Readers and friends of The Infatuation constantly demand, “Tell me where I should be eating in Seattle right now. Tell me, or else.” We don’t really want to see out that threat, so we’ll just make this easy. You’re in the right place. The Infatuation Hit List is your guide to the city’s best new restaurants.
And when we say “best new restaurants,” we mean it. Because we’ve vetted every single one of these places - and we’ve also left off other new spots that simply aren’t as worthy of your time and paycheck.
The Hit List is our record of every restaurant that’s opened in the past year and a half that we’d highly recommend you try. We’ve arranged it in chronological order with the newest places at the top, and the oldest at the bottom. Happy exploring.
New to The Hit List (as of 8/6): South Town Pie, Junkichi Robata Izakaya, Meaty Johnson’s, Mr. Saigon
And here are some spots you might have heard about that didn’t make the cut (click their names to learn more): Little Neon Taco
After many years of analyzing crust anatomy and spot-treating San Marzano stains, we’ve done it. We’ve found the best slice joint in the city, and it’s South Town Pie. Here you’ll eat very tasty unconventional pizzas (like one with boar ragu, sage, and Funyuns), but even the plain cheese slice is pretty perfect and tastes like what you’d find in New York. Hop in a booth, order a round of cocktails or maybe some meatballs (they’re great), and don’t skip the pastrami pie, which is a thing of beauty.
Meaty Johnson’s is a fast-casual BBQ spot that replaced the long-gone Meltdown Pizza, and we didn’t know how much we needed it in our lives until we tried it. It’s so good, in fact, that they tend to run out of things, so it’s worth showing up at 11am to be sure you’ll get your hands on an incredible brisket sandwich. Add tasty sides like peppery mac and cheese, kimchi potato salad, and jalapeno cornbread.
Junkichi is a Japanese spot with sushi rolls, sashimi, grilled meat skewers, and an excellent ramen that you can only get at lunch. We’d even eat this ramen on the hottest day of a heat wave, because the broth is just the right amount of garlicky and the noodles are just the right amount of tender. Also of note is the little robot at the bar that will recognize your face if you download an app and become a repeat customer. Tell it we say hi.
Seattle has plenty of banh mi shops, but we’re glad Mr. Saigon showed up to join them. The sandwiches here cost $5.50 each, and we especially like the Little Saigon, stuffed with tasty grilled pork. Get a Vietnamese iced coffee, too, and take in the smells of freshly baked baguettes and the sight of Seattle U students procrastinating over their sandwiches.
Before Miri’s, Golden Gardens was just a regular beach full of screaming children flying kites and 20-somethings attempting to make charcoal-grilled brats. But now that Miri’s Snack Shack has opened in the concession booth, many food scenarios are possible: an acai bowl for the person who just jogged on the sand, or a round of excellent chicken kebab sandwiches with tahini on homemade flatbread for the gang that’s about to play a volleyball game, or a virgin pina colada slushie for the kid who’s crying about the fact that he’s really bad at sandcastle-building. Most of the food in this colorful little spot is made from scratch, and it’s all delicious. Don’t forget to add harissa to your flatbread sandwich, watch them flip mini Dutch pancakes right in front of you, and end with a seriously good chocolate chip cookie.
Stampede Cocktail Club has a lot going on. On first glance, it looks slightly old-fashioned, but then you turn a corner and a T-Rex head mounted on floral wallpaper is staring you in the face (quick, someone get Jeff Goldblum in here). It’s wacky and fun and they serve excellent cocktails alongside steamed dumplings from Little Ting’s. Do dim sum with a date while sipping things like a fresh blueberry mule or a riff on a passionfruit-pineapple margarita. Just make sure beforehand that Jurassic Park didn’t give your date nightmares.
This is the first brick and mortar location of a Thai and Hawaiian street food truck. It’s a counter-service spot in Beacon Hill with a space that’s nice to spend some time in, plus a super friendly staff and some delicious plate lunches. Protein options include charred huli huli ginger chicken, garlicky shrimp, and spicy pork, all of which come with a tangy slaw and some excellent creamy macaroni salad on the side. There’s also a very good pad thai. Whatever you order, be sure to add a Thai iced tea and a slice of coconut cream pie.
