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A spread of dishes on a wooden table, with roasted broccoli, deboned fish, raw fish, and more.
Some of the antipasti and forno dishes at Bar Solea, Brendan McGill’s new Downtown Seattle trattoria.
Brendan McGill

The Hottest New Restaurants in the Seattle Area, December 2022

A vegan Jewish deli on Capitol Hill, an award-winning Turkish pop-up’s new home in Ballard, and other noteworthy new spots to try in the Seattle area

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Some of the antipasti and forno dishes at Bar Solea, Brendan McGill’s new Downtown Seattle trattoria.
| Brendan McGill

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 — typically opened or revamped significantly within the last six months or so — that are reshaping Seattle’s food scene for the better.

Restaurants have endured enormous challenges the last several 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.

New to the map in December 2022: Hamdi in Ballard, Bar Solea downtown, and Ben and Esther’s Vegan Jewish Deli on Capitol Hill.

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Baekjeong Lynnwood

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Baekjeong Korean Barbecue, considered one of Los Angeles’ best KBBQ chains, now has a glossy new restaurant in Lynnwood’s Alderwood Mall. The meat is all USDA Prime or better, with options including whole boneless ribeye steaks, boneless short ribs, thin-sliced pork belly, and pork jowl. Baekjeong also serves organ meats like beef mountain tripe, beef large intestine, and beef abomasum, sometimes served marinated a couple of different ways. Beyond KBBQ, it also offers a la carte dinner and lunch options, with a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with beef bulgogi, what looks like a straight-up cheeseburger, and bento-style boxes with rice and a few side dishes.

T55 Pâtisserie

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T55 Pâtisserie is a new bakery in Bothell serving perfectly executed croissants, Kouign-amann, and other French pastries. The business comes from the team behind Susu Dessert Bar, a wildly popular French-Southeast Asian pastry shop in the Chinatown-International District. Co-owner Muhammad Fairoz worked at several Michelin-starred restaurants in France, and shows off his pastry chops in 16 pastries on the T55 Pâtisserie menu. SUSU is currently closed and will eventually reopen as a late-night wine bar and dessert shop, according to the Seattle Times.

Couple Berk Güldal and Katrina Schult’s Turkish triumph Hamdi, an Eater Award winner for 2022, just transitioned from pop-up to Ballard restaurant, where you’ll find everything from meltingly tender hand-minced lamb kebabs and refreshing celery root soup kereviz corbasi to dry-aged goose with pickled chanterelles and local truffles cooked in full view with a charcoal grill or wood-fired oven. Turkish wine, cocktails, and non-alcoholic options like pickled beet juice play off the intensely flavored food. Reservations and walk-ins are exceedingly hard to come by right now; your best bet is to monitor the upscale restaurant’s Instagram page for updates.

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.

Sea Wolf Bakers’ Montlake bagel shop has been serving some of the best bagels in Seattle since it opened in June, along with a variety of spreads, quiches, pastries, and coffee to-go. Now, Oxbow is also serving pizza at the shop, with a sourdough crust made with Cairnspring Mills flour, available noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The toppings for the pizzas are creative — with one pie coming topped with cilantro aioli, ricotta, mozzarella, pecorino, corn, and jalapeno.

Sushi by Scratch Restaurants: Seattle

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Sushi By Scratch Restaurants, whose California location received a Michelin star, now has a location in downtown Seattle. Reservations are currently all sold out, but more are released on the first of every month at 10 a.m. The restaurant serves a $165 17-course omakase experience, a price point that’s lower than some other omakase around town. Six of these courses are uniquely Californian takes on nigiri from owner Phillip Frankland Lee, a white chef from Los Angeles, including a hamachi nigiri brushed with sweet corn pudding and topped with sourdough bread crumbs. The other 10 courses are unique to the Seattle location and will incorporate local ingredients like geoduck, king salmon, and Dungeness crab.

