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Sawyer’s version of a Choco Taco, plated.
Sawyer’s take on the now-discontinued Klondike Choco Taco
Suzi Pratt

18 Restaurants That Make Ballard One of Seattle’s Best Dining Neighborhoods

A local take on the Choco Taco, satisfying breakfast burritos, and more good eats in Ballard

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Sawyer’s take on the now-discontinued Klondike Choco Taco
| Suzi Pratt

Ballard’s streets are home to cozy cafes, antique shops, local art galleries, bustling bars, beloved bakeries, and one of the best year-round farmers markets each Sunday, not to mention over a dozen breweries hosting many of Seattle’s hottest pop-ups. A pedestrian zone on Ballard Avenue offers some of the best outdoor dining in the city, but there are excellent restaurants throughout the neighborhood (and in the adjacent Sunset Hill area), with options ranging from Filipino Dungeness crab and chicken kathi rolls to Detroit-style pizza and upscale tasting menus with local meat and seafood.

Know of a spot that should be on our radar? Send us a tip by emailing seattle@eater.com. As usual, this list is not ranked; it’s organized geographically.

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Sunny Hill

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Sunset Hill landed this stellar pizzeria in 2020, focused on both Detroit-style square and 12-inch round pies served from a Wood Stone hearth oven. Options include the Gobb Shoppe, made with wild herb raclette, asparagus, and nettles, and the Death By Stereo, pizza topped with confit garlic, Nardello peppers, sprouted broccoli, and stracchino cheese. The smash burgers are sensational as well, topped with frizzled onions (don’t forget about the waffle fries). And the seasonal spritzes make for a refreshing cocktail best enjoyed on the comfortable back patio.

Cafe Munir

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This Ballard restaurant’s food, with influences from owner Rajah Gargour’s Lebanese background, is a vegetarian’s dream. The small plates of lentils ground with roasted garlic, house labneh, and sweet pears in savory tahini always impress, and Sundays at the restaurant mean an elaborate chef’s choice meal that’s sure to impress. The dining room — separated into two areas connected by large archways in the white wall — reopened last year. Patrons should check Instagram for seasonal items that keep the menu vibrant.

A rare fine-dining establishment in a generally casual neighborhood, Copine serves a mix of American, Italian, and French fare in its three-course prix fixe dinners and a la carte bar menu. Recent tasting menu selections include raw hamachi with red Fresno chilis and cucumber, agnolotti pasta filled with morels and preserved Meyer lemons, and bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin. The bar serves wine with snacks like grilled lamb tenders with cucumber yogurt, buttermilk biscuit pork sliders, and truffle popcorn. Copine is one of celebrity chef Shota Nakajima’s favorite restaurants in Seattle.

Beast and Cleaver

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At this hybrid butcher shop-restaurant from London native Kevin Smith, customers can find premium cuts of pasture-raised meat from local farms, as well as terrines, porchetta di testa, and pâté en croûte. There are also fabulous tasting menu dinners under the moniker Peasant that include well-crafted seasonal plates and plenty of beer and wine pairings. 

Sen Noodle Bar

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This small Thai noodle spot, a sister restaurant to Pestle Rock next door, serves some of the best pad see ew in the city and a selection of noodle soups with locally sourced meat. Diners can build their own noodle bowls (the clear broth soup with a pork patty and thin rice noodles is a restorative option), or choose dishes like guay jab, rolled rice noodles with pork spare ribs, tofu, and a hard boiled egg in a five-spice broth fragrant with star anise. 

Pestle Rock

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Pestle Rock features Thai food from the Isan region of the country, which is known for dishes packed with fresh herbs and chili peppers and drenched in lime juice. Highlights include the crispy fried chicken wings, an excellent kao soi, and a Dungeness crab fried rice. Quality preparations also make deft use of local ingredients, such as the grilled wild boar collar served with lime juice, toasted rice, and lots of chili pepper.

