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The view of Lake Union from Westward, a a restaurant in Wallingford.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

Where to Eat in Wallingford

With tom yum shrimp congee, elk bolognese, and more

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The view of Lake Union from Westward, a a restaurant in Wallingford.
| Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

This neighborhood in between Fremont and the University District features locations of many well-known local chains (Ezell’s, Molly Moon’s, and Dick’s, to name a few). But it also has independent restaurants serving a diverse array of cuisines, with Japanese izakaya food, Trinidadian curried goat, Afghani bolani, and more.

Wallingford's strength is well-established, mid- to bargain-priced restaurants that cater primarily to customers who live within walking distance, including University of Washington students wandering over from the adjacent U District. Here are some favorites. (For the purposes of this list, Wallingford cedes restaurants on Stone Way, south of 40th Street, to Fremont. Find that neighborhood’s many excellent restaurants in the Fremont map.)

Send us a tip by emailing seattle@eater.com. As usual, this list is not ranked; it’s organized geographically.

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Ethan Stowell’s intimate Wallingford restaurant serves well-crafted Italian dishes. Appetizers include yeasted polenta fritters served with honey and sage. Pasta dishes include pappardelle with beef cheek ragu and mint. And there are a few classic meat and fish entrees, like seared duck breast with blackberry, fennel, and hazelnut.

Kisaku Sushi

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Hidden in Tangletown (a neighborhood that’s part of Wallingford on the edge of Green Lake) is one of the best neighborhood restaurants in Seattle. There’s a short list of signature rolls (the Green Lake Roll with salmon, asparagus, and flying fish egg is a highlight), as well as excellent sashimi and nigiri. Kisaku also offers two separate tasting menus which incorporate ingredients from other cuisines — like a raw hamachi dish oranges and Thai chilis. It offers a takeout-only lunch and takeout and dine-in for dinner.

Bizzarro Italian Cafe

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The wacky decor is part-flea market, part-artist’s studio, but the menu is serious Italian, mixing comfort food with a touch of sophistication: think of classic dishes like drunken clams, elk bolognese, and pappardelle with foraged mushrooms in a cream sauce.

Kokkaku

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This Wallingford steakhouse focuses on high-grade cuts, prepared using Japanese, French, and Italian techniques. One appetizer consists of Wagyu served four ways: as sashimi, nigiri, gunkan sushi (minced and served atop rice, wrapped with nori) and as tartare, topped with a quail egg. There are also wagyu steaks, Kurobata pork, and a cream-sauce fettuccine with uni and salmon roe.

Pam's Kitchen

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Curried goat, jerk chicken, callaloo, fried plantains — the Trinidadian cuisine at Pam’s is rich, spicy, earthy, and decadent. The location is one of the biggest dining rooms in Wallingford, where previous restaurants have struggled to fill seats. It’s still kicking over two years into the pandemic.

Harvest Beat

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The vegan prix fixe menu at Harvest Beat one of Seattle’s best plant-based meals. Dishes change with each micro-season and are consistently creative and delicious. A recent menu included dishes like chilled asparagus bisque topped with sea beans and mint licorice fern root foam, beet carpaccio with toasted coriander, and a spanakopita with morels, roasted garlic, smoked tomato sauce.

Kabul Afghan Cuisine

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This decades-old family-run restaurant is one of the few places in Seattle serving Afghan cuisine. Stop by for snacks like the bolani (potato-stuffed fried flatbreads) and bright, yogurt-heavy dips served with bread, or enjoy racks of lamb and kebabs served with rice for something more filling.

Matthew Lombardi/Eater

45th Stop N Shop and Poke Bar

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One of Seattle’s most surprising phenomena is this takeout poke bar amidst the racks of candy and chips at a convenience store. With delicious versions of the dish at enticing prices, it's no wonder this was the readers' choice in the 2016 Eater Awards for Poke Bar of the Year. Just get in line and see for yourself what the fuss is about.

Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

Yoroshiku

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This Wallingford Izakaya serves dishes popular in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, like grilled scallops with butter and soy-sauce-marinated fried chicken. The Hokkaido chirashi bowl is loaded with ikura (salmon roe) and slices of shime-saba, mackerel that’s been cured with salt and rice vinegar to balance out the strong flavor of the fish’s oils, as well as wild salmon and tuna. The bar, with its long list of beer and sake, is a perfect place for a late-evening drink and snack. Don’t leave without grabbing some soft-serve from the restaurant’s sister Hokkaido ice cream shop, Indigo Cow.

Secret Congee

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This congee takeout spot — tucked inside Wallingford health food shop Juisala — was an immediate hit among local food writers when it opened in late 2020. Even during the pandemic, it saw success and is now opening a large Ballard location. The restaurant gussies up the Asian comfort food dish (and makes them pretty) with toppings like miso and squash, slow-cooked beef and kimchi, and tom-yum-flavored whole shrimp.

Rocking Wok Taiwanese Cuisine

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This Taiwanese gem is hidden away on a residential block in Wallingford. It’s regularly packed with University of Washington international student snacking on stinky tofu and oyster pancakes as well as affordable staples like lu rou fan (Taiwanese braised pork over rice)

Cantinetta

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The original location of Cantinetta, which now has a few offshoots around the Seattle area, has been a neighborhood favorite since 2009, offering simple but refined Tuscan cuisine. A highlight is the house-made pasta, served up as pappardelle bolognese, tagliatelle with spring sugar snap peas, guanciale, and egg, or classic cacio e pepe. The menu changes seasonally.

