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Dark-colored rice topped with an egg
The squid ink fried rice at Paju, a modern Korean restaurant near the Space Needle.
Jay Friedman/Eater Seattle

10 Great Restaurants Near Seattle Center

Where to eat near the Space Needle, MoPop, and the Chihuly glass garden

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The squid ink fried rice at Paju, a modern Korean restaurant near the Space Needle.
| Jay Friedman/Eater Seattle

At Seattle Center, tourists can take a ride up the legendary Space Needle, frolic through Chihuly’s stunning glass garden, and make their way to the guitar sculpture and other exhibitions at the MoPOP Museum of Pop Culture (as the oft-rebranded EMP Museum is currently known) Seattle Center is also hosts concerts and even music festivals. But once all the sites are seen, where are the best places to refuel? This guide take a look around the area, which includes Queen Anne and Belltown, both excellent neighborhoods for dining and drinking.

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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Queen Anne Beerhall

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A dedicated recreation of a German beer hall, this place is big enough to fit a party of any size and has a menu stacked with hearty Eastern European fare (including plenty of brats and schnitzel), along with imported beers delivered in huge steins. All that’s missing is the lederhosen.

Toulouse Petit

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This Cajun-Creole restaurant in Uptown (formerly known as Lower Queen Anne), with hundreds of candles adorning the walls and the disco ball hanging in the dining room, feels like something between a shrine in a mountain cave and 80’s Miami drug lord’s den. The menu, inspired by the cuisine of New Orleans, is expansive, with oysters on the half shell, charcuterie and cheese plates, pasta and gnochi, steaks, and six preparations of half chickens. There’s also classic Southern dishes like gumbo and jambalaya. The wine, spirits, beer, and cocktail menus are just as long.

Sal Y Limón

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This lively Mexican restaurant in one of the most lively stretches of Uptown (the neighborhood formerly known as Lower Queen Anne) serves some of the best under-the-radar Mexican food in the central Seattle area at surprisingly affordable prices. The ceviche is a generous pile of shrimp and vegetables in a balanced marinade, and the stews, like the pozole, are satisfying and filling.

This cozy Lower Queen Anne restaurant serves up contemporary takes on classic dishes like yukhoe (beef tartare) and haemul pajeon (seafood pancake). But the Paju fried rice is the real showstopper with a smoked quail egg yolk centered on the squid ink-blackened, kimchi and bacon-enhanced rice. In 2021, the restaurant was listed as one of the New York Times’ best restaurants in America.

Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar

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It wouldn’t be Seattle without a trip to a Taylor Shellfish oyster bar, an extension of one of the country’s premier oyster farms. A glass of Washington wine alongside an array of local bivalves is a great way to appreciate the bounty of the Pacific Northwest.

Tilikum Place Cafe

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Despite its proximity to Seattle Center and the Space Needle, this wildly popular cafe is no tourist trap, but rather, but a favorite among locals. With a European feel and an eclectic menu, the restaurant also has one definitive star: the Dutch baby pancake, whose cast iron-baked goodness has earned fame, far and wide.

Wa'z Seattle

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In 2018, chef Hiro Tawara opened this Japanese fine-dining restaurant devoted to the art of kaiseki. The traditional multi-course style features elegantly plated dishes served in a specific sequence to honor the seasons and Japanese culture. In 2019, it started expanding its offerings, adding temaki (DIY hand sushi rolls) for weekend lunch , and bringing on a new executive chef to work with chef-owner Tawara.

Citizen Cafe

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This restaurant and cafe with a large, covered outdoor patio, is one of the best destinations for brunch near the Space Needle, especially on days with warm weather. The mimosas (with fun variations topped with St Germaine or ginger beer and prickly pear) come in pint jars, and the bloody Marys pack a spicy, boozy punch. The food, like the huevos rancheros with avocado-poblano crema, and the Korean-Mexican tacos and sandwiches, also hit the spot, and the cafe regularly hosts live musicians and pop-ups, including Turkish cuisine sensation Hamdi.

Big Mario's Pizza

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The Queen Anne location of this classic Seattle pizza shop is open until 2:00 a.m. The big, cheesy, New York slices with curled pepperoni cups are the perfect, filling late-night bite, and the divey locale (with a small backroom bar) is a good spot for a relaxing beer any time of the day.

