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A plate of half smoked chicken with grilled lime and corn, drizzled with green herbs.
A half smoked chicken with esquites at Eight Row.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

14 Fantastic Green Lake Restaurants

With knockout sushi, satisfying tamales, and more

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A half smoked chicken with esquites at Eight Row.
| Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

There’s more to Green Lake than rental boats and overpriced craftsman homes. Just fifteen minutes north of Seattle’s downtown, the neighborhood is home to dozens of great bars and restaurants, ranging from dives to upscale Italian spots. And the best part is, they’re all within walking distance of the eponymous park.

The heart of Green Lake is a freshwater lake, surrounded by a 2.8-mile path lined by trees and vegetation. It’s a hub of outdoor activity, with tennis courts, baseball fields, boat rentals and more. When the weather is nice, it’s a perfect place to escape the more crowded areas of the city and relax in the sun before walking to a nearby local restaurant for a meal.

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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Hangry Panda

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Chef-owner Lucy Ye runs this affordable, allergy-conscious Asian restaurant on Aurora Avenue. The kitchen is nut-free and seafood-free by default, and the restaurant caters well to those with other dietary restrictions. There are plenty of gluten free options on the menu too, including gluten-free teriyaki, which is hard to find in Seattle. The spicy fried chicken sandwich, and the minced pork rice are highlights. Hangry Panda is also known for its milk teas, made with house-made syrups — The Panda Milk is made for sesame lovers, with a slightly nutty taste and a salted milk topping. The restaurant focuses on to-go orders, but there are four bar seats available to dine-in.

Urban Bakery

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Massive pastries, filling sandwiches, and creamy quiches make this bakery a great casual spot for breakfast. Service isn’t stellar, but it’s easily worth the visit for an egg sandwich that can rival those found on the East Coast. Breakfast sandwiches are available in half or whole portions, and the bakery also occasionally offers soup and sandwich combinations. There is ample indoor and outdoor seating, or you could just cross the street and eat in the park.

Über Tavern

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Beer lovers in Seattle should already be familiar with Über Tavern. Owner Rick Carpenter is legendary in the PNW beer world, as the founder of Seattle International Beerfest and Portland International Beerfest, and more recently Totfest and Bratfest. This easy-to-miss spot on Aurora Avenue houses one of the strongest beer collections in the city. There’s a rotating selection of 17 beers on tap, from IPAs to saisons, hefeweizen to quadrupels. In the fridge, there’s an even more impressive selection of bottles, cans and half-price growlers to go. A simple food menu is available, but you can also order delivery. Dogs are welcome.

Mykonos Greek Grill

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Don’t let the simple exterior fool you: Mykonos Greek Grill serves some seriously good food. This family-run spot is a favorite among locals for good reason: it hits the trifecta of quality, price and service. Expect heaping portions of whatever you order — most plates are enough for two (the dip sampler is practically party sized). The vegetable dishes here are just as strong as the meat ones, making this a vegetarian-friendly option. Grilled Anaheim peppers and kolokythia tiganites — fried slices of zucchini — are hard to put down. Don’t sleep on the lamb souvlaki or moussaka, either. Currently, Mykonos Greek Grill is take-out only.

Little Red Hen

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The classic honky tonk is alive and well in Green Lake, complete with line dancing, live music, and well-priced cocktails. There’s a daily happy hour from 3-6pm, which knocks off a dollar for all regular priced drinks. When hunger strikes, stick to the basics: burgers, wings and tater tots are all solid choices. The Little Red Hen offers line dancing lessons on Mondays.

Eight Row

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James Beard-nominated chef David Nichols and his brother Ian Nichols supply this Green Lake restaurant with produce from their family farms. The “pan-American” menu is an homage to the multiculturalism of the United States. Standout dishes include the grilled sweet gem Caesar salad with Oaxacan oregano breadcrumbs, and a massive plate of pork barbacoa, designed to be shared. Creative, seasonal cocktails complete the experience. The Harvest Queen, named after a type of pear tree, is made with cachaça (a Brazilian spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice), braulio (an Italian amaro), yellow chartreuse, and egg white. Eight Row also boasts a thoughtful zero-proof cocktail list, featuring nonalcoholic spirits like Pathfinder, Spiritless 74, Seedlip, and Wilderton Earthen.