A closeup view of a bowl, with noodles, chopped vegetables, and green and red peppers sticking out prominently.
Pestle Rock features food from Thailand’s Isan region.
Pestle Rock [Official]

Sawyer has been an inventive addition to the neighborhood since opening in the summer of 2018, putting its unique spin on homey classics, including a fun take on Klondike’s now-discontinued Choco Tacos. It serves dishes blending ingredients from many cultures, like pork belly steam buns with gochujang and hoisin sauce and short rib pho with matzo balls. Open for takeout, indoor dining, and outdoor dining on a covered and heated patio.

Sawyer’s version of a Choco Taco, plated.
Sawyer’s take on a Choco Taco
Suzi Pratt

San Fermo

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The menu at this popular Ballard restaurant is minimal and lighter than one might see at more traditional Italian joints, and changes daily. Recent standouts include a chicory salad with persimmon and pomegranate molasses and a decadent saffron spaghetti bolognese with pork and veal. There’s also an outdoor deck and expanded sidewalk seating.

Sabine Café & Market

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This all-day cafe, brunch spot, and bar on Ballard Avenue features a Mediterranean-inspired indoor space replete with white tile and sky-blue arches. Brunch-goers line up outside the door on weekends to get a seat in a greenhouse-like space to the side of the building decorated with palm fronds, or to sip champagne around a coveted table inside with a propane fire. The menu features sandwiches with smoked meats, hummus with house-made pita and za’atar, and a satisfying gluten free pancake made with steel cut oats and apple butter. At night, the back bar serves well-balanced, creative cocktails.

Spice Waala

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The Ballard outpost of Uttam Mukherjee and Aakanksha Sinha’s Indian street food business, which started as a farmer’s market stall and has a Capitol Hill location, serves kathi rolls made with roti wrapped around piles of paneer, potato, spicy chicken, and juicy lamb kebabs, whose rich flavors pair perfectly with a tangy mango lassi. Spice Waala also recently started serving soft-serve ice cream with Indian-inspired flavors like rose-cardamom and pistachio-cardamom.

Delancey

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Diners know this spot for its thin-crust wood-fired pizza and lovely salads. Two-day-fermented dough is the base for the likes of zesty tomato sauce, spicy salami, and onions. The Jersey salad with red cabbage, crispy lettuce, and croutons is a crunchy treat. Don’t leave without a couple of the chocolate chip cookie with gray salt, or buy some of the cookie dough to bake at home.

Brimmer and Heeltap

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Set in a beautiful brick building on NW Market Street with an airy dining room and leafy patio, this neighborhood bistro serves creative dishes like radishes with salmon roe and creme fraiche, Manila clams in cider broth, and pork chops with fermented greens. The business also has a wine club and a small cafe called Red Arrow Coffee in the backyard.

After almost 20 years of working in Seattle-area restaurants, Chef Rhabbie Coquia is finally cooking the dishes he grew up eating in Manila at his new Ballard restaurant. Inside Bunsoy, diners sip cocktails with Southeast Asian flavors like calamansi, pandan, ube, tamarind, and various tropical fruits at a long bar surrounded by palms in pots or snack on appetizers like pork lumpia, musubi made with house-made spam, and isaw (Filipino grilled meat on sticks). Entrees include brisket bulalo (stew), lechon porchetta with pork liver sauce, and a duck confit adobo, a dish which shows off Coquia’s French culinary training. Half or whole Dungeness crabs — sourced locally along with most of the other ingredients used in the restaurant — are served with a balaw sauce (fermented shrimp and coconut butter) and strewn with fresh herbs.

A spread of food from Bunsoy including pork sisig, roasted bone marrow, crispy pancit, Dungeness crab with balaw sauce, and two types of lumpia on white plates on a wood surface. Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

Rupee Bar

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This Ballard bar and kitchen is led by Elisabeth Kenyon, previously of Manolin, who crafts an assortment of Sri Lankan and South Indian snacks like egg rolls stuffed with lamb and potato curry, tomato, and curry leaf, and yogurt-marinated spiced fried chicken. The cocktail menu includes South Asian ingredients like toasted coriander seeds, turmeric, and tamarind date chutney. The bar won a James Beard award for best design for restaurants with under 75 seats in 2020, and Kenyon was nominated for a separate James Beard Award for her cooking in 2022.

