The Toughest Reservations In Seattle Right Now (And How To Get Them)
photo credit: Cantina Monarca
At any given time, there are a handful of Seattle restaurants where trying to get a table feels like chasing the end of a double rainbow. Right now, these are those restaurants. The spots on this list aren’t necessarily the best restaurants in the city, but they are the hardest ones to get into—and we want you to know if they’re actually worthwhile. We also want to help you get a reservation, so you don’t have to sit at home and write sad songs about how you’ve never been to Taneda. Below, you’ll find our verdicts on the busiest places in the city, along with some info that’ll help you get that table (or bar seat). Check back for regular updates.
photo credit: Jesse C. Rivera
Verdict: Whatever you have to do to book a spot at Ltd Edition Sushi, just do it. (More on that below.) This omakase spot only has 16 seats, and we’re fans of every nigiri that gets tossed into the $160 mix—but the best part of the night is when the uni cart comes out and you're served a buttery sea urchin hand roll as if it were a sidewalk snow cone. If it takes setting four alarms, buying your neighbor's kid a drum set, and constructing a booby trap to wake you up the morning that reservations are released, so be it.
How To Get In: Ltd releases bookings at 11am on the 15th of every month for the following month, and we wish you the best of luck when the entire Seattle population clicks around the reservation platform at the same time. If you don't get in, add yourself to the waitlist and hope for cancellations.
photo credit: Cantina Monarca
Verdict: Is Cantina Monarca the best Mexican restaurant in Bellevue? No. But the corporate Lincoln Square location, an interior that wants to be photographed, and good-enough food is precisely why this place is perpetually busy. While the appetizers leave a lot to be desired, the tacos aren’t bad if you know which ones to order—stick with the battered sea bass and pork belly. If you really need a more upscale environment to have an after-work Happy Hour or catch up with a group of friends, this place works for that, but no need to go out of your way.
How To Get In: There was once a time when you needed to be an influencer or Love is Blind cast member to get into Cantina Monarca. Now that the hype has calmed down, reservations are easier to come by through the restaurant's website. While weekend dinner slots are the first to disappear, you can typically find availability before 5:30pm or after 8pm. If you're feeling the call of a new Instagram photo, mediocre guacamole, and a strong margarita on a whim, try walking in to grab seats at the bar—there's a decent chance you'll get in.
photo credit: Nate Watters
Verdict: This former Turkish pop-up makes tasty enough mezze (like yam and chickpeas tossed in tahini) and mains (like lamb belly kebabs on lavash). The dark Frelard space would be super foreboding if not for the overly friendly staff—which makes for an exciting night out that you should experience at least once if you like the idea of vibey Mediterranean food. And while the buttery minced lamb alone is worth a trip, the very steep prices paired with a lack of texture in many dishes leave us wanting more out of an experience that’s pretty hard to get into.
How To Get In: While it no longer takes mere minutes for a month of reservations to disappear, you still have to act fast. Hamdi will always announce on Instagram when the next month’s reservations will open up. And even if you miss the post in favor of a cat reel, there's plenty of time to pounce on a table before 5pm or after 8pm. There’s a waitlist feature too, and it’s important to remember that the restaurant does save some seats for walk-ins—check their Instagram to see if there's room that evening.
photo credit: Nate Watters
Verdict: This 10-seat omakase makes for an exciting night out as you enjoy creative nigiri (like toro with brûléed pineapple or hamachi with corn pudding and sourdough crumbs) in a room that feels like a glowing aquarium. It’s perfect for birthdays, special occasions, and date night—even if (correction: especially if) that date is yourself.
How To Get In: The restaurant releases reservations on the 1st of the month for the following month at 10am. Set an alarm and click fast. If you don’t make it, sign up for the waitlist on any day that you’re potentially available, with the assumption that you might nab a spot only two hours before dinner. And if your goal is to eat here at all costs, be flexible and try to book alone so that you’re not competing with couples. Or, check out a 9:30pm seating, which they recently added (and is rarely booked).
Verdict: Canlis is the most upscale fine dining restaurant in the entire city, and qualifies as a Seattle bucket list activity. Don’t expect to be stunned speechless by the food, but do expect to share a fantastic night out with anyone from your betrothed to your boss. Especially if your boss picks up the check. You’re here to soak in the Lake Union view, eat a luxurious morsel of steak, and wear a gala-type outfit that would otherwise rot in a closet corner with your forgotten Halloween costumes.
How To Get In: They used to release tables six months in advance, but that has changed to three months in advance, which makes booking here nearly impossible. For the best possible odds, log on right at midnight a quarter in advance to snatch a table, especially if your desired date falls on a weekend. If you missed that, check 48 hours in advance, as that’s when reservation deposits become non-refundable. If all else fails, part of the fun of Canlis is sitting at the bar to drink exceptional cocktails, eat snacks, and listen to the pianist. And since anyone can waltz in and do that, consider it as a backup plan.
photo credit: Nate Watters
Verdict: Turns out that one of the best restaurants in town is located inside a butcher shop after hours. You can experience Beast & Cleaver a few ways: buy some chops or links to cook at home, grab a sandwich on Thursdays or Fridays for lunch, or attend a tasting menu dinner under their alter ego “The Peasant.” No matter when you show up, the steaks, burgers, homemade sausages, and surprisingly, the salads and desserts at this meat-focused operation are outstanding, and the wine list is excellent, too.