Maíz Molino

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Pike Place Market’s terrific but tiny Maíz now has a much-bigger sibling in Denny Triangle, where owners Aldo Góngora, his wife Angelica, and sister-in-law Roxana Martin are showing off their nixtamalized heirloom-corn tortillas alongside a wider range of specialties, from a complex pork pozole rojo and a dish of griddled barbacoa lamb, olla beans, and consomé at brunch to chochoyote caldo (a seafood stew) and a peanutty chicken mole at dinner. The fancy sit-down Mexican restaurant Maíz Molino, which means corn mill, also serves micheladas and creative cocktails like Whitexican, which you’d best believe also features freshly ground corn in the form of pinole, plus espresso, mezcal, corn liqueur, and almond milk.

A top-down view of a light-wood table with a dark-orange bowl on it, filled with darkly colored pork pozole rojo topped with bright shredded lettuce and slices of radish.
Pork pozole rojo at Maiz Molino.
Jade Yamazaki Stewart/Eater

Kōbo Pizza

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Kōbo is star chef Shota Nakajima’s newest project, which offers chaotic pizzas that fuse elements of Detroit-style pizza and Osaka street food inside of Redhook Brewlab, right next to Nakajima’s fried chicken restaurant, Taku. Pizzas include the Dodger, topped with teriyaki brisket, and the Hot Neighbor, topped by Taku fried chicken and koji hot sauce. The restaurant is also serving drinking snacks like Japanese pickles, salt and pepper broccoli with sweet chili sauce, and corn dog nuggets with chili jam ketchup.

Takai by Kashiba

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Takai By Kashiba is the most exciting new sushi spot on the Eastside. It’s backed by Seattle sushi godfather Shiro Kashiba, of Sushi Kashiba, and the sushi bar is manned by one of his star apprentices, Jun Takai, who serves a 22-course omakase starting at $150, with a focus on nigiri made with aged fish. Takai represents the next generation of Seattle sushi, and will maintain the legacy of edomae-style sushi Kashiba started in Seattle, while developing his personal style. Beyond nigiri, the omakase includes kaiseki-style dishes like a piece of grilled belt fish topped with yuzu kosho, grated daikon, and salmon roe, served on a small plate with green maple leaves, or a jiggly green square of tofu made with fresh edamame instead of the usual dry soybeans.

Bar Solea

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Brendan McGill’s spent 2022 shaking off a pandemic-induced focus on quick-service and takeout. Following the success of Eater Award-winning Seabird, the ocean-to-table masterpiece that replaced his acclaimed Hitchcock on Bainbridge Island, he turned downtown’s Bar Taglio into Bar Solea in November. It’s not a massive shift so much as a recommitment to excellent Italian fare through a local lens in a lively dine-in space. As such, rush over here for pizza (Neo-Neapolitan, now); wine, antipasti, and aperitivo drinks like a creamy draft Negroni (the Nitroni); seafood (wine-cooked clams), and an exploration of vegetables and Roman influences (roasted carrots with garum, or fermented fish paste).

The Boat

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In Little Saigon, Pho Bac’s iconic boat-shaped restaurant has become the Boat, where siblings Yenvy and Quynh Pham are continuing to advance the city’s understanding of Vietnamese food. They’re doing so by prioritizing one incredible dish that they say represents how Vietnamese people eat at home: com ga, or chicken rice, which includes a pressure-fried chicken coated with fried garlic atop fluffy rice alongside chrysanthemum chayote salad and sup. Order it to go with some adorable banh kep, or Viet waffles, with the likes of caramelized pineapple and salty sesame peanuts, or dine in to have it with unique cocktails like a green tea martini with shochu, sherry, and fish sauce — garnished with an anchovy.

By Tae is a new full-fledged Beacon Hill restaurant by Sun and Erin Hong, a big step up from the Chophouse Row hand roll spot of the same name, where Sun Hong first built a fanbase for his hand rolls before shutting the restaurant down in 2021. This restaurant has a full bar, a patio area, and has expanded offerings like grilled meats and vegetables.

