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The bar at Tomo, lined with bottles and glasses, with orange accent lighting and dark paint on the walls.
Tomo, which opened in White Center in September, offers an eclectic menu with Japanese and Venezuelan influences.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

The Hottest New Restaurants in the Seattle Area, January 2022

A Japanese restaurant with chocolate curry katsu, a Tex-Mex restaurant from a Seattle barbecue legend, and other noteworthy new spots to try around the city

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Tomo, which opened in White Center in September, offers an eclectic menu with Japanese and Venezuelan influences.
| Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

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 massive labor shortages. Still, each month chefs continue to navigate uncertainty and open restaurants with innovative food that expands what it means to dine in Seattle. 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: Kobuta and Ookami katsu and sake house, Jackalope Tex Mex & Cantina, and Señor Carbon Peruvian Cuisine.

King County requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours for everyone ages 12+ at indoor establishments, restaurants, and bars. Studies indicate there is a lower exposure risk when eating outdoors, and the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. Please visit King County’s COVID website for resources and current information.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cookie’s Country Chicken

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1744 NW Market St
Seattle, WA 98107

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 almost a year ago, 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.

2. TOMO

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9811 16th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98106

The much-anticipated White Center restaurant Tomo opened at the beginning of September with an eclectic menu with Japanese and Venezuelan influences. Chef Brady Williams’ five-course dinner menu (lunch is served on the weekend), offers creative dishes based on what’s seasonally available in the Seattle area. The dishes change regularly, but a sample menu on the website includes pork collar with squash, fermented radish chawanmushi, and sweet potato with miso caramel. The name Tomo means “friend” in Japanese and is also an homage to Williams’ grandmother, Tomoko Ishiwata Bristol.

The bar at Tomo, lined with bottles and glasses, with orange accent lighting and dark paint on the walls.
Tomo, which opened in White Center in September, offers an eclectic menu with Japanese and Venezuelan influences.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

3. KAMINO SUSHI AND MORE

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372 Roy St
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 919-6818
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Lower Queen Anne’s Kamino Sushi and More serves Burmese dishes that are hard to find in the Seattle area, including laphet thoke, a fermented tea leaf salad, and mohinga, a fish and roasted rice powder stew with rice noodles. The service is friendly and attentive, and along with Burmese dishes, the dine-in menu includes a selection of pho, banh mi, ramen, and sushi. There’s also a takeout menu with dim sum appetizers as well as sushi combos and platters.

4. Maíz

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1914 Pike Pl
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 822-3698
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Maíz, a new tortilleria and counter-service shop in the heart of Pike Place Market, is a temple to corn: kernels of varieties like red cónico, blue chalqueño, and yellow bolita line the counter above the griddle, and heirloom corn is the base of every dish. The tamales pair nicely with a warm cup of atole, and the multicolored corn brings striking colors to the tortillas (sold by the half-dozen), gorditas, and sopes.

5. Ba Bar Green

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500 Terry Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 582-2131
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Vietnamese restaurant Ba Bar opened a separate walk-up window to its South Lake Union location called Ba Bar Green. The window sells an all-vegan menu of Asian food with dishes like kabocha and sweet potato laksa, dan dan noodles, garlic and kimchi fried rice, and braised tofu banh mi. Ba Bar Green has both made-to-order and grab-and-go options, perfect for lunch hour in SLU.

6. Bourbon Steak Seattle

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1433 4th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 741-1044
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Chef Michael Mina opened Bourbon Steak on October 1 in the former location of his French steakhouse RN74, which closed during the pandemic. The restaurant is a modern American steakhouse, with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients from local farms like Redmond’s Sound Sustainable Farms, and beef from Double R Ranch. Check out the happy hour, Tuesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., featuring its bourbon burger. 

7. Señor Carbón Peruvian Cuisine

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625 1st Ave Ste 100
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 588-0046
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This Pioneer Square restaurant serves a mix of traditional Peruvian dishes and a cuisine forged by Nikkei, Japanese immigrants in Peru and their ancestors. The Peruvian menu offers a variety of ceviches and lomo saltado, while the Nikkei menu includes sushi rolls and nigiri with Peruvian garnishes and sauces like aji amarillo. On the menu too is chaufa, a fried rice dish from a cuisine called chifa created by the Chinese immigrants in Peru, topped with a shrimp omelette.

