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A seasoned fried catfish (with head) in a dark, moody dining room, with a side of rise and bottles of beer in the background
Sago Kitchen is known for its wonderful fried catfish.
Sago Kitchen [Official Photo]

15 Excellent Dining Destinations in Renton

Fantastic Thai food, great Vietnamese cuisine, one of the area’s best taco trucks, a buzzworthy coffee shop focused on African roasts, and more

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Sago Kitchen is known for its wonderful fried catfish.
| Sago Kitchen [Official Photo]

Renton — home of the Seahawks’ training camp, plenty of antique shops, and the site of a Boeing campus — has a dynamic culinary scene. From the historic downtown where many of the storefronts are holdovers from the city’s mining town days, to the highlands, the restaurants of Renton reflect the spirit of a diverse and growing city. With three local breweries, a true old school steakhouse, and one of the region’s best tacos trucks, the city’s food scene continues to impress in 2021, despite the challenges of the pandemic. Below are a few highlights from Seattle’s southeast neighbor, listed from west to east.

Though all the restaurants and bars on the list offer takeout, a number have resumed limited outdoor or dine-in service as well, per the current state mandates. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the King County’s COVID update page. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Big Island Poke

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An independent poke bar run by Hawaiian native, Jaydean Gabriel, who puts his own touch on the popular dish. From the tako poke, octopus marinated in shoyu and kimchi, to the California roll take composed of imitation crab, cucumber, and avocado, Gabriel offers variety on top of classic tuna or salmon. Look out for intriguing rotating specials, like the loco moco, all offered to go.

Royal Orchid

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A quaint restaurant right off Rainier Avenue South, just beyond the airport, Royal Orchid serves excellent Thai food by Buppha Booma (known best by her nickname “Chef Daeng”); a restaurant veteran with thirty plus years under her belt. Inside awaits pla lard prig, a wonderful whole fried fish in spicy sauce, fresh papaya salads, and golden yellow curries. Both takeout and limited dine-in are available.

Sago Kitchen

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Lauded for its whole fried catfish, this Vietnamese restaurant also nails comforting bowls of oxtail pho and paper-thin crepes. Open for both takeout and limited dine-in, with reservations accepted.

Yummy Meats and Deli

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The unassuming restaurant near downtown Renton, offers a mouth-numbing spin on Nashville hot fried chicken using Sichuan peppercorns. The heat is customizable, mild for a subtle heat and extra hot for those up for a challenge. The chicken is served as a sandwich, tenders, or on the bone — all options are takeout only.

Smoking Monkey Pizza

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A sci-fi themed pizza restaurant (Star Trek fans may get a kick out of the gallery) offers whole pies and slices that have been delighting locals for years. The spicy monkey, a red sauce pie with smoked mozzarella, pepperoni, red onion, and a touch of cayenne is a stand out. Meanwhile, the Hawaiian Monkey is a great twist on the classic Hawaiian, but with provolone, almonds, and cinnamon (it all works, somehow). Order online for pickup or delivery.

Blossom Vegetarian Restaurant

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At this vegetarian-focused Vietnamese restaurant, noodle bowls and pho are filled with tofu, seitan, or the restaurant’s own plant-based alternatives — which deliver in both flavor and texture. Open for both takeout and limited dine-in.

Naan ‘N’ Curry

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The downtown Renton mainstay (with an Issaquah location, too) serves Indian and Pakistani dishes, for which they grind fresh spice mixes daily. The menu includes excellent lamb dum biryani (a Pakistani-style basmati rice slow-cooked in saffron and simmered with braised lamb), and Mughlai korma (a curry with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy). Open for takeout only.

Boon Boona Coffee

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This exclusively African coffee roaster and cafe serves espresso drinks and excellent pour overs, but also sells beans by the pound. The coffee is sourced from a few farmers across several African nations with a focus on supporting women-owned growers. Customers can grab a cup to-go or join a monthly subscription service online.

Whistle Stop Ale House

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This 25-year-old pub has 18 rotating taps of domestic and international beers, all of which can be enjoyed in its heated tent alongside towering burgers. Breakfast is served well into the afternoon (as it should be), giving ample time to try a fluffy omelet or a golden brown monte cristo. If not dining in, diners can order takeout with online preorders.

Four Generals Brewing

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In 2015, Four Generals blazed a path for beer in the city as the first brewery in Renton. It specializes in German-style lagers, but also has a few IPAs too, and the schwarzbier with Boon Boona coffee is a dark lager infused with the neighboring cafe’s blend. There is limited seating, as well as to-go growler options. If staying, diners can bring their own snacks.

The Melrose Grill

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Located in a triangle-shaped building established in 1901, this neighborhood steakhouse offers premium cuts with a Prohibition-era feel. For a fancy night-in, the creamy parmesan potatoes with a ribeye ordered to go are good bets. There is limited indoor seating available as well.

Peyrassol Cafe at Southport

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This waterfront bistro specializes in European classics, like boeuf bourguignon and osso bucco. Not to be missed are the cafe’s hand-cut fresh pastas, particularly the pappardelle with duck ragú. It’s open for both takeout and limited indoor dining.

El Gallito

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This taco truck on Benson Hill serves some of the best carnitas and lengua tacos in the greater Seattle region. The truck’s speciality, a fish taco served with slaw and chipotle mayo, is always a great option, but the expansive menu also has plenty of enticing tortas and fajitas. Open for takeout daily.

