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A boat of cheesy fries topped with tomato with a Miller High Life bar and a shot of whiskey next to it.
The cheesy fries at Tio Baby’s, a new bar and stoner food spot in Fremont.
Tio Baby’s

The Hottest New Restaurants in the Seattle Area, August 2022

A permanent home for Tio Babys, a knockout Korean fried chicken restaurant, and other noteworthy new spots to try in the Seattle area

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The cheesy fries at Tio Baby’s, a new bar and stoner food spot in Fremont.
| Tio Baby’s

The Eater Seattle Heatmap aims to answer to question “Where should I eat right now?” for people trying to keep up with the city’s constantly changing dining landscape. It focuses on newer restaurants — most opened within the last six months or so — that are reshaping Seattle’s food scene for the better.

Restaurants have endured enormous challenges the last two years, forced to contend with a pandemic that’s made restaurant work more dangerous, caused supply chain disruptions, and contributed, in some part, to labor shortages. Still, each month chefs continue to navigate uncertainty and open restaurants that expand the possibilities for dining in the city. 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.

Added this month: Tio Baby’s, Sodam Chicken

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Seabird

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Brendan McGill’s newest restaurant converted the former Hitchcock restaurant space on Bainbridge Island into an inventive seafood and vegetable restaurant called Seabird. Grant Rico, the executive chef, is bringing some Japanese techniques (like using local kelp-based broths) to bring out the best flavors in local seafood. The space features a granite-covered raw bar where oysters are shucked and crab legs are displayed. Menu highlights include “seacuterie” boards loaded with cured local fish, like boquerones made with Columbia river smelt. In a bold and hopeful leap away from the pandemic restaurant reality, Seabird is dine-in only.

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.
Some dishes from Bunsoy, Ballard’s new Filipino restaurant, including two types of lumpia, crispy pancit, pork sisig, roasted bone marrow, and Dungeness crab with balaw sauce.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

Lily's Salvadorean Restaurant

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Lillian Anaya Quintanilla has been selling her golden-brown, crispy pupusas and banana-leaf-wrapped tamales at farmers markets around the Seattle area for more than 10 years, drawing customers willing to wait up to an hour for her food and Salvadoran-style horchata. On March 9, she finally opened her first restaurant, Lily’s Salvadorean Restaurant, in a large space in West Seattle, which now has a full bar serving beer, wine, micheladas, palomas, and margaritas. The chile rellenos on the menu, unlike the Mexican version which are filled just with cheese, are stuffed with pork or chicken with green beans, carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms. The Salvadoran carne asada plate has thicker cuts than those at most Mexican restaurants and is served with chorizo sausage, fresh cheese, rice, beans, and avocado. But Quintanilla’s specialty is still her pupusas and the horchata de Morro, made with ground peanuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and rice.

A white plate with a griddle-marked sausage, a couple thin steaks, avocado, a pile of rice, and pico de gallo
The carne asada plate at Lily’s Salvadorean Restaurant
Luis M. Flores

Lotus Pond Vietnamese Cuisine

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This new Vietnamese restaurant in Haller Lake has been impressing local restaurant owners and food writers with its northern Vietnamese dishes. The menu includes noodle soups, vermicelli noodle bowls topped with grilled meat, shrimp, and shrimp cakes, and grilled beef wrapped in betel leaves. It’s regularly packed with families speaking Vietnamese and is a favorite of Monsoon and Ba Bar co-owner Eric Banh. The business already seems to be a success for first-time restaurant owner Anh Le, who previously worked at Tamarind Tree restaurant in the Chinatown-International District.

This Moroccan fine dining restaurant opened in March in Pike Place Market in a space overlooking Western Avenue. Inside Shama, the dining room features indigo-blue walls, intricate tile mosaic on the sides of the bar, and gold-trimmed mirrors. Owner Hamid Majdi, a Seattle restaurant-industry veteran, wants to introduce the city to the flavors of his home country with his first restaurant through dishes like m’rouzia, a meltingly tender lamb shank with honey, almonds, prunes and saffron, and a chicken dish cooked with bitingly sour preserved lemons and briny green olives, both served with fluffy couscous.

The George

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The George is the new full-service restaurant at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, part of a $25 million renovation of the historic hotel’s bar and restaurant areas. The menu, by chef Thomas Cullen, formerly an executive chef for Ethan Stowell Restaurants, is ambitious (he says he wants it to be the “top restaurant” in Seattle). Cullen is serving huge seafood boils, dry-aged Carman Ranch steaks, sashimi, grilled octopus, among other dishes for dinner, using almost entirely ingredients from local farms, ranches, and fisheries. And the restaurant space, with its vaulted ceilings and granite tile floors, is stunning. Eventually, the restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Noodle/Bar

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This new South Lake Union restaurant from the owners of popular Capitol Hill Yunnan and Sichuan restaurant Plenty of Clouds features handmade noodles made from Washington wheat, served with central Chinese preparations. Dishes include classics like dan dan mian and sesame noodles along with cold and hot buckwheat noodle dishes with chicken. The restaurant also offers snacks like dumplings and cucumber salad and a couple of rice bowls. Like at Plenty of Clouds, there’s a full bar with cocktails employing Asian ingredients like lemongrass and smoky lapsang souchong tea.