8. Pelicana Chicken

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725 E Pine St
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 402-6510
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Korean fried chicken chain Pelicana just opened in Capitol Hill, serving expertly seasoned fried chicken, as well as fries, onion rings, and cheese sticks. Spicy fried chicken aficionados will love Pelicana’s sauce offerings: smoky hot, hot chili, and hot spicy (the hottest). The East Pine Street location, the former home of Bill’s Off Broadway, has beer, wine, and soju — and plenty of television screens to watch sports games during any season.

9. Kobuta & Ookami Katsu and Sake House

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121 15th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 708-7856
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This small Capitol Hill dine-in-only restaurant consistently draws crowds for its perfectly executed katsu dishes. The fried pork and chicken cutlets are prepared in a variety of ways, like topped with grated daikon radish, drowned in sweet miso sauce, and laid atop bubbling clay pots of vegetable and mushroom stew. Don’t leave without trying the tomato and cheese katsu or the curry katsu — whose sauce, made with dark chocolate, tastes toasty and complex like a good mole negro. For most dishes, diners can choose between four different types of pork, the most expensive being the Iberico pork loin. Reservations are only open for parties greater than six and wait times can be over an hour.

10. MyungIn Dumplings

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33310 Pacific Hwy S Suite 408
Federal Way, WA 98003
(253) 838-1180
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Los Angeles’s Koreatown star Myungin Dumplings opened its first location outside of California in Federal Way, serving dumplings and steamed buns that were featured on a 2013 episode of the late Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” (all the recipes are the same, says owner Yu Jin, who is personally overseeing the expansion). The spicy shrimp roll dumplings are textural masterpieces with bouncy shrimp chunks encased with chili-oil drenched dumpling wrap. And the wrap on the“Korean-style dumplings with pork & veg” is paper-thin and translucent, revealing crunchy cabbage and vermicelli noodles inside. The shop also sells frozen dumplings to steam at home.

A collection of steamed dumplings on a slatted wooden tray, seen close up.
MyungIn Dumplings in Federal Way is an expansion of a popular LA restaurant.
MyungIn Dumplings

11. Jackalope Tex Mex & Cantina

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4868 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 420-4796
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Jackalope is the newest project of Jack’s BBQ owner Jack Timmons, an ode to the Tex-Mex food he ate while growing up in Dallas. The menu features tacos and enchiladas stuffed with Texas-style brisket and appetizers like grilled quail with a guajillo-tequila glaze as well as more Mexican-influenced dishes like enchiladas with mole and rockfish ceviche. The brick-walled dining room has long counter tables where diners can sip cocktails like ranch water with prickly pear.

1. Cookie’s Country Chicken

1744 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107

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 almost a year ago, 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.

1744 NW Market St
Seattle, WA 98107

2. TOMO

9811 16th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98106
The bar at Tomo, lined with bottles and glasses, with orange accent lighting and dark paint on the walls.
Tomo, which opened in White Center in September, offers an eclectic menu with Japanese and Venezuelan influences.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

The much-anticipated White Center restaurant Tomo opened at the beginning of September with an eclectic menu with Japanese and Venezuelan influences. Chef Brady Williams’ five-course dinner menu (lunch is served on the weekend), offers creative dishes based on what’s seasonally available in the Seattle area. The dishes change regularly, but a sample menu on the website includes pork collar with squash, fermented radish chawanmushi, and sweet potato with miso caramel. The name Tomo means “friend” in Japanese and is also an homage to Williams’ grandmother, Tomoko Ishiwata Bristol.

9811 16th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98106

3. KAMINO SUSHI AND MORE

372 Roy St, Seattle, WA 98109

Lower Queen Anne’s Kamino Sushi and More serves Burmese dishes that are hard to find in the Seattle area, including laphet thoke, a fermented tea leaf salad, and mohinga, a fish and roasted rice powder stew with rice noodles. The service is friendly and attentive, and along with Burmese dishes, the dine-in menu includes a selection of pho, banh mi, ramen, and sushi. There’s also a takeout menu with dim sum appetizers as well as sushi combos and platters.

372 Roy St
Seattle, WA 98109

4. Maíz

1914 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

Maíz, a new tortilleria and counter-service shop in the heart of Pike Place Market, is a temple to corn: kernels of varieties like red cónico, blue chalqueño, and yellow bolita line the counter above the griddle, and heirloom corn is the base of every dish. The tamales pair nicely with a warm cup of atole, and the multicolored corn brings striking colors to the tortillas (sold by the half-dozen), gorditas, and sopes.

