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Molotes (fried corn dough dumplings) drizzled with red and green salsa and topped with cabbage and cheese.
Molotes, crispy corn-dough dumplings filled with chorizo and potato, from El Cabrito restaurant in Burien.
Jade Yamazaki Stewart

12 Terrific Restaurants to Check Out in Burien

One of Seattle’s neighbors to the south has plenty to offer, from Nepalese cuisine to birria, gyros, and more

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Molotes, crispy corn-dough dumplings filled with chorizo and potato, from El Cabrito restaurant in Burien.
| Jade Yamazaki Stewart

Burien is packed with great restaurants: While many Seattle favorites have locations there, including Bakery Nouveau, Smarty Pants, and Bok a Bok, there are also plenty of Burien-born restaurants, ranging from hole-in-the-walls to fine dining. The city has a small-town character, particularly felt in the town center or Olde Burien, but a global dining scene that features cuisines from Oaxaca to Nepal. Here are some of the best restaurants Burien has to offer. 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.

Note: Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Birrieria Tijuana

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As the name suggests, this small restaurant inside a Mexican market specializes in birria de res, a Tijuana-style braised beef — a regional variation on the slow-cooked beef dish served in its reddish-brown, chile-laced braising liquid. The menu offers birria served a dozen or so ways, from tortas to the vampiro taco, a corn tortilla birria taco griddled until cracklingly crispy. The soft tortilla versions dipped in consume are melty, meaty, and messy in the best way possible.

El Cabrito

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This family-run food truck turned fixed location serves excellent Oaxacan dishes like the chicken in black mole, a regional specialty of Oaxaca, complex and layered with warm spices. The spicy braised lamb is an example of owners Artemio and Leticia Diaz’s command of flavor, balancing the richness of tender lamb with smoky heat. Both are served with supple handmade tortillas, which arrive at the table warm. And the chicken soup, topped with avocado and tortilla chips, is a perfect rainy day pick-me-up.

Classic Eats

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Here’s the perfect Burien spot for a boozy brunch, where one can soak up affordable mimosas and strong bloody marys with satisfying stacks of thick-cut french toast or shrimp and grits, all while gazing at paintings of classic Harley Davidson bikes and several old Hollywood portraits, including Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn. Much like the name and decor allude to, the menu leans classic Americana, but always with a little twist: the country fried steak is smothered in jalapeno gravy, for example, and can serve a dual purpose as a hangover-cure.

Pupuseria Y Comida Mexicana

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This low-key spot quietly churns out some of the best pupusas in the city. The ayote (zucchini) and cheese rendition is one of its strongest, the fluffy masa griddled until crispy with a molten cheese center. The tangy curtido that comes with the saucer-sized pupusas is a bright complement, especially to the richer pork variations. Beyond pupusas, the restaurant nails pork pastelitos, which are delicately crisped on the outside, as well as banana leaf corn tamales packed with chicken or corn and served with crema for dipping.

Centro Neighborhood Kitchen

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This modern taco spot treats its veggie offerings with the same reverence as the classic asada or chicken tinga. Florets of roasted broccoli and cauliflower are topped with pickled onions and a smoky chipotle-cashew dressing that evokes the charred flavor of meat off a plancha (grill). The bottled homemade margaritas are strong and perfect to stay or go.

Royal Everest

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Butter chicken in a creamy tomato curry and garlic naan will warrant return visits to this gem, among the stretch of restaurants on 152nd Street. The warmly spiced lamb boti kebab, fired in a tandoor oven, is a highlight from the tandoori side of the menu, and — in addition to Indian favorites like korma and biryani — Royal Everest nails momos (Nepalese dumplings) served with a spicy, pepper-flecked “special sauce” that balances the richness of the meaty filling.

Snack Gyro

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Silky hummus, honeyed baklava, and loaded gyro fries are a few of the main attractions at this hole-in-the-wall spot. For only $7.50 (plus tax), diners can order stuffed gyros, spilling with glistening lamb or beef, generously drizzled in tzatziki, and dusted in sumac, alongside enticing pantry items including Moroccan sardines and Jordanian Zaatar.