Rachel's Bagels & Burritos

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Formerly the much-loved Porkchop & Co, this Ballard shop was reborn as a bagel spot during the pandemic. These perfectly chewy bagels are excellent across the board, with offerings like bagels topped with za’atar and shichimi togarashi (a Japanese chili pepper and spice blend). There are also great bagel sandwich options, like the Nick and Nora, a riff on avocado toast with chili crisp. Beyond bagels, the shop serves a few satisfying one-pound breakfast burritos with fillings like Oaxacan cheese and guajillo chili salsa, and J Kenji López-Alt-approved biscuit sandwiches.

Cookies Country Chicken

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It’s only fitting that Cookie’s Country Chicken has found a home in Ballard, a neighborhood with strong nautical ties. Owner Brian Chandler spent 10 years in the maritime industry, including a stint spent perfecting his fried chicken recipe while feeding oil industry crews in Louisiana. Chandler started Cookie’s as a pop-up, having a consistent spot in Pioneer Square. The new Ballard location includes more menu offerings, with sides like mashed potatoes with gravy, mac and cheese, and collard greens.

Valentinas Cafe

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This new coffeeshop on Leary Ave brought Mexican coffee culture to Ballard in February 2022 with drinks like dark chocolate habanero mochas, Valencia mochas, and mochas made with stone-ground Mexican chocolate. Valentina’s also serves a variety of pastries and fresh-squeezed orange juice, another staple in Mexican breakfasts. The cafe is owned by David Orozco, who also owns the next-door Asadero restaurant, part of the Asadero steakhouse mini chain. Perhaps due to its location off of Ballard’s main strip, or because its overshadowed by the next-door restaurant, the cafe is normally mostly empty and is a good spot for remote work.

Miro Tea

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This Ballard tea shop offers 150-plus varieties of tea, available steeped and poured into cups, in tea pots, iced, or as part of elaborate chai drinks and lattes. A few teas are always kept warm to sample, and there is a selection of pastries (with gluten-free options) as well as rotating Japanese confectionaries from Phinney Ridge shop Tokara. Owner Jeannie Liu, who started off her career by founding C-ID bubble tea shop Oasis, travels around the world to source her tea from farmers and merchants, switching out about 40% of her selection each year. She’s normally around to offer suggestions if you feel stuck about what tea to choose.

Sunny Hill

Sunset Hill landed this stellar pizzeria in 2020, focused on both Detroit-style square and 12-inch round pies served from a Wood Stone hearth oven. Options include the Gobb Shoppe, made with wild herb raclette, asparagus, and nettles, and the Death By Stereo, pizza topped with confit garlic, Nardello peppers, sprouted broccoli, and stracchino cheese. The smash burgers are sensational as well, topped with frizzled onions (don’t forget about the waffle fries). And the seasonal spritzes make for a refreshing cocktail best enjoyed on the comfortable back patio.

Cafe Munir

This Ballard restaurant’s food, with influences from owner Rajah Gargour’s Lebanese background, is a vegetarian’s dream. The small plates of lentils ground with roasted garlic, house labneh, and sweet pears in savory tahini always impress, and Sundays at the restaurant mean an elaborate chef’s choice meal that’s sure to impress. The dining room — separated into two areas connected by large archways in the white wall — reopened last year. Patrons should check Instagram for seasonal items that keep the menu vibrant.

Copine

A rare fine-dining establishment in a generally casual neighborhood, Copine serves a mix of American, Italian, and French fare in its three-course prix fixe dinners and a la carte bar menu. Recent tasting menu selections include raw hamachi with red Fresno chilis and cucumber, agnolotti pasta filled with morels and preserved Meyer lemons, and bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin. The bar serves wine with snacks like grilled lamb tenders with cucumber yogurt, buttermilk biscuit pork sliders, and truffle popcorn. Copine is one of celebrity chef Shota Nakajima’s favorite restaurants in Seattle.

