Wondering where to eat in Seattle? Here’s a nice little list of places my local friend took me to while I was there!

Now I feel like I need to begin this article by explaining how good these places had to be for my friend, Caitlin, to want to take me to them. For starters, she was born and raised in Seattle her whole life. I am told there is a huge difference between people who came to Seattle pre-tech boom and post-tech boom, so this is to let you know she is very much pre-tech boom. The second is that I have traveled a number of places with this girl, and she loves good food. And when I say good food, I mean anything from hearty mac and cheese to the finest omakase experience. Lastly, she is the type of person to feel really terrible if someone has a bad time while visiting her, so there’s no way she’s risking that on bad food.

This is all to just let you know each spot has been properly vetted and tested by the both of us, and we both do not like wasting money on bad restaurant experiences!

Quick Tips for Visiting Seattle

  • Getting in: If you don’t have a car, you can use Seattle’s link light rail station to get into downtown. Download the Transit GO app to get tickets more easily. You can also, of course, always get a Lyft or pre-hire a private transfer.
  • Getting Around: I think if you’re staying downtown, you should largely be okay getting around on foot and with Lyft or Seattle’s public transportation options. We drove everywhere and just found street parking as often as we could.
  • Where to Stay: If I were to come on my own, I’d probably aim to stay downtown. Some top picks include Four Seasons $$$$, Palihotel $$, Green Tortoise Hostel $. I really want to try out Palihotel since it looks so beautiful!
  • What to Wear: One thing I noticed is that Seattle is VERY casual. Like people will wear hiking clothes to a fancy restaurant kind of casual. Don’t stress too much about what to pack as long as you’re comfortable.

1. Pike Place Market

As one of the most popular things to do in Seattle, Pike Place Market really doesn’t need much of an introduction. It first opened over a century ago in 1907 and is one of the oldest and largest continuously operating public markets in the country. It literally tops every single list about Seattle!

Now, of course, with anything that sees millions of visitors every year, you’re probably going to find plenty of tourist traps. Obviously, someone who’s been going here since they were a kid is going to be able to weed those traps out! I wrote all about where to eat in Pike Place Market, so I won’t go into too much detail. However, here’s a quick list of where we went:

  • the hum baos at Mee Sum Pastry
  • Piroshky, Piroshky
  • Beecher’s Handmade Cheese for their mac and cheese

And, of course, this is a fun place to do some sort of tour if you don’t have your own local friend to take you around.

Burgermaster, Seattle, Washington

2. Burgermaster

Ever wondered what a billionaire’s favorite burger place is? Okay, me neither, but for anyone curious, Bill Gates loves Burgermaster. The Northwest’s very first drive-in started back in 1952 when founder Phil Jensen wanted to open up a burger spot that would be high-quality but less expensive than gourmet restaurants. They’ve maintained their 50s style drive-in aesthetic even as they expanded to multiple locations around Seattle. Only their original University District spot has a sit-down restaurant! We went to a different location, which, honestly, worked for us since we were coming back from our Mount Fremont Lookout hike and very sweaty and dusty.

If you can’t tell from the image above, I wound up opting for a BLT instead of an actual burger. I think whatever you wind up getting for your main will be delicious, but if there’s one type of drink you shouldn’t miss out on it’s their hand spun root beer shake.

3. Macrina Bakery

A travel friend recommended Macrina Bakery when I told her I was visiting. Macrina began when founder Leslie Mackie was still in cooking school and grew over time as she began her restaurant career. The name comes from a 4th century Greek mystic and visionary and much of the bakery’s ethos is around the “mystique of bread.”

They have multiple locations around the city, and since opening, have landed on a number of best of lists. We made sure to stop by when we were near their location on 19th Avenue. Can confirm – everything we got was delicious.

4. Molly Moon’s

So when I told Caitlin that I really like the honey lavender ice cream from Salt + Straw in Portland, she was mildly incensed and insisted I need to try Molly Moon’s as it’s the superior brand. Who am I to turn down trying ice cream?!

Molly Moon’s is quite unique from a business point of view. For them, fostering a happy community is just as important as finding the best, most local ingredients to make their delicious cones. Ingredient-wise, they get 90% of theirs from the Pacific Northwest and focus on buying from local farmers.

