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A glass refrigerator case filled with bowls of poke, oysters on the half-shell, smoked fish, and whole uni served in the shell.
Fish market Seattle Fish Guys also serves some excellent ready-to-eat seafood, with several excellent types of poke, oysters on the half-shell, and more.
Jade Yamazaki Stewart/Eater Seattle

15 Great Places to Eat in Seattle’s Central District

With knockout barbecue, Ethiopian feasts, and more

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Fish market Seattle Fish Guys also serves some excellent ready-to-eat seafood, with several excellent types of poke, oysters on the half-shell, and more.
| Jade Yamazaki Stewart/Eater Seattle

Central District, Seattle’s historically Black neighborhood, faces tensions between its past and the rapid influx of new development. But this neighborhood’s diverse influences continue to carve out footholds, particularly in the food and drink scene. Particularly in the last couple of years, there’s been a reinvestment and renewed growth in Black-owned businesses in the neighborhood, with “Seattle soul” restaurant Communion seeing national acclaim, and Jackson’s Catfish Corner and Ms. Helen coming back to the CD. Whether diners are seeking Ethiopian cuisine, barbecue, Vietnamese fare, “Seattle soul food,” or outstanding pastries, the Central District has them covered.

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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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Communion Restaurant & Bar

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Chef Kristi Brown — who runs the successful catering operation That Brown Girl Cooks — calls the food at her nationally praised Central District restaurant “Seattle soul.” Brown’s memories of shopping at Chinatown-International District markets results in banh mi-po’ boy hybrids and a dish made with Washington clams, mussels, and Laotian sausage in a coconut milk “roux.” But Brown’s cooking shines most in her more traditional Southern dishes, like the pork neck bone stew, with smoky meat simmered in umami-packed broth with lima beans. After Communion made a couple of national best restaurant lists in 2021 (and nabbed an Eater Award), it’s been hard to get a seat at the dining room in the renovated historic Liberty Bank Building (the renovation, completed in 2019, is meant to support Black property ownership in Seattle’s historically Black neighborhood). Make reservations weeks ahead, or show up right when the restaurant opens on a weekday to nab a spot.

Feed Co. Burgers

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Patties at this popular burger destination come topped with ingredients like caramelized onions, blue cheese, and watercress, and they’re served with classic fries or onion rings or seasonal tempura vegetables. The menu is rounded out with a fantastic buffalo fried chicken sandwich, and well constructed salads and vegetable bowls.

Fat's Chicken and Waffles

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The Southern food specialist on Cherry Street draws a line on weekends for good reasons, chief among them the fried chicken, brined in pickle juice and buttermilk. There’s also frito pie, chicken wings, red beans and rice, a honey butter chicken sandwich, and fried green tomatoes, all worth trying (even if it requires multiple visits). The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.

Meskel Restaurant

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A sure bet amid an impressive crop of Ethiopian restaurants — many sitting within a block or two of each other — Meskel is beloved for its large portions of classics like the vegetable combination and the barbecue special (strips of beef and sliced peppers simmered in oil).

Ba Bar is the place to fork over a few extra dollars for the finest bowl of pho in town. But the menu goes well beyond beef noodle soup. Bun bowls with vermicelli noodles are popular, as are slow-roasted rotisserie meats such as chicken, duck, and pork belly, though no meal at Ba Bar is complete without the super craveable fish sauce wings and imperial rollls. Housemade pastries include macarons (available daily) and pandan cake (available Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) — perfect with a cup of strong, sweet, Vietnamese coffee. A plus: Ba Bar’s Central District location is open until midnight every day.

L'Oursin

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Even before walking into L’Oursin, the wall of wine visible from the sidewalk makes it clear that wine (natural, foremost) is a priority. This cozy brasserie serves precise, seafood-focused French cuisine (but also fried sweetbreads with an espelette pepper barbecue sauce) that accentuates wine director Kathryn Olson’s exciting wine list with rare grape varietals, tiny sub-appellations, and dessert wines served by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff. The majority of bottles on the menu go for $30-$60, so savoring the selections at L’Oursin won’t break the bank.

The Barbeque Pit

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At this longtime fixture, pitmaster Ed “Pookey” Whitfield presides over a wonderful array of pulled pork, beef, brisket, chicken, and ribs. The smoked meats are served alongside sides such as candied yams, mac and cheese, potato salad — all the classics, made to perfection.

A close-up image of barbecued ribs at the Barbeque Pit
Ribs are one specialty at the Barbeque Pit.
The Barbeque Pit

Temple Pastries

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The glorious array of baked goods at this bright bakery includes familiar items such as cookies, croissants, Kouign Amann, macarons, and breads, with flavors that are exceptional. Patrons might encounter combinations like black sesame yuzu, Jasmine green tea, and guava cream cheese, and the cruffin (croissant baked into a muffin mold) is a dream, particularly the cinnamon variety.