Beast and Cleaver

At this hybrid butcher shop-restaurant from London native Kevin Smith, customers can find premium cuts of pasture-raised meat from local farms, as well as terrines, porchetta di testa, and pâté en croûte. There are also fabulous tasting menu dinners under the moniker Peasant that include well-crafted seasonal plates and plenty of beer and wine pairings. 

Sen Noodle Bar

This small Thai noodle spot, a sister restaurant to Pestle Rock next door, serves some of the best pad see ew in the city and a selection of noodle soups with locally sourced meat. Diners can build their own noodle bowls (the clear broth soup with a pork patty and thin rice noodles is a restorative option), or choose dishes like guay jab, rolled rice noodles with pork spare ribs, tofu, and a hard boiled egg in a five-spice broth fragrant with star anise. 

Pestle Rock

Pestle Rock features Thai food from the Isan region of the country, which is known for dishes packed with fresh herbs and chili peppers and drenched in lime juice. Highlights include the crispy fried chicken wings, an excellent kao soi, and a Dungeness crab fried rice. Quality preparations also make deft use of local ingredients, such as the grilled wild boar collar served with lime juice, toasted rice, and lots of chili pepper.

A closeup view of a bowl, with noodles, chopped vegetables, and green and red peppers sticking out prominently.
Pestle Rock features food from Thailand’s Isan region.
Pestle Rock [Official]

Sawyer

Sawyer has been an inventive addition to the neighborhood since opening in the summer of 2018, putting its unique spin on homey classics, including a fun take on Klondike’s now-discontinued Choco Tacos. It serves dishes blending ingredients from many cultures, like pork belly steam buns with gochujang and hoisin sauce and short rib pho with matzo balls. Open for takeout, indoor dining, and outdoor dining on a covered and heated patio.

Sawyer’s version of a Choco Taco, plated.
Sawyer’s take on a Choco Taco
Suzi Pratt

San Fermo

The menu at this popular Ballard restaurant is minimal and lighter than one might see at more traditional Italian joints, and changes daily. Recent standouts include a chicory salad with persimmon and pomegranate molasses and a decadent saffron spaghetti bolognese with pork and veal. There’s also an outdoor deck and expanded sidewalk seating.

Sabine Café & Market

This all-day cafe, brunch spot, and bar on Ballard Avenue features a Mediterranean-inspired indoor space replete with white tile and sky-blue arches. Brunch-goers line up outside the door on weekends to get a seat in a greenhouse-like space to the side of the building decorated with palm fronds, or to sip champagne around a coveted table inside with a propane fire. The menu features sandwiches with smoked meats, hummus with house-made pita and za’atar, and a satisfying gluten free pancake made with steel cut oats and apple butter. At night, the back bar serves well-balanced, creative cocktails.

Spice Waala

The Ballard outpost of Uttam Mukherjee and Aakanksha Sinha’s Indian street food business, which started as a farmer’s market stall and has a Capitol Hill location, serves kathi rolls made with roti wrapped around piles of paneer, potato, spicy chicken, and juicy lamb kebabs, whose rich flavors pair perfectly with a tangy mango lassi. Spice Waala also recently started serving soft-serve ice cream with Indian-inspired flavors like rose-cardamom and pistachio-cardamom.

Delancey

Diners know this spot for its thin-crust wood-fired pizza and lovely salads. Two-day-fermented dough is the base for the likes of zesty tomato sauce, spicy salami, and onions. The Jersey salad with red cabbage, crispy lettuce, and croutons is a crunchy treat. Don’t leave without a couple of the chocolate chip cookie with gray salt, or buy some of the cookie dough to bake at home.

Brimmer and Heeltap

Set in a beautiful brick building on NW Market Street with an airy dining room and leafy patio, this neighborhood bistro serves creative dishes like radishes with salmon roe and creme fraiche, Manila clams in cider broth, and pork chops with fermented greens. The business also has a wine club and a small cafe called Red Arrow Coffee in the backyard.