Westward

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On the northern shore of Lake Union, Westward’s outdoor patio with tables and heated tents provide amazing views of the city across the water. Part of Renee Erickson’s Sea Creatures group, this impeccably designed, seafood-focused favorite serves up a robust selection of oysters, inventive cocktails, and weekend brunch.

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Ethan Stowell’s intimate Wallingford restaurant serves well-crafted Italian dishes. Appetizers include yeasted polenta fritters served with honey and sage. Pasta dishes include pappardelle with beef cheek ragu and mint. And there are a few classic meat and fish entrees, like seared duck breast with blackberry, fennel, and hazelnut.

Kisaku Sushi

Hidden in Tangletown (a neighborhood that’s part of Wallingford on the edge of Green Lake) is one of the best neighborhood restaurants in Seattle. There’s a short list of signature rolls (the Green Lake Roll with salmon, asparagus, and flying fish egg is a highlight), as well as excellent sashimi and nigiri. Kisaku also offers two separate tasting menus which incorporate ingredients from other cuisines — like a raw hamachi dish oranges and Thai chilis. It offers a takeout-only lunch and takeout and dine-in for dinner.

Bizzarro Italian Cafe

The wacky decor is part-flea market, part-artist’s studio, but the menu is serious Italian, mixing comfort food with a touch of sophistication: think of classic dishes like drunken clams, elk bolognese, and pappardelle with foraged mushrooms in a cream sauce.

Kokkaku

This Wallingford steakhouse focuses on high-grade cuts, prepared using Japanese, French, and Italian techniques. One appetizer consists of Wagyu served four ways: as sashimi, nigiri, gunkan sushi (minced and served atop rice, wrapped with nori) and as tartare, topped with a quail egg. There are also wagyu steaks, Kurobata pork, and a cream-sauce fettuccine with uni and salmon roe.

Pam's Kitchen

Curried goat, jerk chicken, callaloo, fried plantains — the Trinidadian cuisine at Pam’s is rich, spicy, earthy, and decadent. The location is one of the biggest dining rooms in Wallingford, where previous restaurants have struggled to fill seats. It’s still kicking over two years into the pandemic.

Harvest Beat

The vegan prix fixe menu at Harvest Beat one of Seattle’s best plant-based meals. Dishes change with each micro-season and are consistently creative and delicious. A recent menu included dishes like chilled asparagus bisque topped with sea beans and mint licorice fern root foam, beet carpaccio with toasted coriander, and a spanakopita with morels, roasted garlic, smoked tomato sauce.

Kabul Afghan Cuisine

Matthew Lombardi/Eater

This decades-old family-run restaurant is one of the few places in Seattle serving Afghan cuisine. Stop by for snacks like the bolani (potato-stuffed fried flatbreads) and bright, yogurt-heavy dips served with bread, or enjoy racks of lamb and kebabs served with rice for something more filling.

Matthew Lombardi/Eater

45th Stop N Shop and Poke Bar

Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

One of Seattle’s most surprising phenomena is this takeout poke bar amidst the racks of candy and chips at a convenience store. With delicious versions of the dish at enticing prices, it's no wonder this was the readers' choice in the 2016 Eater Awards for Poke Bar of the Year. Just get in line and see for yourself what the fuss is about.

Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

Yoroshiku

This Wallingford Izakaya serves dishes popular in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, like grilled scallops with butter and soy-sauce-marinated fried chicken. The Hokkaido chirashi bowl is loaded with ikura (salmon roe) and slices of shime-saba, mackerel that’s been cured with salt and rice vinegar to balance out the strong flavor of the fish’s oils, as well as wild salmon and tuna. The bar, with its long list of beer and sake, is a perfect place for a late-evening drink and snack. Don’t leave without grabbing some soft-serve from the restaurant’s sister Hokkaido ice cream shop, Indigo Cow.

Secret Congee

This congee takeout spot — tucked inside Wallingford health food shop Juisala — was an immediate hit among local food writers when it opened in late 2020. Even during the pandemic, it saw success and is now opening a large Ballard location. The restaurant gussies up the Asian comfort food dish (and makes them pretty) with toppings like miso and squash, slow-cooked beef and kimchi, and tom-yum-flavored whole shrimp.

Rocking Wok Taiwanese Cuisine

This Taiwanese gem is hidden away on a residential block in Wallingford. It’s regularly packed with University of Washington international student snacking on stinky tofu and oyster pancakes as well as affordable staples like lu rou fan (Taiwanese braised pork over rice)

Cantinetta

The original location of Cantinetta, which now has a few offshoots around the Seattle area, has been a neighborhood favorite since 2009, offering simple but refined Tuscan cuisine. A highlight is the house-made pasta, served up as pappardelle bolognese, tagliatelle with spring sugar snap peas, guanciale, and egg, or classic cacio e pepe. The menu changes seasonally.

Westward

On the northern shore of Lake Union, Westward’s outdoor patio with tables and heated tents provide amazing views of the city across the water. Part of Renee Erickson’s Sea Creatures group, this impeccably designed, seafood-focused favorite serves up a robust selection of oysters, inventive cocktails, and weekend brunch.

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