Boca Argentine Bakery and Pizzeria

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This Argentine pastry shop by day (and pizzeria by night) is the newest project from Boca Restobar & Grill owner Marco Casas Beaux. It’s bringing Argentine pastries like media lunas (Argentine croissants) to the heart of Capitol Hill along with cheesy, thick-crusted Argentine pizza, also known as fugazetta. The business is also serving coffee drinks and some pantry items like wine and mate. The airy space has some indoor tables and a few outdoor seats on a parasol-covered patio.

A small puffy Margherita pizza on a wooden peel in front of a wood-fired oven.
The traditional mozzarella pizza at Boca Argentine Bakery and Pizzeria.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

Money Frog

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This new Capitol Hill pan-Asian restaurant from the owners of Taurus Ox and Hangry Panda serves unorthodox dishes like a yakisoba cacio e pepe, Mongolian sukiyaki beef with chili peppers and chrysanthemum greens, and, staying true to the name, chicken-fried frog legs. Like at Taurus Ox, the flavors at Money Frog are bold, with salt, acid, sugar, and heat pushing against each other in a fine-tuned balance. Though it’s been open for only a couple of months, it relocated in July to the former Adana location in Capitol Hill, a space with more of a fine-dining vibe and closer to the center of the neighborhood compared to its original location on 19th Avenue.

Sea Wolf Bakers’ long-anticipated Montlake bagel shop is finally here, and though it’s only been open for two weeks, it’s already got a shout out from food writer and bagel expert J. Kenji López-Alt. The blistered, shimmering crusts on these bagels are sure to impress, and the shop is also serving a variety of spreads, quiches, pastries, and coffee to-go.

Salima Specialties

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Since opening in Skyway in March, the second iteration of this halal restaurant has quickly turned into an important gathering place for King County’s Cham population, a mostly Muslim Indigenous group from Southeast Asia. Cham cuisine crosses borders, taking influences from Vietnam, Malaysia, North Africa, and the Middle East, while maintaining a unique cultural identity. Dishes include “Cham bao,” made with fluffy dough wrapping around shrimp, jicama, wood ear mushrooms, carrots, and a quail egg all cooked in toasted coconut milk, and a satisfying oxtail soup. For drinks, Salima Specialties serves traditional Malaysian teh tarik (pulled tea) and bandung (a rose syrup drink) as well as fun, sugary inventions like a matcha cookie blended ice drink.

A spread of food from Salima Specialites, with chicken skewers on a banana leaf, thin-cut fried potato on a banana leaf, a bowl of dark red stew, a Vietnamese baguette on a white plate, and blue and mango-colored drinks in plastic cups on a wood surface.
Some of the dishes and drinks at Salima Specialites in Skyway, including the rotato (spiral-cut fried potato), the chicken satay, and the oxtail soup
Chona Kasinger/Eater Seattle

Fang's Noodle House 芳饺子馆

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This new Northern Chinese restaurant in Kirkland’s Totem Square mall serves a large array of boiled dumplings with filling options including pork and fennel and chive, egg and shrimp, as well as wonton’s swimming in hot oil. The flat wheat noodles here, which a chef hand-pulls in an open kitchen, are chewy and served glistening with chili oil with a choice of chicken, beef, or pork belly.

Tio Baby's

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Former Westward executive chef Will Gordon’s pop-up Tio Baby’s garnered a loyal following during its longterm residency at Capitol Hill’s Rose Temple Bar last year for stoner-friendly snacks like nachos, perfectly-executed wings, and big, meaty, cheesy sandwiches. Now, Gordon has a permanent bar in Fremont, where he's keeping up the late-night drunk food menu and serving up summery cocktails like South of the Border, made with jalapeno-infused tequila, watermelon-jalapeno drinking vinegar, lime and soda. There’s a small fire pit area outside the bar, and slushy machines are coming soon.

Sodam Chicken

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Sodam chicken is a standout among the many Korean fried chicken spots that have recently opened in Seattle. The batter is crispy, the chicken is well-flavored, and the bright kimchi is the perfect side to cut the grease. If you’re looking for something besides fried chicken, the kalbi is also well-executed. You can get the chicken without sauce, with a soy-garlic sauce, with sweet sauce, and gochujang sauce (yangnyeom).

