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The bar at Tomo, lined with bottles and glasses, with orange accent lighting and dark paint on the walls.
Chef Brady Williams opened Tomo at the beginning of September and serves micro-seasonal Pacific Northwest tasting menus.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

13 Wonderful Restaurants in White Center

With pozole, pupusas, pizza and a micro-seasonal tasting menu from a Canlis alum

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Chef Brady Williams opened Tomo at the beginning of September and serves micro-seasonal Pacific Northwest tasting menus.
| Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

Long a working-class neighborhood brimming with diverse restaurants, White Center is seeing an influx of new residents and restaurateurs. It’s a dicey time, as growth can so quickly turn to gentrification and a squelching of diversity — but for now, the area still boasts a harmonious mix of food options, from Korean fried chicken, pizza, and burgers to pupusas, pozole, and chilaquiles. And since Canlis alum Brady William’s restaurant, Tomo, opened in September, it’s also become home to one of the city’s best fine-dining restaurants. Here’s a guide to some highlights.

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.

Can Bar

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If you’re looking to crack a cold one in White Center, there’s no better place than Can Bar. Inside this nautical-themed neighborhood haunt, you’ll find 99 different cans of beer, from Pacific Northwest classics like Reuben’s Crikey IPA to the Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout from San Diego. The inside of the bar is adorned with rustic planks cut from an old Owens Pleasure Craft boat, but you can also grab some fresh air with your beer and sandwich on the back patio. And don’t miss The Land Whale sandwich — a carnivore’s dream with smoked pork shoulder, ham, and bacon.

Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant

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Long before the neighborhood became a dining draw, Salvadorean Bakery was the place that had Seattleites making the trek to White Center. Here, diners can load up trays with excellent Mexican or Salvadorean pastries filled with guava, mango, or molasses, or head into the dining room where pupusas rule — those toothy tortillas stuffed with chicharron, chicken, or cheese and beans. If you want to go crazy, give the massive nine-inch pupusa loca a try, which come stuffed with all of the fixings. For a larger meal, try the carne asada (tender and served fresh off the grill), which is served with a deep-fried chorizo sausage.

Zippy's Giant Burgers

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This fast food spot serves burgers with a side of nostalgia, from the 1960s-era advertising lining the walls to the retro toys on display in the shop. The classic burger here is incredibly juicy and always a good bet, but Rae’s Hell — a patty with Mama Lil’s hot relish, a hot link, cheddar, and red onion — is perfect if you’re looking for a little spice. If that’s not hot enough for you, the special no.11 burger, made with Mama Lil’s Kick Butt Peppers and Monterey jack, is truly fiery.

Proletariat Pizza

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Tucked away on White Center’s main drag is this pint-sized pizza parlor — a casual, family-friendly gem. The antipasto plate is a great way to start, with the oven-roasted tomatoes teasing the flavors to come on the pizzas. With just the right amount of char around the edges, the 12” and 18” thin-crust pies hold an impressive combination of flavors — from the Classic (Zoe’s pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives) to the Genoa, with Applegate natural salami, ricotta cheese, pepperoncini, and olive oil (hold the tomato sauce). The creamy homemade tiramisu, with its espresso-soaked lady fingers and mascarpone cheese, makes a perfect sweet finish to a meal.

El Paisano Rosticeria y Cocina

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At this casual restaurant, diners can eat a whole roasted chicken with rice, beans, and tortillas while catching the day’s soccer match on television. Tortas, sauced-up chiles rellenos, enchiladas, and pozole teeming with tender pork are all excellent options. The whole chicken, covered in red adobo sauce, is bound to make a mess no matter what, so forgo the napkins and tear off the chunks of tender meat with the chewy flour tortillas, dip it in sauce and enjoy.

A view of a bowl of pozole, with tortillas, lime, and sauces on the side.
Pozole with tortillas.
Jenise Silva for Eater

Buho is a neighborhood tequila bar where you can hear great music, play pinball, eat Oaxacan cream corn, and drink excellent mezcal and tequila. With a wide selection of mezcals from top producers including Bozal, Del Maguey and El Jolgorio, agave rules. Mezcal and tequila are also heavily featured in the delicious cocktails like the Mezcal Last Word, made with with Union mezcal and green Chartreuse; the horchata slushies are also delicious.