Tapas Lab is a fast-casual, Asian-Spanish-fusion tapas spot and wine bar, and it’s the kind of place that will make you realize you’ve always needed bulgogi pinchos with parmesan cheese and garlic aioli in your life. The counter-service situation works perfectly for a weeknight dinner with friends who are chronically late or just on slightly different schedules, and even though a truffled steak is only $14 and the spicy chorizo-stuffed meatballs are only $6, these dishes are on the fancier side for the low price. Grab a glass of cava or a graduated cylinder full of beer (it is a “Lab,” after all) to go with everything else.
Take a space that feels a little bit like a boxcar diner furnished by a tiny house designer, add some all-day breakfast, and you get Seattle Biscuit Company. Food-wise, everything here obviously revolves around biscuits, which is great news because the biscuits are really, really good. You’ll find a lineup of sandwiches like the Gus (our favorite - fried chicken, pickles, sweet onion mustard, an egg, and thyme-y sausage gravy) and the Lunch Pail (peanut butter, apple slices, and berry jam), but also classic non-sandwich dishes like biscuits and gravy. If you’re really starving (or have a bunch of friends with you), you can always get the Bishop Jim Earl Swilley, which is a plate of biscuits, four eggs, bacon, ham, cheese, pickles, gravy, pulled pork, sausage, and grits, all served with a 40 oz. bottle of Bud.
Delicious Neapolitan pizza and spritz cocktails in a semi-upscale space that reminds us of a renovated cathedral. In Bocca Al Lupo replaced Via Tribunali, and serves even better charred pies and a great lasagna with bolognese and smoked provolone. You get to cut your pizza with scissors here, so practice your fine motor skills before you arrive.
On a not-so-crowded street adjacent to the usual South Lake Union craziness is this little bar with black walls, gold pineapple sculptures, and Latin American snacks. It’s from the people behind Manu’s Bodega, and the food ranges from a limey avocado mash with cotija and shaved radish to some incredible fried chicken bites aptly named “gold nugs” that we’d happily stuff our glove compartments full of. There are also frozen cocktails that change regularly. Use Gold Bar for a quiet weeknight date, drinks and a light bite with friends, or even an impromptu Happy Hour with coworkers. Just make sure you get those nugs.
Breezy Town Pizza is another Chicago-style pizza spot from the people behind Windy City Pie. This one’s inside Clock-Out Lounge in North Beacon Hill, so while everyone else in the house is doing Monday night karaoke, you can be eating some pan-style pies with a tangy sourdough crust that has caramelized edges and toppings like crispy pepperoni and Beecher’s cheese curds. There are rotating slice specials, too (though we recommend doing a full fresh pie), and the same awesome spinach salad with candied pecans and goat cheese that Windy City Pie has. Add a side of caramel and cheesy popcorn and a cold beer, and you’ll be set.
Standout fresh pasta isn’t hard to find in Seattle, but it was hard to find a particularly accessible version of said pasta until this place came along. Pasta Casalinga is a casual Tuesday-Sunday spot in Pike Place Market serving bowls of handmade carbs for under $10. Their seasonal menu rotates every two weeks, but recent standouts have included spaghettini with kale pesto (one of the better things to ever happen to kale) and rigatoni with lamb and juniper berry ragu. The dessert crostatas are a must.
This place is smack in the middle of the SoDo wine-tasting district. It’s in an urban garage space decked out with hanging lightbulbs, bottles from the adjoining winery, and a lot of Vespa-related things (like photos, miniatures, and helmets). The pies here are New York-style, with a thin crust and toppings that range from classic pepperoni to artichoke with goat cheese. There are also delicious calzones filled with herbed ricotta - definitely get one, and add some soppressata and homemade meatballs. You’ll want a side of their homemade buttermilk ranch for dipping, too. Come here for dinner with the parents, or a casual group lunch before or after visiting the wineries nearby.
Tamari Bar is a Capitol Hill spot specializing in izakaya-style food, and it’s really damn good. Both the lively interior and the outdoor patio are nice spaces for hanging out, eating some snacks, and drinking lemon sours topped with entire shaved frozen lemons. Food-wise, dishes range from seriously delicious spicy dan dan noodles to marinated wagyu beef that you cook yourself on an extremely hot rock. You’ll even get you a new rock if the first one cools off. Definitely try it.
