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Kau Kau’s barbecued meats are a longstanding favorite near Centurylink Field.
Kau Kau [Official photo]

Where to Eat Around T-Mobile Park and Lumen Field

Pre-game with Cafe Con Leche’s hearty Cuban food, Dough Zone’s juicy dumplings, and Skalka’s luscious khachapuri

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Kau Kau’s barbecued meats are a longstanding favorite near Centurylink Field.
| Kau Kau [Official photo]

There’s lots of great food to be had at T-Mobile Park if you go to a Mariners game, or at Lumen Field if you’re watching the Seahawks or Sounders. But why settle for stadium food when you’re already in the middle of a great dining neighborhood? The SoDo area has a ton of fabulous new eateries as well as some old favorites that sometimes get overlooked. Here are a dozen options within easy reach of hungry fans, just in case a boat of garlic fries won’t cut it.

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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The so-called “Georgian cheese boat” craze has died down a little since the late 2010s, and Instagram feeds might not be brimming with luscious khachapuri photos anymore, but that’s no reason to love Skalka any less. The cozy bakeshop does a variety of savory khachapuri from around the former Soviet republic, like the classic eye-shaped khachapuri adjaruli, with a gooey sulguni cheese, a butter pat, and a sunny egg, or the khachapuri imeruli, which hides the cheese inside the bread like a giant pupusa. They also do creative modern takes that are just as delicious, like a beef stroganoff khachapuri with pickles and an egg on a sulguni cheese base. Fun fact: The word skalka means “rolling pin” in Georgian!

84 Yesler

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This swanky date-night spot proves you can go big AND go home. PNW-born chef Christina Siegl spent half of her career at Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, but she’s back at her home base now, where she’s really making the native produce shine. The rest of the 84 Yesler team features alumni from iconic restaurants like Sushi Kashiba and El Gaucho, so they’ve majored in Northwestern cuisine, especially our spectacular seafood. The result is dishes loaded with local jewels like morels, huckleberries, oysters, scallops, and spot prawns, all organic and locally sourced. Some all-season faves at 84 Yesler are the pappardelle with Dungeness crab, lemon butter, and fine herb oil as well as the steamed Penn Cove mussels, served with mustard seed cream sauce and an artisan baguette.

Cafe Paloma

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This dear little Turkish cafe in Pioneer Square has been here seemingly forever, and it’s still serving reliably lovely Mediterranean dishes. Veggie options abound, such as the grilled eggplant sandwich, the falafel pita, and the meze platter, featuring some of the best hummus in the city. The kalamata-studded lamb shepherd’s salad is a star as well.

OHSUN Banchan Deli & Cafe

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As everybody knows, when it comes to a great Korean meal, it’s as much about the banchans as it is the entrees. OHSUN takes these fun little side dishes to a whole new level, with options like braised fingerling potatoes, Spam and egg salad kimbap, and purple rice with sesame seeds and Technicolor-bright sorrel microgreens. Main dishes include vegan yukaejang glass noodle soup with ferns and mixed mushrooms, bulgogi beef, and dakdoritang-braised chicken wings with root veggies. The banchans are all available by the pound in the deli case, and the whole menu is 100-percent gluten-free. Don’t miss the toasted rice ice cream for dessert!

Phnom Penh Noodle House

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Of Seattle’s precious few Cambodian restaurants, Phnom Penh Noodle House is the old-schoolest, having been an HQ for the city’s Khmer community since 1987. Now in its third incarnation, it’s disappeared a few times and then miraculously returned, most recently in 2020. Original owner Sam Ung confidently boasts that he makes the best noodles ever, even better than all the noodles in Cambodia — he and his adult daughters, who now run Phnom Penh, are widely hailed for their mee katang (wide rice noodles in soy sauce-based gravy, available with various meats and veggies) and the Fishermen’s Bowl (prawns, calamari, fish balls, and fish cake over thin rice noodles in a garlicky broth). 

Intermezzo Carmine

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Stately old Il Terrazzo Carmine has been holding it down for decades, but it closes at 4 p.m., right about when a pre-game dinner needs to begin. Thankfully, football fans can go next door to its trendy sibling bar, Intermezzo Carmine, where the atmosphere is less old-guard and clubby and more fresh-faced and millennial. Chef Juan Vega runs both kitchens, but Intermezzo’s menu focuses on small plates, and as such, the service is a lot snappier.

