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Island Soul.
Kat Young Designs/Yelp

Columbia City Restaurants Reflect a Diverse History

A neighborhood guide

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Island Soul.
| Kat Young Designs/Yelp

Columbia City is approaching peak Seattle hipness, thanks to its vibrant, multi-racial community, range of incomes, and growing population of young trend-setters. While the cost of living is rising as fast as the influx of A-type professionals, the beloved food scene remains steadfast, and hopefully will for a long time.

The historical diversity of the neighborhood is evident in the plethora of food options from various corners of the world, from the alluring spices of the African coasts to the rich comfort foods found in the deep South. The result is a laundry list of soulful spots, all conveniently collected here for your bookmarking pleasure — and easy to support even as a traveler, thanks to light rail.

Note: Map points are ordered geographically and are not ranked by preference. What's your coveted Columbia City eatery? Show it some love in the comments, send Eater an email about it, or start a forum thread in its honor.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cafe Ibex

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3219 Martin Luther King Jr Way S
Seattle, WA
(206) 721-7537
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Cafe Ibex is a charming, intimate Ethiopian spot on MLK Way, a strong date-night destination where spiced beans, seasoned rice, and tender morsels of meat merge in a lavishly rewarding food experience. The injera is spongy and soft, as it should be, affording a perfect base for mammoth combo plates.

Cafe Ibex.
Scott P./Yelp

2. Tacos El Asadero

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3513 Rainier Ave S
Mount Baker, WA
(206) 722-9977
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Arguably some of the best tacos in Seattle come from this gem of a food bus. Tacos El Asadero keeps things simple by not overdoing the cheese, focusing instead on choice cuts of sizzling asada and carnitas that will make your head spin.

Tacos el Asadero.
Roanne C./Yelp

3. La Medusa

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4857 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA
(206) 723-2192
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La Medusa offers substantially higher quality pasta dishes than your average mom-and-pop shop. Classic dishes like spaghetti and meatballs become your favorite meal all over again when they’re made from scratch here.

La Medusa.
La Medusa/Official

4. Island Soul

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4869 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA
(206) 329-1202
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This Caribbean-inspired restaurant lives up to its name, capturing the warm, inviting attitude and festive ambience that the culture is known for. Part Caribbean, part American South, classic comfort food dishes deliver with impeccable consistency, ranging from the sweetly marinated spices of jerk chicken to the spiced bowls of savory gumbo.

Island Soul.
Kat Young Designs/Yelp

5. Geraldine's Counter

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4872 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA
(206) 723-2080
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Finding a solid breakfast spot in Seattle isn’t the challenge, it’s finding the perfect one. Fortunately for Columbia City, it doesn’t get much better than Geraldine’s Counter, a solid brick-and-mortar that serves all-day breakfast made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The now-infamous French Toast is crisped with warm melted butter, a seasonal topping, and a semi-sweet maple syrup. Ask any local, and they’ll vouch for this charismatic cafe.

Geraldine’s Counter.
Juliet N./Yelp

6. La Teranga

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4903 1/2 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA
(206) 725-1188
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One drawback to living in the upper left is the greater distance from the cultural influences from across the Atlantic. Luckily, Senegalese hotspot La Teranga offers specialties of the region such as the delicately piquant goat curry over seasoned rice. Space is not abundant, so consider ordering takeout for an amazing meal at home.

La Teranga.
Mimi N./Yelp

7. Super Six

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3714 S Hudson St
Seattle, WA
(206) 420-1201
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A former body shop turned trendy hotspot, Super Six embodies the Columbia City way of life through its vintage decor and potpourri of Asian-styled food options. A member of the clutch Marination restaurant crew, Super Six serves a stupefying blend of Hawaiian, Korean, and American cuisine. Favorites like loco moco and kalbi ribs are on heavy rotation, and the dessert menu truly shines, sparkling with dangerous, sugar-coated malasadas and inexplicably perfect pineapple cornbread.

Malasadas.
Super Six/FB

8. Kezira Cafe

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5100 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA
(206) 519-6465
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Ethiopian fare is represented well here, as simmered meat dishes meet rich spices for a nice balance of flavor and texture. To maximize your experience, order the special combo platter (or veggie combo), a stomach-grumbling medley of two veggie dishes of your choice plus marinated meat morsels. It’s all presented atop a bed of injera, the cuisine’s tender, tangy fermented flatbread that also takes the place of silverware, compelling you to wipe up every last drop of sauce.

Kezira Cafe.
Warren C./Yelp

9. Safari Njema

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5041 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA
(206) 723-3058
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Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior of this casual East African spot, which belies the beautiful food within. Fried fish, mashed peas, and pilau rice are highlights of the cuisine, and the tender chunks of fried tilapia will have you yearning for a return visit.