Seabird

Brendan McGill’s newest restaurant converted the former Hitchcock restaurant space on Bainbridge Island into an inventive seafood and vegetable restaurant called Seabird. Grant Rico, the executive chef, is bringing some Japanese techniques (like using local kelp-based broths) to bring out the best flavors in local seafood. The space features a granite-covered raw bar where oysters are shucked and crab legs are displayed. Menu highlights include “seacuterie” boards loaded with cured local fish, like boquerones made with Columbia river smelt. In a bold and hopeful leap away from the pandemic restaurant reality, Seabird is dine-in only.

Bunsoy

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.
Some dishes from Bunsoy, Ballard’s new Filipino restaurant, including two types of lumpia, crispy pancit, pork sisig, roasted bone marrow, and Dungeness crab with balaw sauce.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

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.
Some dishes from Bunsoy, Ballard’s new Filipino restaurant, including two types of lumpia, crispy pancit, pork sisig, roasted bone marrow, and Dungeness crab with balaw sauce.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

Lily's Salvadorean Restaurant

A white plate with a griddle-marked sausage, a couple thin steaks, avocado, a pile of rice, and pico de gallo
The carne asada plate at Lily’s Salvadorean Restaurant
Luis M. Flores

Lillian Anaya Quintanilla has been selling her golden-brown, crispy pupusas and banana-leaf-wrapped tamales at farmers markets around the Seattle area for more than 10 years, drawing customers willing to wait up to an hour for her food and Salvadoran-style horchata. On March 9, she finally opened her first restaurant, Lily’s Salvadorean Restaurant, in a large space in West Seattle, which now has a full bar serving beer, wine, micheladas, palomas, and margaritas. The chile rellenos on the menu, unlike the Mexican version which are filled just with cheese, are stuffed with pork or chicken with green beans, carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms. The Salvadoran carne asada plate has thicker cuts than those at most Mexican restaurants and is served with chorizo sausage, fresh cheese, rice, beans, and avocado. But Quintanilla’s specialty is still her pupusas and the horchata de Morro, made with ground peanuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and rice.

A white plate with a griddle-marked sausage, a couple thin steaks, avocado, a pile of rice, and pico de gallo
The carne asada plate at Lily’s Salvadorean Restaurant
Luis M. Flores

Lotus Pond Vietnamese Cuisine

This new Vietnamese restaurant in Haller Lake has been impressing local restaurant owners and food writers with its northern Vietnamese dishes. The menu includes noodle soups, vermicelli noodle bowls topped with grilled meat, shrimp, and shrimp cakes, and grilled beef wrapped in betel leaves. It’s regularly packed with families speaking Vietnamese and is a favorite of Monsoon and Ba Bar co-owner Eric Banh. The business already seems to be a success for first-time restaurant owner Anh Le, who previously worked at Tamarind Tree restaurant in the Chinatown-International District.

Shama

This Moroccan fine dining restaurant opened in March in Pike Place Market in a space overlooking Western Avenue. Inside Shama, the dining room features indigo-blue walls, intricate tile mosaic on the sides of the bar, and gold-trimmed mirrors. Owner Hamid Majdi, a Seattle restaurant-industry veteran, wants to introduce the city to the flavors of his home country with his first restaurant through dishes like m’rouzia, a meltingly tender lamb shank with honey, almonds, prunes and saffron, and a chicken dish cooked with bitingly sour preserved lemons and briny green olives, both served with fluffy couscous.

The George

The George is the new full-service restaurant at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, part of a $25 million renovation of the historic hotel’s bar and restaurant areas. The menu, by chef Thomas Cullen, formerly an executive chef for Ethan Stowell Restaurants, is ambitious (he says he wants it to be the “top restaurant” in Seattle). Cullen is serving huge seafood boils, dry-aged Carman Ranch steaks, sashimi, grilled octopus, among other dishes for dinner, using almost entirely ingredients from local farms, ranches, and fisheries. And the restaurant space, with its vaulted ceilings and granite tile floors, is stunning. Eventually, the restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Noodle/Bar

This new South Lake Union restaurant from the owners of popular Capitol Hill Yunnan and Sichuan restaurant Plenty of Clouds features handmade noodles made from Washington wheat, served with central Chinese preparations. Dishes include classics like dan dan mian and sesame noodles along with cold and hot buckwheat noodle dishes with chicken. The restaurant also offers snacks like dumplings and cucumber salad and a couple of rice bowls. Like at Plenty of Clouds, there’s a full bar with cocktails employing Asian ingredients like lemongrass and smoky lapsang souchong tea.

