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Grilled meats topped with herbs and pickled onions at Cafe Munir
Cafe Munir features wonderful Lebanese dishes in a cozy setting on 80th Street.
Cafe Munir/Instagram

Restaurants That Make Ballard Such an Incredible Dining Destination

A guide to some terrific food around the neighborhood, including Lebanese cuisine, a Mexican steak restaurant, stellar sandwiches, and more

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Cafe Munir features wonderful Lebanese dishes in a cozy setting on 80th Street.
| Cafe Munir/Instagram

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 a ludicrous amount of breweries. Most importantly, though, there are wonderful restaurants, from casual to swanky. Here are some of the best bets around the neighborhood, listed from north to south (and including the Sunset Hill area).

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Sunny Hill

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3127 NW 85th St
Seattle, WA 98117
(206) 659-0355
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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. But the smash burgers are sensational as well, topped umami ketchup and 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.

2. Cafe Munir

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2408 NW 80th St
Seattle, WA 98117
(206) 783-4190
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With influences from owner Rajah Gargour’s Lebanese background, this restaurant is a true gem. The small plates of lentils ground with roasted garlic, house labneh, and sweet pears in savory tahini always impress. Patrons should also check Instagram for seasonal items that keep the menu vibrant, and the romantic dining room recently reopened.

3. Beast and Cleaver

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2362 NW 80th St
Seattle, WA 98117
(206) 708-1400
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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. 

4. Delancey

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1415 NW 70th St
Seattle, WA 98117
(206) 838-1960
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Diners know this spot for its thin-crust wood-fired pizza and lovely salads. Two-day-cured dough is the base for the likes of zesty tomato sauce, spicy salami, and onions, and the Jersey salad is a crunchy treat, followed by the must-try chocolate chip cookie with gray salt. Available for curbside pickup with online preordering and indoor dining with no reservations required.

5. Copine

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6460 24th Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 258-2467
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A rare fine-dining establishment in a generally casual neighborhood, Copine is still approachable with its mix of American, Italian, and French fare. Recent items on its thoughtfully planned three-course tasting menu have included a terrine of Hudson Valley foie gras, a delightful ricotta gnudi with been mushrooms, and poached halibut with shrimp mousse, white bean raviolo, and squash.

6. Addo

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6420 24th Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

Chef Eric Rivera’s space in Ballard is more of a lab for different dining ideas than a standard restaurant. After experimenting with ambitious to-go options, the Addo is back to offering a few sit-down tasting menu dinners, which are usually full of surprises. In a move that’s not unheard of (but still a rarity), Rivera requires that all guests be vaccinated for those meals.

A closeup of ling cod at Addo in Ballard topped with sliced jalapeno and greens
Ling cod at Addo in Ballard
Addo/Instagram

7. Samara

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6414 32nd Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 946-6997
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Perched in Ballard’s Sunset Hill neighborhood, this upscale bistro features fire-roasted veggies and an assortment of well-executed seafood dishes, including the popular Dungeness crab on a charred rice cake and the succulent applewood roasted magret of duck with ash roasted parsnips, ginger, and rhubarb jam. The place makes a mean Negroni, too.

8. Brimmer and Heeltap

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425 NW Market St
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 420-2534
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Set in a lovely space on NW Market Street, complete with a darling patio, this neighborhood bistro hasn’t been afraid to reinvent itself. The food here is always fun, with bites like Manila clams in a cider broth and pork chops with fermented greens, all of which pair well with the top notch cocktail list. There’s also a wine club and a small cafe called Red Arrow Coffee in the backyard.

9. Pestle Rock

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2305 NW Market St
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 466-6671
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Pestle Rock features Thai food from the Isan region of the country. Highlights include the crispy fried chicken wings, an excellent kao soi, and the memorable Dungeness crab fried rice. Quality preparations also make deft use of local ingredients, such as the Carleton Farms pork spare ribs marinated in rice whiskey.

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]

10. La Carta De Oaxaca

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5431 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 782-8722
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Ballard denizens frequent this lively Mexican restaurant from the Dominguez family to sample the pools of rich, savory-sweet mole over chicken, the hand-crushed guacamole, pozole, and a spirits list with more than 40 types of mezcal. The friendly atmosphere and an expanded outdoor patio with colorful decor are bonuses.