Tapas Lab

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Grab a seat on the outdoor patio and tuck into round after round of small plates at Tapas Lab. The wagyu sliders and ricotta meatballs are outstanding, and the deviled eggs, topped with candied bacon, constantly sell out. Dishes here are small and meant to be shared, so come with close friends. The selection of pinchos (small open-faced sandwiches) is also good but hard to split, so order a few extra for the table if everyone wants to try some.

Retreat

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This Green Lake cafe is focused on wellness, using locally sourced, often organic, ingredients. Retreat has an almost intimidating selection of superfoods and adaptogens to supercharge any smoothie, as well as six ‘wellness lattes’, with ingredients like activated charcoal, mucuna pruriens (velvet bean) and ashwaganda, a medicinal herb. The smoothies and grain bowls are delicious, as are the breakfast sandwiches (served all day and loaded with eggs, bacon, tomatoes, aged cheddar, and avocado).

A colorful oasis off of Aurora Avenue, Bongos is the place to go in Green Lake for a hearty Caribbean meal. The restaurant is housed in a refurbished gas station, complete with a sand-covered patio and wooden walls that block highway noise. Try the ‘Desi’ sandwich, a sweet and spicy combination of braised pork, caramelized onions, peppers, and aioli, that packs a punch from pickled jalapenos. Grab extra napkins; it’s drippy. A side of maduros (fried sweet plantains), or yuca fries, complete the meal. Open all year round, Bongo’s fire pit is perfect for cooler evenings.

Latona Pub

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This neighborhood staple has been championing local brews since 1987. Today, it continues to support craft brewers, with a rotating selection of 12 taps from Washington and beyond. Come hungry and tuck into their elevated pub grub; the crab cakes, grilled cheese (with tomato basil bisque), and veggie burger are all standouts.

Frelard Tamales

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Head to this walk-up counter on Latona Avenue NE and tuck into steaming hot, half-pound tamales, each bursting with smooth, almost custard-like masa. Owned by married couple Osbaldo Hernandez and Dennis Ramey, Frelard Tamales is inclusive to a variety of diets, including nut-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan. The salsa roja pork tamales, and the sweet corn, a creamy dessert tamale made with sugar, cinnamon and butter, are worth a visit alone. Some menu items, like the sweet corn and the vegan sweet raisin, are only sold frozen (but if you call ahead, the staff might steam it for you). Frelard Tamales also offers a $9 lunch option that comes with vegan rice, beans, and small sides of sour cream, pickles and salsas, a remarkably affordable and filling lunch. The business also provides free meals to anyone in need, no questions asked. There’s usually a line, but it moves quickly.

Winner of Eater’s ‘So Hot Right Now’ award in 2013, this intimate Italian restaurant from Ethan Stowell Restaurants has just 18 seats inside. But when the weather is nice, the front window opens onto the sidewalk patio, which can host up to 24 more people (thankfully, reservations are available). mkt is in Tangletown, which is technically Wallingford, but is Green Lake in spirit. The menu focuses on simple, ingredient-driven dishes — think green beans grilled over a wood fire or ravioli stuffed with porcini mushrooms and drizzled with olive oil. It’s everything you’d expect from an Ethan Stowell Restaurant: elevated, unpretentious, and delicious.  

Kisaku Sushi

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One of Seattle’s best neighborhood sushi spots is tucked away in Green Lake. Kisaku serves a Japanese staples like yakisoba, udon, tempura, and grilled protein dishes (try the unaju, barbecued eel) but the sushi here is a standout. The creative rolls can sometimes hide the extremely high quality of of this restaurant’s fish; ordering nigiri and sashimi is recommended for truly appreciating the prodct. The fatty tuna, octopus, and scallop are especially good. Lunch sets start at just $10, and there are two omakase menus available, starting at $55. Service can be slow sometimes, but the food is worth it.