Beer Star

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Thanks to the presence of two restaurants inside this expansive beer hall, patrons won’t go hungry while sampling the 40 beers on tap (with the focus on brewers from Oregon and Washington). Beer Star also boasts one of the most impressive coolers stocked with single beer cans and other drinks. Grab a seat at the bar or mix and mingle with the families (with kids and dogs in tow) in the large dining area. The White Center location of Li’l Woody’s, one of the restaurants inside, is always good for a big, messy burger, but don’t sleep on the roast beef sandwich with peppercorn horseradish aioli. Zeek’s Pizza will soon be offering up pizzas for those looking to soak up the suds with big, meaty, pies like the Puget Pounder, loaded with pepperoni, Canadian bacon and Italian sausage. 

A row of counters and seats surround a halo-like lamp lighting the inside of Beer Star, with TVs on in the back.
Beer Star is known as a dog-friendly place.
Jenise Silva for Eater

Bok A Bok Fried Chicken

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With a small, bright interior and friendly service, Bok a Bok serves up juicy double-fried Korean chicken, flaky biscuits, and creamy kimchi mac and cheese. The spicy chicken sandwich with a four-chili sauce and pickled Serrano peppers is a delicious choice for those who like heat. You can also stop by anytime on Taco Tuesdays and get six of their sweet and salty bulgogi chicken tacos for the price of three.

A top-down view of a Bok a Bok platter, with fried chicken, coleslaw, and an array of other sides.
Fried chicken with an array of sides.
Suzi Pratt for Eater

Taqueria la Fondita

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With all of the changes taking place in White Center, Taqueria La Fondita is a comforting mainstay that serves excellent renditions of the classics: tacos, crunchy taquitos rancheros, generously packed burritos, and enchiladas smothered in sauce and oozing with cheese. The lengua tacos, here also hit the spot. As a bonus, many of the orders come out with a piquant combination of a grilled onion and Serrano peppers. The horchata offers the right soothing blend of cinnamon and sugar to cool down any overheated taste buds.

The much-anticipated White Center restaurant Tomo opened at the beginning of September with a menu serving micro-seasonal Pacific Northwest cuisine. Former Canlis chef Brady Williams’ five-course dinner menu offers creative dishes based on what’s seasonally available in the Seattle area. The restaurant was a 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist for its outstanding wine program. The space is intimate with a wall of vertical ash slats, and The dishes change regularly, but a sample menu on the website includes pork collar with squash, fermented radish chawanmushi, and sweet potato with miso caramel. The name Tomo means “friend” in Japanese and is also an homage to Williams’ grandmother, Tomoko Ishiwata Bristol. No reservation? Go early and nab a seat at the bar for an expertly mixed cocktail and some bites. Tomo also offers an a la carte lunch menu on the weekends.

Good Day Donuts

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This spot from chef Erik Jackson (formerly of Vendemmia) is more versatile than the name would suggest. Yes, there will be plenty of sticky fingers from the sugar-forward selection of cinnamon twists, glazed doughnuts, apple fritters, maple bars and just about anything else that you can put sprinkles on. But Good Day has a savory side as well. The Meatball Hot Sub comes loaded with beef and pork meatballs dripping in red sauce and blanketed with mozzarella, and the bacon, egg, and cheese, made with a banh mi bun from An Xuyen Bakery, is a hearty mouthful.

A view of the interior of Good Day Donuts, with a red counter, a display case, and an ice cream sign to the far right.
This place features Southern-style boiled peanuts.
Jenise Silva for Eater

Dalat Quan

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Nestled into a strip mall between a beauty shop and a grocery store, Dalat Quan offers excellent Vietnamese comfort food. The velvety Thailand Noodle Soup with the Tom kah coconut rice noodle warms the body, while more rice noodles can be found in the dry hu tieu, loaded with marinated pork belly, squid, and prawns, and served with a quail egg in a rich broth. Another crowd-pleaser is the tumeric noodle soup, mi quang, packed with pork hock, ribs, and shrimp.

A bowl of soup, with a giant leaf of lettuce sticking out of brown broth, and sauce and salad on the side.
Hu tieu, with noodles, pork, and seafood.
Jenise Silva for Eater

Castillos Supermarkets

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At the back of this unassuming supermercado, knowledgeable diners will find some of the best Mexican food in the city, with a buffet that changes daily. The classic chiles rellenos hold the perfect blend of cheese and oregano in the fried poblano pepper, and the chicken tamales never miss. And the whole mojarra dorada fish, lightly battered and fried, is a light and crispy delight.