1914 Pike Pl
Seattle, WA 98101

5. Ba Bar Green

500 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Vietnamese restaurant Ba Bar opened a separate walk-up window to its South Lake Union location called Ba Bar Green. The window sells an all-vegan menu of Asian food with dishes like kabocha and sweet potato laksa, dan dan noodles, garlic and kimchi fried rice, and braised tofu banh mi. Ba Bar Green has both made-to-order and grab-and-go options, perfect for lunch hour in SLU.

500 Terry Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

6. Bourbon Steak Seattle

1433 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

Chef Michael Mina opened Bourbon Steak on October 1 in the former location of his French steakhouse RN74, which closed during the pandemic. The restaurant is a modern American steakhouse, with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients from local farms like Redmond’s Sound Sustainable Farms, and beef from Double R Ranch. Check out the happy hour, Tuesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., featuring its bourbon burger. 

1433 4th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

7. Señor Carbón Peruvian Cuisine

625 1st Ave Ste 100, Seattle, WA 98104

This Pioneer Square restaurant serves a mix of traditional Peruvian dishes and a cuisine forged by Nikkei, Japanese immigrants in Peru and their ancestors. The Peruvian menu offers a variety of ceviches and lomo saltado, while the Nikkei menu includes sushi rolls and nigiri with Peruvian garnishes and sauces like aji amarillo. On the menu too is chaufa, a fried rice dish from a cuisine called chifa created by the Chinese immigrants in Peru, topped with a shrimp omelette.

625 1st Ave Ste 100
Seattle, WA 98104

8. Pelicana Chicken

725 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122

Korean fried chicken chain Pelicana just opened in Capitol Hill, serving expertly seasoned fried chicken, as well as fries, onion rings, and cheese sticks. Spicy fried chicken aficionados will love Pelicana’s sauce offerings: smoky hot, hot chili, and hot spicy (the hottest). The East Pine Street location, the former home of Bill’s Off Broadway, has beer, wine, and soju — and plenty of television screens to watch sports games during any season.

725 E Pine St
Seattle, WA 98122

9. Kobuta & Ookami Katsu and Sake House

121 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112

This small Capitol Hill dine-in-only restaurant consistently draws crowds for its perfectly executed katsu dishes. The fried pork and chicken cutlets are prepared in a variety of ways, like topped with grated daikon radish, drowned in sweet miso sauce, and laid atop bubbling clay pots of vegetable and mushroom stew. Don’t leave without trying the tomato and cheese katsu or the curry katsu — whose sauce, made with dark chocolate, tastes toasty and complex like a good mole negro. For most dishes, diners can choose between four different types of pork, the most expensive being the Iberico pork loin. Reservations are only open for parties greater than six and wait times can be over an hour.

121 15th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98112

10. MyungIn Dumplings

33310 Pacific Hwy S Suite 408, Federal Way, WA 98003
A collection of steamed dumplings on a slatted wooden tray, seen close up.
MyungIn Dumplings in Federal Way is an expansion of a popular LA restaurant.
MyungIn Dumplings

Los Angeles’s Koreatown star Myungin Dumplings opened its first location outside of California in Federal Way, serving dumplings and steamed buns that were featured on a 2013 episode of the late Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” (all the recipes are the same, says owner Yu Jin, who is personally overseeing the expansion). The spicy shrimp roll dumplings are textural masterpieces with bouncy shrimp chunks encased with chili-oil drenched dumpling wrap. And the wrap on the“Korean-style dumplings with pork & veg” is paper-thin and translucent, revealing crunchy cabbage and vermicelli noodles inside. The shop also sells frozen dumplings to steam at home.

33310 Pacific Hwy S Suite 408
Federal Way, WA 98003

11. Jackalope Tex Mex & Cantina

4868 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118

Jackalope is the newest project of Jack’s BBQ owner Jack Timmons, an ode to the Tex-Mex food he ate while growing up in Dallas. The menu features tacos and enchiladas stuffed with Texas-style brisket and appetizers like grilled quail with a guajillo-tequila glaze as well as more Mexican-influenced dishes like enchiladas with mole and rockfish ceviche. The brick-walled dining room has long counter tables where diners can sip cocktails like ranch water with prickly pear.

4868 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118

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