clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Green Lake Restaurants Keep Things Family-Friendly

A neighborhood guide

View as Map
Green Lake.
| Jessica Spengler/Flickr

The character of the Green Lake neighborhood (also known to impatient typists as "Greenlake") is defined by the pretty body of water from which it gets its name and the surrounding parkland. Residents congregate there to walk their dogs; to boat and swim or play soccer, softball, bocce, and tennis; and, first and foremost, to promenade along the lakeside path. It's a neighborhood of middle-class, single-family houses — and Exhibit A of how Seattle's housing market is turning a "middle class" lifestyle into an increasingly pricey proposition.

A byproduct of all those single-family homes is a concentration of family-friendly restaurants clustered in three primary commercial zones: the area directly east and north of the lake, the Tangletown area, and the intersection of Latona Ave and 65th St. No place in the neighborhood (with the possible exception of Mkt.) would fit anyone's definition of cutting-edge, and even the most ambitious places (Kisaku, Nell's) readily accommodate kids.

Green Lake's counterpoint to family-oriented dining is another kind of neighborhood institution, the bar and grill. Wherever you are, you're within easy walking distance of a burger and a beer, often accompanied by creative pub grub and cocktails, and typically catering exclusively to the 21-and-up crowd.

Note: Map points are ordered geographically and are not ranked by preference. Is your favorite Green Lake restaurant missing from the list? Show it some love in the comments, send Eater an email about it, or start a forum thread in its honor.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Rosita's Mexican Grill

Copy Link

A decades-old Green Lake standby, Rosita’s serves reliable Tex-Mex fare in a cheery setting. Kids scarf down the free, freshly made tortillas and salsa while their parents contemplate the extensive selection of tequilas.

Mykonos Greek Grill

Copy Link

Green Lakers come here for gyros and other Greek classics served in a simple, pleasant dining room. The more sophisticated dinner entrees and specials are a satisfying testament to the owners’ Greek roots.

Shelter Lounge

Copy Link

This younger sibling of the Ballard Shelter has the neighborhood’s most stylish dining room, a glass-walled, light-filled beauty looking out onto the park and the lake. The menu can be too clever for its own good, with creative takes on pub grub that occasionally fall short, but the happy-hour burger hits the spot.

Lucia Italian Restaurant

Copy Link

Green Lake’s take on Italian covers all the bases. The contemporary casual setting is fashionable enough for date night, but the large selection of pasta and pizza keeps things accessible to all demographics.

Spud Fish & Chips

Copy Link

Spud is a beautiful fast-food relic, with a bold neon sign mounted over a classic midcentury-mod building and fish fried crisp and light. (The chips, sadly, are limp and bland, but they achieve redemption with a dip in the house-made tartar sauce.)

Nell's Restaurant

Copy Link

Nell’s is a special-occasion spot that prides itself on understated, casual elegance. It’s been embracing the farm-to-table ethos for nearly two decades with seasonal, European-inspired menus that are inventive without a whiff of self-aware affectation.

Latona Pub

Copy Link

No pub in Green Lake gets more love than Latona. It has cozy, lived-in ambiance down pat, and from the extensive selection of local beers to the menu of creative comfort food, everything is better than it has to be. Like Green Lake's other neighborhood bars, it's a place where locals go to for kid-free time — you have to be over 21 to enter.

The Dish Cafe

Copy Link

When Green Lakers are craving good, straightforward breakfast food they head for The Dish, the bigger offshoot of the Ballard standby. You can get eggs draped over corned beef hash, tucked inside a burrito, or some 20 other ways.

Tsui Sushi Bar

Copy Link

The owner of Krittika’s next door took over the space occupied by Mona’s Bistro, left the dark, steam-punk-inspired décor mainly intact, and made the improbable transition to a sushi bar. The result is a nice change of pace from the typical sushi experience, with some flashy rolls at bargain prices and a lively bar scene.

Krittika's Noodles & Thai

Copy Link

Krittika’s delivers what most diners are looking for in a neighborhood Thai place: decent takes on the standard dishes, served with a little atmosphere at reasonable prices. If you can stand the heat, you’ve come to the right place — the five-star spicy will set your mouth aflame.

Burgundian

Copy Link

Come here — another 21-and-over establishment — for craft beer and Green Lake’s most elaborate pub grub, brought to you by the same people who operate Brouwer's, the beer mecca in Fremont. Eating light is not in the cards; specialties include chicken and waffles, arancini, and poutine with oxtail gravy.

Himalayan Sherpa House

Copy Link

Green Lake’s most distinctive Asian restaurant comes by its name honestly: the owners' family name is Sherpa, and the chef has ascended Mt. Everest 10 times (without oxygen). He prepares food that will look familiar to aficionados of Indian cuisine — curry, vindaloo, tika masala — along with Tibetan dumplings, noodles, and stew.

Leny's Place

Copy Link

Leny’s is commonly labeled a dive bar, but on most evenings nowadays the hardened drinkers are outnumbered by 20- and 30-somethings there for the first-rate burgers. One beer is often enough for them — especially if it’s a “Leny’s Large,” a 32-ounce mug usually filled with Rainier. Predictably, Leny's doesn't allow kids.