Ben & Esther's Vegan Jewish Deli

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In many places, Seattle included, it’s hard enough to come by a Jewish deli, and vegan Jewish delis are practically unheard of. Justin King is working to change that with Ben & Esther’s, a growing Portland-based chain that recently opened a Capitol Hill location. The shop serves its bagels with lox made from salt-roasted carrots, swaps the whitefish for brined-and-smoked hearts of palm, and bakes babka and rugelach with Earth Balance instead of butter. The space is relatively simple and small, but you can sit at a handful of tables on the ground floor and on the mezzanine, or take your sandwiches, deli items by the pound, and espresso egg creams to go.

Baekjeong Lynnwood

Baekjeong Korean Barbecue, considered one of Los Angeles’ best KBBQ chains, now has a glossy new restaurant in Lynnwood’s Alderwood Mall. The meat is all USDA Prime or better, with options including whole boneless ribeye steaks, boneless short ribs, thin-sliced pork belly, and pork jowl. Baekjeong also serves organ meats like beef mountain tripe, beef large intestine, and beef abomasum, sometimes served marinated a couple of different ways. Beyond KBBQ, it also offers a la carte dinner and lunch options, with a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with beef bulgogi, what looks like a straight-up cheeseburger, and bento-style boxes with rice and a few side dishes.

T55 Pâtisserie

T55 Pâtisserie is a new bakery in Bothell serving perfectly executed croissants, Kouign-amann, and other French pastries. The business comes from the team behind Susu Dessert Bar, a wildly popular French-Southeast Asian pastry shop in the Chinatown-International District. Co-owner Muhammad Fairoz worked at several Michelin-starred restaurants in France, and shows off his pastry chops in 16 pastries on the T55 Pâtisserie menu. SUSU is currently closed and will eventually reopen as a late-night wine bar and dessert shop, according to the Seattle Times.

Hamdi

Couple Berk Güldal and Katrina Schult’s Turkish triumph Hamdi, an Eater Award winner for 2022, just transitioned from pop-up to Ballard restaurant, where you’ll find everything from meltingly tender hand-minced lamb kebabs and refreshing celery root soup kereviz corbasi to dry-aged goose with pickled chanterelles and local truffles cooked in full view with a charcoal grill or wood-fired oven. Turkish wine, cocktails, and non-alcoholic options like pickled beet juice play off the intensely flavored food. Reservations and walk-ins are exceedingly hard to come by right now; your best bet is to monitor the upscale restaurant’s Instagram page for updates.

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.

Oxbow

Sea Wolf Bakers’ Montlake bagel shop has been serving some of the best bagels in Seattle since it opened in June, along with a variety of spreads, quiches, pastries, and coffee to-go. Now, Oxbow is also serving pizza at the shop, with a sourdough crust made with Cairnspring Mills flour, available noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The toppings for the pizzas are creative — with one pie coming topped with cilantro aioli, ricotta, mozzarella, pecorino, corn, and jalapeno.

Sushi by Scratch Restaurants: Seattle

Sushi By Scratch Restaurants, whose California location received a Michelin star, now has a location in downtown Seattle. Reservations are currently all sold out, but more are released on the first of every month at 10 a.m. The restaurant serves a $165 17-course omakase experience, a price point that’s lower than some other omakase around town. Six of these courses are uniquely Californian takes on nigiri from owner Phillip Frankland Lee, a white chef from Los Angeles, including a hamachi nigiri brushed with sweet corn pudding and topped with sourdough bread crumbs. The other 10 courses are unique to the Seattle location and will incorporate local ingredients like geoduck, king salmon, and Dungeness crab.

Maíz Molino

Pike Place Market’s terrific but tiny Maíz now has a much-bigger sibling in Denny Triangle, where owners Aldo Góngora, his wife Angelica, and sister-in-law Roxana Martin are showing off their nixtamalized heirloom-corn tortillas alongside a wider range of specialties, from a complex pork pozole rojo and a dish of griddled barbacoa lamb, olla beans, and consomé at brunch to chochoyote caldo (a seafood stew) and a peanutty chicken mole at dinner. The fancy sit-down Mexican restaurant Maíz Molino, which means corn mill, also serves micheladas and creative cocktails like Whitexican, which you’d best believe also features freshly ground corn in the form of pinole, plus espresso, mezcal, corn liqueur, and almond milk.