Bunsoy

After almost 20 years of working in Seattle-area restaurants, Chef Rhabbie Coquia is finally cooking the dishes he grew up eating in Manila at his new Ballard restaurant. Inside Bunsoy, diners sip cocktails with Southeast Asian flavors like calamansi, pandan, ube, tamarind, and various tropical fruits at a long bar surrounded by palms in pots or snack on appetizers like pork lumpia, musubi made with house-made spam, and isaw (Filipino grilled meat on sticks). Entrees include brisket bulalo (stew), lechon porchetta with pork liver sauce, and a duck confit adobo, a dish which shows off Coquia’s French culinary training. Half or whole Dungeness crabs — sourced locally along with most of the other ingredients used in the restaurant — are served with a balaw sauce (fermented shrimp and coconut butter) and strewn with fresh herbs.

A spread of food from Bunsoy including pork sisig, roasted bone marrow, crispy pancit, Dungeness crab with balaw sauce, and two types of lumpia on white plates on a wood surface. Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

Rupee Bar

This Ballard bar and kitchen is led by Elisabeth Kenyon, previously of Manolin, who crafts an assortment of Sri Lankan and South Indian snacks like egg rolls stuffed with lamb and potato curry, tomato, and curry leaf, and yogurt-marinated spiced fried chicken. The cocktail menu includes South Asian ingredients like toasted coriander seeds, turmeric, and tamarind date chutney. The bar won a James Beard award for best design for restaurants with under 75 seats in 2020, and Kenyon was nominated for a separate James Beard Award for her cooking in 2022.

Rachel's Bagels & Burritos

Formerly the much-loved Porkchop & Co, this Ballard shop was reborn as a bagel spot during the pandemic. These perfectly chewy bagels are excellent across the board, with offerings like bagels topped with za’atar and shichimi togarashi (a Japanese chili pepper and spice blend). There are also great bagel sandwich options, like the Nick and Nora, a riff on avocado toast with chili crisp. Beyond bagels, the shop serves a few satisfying one-pound breakfast burritos with fillings like Oaxacan cheese and guajillo chili salsa, and J Kenji López-Alt-approved biscuit sandwiches.

Related Maps

Cookies Country Chicken

It’s only fitting that Cookie’s Country Chicken has found a home in Ballard, a neighborhood with strong nautical ties. Owner Brian Chandler spent 10 years in the maritime industry, including a stint spent perfecting his fried chicken recipe while feeding oil industry crews in Louisiana. Chandler started Cookie’s as a pop-up, having a consistent spot in Pioneer Square. The new Ballard location includes more menu offerings, with sides like mashed potatoes with gravy, mac and cheese, and collard greens.

Valentinas Cafe

This new coffeeshop on Leary Ave brought Mexican coffee culture to Ballard in February 2022 with drinks like dark chocolate habanero mochas, Valencia mochas, and mochas made with stone-ground Mexican chocolate. Valentina’s also serves a variety of pastries and fresh-squeezed orange juice, another staple in Mexican breakfasts. The cafe is owned by David Orozco, who also owns the next-door Asadero restaurant, part of the Asadero steakhouse mini chain. Perhaps due to its location off of Ballard’s main strip, or because its overshadowed by the next-door restaurant, the cafe is normally mostly empty and is a good spot for remote work.

Miro Tea

This Ballard tea shop offers 150-plus varieties of tea, available steeped and poured into cups, in tea pots, iced, or as part of elaborate chai drinks and lattes. A few teas are always kept warm to sample, and there is a selection of pastries (with gluten-free options) as well as rotating Japanese confectionaries from Phinney Ridge shop Tokara. Owner Jeannie Liu, who started off her career by founding C-ID bubble tea shop Oasis, travels around the world to source her tea from farmers and merchants, switching out about 40% of her selection each year. She’s normally around to offer suggestions if you feel stuck about what tea to choose.

Related Maps