Now, here’s where Molly Moon’s is really special. They seriously put their money where their mouth is when it comes to their mission of making the world a better place. I honestly could fill up a whole blog post detailing their initiatives, so I’m just going to link their about page here, and highlight one important thing – the way they treat their employees. Employee benefits (and remember this is an ice cream shop!) include:

  • medical, dental, and vision insurance where MM pays 100% of the premium
  • affordable ORCA transit pass
  • free employee assistance program
  • 12 weeks 100% paid family leave for men and women
  • up to 12 weeks 70% paid family leave for other FMLA events
  • sick and safe pay for all employees
  • career advancement opportunities
  • predictable monthly schedules

And, like, a ton more.

Anyway, that’s all to say – yes, they’re ice cream is seriously sweet and delicious, AND it’s nice to know you’re buying from a brand that emphasizes doing so much good for its local community. Can’t say definitively if it’s better than Salt + Straw because I had the two ice creams like four years apart, so I’ll just have to do a taste test next time I’m on the West Coast!

Poquitos, Seattle, Washington

5. Poquito’s

We met up with Caitlin’s grad school friends at Poquitos, and I got to learn about all the goss over good, old Mexican cuisine. Poquitos likes to blend the culinary traditions of Mexico with sourcing local ingredients so their menu always features the freshest seasonal options out there.

We split a bunch of appetizers if I’m remembering correctly and I got some tacos. The decor is really pretty too, and I’d recommend reserving seats in the atrium.

6. Rachel’s Ginger Beer

After dinner, we stopped by Rachel’s Ginger Beer for some drinks! The drinks here are handcrafted in Seattle and keeps ingredients simple and as local as possible. It was founded by Rachel Marshall (RIP) in the kitchen of the bar, Licorous, and was inspired by her time living in Europe.

They serve a number of beers and flavors and are non-alcoholic on their own. However, you can order up a cocktail made with RGB and some kind of spirit. I also highly recommend getting their dole whip pineapple ice cream when you go.

Din Tai Fung, Seattle, Washington

7. Din Tai Fung

I know if you live on the West Coast or somewhere with a Din Tai Fung, getting it in Seattle seems silly. But I live on the East Coast where there are currently NO locations (though an NYC is apparently coming), so if I get a chance to eat some xiao long bao, you bet I’m doing it.

Din Tai Fung was founded by Yang Bing Yi when he immigrated to Taiwan in 1927. There he began a shop selling cooking oil but also to xiao long bao, aka steamed pork soup dumplings. Well, word spread and the cooking oil business gave way to full-fledged restaurants.

Thank goodness Caitlin is also a fan, and we stopped by their Bellevue location for dinner. The last time I had Din Tai Fung was in Kuala Lumpur and while I’ve tried eating soup dumplings from other vendors and restaurants since, it’s just never been the same. Trust me when I saw we thoroughly feasted!

Momijis, Seattle, Washington

8. Momiji’s

If you’re looking for sushi, Momiji’s is not only Caitlin’s favorite spot byt many other Seattleite’s favorite spot too. (Hint: make sure you make reservations!) They have two locations in Seattle, and we went to their Capitol Hill one. It really does feel like a bit of an oasis in the middle of the city.

See if you can get seated in their garden courtyard and just be prepared to fill yourself with all sorts of incredible rolls. As you can see from above, we were so excited to dive in that I didn’t think to take a photo until we were in the middle of eating.

Sizzle n Crunch, Seattle, Washington

9. Sizzle&Crunch Vietnamese Grill

Naturally Caitlin and I had to come to Sizzle&Crunch. The way she described it to me was that it was like Chipotle but for cơm tấm, a popular, easy rice dish we both enjoyed back in Saigon. Start off by choosing whether you want a bánh mì (a Vietnamese baguette sandwich) or a rice, vermicelli, or salad bowl. Then you can choose between some sort of meat or tofu and then an assortment of fresh toppings. All their ingredients are quality, and everything is made in small batches so it’s as fresh as possible.

If you’re visiting in nicer weather, get your meal to go and head over to the Washington Park Arboretum to enjoy.

10. Starbucks Reserve Roastery

I mean, if there’s one city where adding Starbucks to a where to eat and drink list is appropriate, it’s Seattle! The iconic coffee spot got its start right on 2000 Western Ave. in 1971. While there’s an “original” Starbucks location in Pike Place Market, it often has a huge line in front of it and isn’t the actual original spot. Instead, come to the Starbucks Seattle Roastery nine blocks away in Capitol Hill! It opened in 2014 and has seriously stunning interiors. Be sure to check its menus as each bar within the roastery has their own.

And there you have it – a quick guide on where to eat in Seattle and grab a drink! Any I should add for future visits? Let me know below!

For more US city breaks, read these posts next:


Where to eat in Seattle

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