We were sad when The Atlantic closed and a new spot took its place. However, that new spot is Reckless Noodle House, and we’re extremely glad it’s here. This Vietnamese restaurant serves things like wheat noodles with braised beef cheek in a spicy Sichuan oil (get this) and fried rice with pastrami and cucumber (get this, too). Whatever you order, pair it with a homemade ginger beer cocktail, and use the low-key space (which happens to have an entire wall decorated with fish jaws) for a small group hang or casual date. Don’t leave without eating a duck fat salted caramel.
A new Italian restaurant from the team behind Raccolto and the gone-but-not-forgotten Contadino. We like the squid ink spaghetti with plugra butter and chili flakes, and the small plates like crostini and crudo, but the chef’s counter, which overlooks the open kitchen, is where you want to be. You can order anything from the regular menu there, but there’s another special menu exclusively for people seated at the bar. Get a big bowl of parmesan-topped pasta like bucatini with pancetta and egg yolk or strozzapreti with root vegetables, or go for a well-cooked steak.
You’re not going to get a real New York-style bagel in Seattle unless you bring one back from the East Coast on a plane. But while Westman’s bagels don’t quite succeed at replicating what you’ll find in NYC (where bagels are more dense), they’re as close as you’re going to get - this place is certainly serving the best bagels in Seattle. Flavors range from classic, like everything and sesame, to things like Maldon sea salt and cinnamon currant. Nothing’s bad, but the everything bagel with a salty lox schmear is outstanding. Consider coming at the crack of dawn (a.k.a. 7am) when they open, because they do sell out, and be set on potentially paying seven dollars for a bagel. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Sushi is great. But when you’re starving, it can get expensive. Enter Fremont Bowl, a new casual Japanese spot specializing in donburi bowls (high-quality fish on top of rice). Nothing here is more than $15, and you will absolutely not be hungry afterward, making this a good, if small, spot for a lunch or low-key weeknight dinner. The friendly service is also a plus. Two things you shouldn’t miss here: their smoky homemade soy sauce, and the bowl with seared salmon that cuts like softened butter.
This place, with its neon signs, photo booth, and endless loop of music videos on TVs above the bar, is a lot of fun. The food is also very good. It’s a relatively casual spot, so you should be able to show up with friends and get a table immediately. Good thing, because there’s really no time to be wasted when you have an appointment with some excellent short rib pho, pork and prawn sausage sliders, and an addicting spicy pub mix made with peanuts and crunched-up fortune cookies.
The food at this Greenwood spot - like a “risotto” made from kasu (the yeast left over from sake production), a beet salad with pears and pepitas, and a mind-blowing buttermilk and soy brined roast chicken with malt vinegar caramel - is both highly creative and highly delicious. It’s tiny inside, and feels like a cross between a log cabin and an indie winery, with lots of light-colored wood, a chef’s counter, and only a few tables. And if you’re lucky enough to be the last ones in the restaurant, you may even get the exclusive privilege of choosing the Spotify playlist.
This is basically a funky arcade bar for grown-ups, with vintage light fixtures, pinball machines, and loud-ish, good music. Coming here is way better than eating a lame sidewalk slice in Capitol Hill, and it’s also a serious contender for best New York-style pizza in the city, thanks to pies that have an authentically crispy crust. Topping combinations range from classic (like sausage and peppers) to more creative (like salt cod with yukon gold potatoes and chorizo). Don’t miss the delicious scallion garlic knots with cheese sauce or the root beer float cocktails.
This tiny Japanese restaurant in Fremont is the perfect place to grab a casual weeknight dinner of noodles and tempura. The homemade soba noodles are excellent - as are other things, like duck meatballs with a sous vide egg in a yakitori sauce (don’t miss these), mustard-stuffed lotus root tempura, and a Japanese curry noodle-dipping broth with fresh mozzarella. You might get some kind of amuse bouche like a potato soup shooter with truffle oil, and you will definitely get a dinner that you’ll be happy with.
Next to a 7-Eleven in Capitol Hill, you’ll find this tiny Middle Eastern spot with colorful bar stools and decorative paintings of chickpeas on the walls. The menu is full of fresh homemade hummus in different varieties, like one topped with tahini and crispy falafel balls, or a half-mashed version with lemon and garlic. Then there’s a good cucumber salad and some standout “cheeps” (delicious french fries with a tahini dip). Try Aviv for a low-key weeknight dinner.