Fireside Burien

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This 1970s-inspired Midwestern bar and restaurant offers a taste of old-school American cooking in a cozy setting. The menu reads a bit like an edition of the Joy of Cooking, with classics like Swedish meatballs and Salisbury steak, but the dishes don’t feel dated; in lieu of mashed potatoes, the meatballs are updated with au gratin crostini and the Salisbury steak is grilled instead of pan-fried, for better flavor and a better crust. Vintage Schlitz posters hint at the large selection of beer, both Midwestern and local, chilled behind the bar in a 1940s refrigerator, but the specialty cocktails, including the Minnesota mule with Aquavit, are the standouts of the bar menu. 

Burien Press

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This small but mighty coffee shop in Olde Burien serves velvety lattes and continually innovates with a rotating list of specialty drinks. A sprawling wall of pantry staples from artisan salts to tinned fish welcomes customers to the shop, perfect for browsing while snaking through the line on a busy morning. There are excellent housemade pastries and breakfast sandwiches, plus natural wine and beer available for delivery via their service Plants and Animals.

Dukem Restaurant and Market

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This restaurant and market may not look like much from the outside, but inside, the food excels, with succulent tibs and key wot siga, a berbere-spiced beef stew served on housemade injera that is perfectly sour to balance the warm and spicy stew. The vegetarian combinations feature rich and savory red lentils cooked in tomato and berbere spice as well as buttery stewed collard greens with jalapenos. The injera, imported bulk spices, and more are available for purchase from the market as well.

Burien Fish House

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The shatteringly crisp beer-battered fish and chips are just the beginning of the stellar seafood offerings at this takeout favorite restaurant in a strip mall behind the main drag in downtown Burien. The fish tacos are the true star of the menu, though, featuring a piece of fish as large as the tortilla itself, either battered, breaded, grilled, or blackened. Among the variety of tacos offered, the Northwest salmon with apple mango salsa is a standout, packing crunch and acidity in each bite — and just the right amount of heat.

Mawadda Cafe Burien

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Tucked in a strip mall, this restaurant serves a variety of Middle Eastern and Greek dishes, including falafel with a deep-brown, crispy shell and fluffy center served in diamond-shaped, Iraqi-style pita called Samoon. For carnivores, there are juicy kebabs, shawarma, and lamb kofta all served over tender yellow rice. While not traditional, the gyro fries swimming in feta and oregano are a delicious salty feast.

A table displays an assortment of kebabs, rice dishes, pita, dips, and other Middle Eastern plates
Mawadda serves a wide variety of Middle Eastern and Greek dishes.
Mawadda Cafe [Official Photo]

Birrieria Tijuana

As the name suggests, this small restaurant inside a Mexican market specializes in birria de res, a Tijuana-style braised beef — a regional variation on the slow-cooked beef dish served in its reddish-brown, chile-laced braising liquid. The menu offers birria served a dozen or so ways, from tortas to the vampiro taco, a corn tortilla birria taco griddled until cracklingly crispy. The soft tortilla versions dipped in consume are melty, meaty, and messy in the best way possible.

El Cabrito

This family-run food truck turned fixed location serves excellent Oaxacan dishes like the chicken in black mole, a regional specialty of Oaxaca, complex and layered with warm spices. The spicy braised lamb is an example of owners Artemio and Leticia Diaz’s command of flavor, balancing the richness of tender lamb with smoky heat. Both are served with supple handmade tortillas, which arrive at the table warm. And the chicken soup, topped with avocado and tortilla chips, is a perfect rainy day pick-me-up.

Classic Eats

Here’s the perfect Burien spot for a boozy brunch, where one can soak up affordable mimosas and strong bloody marys with satisfying stacks of thick-cut french toast or shrimp and grits, all while gazing at paintings of classic Harley Davidson bikes and several old Hollywood portraits, including Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn. Much like the name and decor allude to, the menu leans classic Americana, but always with a little twist: the country fried steak is smothered in jalapeno gravy, for example, and can serve a dual purpose as a hangover-cure.

Pupuseria Y Comida Mexicana

This low-key spot quietly churns out some of the best pupusas in the city. The ayote (zucchini) and cheese rendition is one of its strongest, the fluffy masa griddled until crispy with a molten cheese center. The tangy curtido that comes with the saucer-sized pupusas is a bright complement, especially to the richer pork variations. Beyond pupusas, the restaurant nails pork pastelitos, which are delicately crisped on the outside, as well as banana leaf corn tamales packed with chicken or corn and served with crema for dipping.