Top-down view of a chicken mole dish at La Carta De Oaxaca, with rice.
A chicken mole dish at La Carta De Oaxaca
La Carta de Oaxaca/Instagram

11. San Fermo

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5341 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 342-1530
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The menu at this popular Ballard restaurant is minimal and lighter than one might see at more traditional Italian joints, but still features standouts such as the agnolotti with sweet corn, mascarpone, and sunflower shoots, and a decadent saffron spaghetti bolognese with pork and veal. There’s also an outdoor deck and expanded sidewalk seating.

12. Sawyer

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5309 22nd Ave NW suite a
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 420-7225
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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 Choco Tacos. Most of the dinner and brunch items are available to-go still, and the restaurant recently opened its expansive dining room and patio once again.

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

13. Asadero Ballard

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5405 Leary Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 659-4499
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Each savory morsel of carne asada at this wonderful offshoot of the Kent steakhouse is a testament to the kitchen’s mastery of mesquite grilled meats. Winners include tacos such the doradito, a fresh corn tortilla that’s been smoked and then fried to perfect crispiness, but one can’t go wrong ordering up any one of the large steaks on its own.

A top-down view of steak at Asadero Ballard, with sauce on the side and a sharp steak knife.
Asadero Ballard is one of the city’s best steakhouses.
Asadero [Official Photo]

14. Schmaltzy's Delicatessen

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928 NW Leary Way Suite #102
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 784-1413
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The deli from popular food truck Napkin Friends serves pastrami, corned beef, lox, and latke-pressed sandwiches in the Frelard area. There are also satisfying breakfast sandwiches served all day, with egg and applewood smoked bacon on challah buns, and the Flavor Bomb with tri-tip, spiced tomato jam, and chimichurri. And it recently opened a cozy new patio out front.

15. Mean Sandwich

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1510 NW Leary Way
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 789-9999
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This Ballard counter has a contact-less pickup window, offering inspired options such as the shop’s eponymous sandwich (corned beef, pickled red cabbage, yellow mustard, and maple syrup), oyster po’ boys, and the vegetarian-friendly Midnight at the Oasis, with falafel, hummus, harissa beets, and Persian pickles. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A view of three sandwiches, packed with fried food, at the Ballard sandwich counter Mean Sandwich.
Mean Sandwich recently underwent a revival.
Mean Sandwich/Facebook

1. Sunny Hill

3127 NW 85th St, Seattle, WA 98117

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. But the smash burgers are sensational as well, topped umami ketchup and 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.

3127 NW 85th St
Seattle, WA 98117

2. Cafe Munir

2408 NW 80th St, Seattle, WA 98117

With influences from owner Rajah Gargour’s Lebanese background, this restaurant is a true gem. The small plates of lentils ground with roasted garlic, house labneh, and sweet pears in savory tahini always impress. Patrons should also check Instagram for seasonal items that keep the menu vibrant, and the romantic dining room recently reopened.

2408 NW 80th St
Seattle, WA 98117

3. Beast and Cleaver

2362 NW 80th St, Seattle, WA 98117

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. 

2362 NW 80th St
Seattle, WA 98117

4. Delancey

1415 NW 70th St, Seattle, WA 98117

Diners know this spot for its thin-crust wood-fired pizza and lovely salads. Two-day-cured dough is the base for the likes of zesty tomato sauce, spicy salami, and onions, and the Jersey salad is a crunchy treat, followed by the must-try chocolate chip cookie with gray salt. Available for curbside pickup with online preordering and indoor dining with no reservations required.

1415 NW 70th St
Seattle, WA 98117

5. Copine

6460 24th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

A rare fine-dining establishment in a generally casual neighborhood, Copine is still approachable with its mix of American, Italian, and French fare. Recent items on its thoughtfully planned three-course tasting menu have included a terrine of Hudson Valley foie gras, a delightful ricotta gnudi with been mushrooms, and poached halibut with shrimp mousse, white bean raviolo, and squash.

6460 24th Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

6. Addo

6420 24th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
A closeup of ling cod at Addo in Ballard topped with sliced jalapeno and greens
Ling cod at Addo in Ballard
Addo/Instagram

Chef Eric Rivera’s space in Ballard is more of a lab for different dining ideas than a standard restaurant. After experimenting with ambitious to-go options, the Addo is back to offering a few sit-down tasting menu dinners, which are usually full of surprises. In a move that’s not unheard of (but still a rarity), Rivera requires that all guests be vaccinated for those meals.

