We obviously love going out to eat, but takeout (from the right place) can be just as good. So for the nights when you’d rather unwrap a sandwich or some dumplings on your coffee table while failing to pick a TV show, you need a list of standby spots. Here’s where to turn when you’re home sick, in a hurry, or just straight-up feeling lazy. May the plastic forks be with you.
Getting takeout is a lot easier than buying ten quarts of peanut oil and dusting off your Disney princess waffle iron from 1995. So if you’re dead set on eating chicken and waffles, order delivery from Fat’s and call it a night. Their fried chicken has a well-spiced crust that stays crispy in transit, and the waffles are fluffy but thin (Waffle House-style). Add lots of syrup and Hennessy-infused butter for best results.
This truck on the side of the road in Queen Anne serves quality Vietnamese street food. There’s tasty pho, banh mi, vermicelli bowls, spring rolls, and Vietnamese coffee - with the added bonus that nothing costs more than $7.50. Just remember that they aren’t open on Sundays and they close at 8pm most weekdays, so check the time before heading over.
If you’ve been burned by soggy delivery pizza before, make Windy City your new go-to. The Chicago-style pizzas here are too thick to have a sogginess problem - and their crust is so charred it’s nearly black (trust us, it’s delicious). Order a red sauce pie, be prepared to wait a while as it bakes, and no matter what other toppings you choose, always include the candied bacon. Only share this pizza with your real friends.
Kizuki has to-go ramen down to a science. The rich broth is packed separately, and pick-up orders are usually completed within 20 minutes, even when it’s crazy busy inside. We’re advocates of the miso ramen - always add the marinated soft-boiled egg and a side of pork gyoza.
This made-to-order salad chain serves bowls of leaves you’ll actually want to eat, from a spicy kale caesar to a Southwestern-style combination with Beecher’s cheddar and avocado. The produce is fresh, and they’ll chop everything up so you don’t have to stir it around at your desk while flinging pieces of arugula onto your computer screen. Skip the sad makeshift Cobb you would have slapped together at home and run here instead - but if you’re trying to grab a quick dinner, just make sure to get in before they close at 8.
The sandwiches here don’t get the appreciation they deserve. They’re filled with Italian meats, cheeses, and a ranch spread we wish was sold by the bottle (or kilo), then baked in a pizza oven. The result is bread with a crusty shell but gooey insides. Sure, it takes a few minutes for them to toast, but they’re worth the wait, and they’ll hold up just fine in the car on the way home.
This is in a renovated KFC. But instead of fried chicken, Rancho Bravo serves tacos, quesadillas, and burritos you’ll want to grab on your way home. Just be sure to add avocado slices to anything you get, and load up on sides of chipotle cream. It all comes out extremely quickly as long as the line is tame. But if you come after midnight on a weekend, godspeed to you.
Would you rather wait for dumplings at Din Tai Fung for 45 minutes, surrounded by a vortex of shrieking children, or get through a couple episodes of your favorite show on the sofa while you wait for dumplings to come to you? Yeah, we’d pick the second option, too. The best part about getting a selection of boiled wontons, pork buns, spicy noodles, and soup dumplings from this place is that they’ll be packed perfectly, and they’re easily reheatable in case the delivery driver types NE instead of NW in front of your street address on the GPS.
Mamnoon has some of our favorite Middle Eastern food in the city, but when you don’t have the time for a full sit-down meal there, try Mamnoon Street. It’s their fast-casual sister spot in South Lake Union. In addition to mezze and spicy fries with za’atar mayo, you can get falafel and lamb/chicken shawarma pita sandwiches from the takeout window. It’s just like Mamnoon’s food, but much more portable.
Another reliable toasted sandwich option, The Other Coast Cafe serves the kind of meat, cheese, and sauce combinations college students doing all-nighters dream about. Like the Electric Wizard sandwich with ham, smoked fresh mozzarella, and balsamic mayo. If you actually are a college student pulling an all-nighter, know that they close at 9, so prepare accordingly.
Don’t ask us how a deep-fried cheeseburger with french fries tossed in roasted seaweed works as a takeout meal - it sounds more like a Sogginess Hall of Fame contestant. But Katsu Burger has it all figured out. These burgers are best enjoyed on your couch, with lots and lots of napkins. Don’t forget some spicy mayo and a green tea milkshake.
Salumi is where to turn for simple Italian ciabatta combinations with homemade cured meat, fresh mozzarella, and an olive oil/garlic/breadcrumb/caper spread. (If you want something warm, go for the hot porchetta sandwich or some pasta.) And while we’re on the subject of takeout, you might as well take some sliced soppressata or salami home with you for that wine-and-cheese thing you keep threatening to host.
Pizza is obviously a to-go staple, and when you need a giant New York-style pie or two, don’t listen to your friends who vote for Pagliacci. Order from Frelard Pizza Company, where you can get anything from a basic margherita to sausage and fennel pollen or carbonara pies.
Lucky’s doesn’t have the best pho in the city. But their banh mis are stuffed to the brim, and takeout is both inexpensive and extremely quick. Grab a pork sandwich or vermicelli bowl and you’ll be happy.
The tikka masala, saag paneer, aloo gobi, and steamed chicken momo dumplings from this Indian/Nepalese restaurant come out of the kitchen faster than you can kick yourself for not having a sit-down meal capped off with some excellent mango soft serve. In the summer especially - when it can get rather hot in the small space here - takeout is your best bet. And you can still get some ice cream to-go.
If you’re at Wood Shop during peak times, chances are you’ll have to order your BBQ to-go even if you weren’t planning on it - this place really does get busy. Luckily, everything from the brisket to the hot links to the smoked jalapeno mac and cheese works very well when eaten in your living room with a cold beer. Do that.
Eggs and Plants makes meatless takeout food exciting. They serve great falafel, but that’s not your only option. You can also get a sandwich with fried eggplant or shakshuka-braised eggs, plus hummus, tahini, a citrusy cabbage salad, pickled vegetables, and french fries (yes, in the sandwich). Add a fresh mint lemonade slushie, and make sure to order your pita as a platter so you can assemble it when you get home.
Manao’s Thai dishes aren’t just tasty - they’re also so big that you’re guaranteed at least two meals out of them. We like the pad thai, creamy lime zest chicken, and pad see ew. And leftovers from here are so much more exciting than the halfhearted sandwich you were probably going to forget to make for lunch tomorrow, anyway.
Little Ting’s is ideal when you want something warm and delicious that’s 1) inexpensive and 2) not made by you. The dumplings here come in plates of 15, and while you can get them all in pan-seared potsticker form, order them boiled to avoid sogginess. If you’re really planning ahead, add some frozen dumplings for future hunger emergencies.