How To Get In: We'll be honest—it's really hard to secure a spot for The Peasant. Sometimes you can find a table for two on a random night of the month because somebody cancelled, and if you really want to get technical, the cancellation policy is three days without penalty, so check in 72 hours in advance for your best odds. And since some tables seat more folks, you could get even luckier if you're trying to book a large party. If you sign up for Beast & Cleaver’s newsletter, you’ll get an email when the next batch of dates open up to book online.
Verdict: Even if you popped into this Ballard staple for a glass of bubbles, burrata in a pesto pool, and an iceberg salad with really, really good croutons, that'd easily be the highlight of your entire week. But that would be ignoring the charred pies topped with things like hot salami, caramelized Walla Walla sweet onions, kalamata olives, and summer corn. This is the second-best pizzeria in Seattle for a reason.
How To Get In: Delancey doesn't accept reservations—for parties of less than six people. That's right. Gather five people whose company you enjoy, choose either 5:30pm or 7:30pm (or 5pm and 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays), and book a table at Delancey any weeknight you want—it's even possible to find a same-day spot. Weekends can be dicier, but if you plan two weeks in advance, you'll be eating pizza before you know it, as all of the date-night couples wait outside sniffing your pepperoni in jealousy.
Verdict: This eight-seat wood grain counter in Hillman City is more than just a 10-course dinner inspired by the owners’ Filipino heritage. It’s a billboard for the Pacific Northwest and a meal that should be required by law for every resident. Each dish represents a part of history that connects our city to Filipino culture, and Archipelago only uses ingredients exclusively sourced throughout the region. After two hours, you’ll walk away from Archipelago with a belly full of outstanding lechon (crispy skin and all) and a newfound appreciation for both Filipino food and the surrounding PNW.
How To Get In: Keep an eye on Archipelago’s Instagram, where they’ll announce when the next two months of reservations will open up. Take advantage of the waitlist as well, and get comfy with the idea of booking alone if you want to get in as quickly as possible. And if you know a leader in your community who deserves to eat here on the house, you can nominate them—Archipelago gives away seats to folks worthy of celebration, while prioritizing those who might struggle financially. You can also find exclusive reservations available for Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders here.
Verdict: If you like pasta even a little bit, you'll love a night out at Spinasse, Seattle's best Italian restaurant. Their homemade tajarin and cavatelli are phenomenal, and the rustic-meets-modern dining room works well for any type of special occasion, from graduation dinners with your entire family to an important date night.
How To Get In: This is the best Italian restaurant in Seattle, and such superlatives come with a tricky reservation process. They do have a patio now, which has made things better than they used to be, but good luck getting a table that isn’t at 9:30pm unless you book several weeks in advance. You can secure a table up to 30 days ahead of time, and thankfully, there’s usually nobody hovering at midnight ready to pounce on that 30th day. (Except for you, of course.)
Verdict: Sushi Kashiba is an institution, and the best sushi restaurant in Seattle, thanks to incredible imported and local fish prepared by a talented chef who is practically a celebrity at this point. From marinated lean tuna to Hokkaido uni, every piece is made with ultimate precision. You want a legendary seafood-eating experience that you can brag about to everyone you know? Sushi Kashiba always delivers.
How To Get In: If you want a spot at the sushi counter, there are no reservations. For your best shot at a spot, you have to line up outside the restaurant before they open at 5pm (if you want to be first, start waiting at 3:30). Once they open, a host will tell you if you got a spot at the first seating or if you need to come back. For a regular table, Kashiba takes online reservations, with late-night availability starting about two weeks in advance and more flexibility if you book further out.
photo credit: Suzi Pratt
Verdict: Communion is part Southern restaurant and part love letter to dishes and flavors you can find in the Central District and beyond. Earthy berbere grilled chicken with lemony lentils nods to the neighborhood’s Ethiopian population, while rib tips in a phở bone broth honors the noodle soups of Little Saigon. A surplus of brittle cornmeal-dredged catfish, though, shows that this is a soul food spot through and through. The cocktails are refreshing yet balanced (hello perfect apple mint julep), the space is lively yet warm, and even though it’s only been around since December 2020, it’s hard to imagine Seattle without this restaurant.
How To Get In: The restaurant will announce on Instagram when reservations open up for the next month. There will be a waitlist if you’re too slow, and if you're flexible on timing, there are last-minute bookings that pop up here and there, typically towards 4pm when they first open.
Verdict: This nine-seat counter serves an omakase that’ll undoubtedly be one of the best meals of your year if you love raw fish. You’ll get things like chopped toro handrolls, chutoro and otoro nigiri, uni wrapped in sweet shrimp, Japanese scallops, seared A5 miyazaki wagyu topped with caviar, and even a second uni course. The $215 price tag might seem like a lot to drop on a meal, but think of it like taking yourself out on a date, only one where you’ll reach out for a piece of eel instead of someone else’s hand.
How To Get In: The restaurant’s Instagram announces when reservations will go live, typically at 11am on the second to last Saturday of the month. It’s in your best interest to try to secure one at that time exactly. If you miss it, try again next time or sign up for the waitlist.
Verdict: The Pink Door is an iconic Italian restaurant with Elliott Bay views, aerial performances, and a standout spinach lasagna with pesto, marinara, and velvety besciamella that occupies our daily thoughts. Don’t let the tourist hellzone location that is Pike Place deter you: The Pink Door is more than worth braving the crowds, lack of parking, and raw fish smells.
How To Get In: You can get a reservation starting 30 days in advance, but if you try for something last-minute, you'll probably be left with tables for a late lunch at 3pm. If you try and book three weeks ahead of time, you'll usually be able to snag a late dinner at 9pm.