Now and then, a restaurant comes along that overtakes our brainwaves, replacing the monotony of grocery lists, dentist appointments, and the melody to “Copacabana (At The Copa).” That restaurant is Familyfriend. This kind-of-casual Guamanian spot on Beacon Hill swings, and swings, and swings. And much like Barry Manilow—doesn’t miss.
Familyfriend’s dining room is nothing special. But you’re not here to show off your haircut or gawk at lighting fixtures. No, this is the kind of place you waltz on in wearing sweats, pick out some stuff that sounds good, and settle in for one of the best meals you’ll have all year—that, ironically, you can repeat multiple times per week.
The short menu highlights the best of Chamorro food's multi-cuisine influence. That means you’ll find batchoy ramen sharing table space with char-stamped bulgogi. Juicy chicken adobo becomes a vibrant filling for tacos, while gollai hagun stewed with turmeric-stained coconut milk fills a crackly sope and our hippocampus simultaneously. Their lacy smashburger—with McCormick gravy-like richness and a haystack of truffle shoestrings on the side—rightfully snatches the crown as Seattle’s best.
Familyfriend’s through line is that the food here is just as polished as it is unfussy. We’re not reaching for salt, nor are wishing for less of it. An innocent little cup of creamy corn soup reduces us to spoon goblins scraping for last licks. Even the white peach sonic—a word mashup of soda and tonic—is a fizzy zero-proof drink that holds its own among the standout cocktails, like red wine and amaro montenegro cut with root beer.
It’s rare for this city to get handed a sit-down dinner spot that’s both stellar and just easy. Familyfriend is open every day of the week. They only start to fill up around 6:30. And even at capacity, the wait won't make you want to scream. There’s always a happy flow of folks at the bar catching a football game on TV, or folks rotating in at a communal table to mingle and munch on seafood tostadas. A staff who loves to shoot the sh*t will keep you company, and in no time, you’ll be able to make space in your brain for the unstoppable majesty of Familyfriend.
Corn Soup (Rosary Style)
It all starts with a coconutty corn broth accented by spiced oil droplets, and that alone is some liquid velvet. But the beauty here is in the crunch on top—raw scallion, crisp kernels of corn, chicken thigh chunks, and toasty garlic crumbs. A mandatory starter for the table, and they’ll even split one order into small cups.
Gollai Hagun Sope
This masa crater is brittle on the outside and chewy in the middle, stuffed with a tangy heap of turmeric-braised mustard greens and curly kale. The whole situation is a surefire way to get us to consume more leaves.
Seafood Kelaguen Tostada
We can feel you thinking “$18.50 for a little tostada? Are you out of your mind?” But this double-decker of snappy fried tortilla is layered with enough octopus and shrimp to inspire you to buy a beach photography coffee table book that you’ll never open. A cold coconut sauce swiped underneath complements all the lemony marinated seafood.
We can’t think of a better burger in town than Familyfriend’s smashed miso-y situation. The thing is stacked with frizzled-yet-drippy patties, covered in kewpie mayo and sticky american, and enhanced by chopped pickle-and-onion confetti. Combined, they become one singular essence of burger that all others should bow down to.
Chicken Adobo Tacos
There’s not much to this trio of tacos: store-bought corn tortillas, a manageable portion of sweet-tart slow-cooked chicken, pickled red onion, halved cherry tomatoes, and microgreens. And yet, it’s one of the best dishes here. Don’t hesitate to swipe up fallen adobo drips with the tortilla.
Tinaktak Rice Bowl
Vegetarians—or anyone who just likes good-tasting food—the tinaktak is your order. There’s minced tofu mimicking savory pork crumbles, dollops of smoky eggplant puree, a coconut-forward sauce, and red rice that absorbs it all like a sophomore in calc class gunning for Yale.
Bulgogi Rice Bowl
These sweet marinated beef strips are viciously seared to that critical peak just before the crust reduces to carcinogens. To offset the rendered fat with vinegar and crunch, there is a neat pile of spicy cucumbers and pickled onion. Get this if you're in a steak mood.
Get excited when this oil-speckled miniature brown paper bag hits the table. These are donut holes studded with mango chunks, and the fruit pockets sweeten the dough just enough to temper their density. Dunk liberally in the accompanying spiced white peach coulis.