Wood Shop BBQ

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Owners Matt Davis and James Barrington bring flavors from their Texas and Kansas childhoods to the masses via food truck and this fixed location in the Central District. The meat is hickory-smoked in a custom Texas-built smoker named Brad Pit. Must-have sides include the mac and cheese topped with 12-hour pulled pork and jalapeño cornbread, and the cocktails are top-notch, too.

Reckless Noodle House and Cocktails

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This Central District restaurant features bold flavors wielded expertly in dishes like roast duck crispy rolls with sambal hoisin, papaya salad, caramelized pork fresh rolls with Hanoi fish sauce, curry vermicelli bowl, and the tingly ma la braised beef noodles. Nothing about this place feels particularly reckless, just plain dialed in — ditto the original cocktails. Open for onsite dining and takeout.

Seattle Fish Guys

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This is primarily a seafood market (and an excellent one at that), but it also has a robust menu of made-to-order plates. There are poke bowls served with mac salad, clam chowder, oyster shooters, and Dungeness crab cocktails, perfect for leisurely warm weather days. When in season, local purple uni are even served ready to eat in their shells. It’s all available for takeout.

Metier Brewing Company Taproom

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This Black-owned brewery’s new Central District location is one of the hottest places to drink in Seattle right now. And since opening in 2018, Woodinville location has been a solid pitstop for Eastside bike riders. Both locations have a great selection of beers, including its award-winning coconut porter Black Stripe, a New Zealand IPA, a hazy orange pale ale called the Trail Blazer, and a newer strawberry gose. The space is kid and dog-friendly, and the presence of both makes it feel like a true community gathering place.

Chuck's Hop Shop Central District

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Chuck Shin’s “land of a thousand beers” offers an enormous selection of beer, on tap or from the bottle, at his original location of Chuck’s Hop Shop in the Central District. Beyond beer, the business is a community center in the Central District, home to all kinds of events and a regular host to many of Seattle’s best food trucks. Stay updated on the latest happenings on Chuck’s Hop Shop’s Instagram.

Jackson’s Catfish Corner

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On Juneteenth of 2021, the decades-old fast-casual favorite Jackson’s Catfish Corner returned to the Central District after leaving its original CD location and having stints in other parts of town. The star of the menu, of course, is the Southern-fried catfish, served in a sandwich or with sides like hushpuppies, cornbread, and fries. If catfish isn’t your thing, you can order similar dishes with fried prawns or snapper instead.

Raised Doughnuts and Cakes

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Standing in the (fast moving) weekend line here has become something of a Central District rite of passage, and for good reason. The menu includes standout staples like maple bars and apple fritters, and each month brings exciting new creations, such as lemon thyme and guava coconut. There’s also a savory Everything Bagel doughnut, mochi varieties, and cakes sold whole and by the slice.

Communion Restaurant & Bar

Chef Kristi Brown — who runs the successful catering operation That Brown Girl Cooks — calls the food at her nationally praised Central District restaurant “Seattle soul.” Brown’s memories of shopping at Chinatown-International District markets results in banh mi-po’ boy hybrids and a dish made with Washington clams, mussels, and Laotian sausage in a coconut milk “roux.” But Brown’s cooking shines most in her more traditional Southern dishes, like the pork neck bone stew, with smoky meat simmered in umami-packed broth with lima beans. After Communion made a couple of national best restaurant lists in 2021 (and nabbed an Eater Award), it’s been hard to get a seat at the dining room in the renovated historic Liberty Bank Building (the renovation, completed in 2019, is meant to support Black property ownership in Seattle’s historically Black neighborhood). Make reservations weeks ahead, or show up right when the restaurant opens on a weekday to nab a spot.

Feed Co. Burgers

Patties at this popular burger destination come topped with ingredients like caramelized onions, blue cheese, and watercress, and they’re served with classic fries or onion rings or seasonal tempura vegetables. The menu is rounded out with a fantastic buffalo fried chicken sandwich, and well constructed salads and vegetable bowls.

Fat's Chicken and Waffles

The Southern food specialist on Cherry Street draws a line on weekends for good reasons, chief among them the fried chicken, brined in pickle juice and buttermilk. There’s also frito pie, chicken wings, red beans and rice, a honey butter chicken sandwich, and fried green tomatoes, all worth trying (even if it requires multiple visits). The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.

Meskel Restaurant

A sure bet amid an impressive crop of Ethiopian restaurants — many sitting within a block or two of each other — Meskel is beloved for its large portions of classics like the vegetable combination and the barbecue special (strips of beef and sliced peppers simmered in oil).