Duke's Seafood

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This Seattle icon’s Green Lake location is just minutes from the water, making it a perfect spot to tuck into some clam chowder after a walk. Be warned: the family-owned spot has a casual vibe, but a steep price tag. That’s because all of their seafood is fresh, and sustainably harvested, with most of it coming in from Alaska. Menu standouts include the Dungeness crab cake (skip the sandwich version; it overpowers the delicate crab), the stuffed halibut, filled with crab, prawns and pesto, the panko-crusted fish and chips. The chowders are also a highlight, including a slightly sweet lobster chowder and a cioppino-style chowder with salmon, halibut and cod. Get a sampler to try them all. Duke’s outdoor deck is open throughout the year, and there are happy hours from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m, and 9 p.m to close.

Hangry Panda

Chef-owner Lucy Ye runs this affordable, allergy-conscious Asian restaurant on Aurora Avenue. The kitchen is nut-free and seafood-free by default, and the restaurant caters well to those with other dietary restrictions. There are plenty of gluten free options on the menu too, including gluten-free teriyaki, which is hard to find in Seattle. The spicy fried chicken sandwich, and the minced pork rice are highlights. Hangry Panda is also known for its milk teas, made with house-made syrups — The Panda Milk is made for sesame lovers, with a slightly nutty taste and a salted milk topping. The restaurant focuses on to-go orders, but there are four bar seats available to dine-in.

Urban Bakery

Massive pastries, filling sandwiches, and creamy quiches make this bakery a great casual spot for breakfast. Service isn’t stellar, but it’s easily worth the visit for an egg sandwich that can rival those found on the East Coast. Breakfast sandwiches are available in half or whole portions, and the bakery also occasionally offers soup and sandwich combinations. There is ample indoor and outdoor seating, or you could just cross the street and eat in the park.

Über Tavern

Beer lovers in Seattle should already be familiar with Über Tavern. Owner Rick Carpenter is legendary in the PNW beer world, as the founder of Seattle International Beerfest and Portland International Beerfest, and more recently Totfest and Bratfest. This easy-to-miss spot on Aurora Avenue houses one of the strongest beer collections in the city. There’s a rotating selection of 17 beers on tap, from IPAs to saisons, hefeweizen to quadrupels. In the fridge, there’s an even more impressive selection of bottles, cans and half-price growlers to go. A simple food menu is available, but you can also order delivery. Dogs are welcome.

Mykonos Greek Grill

Don’t let the simple exterior fool you: Mykonos Greek Grill serves some seriously good food. This family-run spot is a favorite among locals for good reason: it hits the trifecta of quality, price and service. Expect heaping portions of whatever you order — most plates are enough for two (the dip sampler is practically party sized). The vegetable dishes here are just as strong as the meat ones, making this a vegetarian-friendly option. Grilled Anaheim peppers and kolokythia tiganites — fried slices of zucchini — are hard to put down. Don’t sleep on the lamb souvlaki or moussaka, either. Currently, Mykonos Greek Grill is take-out only.

Little Red Hen

The classic honky tonk is alive and well in Green Lake, complete with line dancing, live music, and well-priced cocktails. There’s a daily happy hour from 3-6pm, which knocks off a dollar for all regular priced drinks. When hunger strikes, stick to the basics: burgers, wings and tater tots are all solid choices. The Little Red Hen offers line dancing lessons on Mondays.

Eight Row

James Beard-nominated chef David Nichols and his brother Ian Nichols supply this Green Lake restaurant with produce from their family farms. The “pan-American” menu is an homage to the multiculturalism of the United States. Standout dishes include the grilled sweet gem Caesar salad with Oaxacan oregano breadcrumbs, and a massive plate of pork barbacoa, designed to be shared. Creative, seasonal cocktails complete the experience. The Harvest Queen, named after a type of pear tree, is made with cachaça (a Brazilian spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice), braulio (an Italian amaro), yellow chartreuse, and egg white. Eight Row also boasts a thoughtful zero-proof cocktail list, featuring nonalcoholic spirits like Pathfinder, Spiritless 74, Seedlip, and Wilderton Earthen.

Tapas Lab

Grab a seat on the outdoor patio and tuck into round after round of small plates at Tapas Lab. The wagyu sliders and ricotta meatballs are outstanding, and the deviled eggs, topped with candied bacon, constantly sell out. Dishes here are small and meant to be shared, so come with close friends. The selection of pinchos (small open-faced sandwiches) is also good but hard to split, so order a few extra for the table if everyone wants to try some.