Kau Kau

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The name of the game at this Chinatown International District fixture is barbecued meat. One of the neighborhood’s oldest surviving restaurants, Kau Kau started out as a ritzy Chinese-Hawaiian restaurant and is a bit rougher around the edges these days. But the pressed eight-spice duck and roasted side pork are as delectable as ever. Plus, prices mostly hang out below $10.

Fort St. George

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Folks sometimes call this place “the Japanese Denny’s” thanks to its shabby diner aesthetic, its ‘80s vaporware cocktail bar, its deep-fried comfort food, and the late hours it keeps. The yoshoku Japanese-Western menu is a wacky bricolage of American classics like spaghetti — say, topped with soy sauce-butter chicken or bolognese and garlic mayo — and variations on doria (a Japanese casserole of rice, meat, and cheese), ramen, udon, katsu, omelets, Asian fusion hamburgers, and platter-sized pools of curry. It’s always a weird, fun time in here.

13 Coins

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This reincarnation of Seattle’s snazziest 24-hour restaurant packs every bit of swingin’ mid-century punch as its original Boren Ave. location did, up to and including the swiveling leather captain’s chairs at the bar. What also followed along to Pioneer Square is 13 Coins’ colossal, ‘60s-era menu: Dutch babies! Calf’s liver and onions! Asparagus in béarnaise sauce! There’s something for pretty much everyone.

Dough Zone Dumpling House

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Eastside-based dumpling chain Dough Zone’s newest outpost, a block north of Uwajimaya in the Chinatown International District, slings its famous xiao long bao and handmade noodles with speed and style. Yi bin noodles and juicy pan-fried jian baos are additional standouts, and everything’s cheap, too.

Crawfish King

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Ideal for groups, Crawfish King does a bonafide dump-it-on-the-table-style Cajun crawfish boil, with various Vietnamese sides, beverages, desserts, and sauces to add a twist to the experience. The specials sometimes include the rarely seen Pacific Northwestern signal crawfish, which can be the size of a lobster — way bigger than the imported mudbugs from the South — and the menu always has all the usual local crab and oyster suspects too.

SoDo’s Paseo installation has all the same juicy, messy, marvelous Caribbean sandwiches as the Paseo in Fremont, via the same simple counter service. Just four blocks from the stadium, this location is especially worth knowing about, not only because it’s bigger and less crowded, but also because it has parking.

Cafe Con Leche

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Sharing space with Club Sur, owner Pedrito Vargas’ casual, colorful SoDo restaurant serves killer pan con lechon, media noche sandwiches, puerco asado (roast pork with black beans and plantains), and ajiaco criollo (a Cuban country-style stew with pork, yuca, and corn on the cob), plus plenty of fun specials.

Skalka

The so-called “Georgian cheese boat” craze has died down a little since the late 2010s, and Instagram feeds might not be brimming with luscious khachapuri photos anymore, but that’s no reason to love Skalka any less. The cozy bakeshop does a variety of savory khachapuri from around the former Soviet republic, like the classic eye-shaped khachapuri adjaruli, with a gooey sulguni cheese, a butter pat, and a sunny egg, or the khachapuri imeruli, which hides the cheese inside the bread like a giant pupusa. They also do creative modern takes that are just as delicious, like a beef stroganoff khachapuri with pickles and an egg on a sulguni cheese base. Fun fact: The word skalka means “rolling pin” in Georgian!

84 Yesler

This swanky date-night spot proves you can go big AND go home. PNW-born chef Christina Siegl spent half of her career at Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, but she’s back at her home base now, where she’s really making the native produce shine. The rest of the 84 Yesler team features alumni from iconic restaurants like Sushi Kashiba and El Gaucho, so they’ve majored in Northwestern cuisine, especially our spectacular seafood. The result is dishes loaded with local jewels like morels, huckleberries, oysters, scallops, and spot prawns, all organic and locally sourced. Some all-season faves at 84 Yesler are the pappardelle with Dungeness crab, lemon butter, and fine herb oil as well as the steamed Penn Cove mussels, served with mustard seed cream sauce and an artisan baguette.

Cafe Paloma

This dear little Turkish cafe in Pioneer Square has been here seemingly forever, and it’s still serving reliably lovely Mediterranean dishes. Veggie options abound, such as the grilled eggplant sandwich, the falafel pita, and the meze platter, featuring some of the best hummus in the city. The kalamata-studded lamb shepherd’s salad is a star as well.