Ba Bar

Ba Bar is the place to fork over a few extra dollars for the finest bowl of pho in town. But the menu goes well beyond beef noodle soup. Bun bowls with vermicelli noodles are popular, as are slow-roasted rotisserie meats such as chicken, duck, and pork belly, though no meal at Ba Bar is complete without the super craveable fish sauce wings and imperial rollls. Housemade pastries include macarons (available daily) and pandan cake (available Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) — perfect with a cup of strong, sweet, Vietnamese coffee. A plus: Ba Bar’s Central District location is open until midnight every day.

L'Oursin

Even before walking into L’Oursin, the wall of wine visible from the sidewalk makes it clear that wine (natural, foremost) is a priority. This cozy brasserie serves precise, seafood-focused French cuisine (but also fried sweetbreads with an espelette pepper barbecue sauce) that accentuates wine director Kathryn Olson’s exciting wine list with rare grape varietals, tiny sub-appellations, and dessert wines served by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff. The majority of bottles on the menu go for $30-$60, so savoring the selections at L’Oursin won’t break the bank.

The Barbeque Pit

A close-up image of barbecued ribs at the Barbeque Pit
Ribs are one specialty at the Barbeque Pit.
The Barbeque Pit

At this longtime fixture, pitmaster Ed “Pookey” Whitfield presides over a wonderful array of pulled pork, beef, brisket, chicken, and ribs. The smoked meats are served alongside sides such as candied yams, mac and cheese, potato salad — all the classics, made to perfection.

A close-up image of barbecued ribs at the Barbeque Pit
Ribs are one specialty at the Barbeque Pit.
The Barbeque Pit

Temple Pastries

The glorious array of baked goods at this bright bakery includes familiar items such as cookies, croissants, Kouign Amann, macarons, and breads, with flavors that are exceptional. Patrons might encounter combinations like black sesame yuzu, Jasmine green tea, and guava cream cheese, and the cruffin (croissant baked into a muffin mold) is a dream, particularly the cinnamon variety.

Wood Shop BBQ

Owners Matt Davis and James Barrington bring flavors from their Texas and Kansas childhoods to the masses via food truck and this fixed location in the Central District. The meat is hickory-smoked in a custom Texas-built smoker named Brad Pit. Must-have sides include the mac and cheese topped with 12-hour pulled pork and jalapeño cornbread, and the cocktails are top-notch, too.

Reckless Noodle House and Cocktails

This Central District restaurant features bold flavors wielded expertly in dishes like roast duck crispy rolls with sambal hoisin, papaya salad, caramelized pork fresh rolls with Hanoi fish sauce, curry vermicelli bowl, and the tingly ma la braised beef noodles. Nothing about this place feels particularly reckless, just plain dialed in — ditto the original cocktails. Open for onsite dining and takeout.

Seattle Fish Guys

This is primarily a seafood market (and an excellent one at that), but it also has a robust menu of made-to-order plates. There are poke bowls served with mac salad, clam chowder, oyster shooters, and Dungeness crab cocktails, perfect for leisurely warm weather days. When in season, local purple uni are even served ready to eat in their shells. It’s all available for takeout.

Metier Brewing Company Taproom

This Black-owned brewery’s new Central District location is one of the hottest places to drink in Seattle right now. And since opening in 2018, Woodinville location has been a solid pitstop for Eastside bike riders. Both locations have a great selection of beers, including its award-winning coconut porter Black Stripe, a New Zealand IPA, a hazy orange pale ale called the Trail Blazer, and a newer strawberry gose. The space is kid and dog-friendly, and the presence of both makes it feel like a true community gathering place.

Chuck's Hop Shop Central District

Chuck Shin’s “land of a thousand beers” offers an enormous selection of beer, on tap or from the bottle, at his original location of Chuck’s Hop Shop in the Central District. Beyond beer, the business is a community center in the Central District, home to all kinds of events and a regular host to many of Seattle’s best food trucks. Stay updated on the latest happenings on Chuck’s Hop Shop’s Instagram.

Jackson’s Catfish Corner

On Juneteenth of 2021, the decades-old fast-casual favorite Jackson’s Catfish Corner returned to the Central District after leaving its original CD location and having stints in other parts of town. The star of the menu, of course, is the Southern-fried catfish, served in a sandwich or with sides like hushpuppies, cornbread, and fries. If catfish isn’t your thing, you can order similar dishes with fried prawns or snapper instead.

Raised Doughnuts and Cakes

Standing in the (fast moving) weekend line here has become something of a Central District rite of passage, and for good reason. The menu includes standout staples like maple bars and apple fritters, and each month brings exciting new creations, such as lemon thyme and guava coconut. There’s also a savory Everything Bagel doughnut, mochi varieties, and cakes sold whole and by the slice.

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