CÔBA - Viet Kitchen & Ales

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This neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant stands out for offering a full bar along with an expansive menu of Vietnamese dishes. All of the noodle soups here are excellent, but the bun bo hue (spicy beef noodle soup) is a highlight, coming with pork hock, house-made meatballs, blood cake, and beef shank. The sambal and fish sauce chicken wings make a great drinking snack.

Queen Anne Beerhall

A dedicated recreation of a German beer hall, this place is big enough to fit a party of any size and has a menu stacked with hearty Eastern European fare (including plenty of brats and schnitzel), along with imported beers delivered in huge steins. All that’s missing is the lederhosen.

Toulouse Petit

This Cajun-Creole restaurant in Uptown (formerly known as Lower Queen Anne), with hundreds of candles adorning the walls and the disco ball hanging in the dining room, feels like something between a shrine in a mountain cave and 80’s Miami drug lord’s den. The menu, inspired by the cuisine of New Orleans, is expansive, with oysters on the half shell, charcuterie and cheese plates, pasta and gnochi, steaks, and six preparations of half chickens. There’s also classic Southern dishes like gumbo and jambalaya. The wine, spirits, beer, and cocktail menus are just as long.

Sal Y Limón

This lively Mexican restaurant in one of the most lively stretches of Uptown (the neighborhood formerly known as Lower Queen Anne) serves some of the best under-the-radar Mexican food in the central Seattle area at surprisingly affordable prices. The ceviche is a generous pile of shrimp and vegetables in a balanced marinade, and the stews, like the pozole, are satisfying and filling.

Paju

This cozy Lower Queen Anne restaurant serves up contemporary takes on classic dishes like yukhoe (beef tartare) and haemul pajeon (seafood pancake). But the Paju fried rice is the real showstopper with a smoked quail egg yolk centered on the squid ink-blackened, kimchi and bacon-enhanced rice. In 2021, the restaurant was listed as one of the New York Times’ best restaurants in America.

Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar

It wouldn’t be Seattle without a trip to a Taylor Shellfish oyster bar, an extension of one of the country’s premier oyster farms. A glass of Washington wine alongside an array of local bivalves is a great way to appreciate the bounty of the Pacific Northwest.

Tilikum Place Cafe

Despite its proximity to Seattle Center and the Space Needle, this wildly popular cafe is no tourist trap, but rather, but a favorite among locals. With a European feel and an eclectic menu, the restaurant also has one definitive star: the Dutch baby pancake, whose cast iron-baked goodness has earned fame, far and wide.

Wa'z Seattle

In 2018, chef Hiro Tawara opened this Japanese fine-dining restaurant devoted to the art of kaiseki. The traditional multi-course style features elegantly plated dishes served in a specific sequence to honor the seasons and Japanese culture. In 2019, it started expanding its offerings, adding temaki (DIY hand sushi rolls) for weekend lunch , and bringing on a new executive chef to work with chef-owner Tawara.

Citizen Cafe

This restaurant and cafe with a large, covered outdoor patio, is one of the best destinations for brunch near the Space Needle, especially on days with warm weather. The mimosas (with fun variations topped with St Germaine or ginger beer and prickly pear) come in pint jars, and the bloody Marys pack a spicy, boozy punch. The food, like the huevos rancheros with avocado-poblano crema, and the Korean-Mexican tacos and sandwiches, also hit the spot, and the cafe regularly hosts live musicians and pop-ups, including Turkish cuisine sensation Hamdi.

Big Mario's Pizza

The Queen Anne location of this classic Seattle pizza shop is open until 2:00 a.m. The big, cheesy, New York slices with curled pepperoni cups are the perfect, filling late-night bite, and the divey locale (with a small backroom bar) is a good spot for a relaxing beer any time of the day.

CÔBA - Viet Kitchen & Ales

This neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant stands out for offering a full bar along with an expansive menu of Vietnamese dishes. All of the noodle soups here are excellent, but the bun bo hue (spicy beef noodle soup) is a highlight, coming with pork hock, house-made meatballs, blood cake, and beef shank. The sambal and fish sauce chicken wings make a great drinking snack.

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