OHSUN Banchan Deli & Cafe

As everybody knows, when it comes to a great Korean meal, it’s as much about the banchans as it is the entrees. OHSUN takes these fun little side dishes to a whole new level, with options like braised fingerling potatoes, Spam and egg salad kimbap, and purple rice with sesame seeds and Technicolor-bright sorrel microgreens. Main dishes include vegan yukaejang glass noodle soup with ferns and mixed mushrooms, bulgogi beef, and dakdoritang-braised chicken wings with root veggies. The banchans are all available by the pound in the deli case, and the whole menu is 100-percent gluten-free. Don’t miss the toasted rice ice cream for dessert!

Phnom Penh Noodle House

Of Seattle’s precious few Cambodian restaurants, Phnom Penh Noodle House is the old-schoolest, having been an HQ for the city’s Khmer community since 1987. Now in its third incarnation, it’s disappeared a few times and then miraculously returned, most recently in 2020. Original owner Sam Ung confidently boasts that he makes the best noodles ever, even better than all the noodles in Cambodia — he and his adult daughters, who now run Phnom Penh, are widely hailed for their mee katang (wide rice noodles in soy sauce-based gravy, available with various meats and veggies) and the Fishermen’s Bowl (prawns, calamari, fish balls, and fish cake over thin rice noodles in a garlicky broth). 

Intermezzo Carmine

Stately old Il Terrazzo Carmine has been holding it down for decades, but it closes at 4 p.m., right about when a pre-game dinner needs to begin. Thankfully, football fans can go next door to its trendy sibling bar, Intermezzo Carmine, where the atmosphere is less old-guard and clubby and more fresh-faced and millennial. Chef Juan Vega runs both kitchens, but Intermezzo’s menu focuses on small plates, and as such, the service is a lot snappier.

Kau Kau

The name of the game at this Chinatown International District fixture is barbecued meat. One of the neighborhood’s oldest surviving restaurants, Kau Kau started out as a ritzy Chinese-Hawaiian restaurant and is a bit rougher around the edges these days. But the pressed eight-spice duck and roasted side pork are as delectable as ever. Plus, prices mostly hang out below $10.

Fort St. George

Folks sometimes call this place “the Japanese Denny’s” thanks to its shabby diner aesthetic, its ‘80s vaporware cocktail bar, its deep-fried comfort food, and the late hours it keeps. The yoshoku Japanese-Western menu is a wacky bricolage of American classics like spaghetti — say, topped with soy sauce-butter chicken or bolognese and garlic mayo — and variations on doria (a Japanese casserole of rice, meat, and cheese), ramen, udon, katsu, omelets, Asian fusion hamburgers, and platter-sized pools of curry. It’s always a weird, fun time in here.

13 Coins

This reincarnation of Seattle’s snazziest 24-hour restaurant packs every bit of swingin’ mid-century punch as its original Boren Ave. location did, up to and including the swiveling leather captain’s chairs at the bar. What also followed along to Pioneer Square is 13 Coins’ colossal, ‘60s-era menu: Dutch babies! Calf’s liver and onions! Asparagus in béarnaise sauce! There’s something for pretty much everyone.

Dough Zone Dumpling House

Eastside-based dumpling chain Dough Zone’s newest outpost, a block north of Uwajimaya in the Chinatown International District, slings its famous xiao long bao and handmade noodles with speed and style. Yi bin noodles and juicy pan-fried jian baos are additional standouts, and everything’s cheap, too.

Crawfish King

Ideal for groups, Crawfish King does a bonafide dump-it-on-the-table-style Cajun crawfish boil, with various Vietnamese sides, beverages, desserts, and sauces to add a twist to the experience. The specials sometimes include the rarely seen Pacific Northwestern signal crawfish, which can be the size of a lobster — way bigger than the imported mudbugs from the South — and the menu always has all the usual local crab and oyster suspects too.

Paseo

SoDo’s Paseo installation has all the same juicy, messy, marvelous Caribbean sandwiches as the Paseo in Fremont, via the same simple counter service. Just four blocks from the stadium, this location is especially worth knowing about, not only because it’s bigger and less crowded, but also because it has parking.

Cafe Con Leche

Sharing space with Club Sur, owner Pedrito Vargas’ casual, colorful SoDo restaurant serves killer pan con lechon, media noche sandwiches, puerco asado (roast pork with black beans and plantains), and ajiaco criollo (a Cuban country-style stew with pork, yuca, and corn on the cob), plus plenty of fun specials.

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