Centro Neighborhood Kitchen

This modern taco spot treats its veggie offerings with the same reverence as the classic asada or chicken tinga. Florets of roasted broccoli and cauliflower are topped with pickled onions and a smoky chipotle-cashew dressing that evokes the charred flavor of meat off a plancha (grill). The bottled homemade margaritas are strong and perfect to stay or go.

Royal Everest

Butter chicken in a creamy tomato curry and garlic naan will warrant return visits to this gem, among the stretch of restaurants on 152nd Street. The warmly spiced lamb boti kebab, fired in a tandoor oven, is a highlight from the tandoori side of the menu, and — in addition to Indian favorites like korma and biryani — Royal Everest nails momos (Nepalese dumplings) served with a spicy, pepper-flecked “special sauce” that balances the richness of the meaty filling.

Snack Gyro

Silky hummus, honeyed baklava, and loaded gyro fries are a few of the main attractions at this hole-in-the-wall spot. For only $7.50 (plus tax), diners can order stuffed gyros, spilling with glistening lamb or beef, generously drizzled in tzatziki, and dusted in sumac, alongside enticing pantry items including Moroccan sardines and Jordanian Zaatar.

Fireside Burien

This 1970s-inspired Midwestern bar and restaurant offers a taste of old-school American cooking in a cozy setting. The menu reads a bit like an edition of the Joy of Cooking, with classics like Swedish meatballs and Salisbury steak, but the dishes don’t feel dated; in lieu of mashed potatoes, the meatballs are updated with au gratin crostini and the Salisbury steak is grilled instead of pan-fried, for better flavor and a better crust. Vintage Schlitz posters hint at the large selection of beer, both Midwestern and local, chilled behind the bar in a 1940s refrigerator, but the specialty cocktails, including the Minnesota mule with Aquavit, are the standouts of the bar menu. 

Burien Press

This small but mighty coffee shop in Olde Burien serves velvety lattes and continually innovates with a rotating list of specialty drinks. A sprawling wall of pantry staples from artisan salts to tinned fish welcomes customers to the shop, perfect for browsing while snaking through the line on a busy morning. There are excellent housemade pastries and breakfast sandwiches, plus natural wine and beer available for delivery via their service Plants and Animals.

Dukem Restaurant and Market

This restaurant and market may not look like much from the outside, but inside, the food excels, with succulent tibs and key wot siga, a berbere-spiced beef stew served on housemade injera that is perfectly sour to balance the warm and spicy stew. The vegetarian combinations feature rich and savory red lentils cooked in tomato and berbere spice as well as buttery stewed collard greens with jalapenos. The injera, imported bulk spices, and more are available for purchase from the market as well.

Burien Fish House

The shatteringly crisp beer-battered fish and chips are just the beginning of the stellar seafood offerings at this takeout favorite restaurant in a strip mall behind the main drag in downtown Burien. The fish tacos are the true star of the menu, though, featuring a piece of fish as large as the tortilla itself, either battered, breaded, grilled, or blackened. Among the variety of tacos offered, the Northwest salmon with apple mango salsa is a standout, packing crunch and acidity in each bite — and just the right amount of heat.

Mawadda Cafe Burien

A table displays an assortment of kebabs, rice dishes, pita, dips, and other Middle Eastern plates
Mawadda serves a wide variety of Middle Eastern and Greek dishes.
Mawadda Cafe [Official Photo]

Tucked in a strip mall, this restaurant serves a variety of Middle Eastern and Greek dishes, including falafel with a deep-brown, crispy shell and fluffy center served in diamond-shaped, Iraqi-style pita called Samoon. For carnivores, there are juicy kebabs, shawarma, and lamb kofta all served over tender yellow rice. While not traditional, the gyro fries swimming in feta and oregano are a delicious salty feast.

A table displays an assortment of kebabs, rice dishes, pita, dips, and other Middle Eastern plates
Mawadda serves a wide variety of Middle Eastern and Greek dishes.
Mawadda Cafe [Official Photo]

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