Matthew Lombardi for Eater

Ethan Stowell’s Mkt. may come as close as any restaurant in Seattle to being a literal hole in the wall. The tiny space has 28 seats, including a communal table that spills out onto the sidewalk. Nevertheless, the restaurant still finds room for a wood-fired grill in the open kitchen, which turns out locally sourced, Mediterranean-inspired dishes such as seared scallops with sofrito blanco and sweet pea ravioli in garlic brodo.

Kisaku Sushi

Copy Link

The pleasant but generic décor of Kisaku could give the impression that it’s a run-of-the-mill, midrange Japanese restaurant, but looks are deceiving. This is Green Lake’s most esteemed dining establishment, and one of the few places in the neighborhood that draws a citywide clientele. The standard sushi bar fare is first rate, but the real treasures are the more exotic fish often not on the menu. Go for the omakase, or if you’re at the bar, ask the chef to surprise you.

Diggity Dog

Copy Link

This tiny temple of tube steaks is a good place to discover whether you love or hate the Seattle dog. (Few diners have mixed feelings about cream cheese on a hot dog.) If you fall into the hater category, you can console yourself with dozens of other options, ranging from classic franks to kielbasa to field roast veggie dogs.

Matthew Lombardi for Eater

Beth's Café

Copy Link

Beth's, located west of Aurora but still within spitting distance of the lake, is one of Seattle's most vaunted greasy spoons. It's (in)famous for its 12-egg omelets with unlimited hash browns, but if you look beyond that novelty you'll find a menu full of hearty breakfast classics done the right way, including good-quality bacon and sausage. Beth's never closes, making it the best place in the city to go when it's 3 a.m. and you want to feel like you're living in a Tom Waits song.

Mendoza's Mexican Mercado

Copy Link

Another northwestern outlier, this small market's tasty taqueria and deli are operated by friendly folks who bring their A-game when it comes to tacos, chile rellenos, and stews like pozole. And if you need to feed an army, order ahead for the Super Combo Dominguero, featuring massive portions of carnitas, cactus salad, queso, and more. Just don't forget to have your loyalty card punched.

Rosita's Mexican Grill

A decades-old Green Lake standby, Rosita’s serves reliable Tex-Mex fare in a cheery setting. Kids scarf down the free, freshly made tortillas and salsa while their parents contemplate the extensive selection of tequilas.

Mykonos Greek Grill

Green Lakers come here for gyros and other Greek classics served in a simple, pleasant dining room. The more sophisticated dinner entrees and specials are a satisfying testament to the owners’ Greek roots.

Shelter Lounge

This younger sibling of the Ballard Shelter has the neighborhood’s most stylish dining room, a glass-walled, light-filled beauty looking out onto the park and the lake. The menu can be too clever for its own good, with creative takes on pub grub that occasionally fall short, but the happy-hour burger hits the spot.

Lucia Italian Restaurant

Green Lake’s take on Italian covers all the bases. The contemporary casual setting is fashionable enough for date night, but the large selection of pasta and pizza keeps things accessible to all demographics.

Spud Fish & Chips

Spud is a beautiful fast-food relic, with a bold neon sign mounted over a classic midcentury-mod building and fish fried crisp and light. (The chips, sadly, are limp and bland, but they achieve redemption with a dip in the house-made tartar sauce.)

Nell's Restaurant

Nell’s is a special-occasion spot that prides itself on understated, casual elegance. It’s been embracing the farm-to-table ethos for nearly two decades with seasonal, European-inspired menus that are inventive without a whiff of self-aware affectation.

Latona Pub

No pub in Green Lake gets more love than Latona. It has cozy, lived-in ambiance down pat, and from the extensive selection of local beers to the menu of creative comfort food, everything is better than it has to be. Like Green Lake's other neighborhood bars, it's a place where locals go to for kid-free time — you have to be over 21 to enter.

The Dish Cafe

When Green Lakers are craving good, straightforward breakfast food they head for The Dish, the bigger offshoot of the Ballard standby. You can get eggs draped over corned beef hash, tucked inside a burrito, or some 20 other ways.

Tsui Sushi Bar

The owner of Krittika’s next door took over the space occupied by Mona’s Bistro, left the dark, steam-punk-inspired décor mainly intact, and made the improbable transition to a sushi bar. The result is a nice change of pace from the typical sushi experience, with some flashy rolls at bargain prices and a lively bar scene.

Krittika's Noodles & Thai

Krittika’s delivers what most diners are looking for in a neighborhood Thai place: decent takes on the standard dishes, served with a little atmosphere at reasonable prices. If you can stand the heat, you’ve come to the right place — the five-star spicy will set your mouth aflame.

Burgundian

Come here — another 21-and-over establishment — for craft beer and Green Lake’s most elaborate pub grub, brought to you by the same people who operate Brouwer's, the beer mecca in Fremont. Eating light is not in the cards; specialties include chicken and waffles, arancini, and poutine with oxtail gravy.

Himalayan Sherpa House

Green Lake’s most distinctive Asian restaurant comes by its name honestly: the owners' family name is Sherpa, and the chef has ascended Mt. Everest 10 times (without oxygen). He prepares food that will look familiar to aficionados of Indian cuisine — curry, vindaloo, tika masala — along with Tibetan dumplings, noodles, and stew.