Boca Argentine Bakery and Pizzeria

A small puffy Margherita pizza on a wooden peel in front of a wood-fired oven.
The traditional mozzarella pizza at Boca Argentine Bakery and Pizzeria.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

This Argentine pastry shop by day (and pizzeria by night) is the newest project from Boca Restobar & Grill owner Marco Casas Beaux. It’s bringing Argentine pastries like media lunas (Argentine croissants) to the heart of Capitol Hill along with cheesy, thick-crusted Argentine pizza, also known as fugazetta. The business is also serving coffee drinks and some pantry items like wine and mate. The airy space has some indoor tables and a few outdoor seats on a parasol-covered patio.

A small puffy Margherita pizza on a wooden peel in front of a wood-fired oven.
The traditional mozzarella pizza at Boca Argentine Bakery and Pizzeria.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

Money Frog

This new Capitol Hill pan-Asian restaurant from the owners of Taurus Ox and Hangry Panda serves unorthodox dishes like a yakisoba cacio e pepe, Mongolian sukiyaki beef with chili peppers and chrysanthemum greens, and, staying true to the name, chicken-fried frog legs. Like at Taurus Ox, the flavors at Money Frog are bold, with salt, acid, sugar, and heat pushing against each other in a fine-tuned balance. Though it’s been open for only a couple of months, it relocated in July to the former Adana location in Capitol Hill, a space with more of a fine-dining vibe and closer to the center of the neighborhood compared to its original location on 19th Avenue.

Oxbow

Sea Wolf Bakers’ long-anticipated Montlake bagel shop is finally here, and though it’s only been open for two weeks, it’s already got a shout out from food writer and bagel expert J. Kenji López-Alt. The blistered, shimmering crusts on these bagels are sure to impress, and the shop is also serving a variety of spreads, quiches, pastries, and coffee to-go.

Salima Specialties

A spread of food from Salima Specialites, with chicken skewers on a banana leaf, thin-cut fried potato on a banana leaf, a bowl of dark red stew, a Vietnamese baguette on a white plate, and blue and mango-colored drinks in plastic cups on a wood surface.
Some of the dishes and drinks at Salima Specialites in Skyway, including the rotato (spiral-cut fried potato), the chicken satay, and the oxtail soup
Chona Kasinger/Eater Seattle

Since opening in Skyway in March, the second iteration of this halal restaurant has quickly turned into an important gathering place for King County’s Cham population, a mostly Muslim Indigenous group from Southeast Asia. Cham cuisine crosses borders, taking influences from Vietnam, Malaysia, North Africa, and the Middle East, while maintaining a unique cultural identity. Dishes include “Cham bao,” made with fluffy dough wrapping around shrimp, jicama, wood ear mushrooms, carrots, and a quail egg all cooked in toasted coconut milk, and a satisfying oxtail soup. For drinks, Salima Specialties serves traditional Malaysian teh tarik (pulled tea) and bandung (a rose syrup drink) as well as fun, sugary inventions like a matcha cookie blended ice drink.

A spread of food from Salima Specialites, with chicken skewers on a banana leaf, thin-cut fried potato on a banana leaf, a bowl of dark red stew, a Vietnamese baguette on a white plate, and blue and mango-colored drinks in plastic cups on a wood surface.
Some of the dishes and drinks at Salima Specialites in Skyway, including the rotato (spiral-cut fried potato), the chicken satay, and the oxtail soup
Chona Kasinger/Eater Seattle

Fang's Noodle House 芳饺子馆

This new Northern Chinese restaurant in Kirkland’s Totem Square mall serves a large array of boiled dumplings with filling options including pork and fennel and chive, egg and shrimp, as well as wonton’s swimming in hot oil. The flat wheat noodles here, which a chef hand-pulls in an open kitchen, are chewy and served glistening with chili oil with a choice of chicken, beef, or pork belly.

Tio Baby's

Former Westward executive chef Will Gordon’s pop-up Tio Baby’s garnered a loyal following during its longterm residency at Capitol Hill’s Rose Temple Bar last year for stoner-friendly snacks like nachos, perfectly-executed wings, and big, meaty, cheesy sandwiches. Now, Gordon has a permanent bar in Fremont, where he's keeping up the late-night drunk food menu and serving up summery cocktails like South of the Border, made with jalapeno-infused tequila, watermelon-jalapeno drinking vinegar, lime and soda. There’s a small fire pit area outside the bar, and slushy machines are coming soon.

Sodam Chicken

Sodam chicken is a standout among the many Korean fried chicken spots that have recently opened in Seattle. The batter is crispy, the chicken is well-flavored, and the bright kimchi is the perfect side to cut the grease. If you’re looking for something besides fried chicken, the kalbi is also well-executed. You can get the chicken without sauce, with a soy-garlic sauce, with sweet sauce, and gochujang sauce (yangnyeom).

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