View of a plate filled with fried tortilla strips, rice, and beans against a red background.
Chilaquiles with rice and beans.
Jenise Silva for Eater

Can Bar

If you’re looking to crack a cold one in White Center, there’s no better place than Can Bar. Inside this nautical-themed neighborhood haunt, you’ll find 99 different cans of beer, from Pacific Northwest classics like Reuben’s Crikey IPA to the Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout from San Diego. The inside of the bar is adorned with rustic planks cut from an old Owens Pleasure Craft boat, but you can also grab some fresh air with your beer and sandwich on the back patio. And don’t miss The Land Whale sandwich — a carnivore’s dream with smoked pork shoulder, ham, and bacon.

Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant

Long before the neighborhood became a dining draw, Salvadorean Bakery was the place that had Seattleites making the trek to White Center. Here, diners can load up trays with excellent Mexican or Salvadorean pastries filled with guava, mango, or molasses, or head into the dining room where pupusas rule — those toothy tortillas stuffed with chicharron, chicken, or cheese and beans. If you want to go crazy, give the massive nine-inch pupusa loca a try, which come stuffed with all of the fixings. For a larger meal, try the carne asada (tender and served fresh off the grill), which is served with a deep-fried chorizo sausage.

Zippy's Giant Burgers

This fast food spot serves burgers with a side of nostalgia, from the 1960s-era advertising lining the walls to the retro toys on display in the shop. The classic burger here is incredibly juicy and always a good bet, but Rae’s Hell — a patty with Mama Lil’s hot relish, a hot link, cheddar, and red onion — is perfect if you’re looking for a little spice. If that’s not hot enough for you, the special no.11 burger, made with Mama Lil’s Kick Butt Peppers and Monterey jack, is truly fiery.

Proletariat Pizza

Tucked away on White Center’s main drag is this pint-sized pizza parlor — a casual, family-friendly gem. The antipasto plate is a great way to start, with the oven-roasted tomatoes teasing the flavors to come on the pizzas. With just the right amount of char around the edges, the 12” and 18” thin-crust pies hold an impressive combination of flavors — from the Classic (Zoe’s pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives) to the Genoa, with Applegate natural salami, ricotta cheese, pepperoncini, and olive oil (hold the tomato sauce). The creamy homemade tiramisu, with its espresso-soaked lady fingers and mascarpone cheese, makes a perfect sweet finish to a meal.

El Paisano Rosticeria y Cocina

A view of a bowl of pozole, with tortillas, lime, and sauces on the side.
Pozole with tortillas.
Jenise Silva for Eater

At this casual restaurant, diners can eat a whole roasted chicken with rice, beans, and tortillas while catching the day’s soccer match on television. Tortas, sauced-up chiles rellenos, enchiladas, and pozole teeming with tender pork are all excellent options. The whole chicken, covered in red adobo sauce, is bound to make a mess no matter what, so forgo the napkins and tear off the chunks of tender meat with the chewy flour tortillas, dip it in sauce and enjoy.

A view of a bowl of pozole, with tortillas, lime, and sauces on the side.
Pozole with tortillas.
Jenise Silva for Eater

Búho

Buho is a neighborhood tequila bar where you can hear great music, play pinball, eat Oaxacan cream corn, and drink excellent mezcal and tequila. With a wide selection of mezcals from top producers including Bozal, Del Maguey and El Jolgorio, agave rules. Mezcal and tequila are also heavily featured in the delicious cocktails like the Mezcal Last Word, made with with Union mezcal and green Chartreuse; the horchata slushies are also delicious.

Beer Star

A row of counters and seats surround a halo-like lamp lighting the inside of Beer Star, with TVs on in the back.
Beer Star is known as a dog-friendly place.
Jenise Silva for Eater

Thanks to the presence of two restaurants inside this expansive beer hall, patrons won’t go hungry while sampling the 40 beers on tap (with the focus on brewers from Oregon and Washington). Beer Star also boasts one of the most impressive coolers stocked with single beer cans and other drinks. Grab a seat at the bar or mix and mingle with the families (with kids and dogs in tow) in the large dining area. The White Center location of Li’l Woody’s, one of the restaurants inside, is always good for a big, messy burger, but don’t sleep on the roast beef sandwich with peppercorn horseradish aioli. Zeek’s Pizza will soon be offering up pizzas for those looking to soak up the suds with big, meaty, pies like the Puget Pounder, loaded with pepperoni, Canadian bacon and Italian sausage. 