A top-down view of a light-wood table with a dark-orange bowl on it, filled with darkly colored pork pozole rojo topped with bright shredded lettuce and slices of radish.
Pork pozole rojo at Maiz Molino.
Jade Yamazaki Stewart/Eater

Kōbo Pizza

Kōbo is star chef Shota Nakajima’s newest project, which offers chaotic pizzas that fuse elements of Detroit-style pizza and Osaka street food inside of Redhook Brewlab, right next to Nakajima’s fried chicken restaurant, Taku. Pizzas include the Dodger, topped with teriyaki brisket, and the Hot Neighbor, topped by Taku fried chicken and koji hot sauce. The restaurant is also serving drinking snacks like Japanese pickles, salt and pepper broccoli with sweet chili sauce, and corn dog nuggets with chili jam ketchup.

Takai by Kashiba

Takai By Kashiba is the most exciting new sushi spot on the Eastside. It’s backed by Seattle sushi godfather Shiro Kashiba, of Sushi Kashiba, and the sushi bar is manned by one of his star apprentices, Jun Takai, who serves a 22-course omakase starting at $150, with a focus on nigiri made with aged fish. Takai represents the next generation of Seattle sushi, and will maintain the legacy of edomae-style sushi Kashiba started in Seattle, while developing his personal style. Beyond nigiri, the omakase includes kaiseki-style dishes like a piece of grilled belt fish topped with yuzu kosho, grated daikon, and salmon roe, served on a small plate with green maple leaves, or a jiggly green square of tofu made with fresh edamame instead of the usual dry soybeans.

Bar Solea

Brendan McGill’s spent 2022 shaking off a pandemic-induced focus on quick-service and takeout. Following the success of Eater Award-winning Seabird, the ocean-to-table masterpiece that replaced his acclaimed Hitchcock on Bainbridge Island, he turned downtown’s Bar Taglio into Bar Solea in November. It’s not a massive shift so much as a recommitment to excellent Italian fare through a local lens in a lively dine-in space. As such, rush over here for pizza (Neo-Neapolitan, now); wine, antipasti, and aperitivo drinks like a creamy draft Negroni (the Nitroni); seafood (wine-cooked clams), and an exploration of vegetables and Roman influences (roasted carrots with garum, or fermented fish paste).

The Boat

In Little Saigon, Pho Bac’s iconic boat-shaped restaurant has become the Boat, where siblings Yenvy and Quynh Pham are continuing to advance the city’s understanding of Vietnamese food. They’re doing so by prioritizing one incredible dish that they say represents how Vietnamese people eat at home: com ga, or chicken rice, which includes a pressure-fried chicken coated with fried garlic atop fluffy rice alongside chrysanthemum chayote salad and sup. Order it to go with some adorable banh kep, or Viet waffles, with the likes of caramelized pineapple and salty sesame peanuts, or dine in to have it with unique cocktails like a green tea martini with shochu, sherry, and fish sauce — garnished with an anchovy.

By Tae

By Tae is a new full-fledged Beacon Hill restaurant by Sun and Erin Hong, a big step up from the Chophouse Row hand roll spot of the same name, where Sun Hong first built a fanbase for his hand rolls before shutting the restaurant down in 2021. This restaurant has a full bar, a patio area, and has expanded offerings like grilled meats and vegetables.

Ben & Esther's Vegan Jewish Deli

In many places, Seattle included, it’s hard enough to come by a Jewish deli, and vegan Jewish delis are practically unheard of. Justin King is working to change that with Ben & Esther’s, a growing Portland-based chain that recently opened a Capitol Hill location. The shop serves its bagels with lox made from salt-roasted carrots, swaps the whitefish for brined-and-smoked hearts of palm, and bakes babka and rugelach with Earth Balance instead of butter. The space is relatively simple and small, but you can sit at a handful of tables on the ground floor and on the mezzanine, or take your sandwiches, deli items by the pound, and espresso egg creams to go.

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