Retreat

This Green Lake cafe is focused on wellness, using locally sourced, often organic, ingredients. Retreat has an almost intimidating selection of superfoods and adaptogens to supercharge any smoothie, as well as six ‘wellness lattes’, with ingredients like activated charcoal, mucuna pruriens (velvet bean) and ashwaganda, a medicinal herb. The smoothies and grain bowls are delicious, as are the breakfast sandwiches (served all day and loaded with eggs, bacon, tomatoes, aged cheddar, and avocado).

Bongos

A colorful oasis off of Aurora Avenue, Bongos is the place to go in Green Lake for a hearty Caribbean meal. The restaurant is housed in a refurbished gas station, complete with a sand-covered patio and wooden walls that block highway noise. Try the ‘Desi’ sandwich, a sweet and spicy combination of braised pork, caramelized onions, peppers, and aioli, that packs a punch from pickled jalapenos. Grab extra napkins; it’s drippy. A side of maduros (fried sweet plantains), or yuca fries, complete the meal. Open all year round, Bongo’s fire pit is perfect for cooler evenings.

Latona Pub

This neighborhood staple has been championing local brews since 1987. Today, it continues to support craft brewers, with a rotating selection of 12 taps from Washington and beyond. Come hungry and tuck into their elevated pub grub; the crab cakes, grilled cheese (with tomato basil bisque), and veggie burger are all standouts.

Frelard Tamales

Head to this walk-up counter on Latona Avenue NE and tuck into steaming hot, half-pound tamales, each bursting with smooth, almost custard-like masa. Owned by married couple Osbaldo Hernandez and Dennis Ramey, Frelard Tamales is inclusive to a variety of diets, including nut-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan. The salsa roja pork tamales, and the sweet corn, a creamy dessert tamale made with sugar, cinnamon and butter, are worth a visit alone. Some menu items, like the sweet corn and the vegan sweet raisin, are only sold frozen (but if you call ahead, the staff might steam it for you). Frelard Tamales also offers a $9 lunch option that comes with vegan rice, beans, and small sides of sour cream, pickles and salsas, a remarkably affordable and filling lunch. The business also provides free meals to anyone in need, no questions asked. There’s usually a line, but it moves quickly.

mkt.

Winner of Eater’s ‘So Hot Right Now’ award in 2013, this intimate Italian restaurant from Ethan Stowell Restaurants has just 18 seats inside. But when the weather is nice, the front window opens onto the sidewalk patio, which can host up to 24 more people (thankfully, reservations are available). mkt is in Tangletown, which is technically Wallingford, but is Green Lake in spirit. The menu focuses on simple, ingredient-driven dishes — think green beans grilled over a wood fire or ravioli stuffed with porcini mushrooms and drizzled with olive oil. It’s everything you’d expect from an Ethan Stowell Restaurant: elevated, unpretentious, and delicious.  

Kisaku Sushi

One of Seattle’s best neighborhood sushi spots is tucked away in Green Lake. Kisaku serves a Japanese staples like yakisoba, udon, tempura, and grilled protein dishes (try the unaju, barbecued eel) but the sushi here is a standout. The creative rolls can sometimes hide the extremely high quality of of this restaurant’s fish; ordering nigiri and sashimi is recommended for truly appreciating the prodct. The fatty tuna, octopus, and scallop are especially good. Lunch sets start at just $10, and there are two omakase menus available, starting at $55. Service can be slow sometimes, but the food is worth it.

Duke's Seafood

This Seattle icon’s Green Lake location is just minutes from the water, making it a perfect spot to tuck into some clam chowder after a walk. Be warned: the family-owned spot has a casual vibe, but a steep price tag. That’s because all of their seafood is fresh, and sustainably harvested, with most of it coming in from Alaska. Menu standouts include the Dungeness crab cake (skip the sandwich version; it overpowers the delicate crab), the stuffed halibut, filled with crab, prawns and pesto, the panko-crusted fish and chips. The chowders are also a highlight, including a slightly sweet lobster chowder and a cioppino-style chowder with salmon, halibut and cod. Get a sampler to try them all. Duke’s outdoor deck is open throughout the year, and there are happy hours from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m, and 9 p.m to close.

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