6420 24th Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

7. Samara

6414 32nd Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

Perched in Ballard’s Sunset Hill neighborhood, this upscale bistro features fire-roasted veggies and an assortment of well-executed seafood dishes, including the popular Dungeness crab on a charred rice cake and the succulent applewood roasted magret of duck with ash roasted parsnips, ginger, and rhubarb jam. The place makes a mean Negroni, too.

6414 32nd Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

8. Brimmer and Heeltap

425 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107

Set in a lovely space on NW Market Street, complete with a darling patio, this neighborhood bistro hasn’t been afraid to reinvent itself. The food here is always fun, with bites like Manila clams in a cider broth and pork chops with fermented greens, all of which pair well with the top notch cocktail list. There’s also a wine club and a small cafe called Red Arrow Coffee in the backyard.

425 NW Market St
Seattle, WA 98107

9. Pestle Rock

2305 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107
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]

Pestle Rock features Thai food from the Isan region of the country. Highlights include the crispy fried chicken wings, an excellent kao soi, and the memorable Dungeness crab fried rice. Quality preparations also make deft use of local ingredients, such as the Carleton Farms pork spare ribs marinated in rice whiskey.

2305 NW Market St
Seattle, WA 98107

10. La Carta De Oaxaca

5431 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
Top-down view of a chicken mole dish at La Carta De Oaxaca, with rice.
A chicken mole dish at La Carta De Oaxaca
La Carta de Oaxaca/Instagram

Ballard denizens frequent this lively Mexican restaurant from the Dominguez family to sample the pools of rich, savory-sweet mole over chicken, the hand-crushed guacamole, pozole, and a spirits list with more than 40 types of mezcal. The friendly atmosphere and an expanded outdoor patio with colorful decor are bonuses.

5431 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

11. San Fermo

5341 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

The menu at this popular Ballard restaurant is minimal and lighter than one might see at more traditional Italian joints, but still features standouts such as the agnolotti with sweet corn, mascarpone, and sunflower shoots, and a decadent saffron spaghetti bolognese with pork and veal. There’s also an outdoor deck and expanded sidewalk seating.

5341 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

12. Sawyer

5309 22nd Ave NW suite a, Seattle, WA 98107
Sawyer’s version of a Choco Taco, plated.
Sawyer’s take on a Choco Taco
Suzi Pratt

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 Choco Tacos. Most of the dinner and brunch items are available to-go still, and the restaurant recently opened its expansive dining room and patio once again.

5309 22nd Ave NW suite a
Seattle, WA 98107

13. Asadero Ballard

5405 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
A top-down view of steak at Asadero Ballard, with sauce on the side and a sharp steak knife.
Asadero Ballard is one of the city’s best steakhouses.
Asadero [Official Photo]

Each savory morsel of carne asada at this wonderful offshoot of the Kent steakhouse is a testament to the kitchen’s mastery of mesquite grilled meats. Winners include tacos such the doradito, a fresh corn tortilla that’s been smoked and then fried to perfect crispiness, but one can’t go wrong ordering up any one of the large steaks on its own.

5405 Leary Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

14. Schmaltzy's Delicatessen

928 NW Leary Way Suite #102, Seattle, WA 98107

The deli from popular food truck Napkin Friends serves pastrami, corned beef, lox, and latke-pressed sandwiches in the Frelard area. There are also satisfying breakfast sandwiches served all day, with egg and applewood smoked bacon on challah buns, and the Flavor Bomb with tri-tip, spiced tomato jam, and chimichurri. And it recently opened a cozy new patio out front.

928 NW Leary Way Suite #102
Seattle, WA 98107

15. Mean Sandwich

1510 NW Leary Way, Seattle, WA 98107
A view of three sandwiches, packed with fried food, at the Ballard sandwich counter Mean Sandwich.
Mean Sandwich recently underwent a revival.
Mean Sandwich/Facebook

This Ballard counter has a contact-less pickup window, offering inspired options such as the shop’s eponymous sandwich (corned beef, pickled red cabbage, yellow mustard, and maple syrup), oyster po’ boys, and the vegetarian-friendly Midnight at the Oasis, with falafel, hummus, harissa beets, and Persian pickles. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

1510 NW Leary Way
Seattle, WA 98107

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