The Brick Kitchen and Lounge

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Located in a cluster of businesses near a gas station on Sunset Boulevard, this place serves Asian fusion bar food, combining Korean and Thai flavors with American classics. The bulgogi cheesesteak is satisfyingly decadent, and so is the panang poutine. Takeout and limited dine-in are both available.

Chuck's Donuts

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This strip mall sweets shop doesn’t disappoint, with excellent maple bars, coconut dark chocolate cake doughnuts, and cinnamon roll varieties. It’s open Monday through Saturday for takeout only.

Big Island Poke

An independent poke bar run by Hawaiian native, Jaydean Gabriel, who puts his own touch on the popular dish. From the tako poke, octopus marinated in shoyu and kimchi, to the California roll take composed of imitation crab, cucumber, and avocado, Gabriel offers variety on top of classic tuna or salmon. Look out for intriguing rotating specials, like the loco moco, all offered to go.

Royal Orchid

A quaint restaurant right off Rainier Avenue South, just beyond the airport, Royal Orchid serves excellent Thai food by Buppha Booma (known best by her nickname “Chef Daeng”); a restaurant veteran with thirty plus years under her belt. Inside awaits pla lard prig, a wonderful whole fried fish in spicy sauce, fresh papaya salads, and golden yellow curries. Both takeout and limited dine-in are available.

Sago Kitchen

Lauded for its whole fried catfish, this Vietnamese restaurant also nails comforting bowls of oxtail pho and paper-thin crepes. Open for both takeout and limited dine-in, with reservations accepted.

Yummy Meats and Deli

The unassuming restaurant near downtown Renton, offers a mouth-numbing spin on Nashville hot fried chicken using Sichuan peppercorns. The heat is customizable, mild for a subtle heat and extra hot for those up for a challenge. The chicken is served as a sandwich, tenders, or on the bone — all options are takeout only.

Smoking Monkey Pizza

A sci-fi themed pizza restaurant (Star Trek fans may get a kick out of the gallery) offers whole pies and slices that have been delighting locals for years. The spicy monkey, a red sauce pie with smoked mozzarella, pepperoni, red onion, and a touch of cayenne is a stand out. Meanwhile, the Hawaiian Monkey is a great twist on the classic Hawaiian, but with provolone, almonds, and cinnamon (it all works, somehow). Order online for pickup or delivery.

Blossom Vegetarian Restaurant

At this vegetarian-focused Vietnamese restaurant, noodle bowls and pho are filled with tofu, seitan, or the restaurant’s own plant-based alternatives — which deliver in both flavor and texture. Open for both takeout and limited dine-in.

Naan ‘N’ Curry

The downtown Renton mainstay (with an Issaquah location, too) serves Indian and Pakistani dishes, for which they grind fresh spice mixes daily. The menu includes excellent lamb dum biryani (a Pakistani-style basmati rice slow-cooked in saffron and simmered with braised lamb), and Mughlai korma (a curry with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy). Open for takeout only.

Boon Boona Coffee

This exclusively African coffee roaster and cafe serves espresso drinks and excellent pour overs, but also sells beans by the pound. The coffee is sourced from a few farmers across several African nations with a focus on supporting women-owned growers. Customers can grab a cup to-go or join a monthly subscription service online.

Whistle Stop Ale House

This 25-year-old pub has 18 rotating taps of domestic and international beers, all of which can be enjoyed in its heated tent alongside towering burgers. Breakfast is served well into the afternoon (as it should be), giving ample time to try a fluffy omelet or a golden brown monte cristo. If not dining in, diners can order takeout with online preorders.

Four Generals Brewing

In 2015, Four Generals blazed a path for beer in the city as the first brewery in Renton. It specializes in German-style lagers, but also has a few IPAs too, and the schwarzbier with Boon Boona coffee is a dark lager infused with the neighboring cafe’s blend. There is limited seating, as well as to-go growler options. If staying, diners can bring their own snacks.

The Melrose Grill

Located in a triangle-shaped building established in 1901, this neighborhood steakhouse offers premium cuts with a Prohibition-era feel. For a fancy night-in, the creamy parmesan potatoes with a ribeye ordered to go are good bets. There is limited indoor seating available as well.

Peyrassol Cafe at Southport

This waterfront bistro specializes in European classics, like boeuf bourguignon and osso bucco. Not to be missed are the cafe’s hand-cut fresh pastas, particularly the pappardelle with duck ragú. It’s open for both takeout and limited indoor dining.

El Gallito

This taco truck on Benson Hill serves some of the best carnitas and lengua tacos in the greater Seattle region. The truck’s speciality, a fish taco served with slaw and chipotle mayo, is always a great option, but the expansive menu also has plenty of enticing tortas and fajitas. Open for takeout daily.

The Brick Kitchen and Lounge

Located in a cluster of businesses near a gas station on Sunset Boulevard, this place serves Asian fusion bar food, combining Korean and Thai flavors with American classics. The bulgogi cheesesteak is satisfyingly decadent, and so is the panang poutine. Takeout and limited dine-in are both available.

Chuck's Donuts

This strip mall sweets shop doesn’t disappoint, with excellent maple bars, coconut dark chocolate cake doughnuts, and cinnamon roll varieties. It’s open Monday through Saturday for takeout only.

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