Safari Njema.
Suhel B./Yelp

10. Raconteur

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5041 Wilson Ave S
Seattle, WA
(206) 492-7959
Visit Website

Bibliophiles gravitate toward this charming cafe on the inside of Third Place Books, providing them with little reason to wander elsewhere. More than your average bookstore cafe, Raconteur serves up surprisingly satisfying dishes for a rainy-day meal. Try any of the soup bowls or the crisply battered fried chicken sandwich.

Raconteur.
Marie B./Yelp

1. Cafe Ibex

3219 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, Seattle, WA
Cafe Ibex.
Scott P./Yelp

Cafe Ibex is a charming, intimate Ethiopian spot on MLK Way, a strong date-night destination where spiced beans, seasoned rice, and tender morsels of meat merge in a lavishly rewarding food experience. The injera is spongy and soft, as it should be, affording a perfect base for mammoth combo plates.

3219 Martin Luther King Jr Way S
Seattle, WA

2. Tacos El Asadero

3513 Rainier Ave S, Mount Baker, WA
Tacos el Asadero.
Roanne C./Yelp

Arguably some of the best tacos in Seattle come from this gem of a food bus. Tacos El Asadero keeps things simple by not overdoing the cheese, focusing instead on choice cuts of sizzling asada and carnitas that will make your head spin.

3513 Rainier Ave S
Mount Baker, WA

3. La Medusa

4857 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA
La Medusa.
La Medusa/Official

La Medusa offers substantially higher quality pasta dishes than your average mom-and-pop shop. Classic dishes like spaghetti and meatballs become your favorite meal all over again when they’re made from scratch here.

4857 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA

4. Island Soul

4869 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA
Island Soul.
Kat Young Designs/Yelp

This Caribbean-inspired restaurant lives up to its name, capturing the warm, inviting attitude and festive ambience that the culture is known for. Part Caribbean, part American South, classic comfort food dishes deliver with impeccable consistency, ranging from the sweetly marinated spices of jerk chicken to the spiced bowls of savory gumbo.

4869 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA

5. Geraldine's Counter

4872 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA
Geraldine’s Counter.
Juliet N./Yelp

Finding a solid breakfast spot in Seattle isn’t the challenge, it’s finding the perfect one. Fortunately for Columbia City, it doesn’t get much better than Geraldine’s Counter, a solid brick-and-mortar that serves all-day breakfast made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The now-infamous French Toast is crisped with warm melted butter, a seasonal topping, and a semi-sweet maple syrup. Ask any local, and they’ll vouch for this charismatic cafe.

4872 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA

6. La Teranga

4903 1/2 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA
La Teranga.
Mimi N./Yelp

One drawback to living in the upper left is the greater distance from the cultural influences from across the Atlantic. Luckily, Senegalese hotspot La Teranga offers specialties of the region such as the delicately piquant goat curry over seasoned rice. Space is not abundant, so consider ordering takeout for an amazing meal at home.

4903 1/2 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA

7. Super Six

3714 S Hudson St, Seattle, WA
Malasadas.
Super Six/FB

A former body shop turned trendy hotspot, Super Six embodies the Columbia City way of life through its vintage decor and potpourri of Asian-styled food options. A member of the clutch Marination restaurant crew, Super Six serves a stupefying blend of Hawaiian, Korean, and American cuisine. Favorites like loco moco and kalbi ribs are on heavy rotation, and the dessert menu truly shines, sparkling with dangerous, sugar-coated malasadas and inexplicably perfect pineapple cornbread.

3714 S Hudson St
Seattle, WA

8. Kezira Cafe

5100 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA
Kezira Cafe.
Warren C./Yelp

Ethiopian fare is represented well here, as simmered meat dishes meet rich spices for a nice balance of flavor and texture. To maximize your experience, order the special combo platter (or veggie combo), a stomach-grumbling medley of two veggie dishes of your choice plus marinated meat morsels. It’s all presented atop a bed of injera, the cuisine’s tender, tangy fermented flatbread that also takes the place of silverware, compelling you to wipe up every last drop of sauce.

5100 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA

9. Safari Njema

5041 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA
Safari Njema.
Suhel B./Yelp

Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior of this casual East African spot, which belies the beautiful food within. Fried fish, mashed peas, and pilau rice are highlights of the cuisine, and the tender chunks of fried tilapia will have you yearning for a return visit.

5041 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA

10. Raconteur

5041 Wilson Ave S, Seattle, WA
Raconteur.
Marie B./Yelp

Bibliophiles gravitate toward this charming cafe on the inside of Third Place Books, providing them with little reason to wander elsewhere. More than your average bookstore cafe, Raconteur serves up surprisingly satisfying dishes for a rainy-day meal. Try any of the soup bowls or the crisply battered fried chicken sandwich.

5041 Wilson Ave S
Seattle, WA

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