A row of counters and seats surround a halo-like lamp lighting the inside of Beer Star, with TVs on in the back.
Beer Star is known as a dog-friendly place.
Jenise Silva for Eater

Bok A Bok Fried Chicken

A top-down view of a Bok a Bok platter, with fried chicken, coleslaw, and an array of other sides.
Fried chicken with an array of sides.
Suzi Pratt for Eater

With a small, bright interior and friendly service, Bok a Bok serves up juicy double-fried Korean chicken, flaky biscuits, and creamy kimchi mac and cheese. The spicy chicken sandwich with a four-chili sauce and pickled Serrano peppers is a delicious choice for those who like heat. You can also stop by anytime on Taco Tuesdays and get six of their sweet and salty bulgogi chicken tacos for the price of three.

A top-down view of a Bok a Bok platter, with fried chicken, coleslaw, and an array of other sides.
Fried chicken with an array of sides.
Suzi Pratt for Eater

Taqueria la Fondita

With all of the changes taking place in White Center, Taqueria La Fondita is a comforting mainstay that serves excellent renditions of the classics: tacos, crunchy taquitos rancheros, generously packed burritos, and enchiladas smothered in sauce and oozing with cheese. The lengua tacos, here also hit the spot. As a bonus, many of the orders come out with a piquant combination of a grilled onion and Serrano peppers. The horchata offers the right soothing blend of cinnamon and sugar to cool down any overheated taste buds.

TOMO

The much-anticipated White Center restaurant Tomo opened at the beginning of September with a menu serving micro-seasonal Pacific Northwest cuisine. Former Canlis chef Brady Williams’ five-course dinner menu offers creative dishes based on what’s seasonally available in the Seattle area. The restaurant was a 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist for its outstanding wine program. The space is intimate with a wall of vertical ash slats, and The dishes change regularly, but a sample menu on the website includes pork collar with squash, fermented radish chawanmushi, and sweet potato with miso caramel. The name Tomo means “friend” in Japanese and is also an homage to Williams’ grandmother, Tomoko Ishiwata Bristol. No reservation? Go early and nab a seat at the bar for an expertly mixed cocktail and some bites. Tomo also offers an a la carte lunch menu on the weekends.

Good Day Donuts

A view of the interior of Good Day Donuts, with a red counter, a display case, and an ice cream sign to the far right.
This place features Southern-style boiled peanuts.
Jenise Silva for Eater

This spot from chef Erik Jackson (formerly of Vendemmia) is more versatile than the name would suggest. Yes, there will be plenty of sticky fingers from the sugar-forward selection of cinnamon twists, glazed doughnuts, apple fritters, maple bars and just about anything else that you can put sprinkles on. But Good Day has a savory side as well. The Meatball Hot Sub comes loaded with beef and pork meatballs dripping in red sauce and blanketed with mozzarella, and the bacon, egg, and cheese, made with a banh mi bun from An Xuyen Bakery, is a hearty mouthful.

A view of the interior of Good Day Donuts, with a red counter, a display case, and an ice cream sign to the far right.
This place features Southern-style boiled peanuts.
Jenise Silva for Eater

Dalat Quan

A bowl of soup, with a giant leaf of lettuce sticking out of brown broth, and sauce and salad on the side.
Hu tieu, with noodles, pork, and seafood.
Jenise Silva for Eater

Nestled into a strip mall between a beauty shop and a grocery store, Dalat Quan offers excellent Vietnamese comfort food. The velvety Thailand Noodle Soup with the Tom kah coconut rice noodle warms the body, while more rice noodles can be found in the dry hu tieu, loaded with marinated pork belly, squid, and prawns, and served with a quail egg in a rich broth. Another crowd-pleaser is the tumeric noodle soup, mi quang, packed with pork hock, ribs, and shrimp.

A bowl of soup, with a giant leaf of lettuce sticking out of brown broth, and sauce and salad on the side.
Hu tieu, with noodles, pork, and seafood.
Jenise Silva for Eater

Castillos Supermarkets

View of a plate filled with fried tortilla strips, rice, and beans against a red background.
Chilaquiles with rice and beans.
Jenise Silva for Eater

At the back of this unassuming supermercado, knowledgeable diners will find some of the best Mexican food in the city, with a buffet that changes daily. The classic chiles rellenos hold the perfect blend of cheese and oregano in the fried poblano pepper, and the chicken tamales never miss. And the whole mojarra dorada fish, lightly battered and fried, is a light and crispy delight.

View of a plate filled with fried tortilla strips, rice, and beans against a red background.
Chilaquiles with rice and beans.
Jenise Silva for Eater

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