco moco scotch eggs, cheesy dungeness crab arancini doria, and miso soup risotto, as well as a $100 tasting menu option if you reserve a table at least 24 hours in advance. Use this place for an initial meeting alongside drinks and tots, and if things go well, order more food. If things go extremely well, invite us to your wedding.
photo credit: Nate Watters
This neighborhood bar in Queen Anne is a winner if you want to be in the middle of the action instead of in a secluded corner. The space is small, the seating is a little squishy, and yet, the energy is just right for an exciting night out, even on a weekday. Their drinks range from wine to a gin and tonic with apricot liqueur and homemade mushroom and rhubarb tonic, and they serve plates like lobster rolls, pan con tomate, and tandoori eggplant.
photo credit: Nate Watters
Small plates are ideal on a first date, and Kamp is one of our favorite spots for little dishes like charred sliders, peppered shrimp on top of crispy tostones, and potato croquettes with lime chili oil. Plus, most dishes come with three items, so you can take turns being chivalrous and cutting them in half. Lively gallery walls and neon signs keep the icebreaker topics moving, and the patio is still a romantic place to sit if it’s nice out and/or you’re bringing your dog along. If you’re trying to avoid the societal pressure of drinking alcohol on a date, Kamp serves mocktails—like a zero-proof amaretto whiskey sour or a virgin Italian spritz—that are just as delicious as their cocktails.
Ciudad is an essential first date spot because it’s incredibly adaptable. Spicy carrot margaritas and fava bean falafel at the bar? Quick and easy. A full spread of grilled meats like porcini-rubbed pork collar and tahini-marinated chicken on the patio? Go for it. If you run out of things to talk about, the painted wall mural featuring creepy characters comes in for the assist.
Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder at a long bar is a fun way to determine if you and your date have chemistry. So if you need to know if there’s a spark there or if it really feels like you’re just hanging out with a sibling, post up at the cozy Baker’s bar. We love their cocktails that use ingredients like papaya coconut cordial and corn bourbon, as well as their lineup of fancy bar bites like baguettes with smoked tomato butter, charcuterie, charred broccoli, and a solid burger if you need more sustenance.
You might not have access to a hot air balloon on short notice, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan a cinematic night your date will remember. That’s where Foreign National comes in. This spot on Capitol Hill is a psychedelic cocktail bar that could feasibly be featured in a spy heist movie, specifically the scene when two enemy agents rendezvous and fall in love. Grab two seats at the bar for a few rounds of sparkling passionfruit punch, and add the cheeseburger bao if things start to get serious.
Belltown has plenty of spots that would work for a first date, but Black Bottle has some top-tier atmospheric magic happening. It’s noisy enough not to be awkward, but not so loud that you’ll miss any red flags that might come up in conversation, like that passing mention of your date’s creepy antique doll collection. The cocktails are strong, and the menu is full of decent little snacks if you’re hungry, like katsu-style avocado fries, crab artichoke dip, wild boar riblets, and prosciutto-topped flatbread.
The only thing prettier than Boat Bar’s white and seafoam green dining room by day is the same scene at night, and if you bring a date here, there's a high chance they'll be impressed from the moment they walk in. Get some oysters and mix and match other French small plates, or split a burger with fries and aioli.
New Luck Toy
If you suspect that your date is a fun person (or need a foolproof way to find out), New Luck Toy is the place to go. This bar is full of paper lanterns, golden cat ornaments, pinball machines, alcoholic slushies, and delicious Chinese food. Toast with frozen prickly pear margaritas and an order of General Tso’s chicken before tearing up the skee-ball court. If your date doesn’t seem to be delighted by all of this, there’s a chance they are actually a cyborg.
Union Saloon in Wallingford seems like it was designed for first dates. The big u-shaped counter and spacious booths make it perfect for getting to know someone, and as an added bonus, it’s not terribly loud (or too quiet). If you want something to eat while asking the questions you practiced in the ride over, we are very much into their caramelized onion dip. You’re welcome in advance for the moment when you both reach for a homemade potato chip and tenderly brush hands.
photo credit: Nate Watters
Damn The Weather
Damn The Weather is an exposed brick- and cocktail-filled respite from Seattle’s heinous rain patterns. It’s always pretty crowded, the place feels cool (but not too cool), and the menu has a solid mix of small plates, pastas, and entrees. Get the duck fat fries, then continue your date down the street with a beer at Altstadt if you decide that you like-like this other human.
It always smells like firewood at Manolin, which instantly sets the mood. Not to mention that the puffy Brazilian cheese bread pairs with a margarita just as well as you hope you will with this total stranger. The bright space always feels like an ideal balance of casual and special, and if your date doesn’t get impressed with the outstanding seafood—like rockfish ceviche or mussel toast—feel free to send us an angry email.
If you’re interested in having a glass of wine or refreshing cocktail in a space that could be your apartment if you tried a little harder, check out Arthur’s in West Seattle. This restaurant/bar/cafe hybrid feels like a bookstore in a sleepy coastal town, complete with an abundance of plants and desert-inspired art prints. It’s truly perfect for zoning out while a stranger goes on (and on, and on) about their backpacking trip to Europe. Good thing they serve crunchy crostini that can drown all that out.