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A bowl full of soba noodles, topped with sliced avocado and shiso leaf.
Kamonegi in Fremont serves soba noodles made from scratch every day.
Bill Addison/Eater

Where to Find Japanese Food in Seattle Beyond Sushi and Ramen

From-scratch soba and udon, tonkatsu curry, rice-flour confectionaries, and more

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Kamonegi in Fremont serves soba noodles made from scratch every day.
| Bill Addison/Eater

The history of Japanese food in Seattle goes back for over a century; in the early 1900s, the International District’s Nihonmachi (Japantown) was a flourishing district with independent newspapers, banks, grocery stores, and, of course, restaurants. Maneki, Seattle’s oldest sushi bar, was established in 1904 and is still open to this day. With such a rich Japanese history, the city naturally abounds with restaurants serving excellent sushi and ramen, arguably Japan’s most-famous culinary exports. But Japanese businesses here have so much more to offer: soba noodles made from scratch, deeply flavored pork katsu curry, delicate confectionaries made of rice flour, and more. Here are some favorites.

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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Diners should pay special attention if they want to sample the Japanese confections known as wagashi from Phinney Ridge’s tiny Tokara. Due to limited supply, call ahead to order and arrange a time to collect desired treats such as sakuramochi, made with pink mochi, filled with red bean paste, and wrapped in a salted, pickled cherry leaf — typically available during cherry blossom season. In Kyoto fashion, diners should enjoy them with tea.

Yes, patrons can get savory selections like Japanese curry, udon, and sushi here, but the bigger draw are the desserts from Setsuko Pastry. They’re sweet, but not too sweet, often balanced by a hit of bitterness from matcha and other ingredients. Favorites include green tea roll cake (sponge cake wrapped around azuki bean paste and fresh cream), strawberry shortcake, purple sweet potato cheesecake, and mochi brownies.

The desserts at Modern, such as smiley chiffon cupcakes, are from nearby Setsuko Pastry.
Modern/Instagram

Diners at this U District hot spot grab a tray and slide along the line, cafeteria-style, to place a noodle order. The next step is to choose some deep-fried delights a la carte, like the excellent tempura chikuwa, a fishcake in the shape of a tube. With two locations (the other is on Capitol Hill), this mini-chain is the first in Seattle to serve udon made on-site, with the cold preparations showing off the chewiness of the al dente noodles best; diners can even watch them being made while they wait to order.

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.

Issian Stone Grill

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This izakaya in Wallingford is a perfect place for a group to enjoy drinks and share small plates. Dishes include grilled mackerel, grilled tuna collar, a variety of yakitori, fried chicken cartilage, kushikatsu (tonkatsu on a stick), and even French fries with wasabi mayonnaise. Yakinonigiri (soy-sauce-glazed grilled rice balls) are the perfect dish to fill up at the end of a meal.

Kamonegi

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Star chef Mutsuko Soma makes soba from scratch every day at this Fremont destination, which was chosen as one of Eater’s Best New Restaurant in America in 2018. Soma serves traditional soba shop dishes like seiro soba (cold with dipping sauce) and super-crunchy tempura but also more creative dishes like soba with oysters and gochujang broth and oreo tempura served with mini toasted marshmallows. Make a full night of it by sampling some sake and snacks at next-door sibling bar Hannyatou before heading over to Kamonegi for dinner.

A bowl full of soba noodles, topped with sliced avocado and shiso leaf.
Kamonegi makes soba noodles and tempura into an art form.
Bill Addison/Eater

Ishoni Yakiniku

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Ishoni Yakiniku, which opened in 2021, is one of several Japanese barbecue restaurants that have opened in recent years in the Seattle area. Tables are outfitted with their own grills, where diners can sear beef cuts like short rib, tongue, and finger meat, or splurge on some A5 Wagyu. Also available to grill are various pork, duck, lamb, chicken, seafood, and vegetable options. There are also snacks like grilled mackerel, takoyaki, and fried chicken.

Kobuta & Ookami Katsu and sake house

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This small Capitol Hill dine-in-only restaurant consistently draws crowds for its perfectly executed katsu dishes. The fried pork and chicken cutlets are prepared in multiple ways: topped with grated daikon radish, drowned in sweet miso sauce, or laid atop bubbling clay pots of vegetable and mushroom stew. Don’t leave without trying the tomato and cheese katsu or the curry katsu — whose sauce, made with dark chocolate, tastes toasty and complex like a good mole negro. For most dishes, diners can choose between four different types of pork, the most expensive being the Iberico pork loin. Reservations are only open for parties greater than six and wait times can be over an hour.

One of Seattle’s only dedicated kaiseki restaurants, located in the shadow of the Space Needle, makes food almost too beautiful to eat. The premium kaiseki option takes diners on a journey that includes small bites, soup, sashimi, a braised dish, a grilled dish, a rice dish, and dessert. In keeping with kaiseki’s emphasis on seasonality, the menu changes monthly, and customers covet the counter seats, where the chef can tell diners the story of each dish, from ingredients to preparation to picturesque plating.

Several plates of food in ceramic and lacquered plates, with plenty of sashimi.
Wa’z has a rotating menu that includes small bites, soup, and a braised dish.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

At his lively Capitol Hill restaurant, Shota Nakajima (of Top Chef fame) focuses on marinated, battered, and twice-fried karaage with dry and wet seasonings including curry, teriyaki, and salt and pepper. A “Fuckit Bucket” easily feeds three or four people with three full pounds of chicken over a pound of fries and some shredded cabbage, and a late-night dine-in-only menu with Japanese egg sandwiches and fried rice is available until 1:30 a.m.

Katsu Burger

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Now with five locations (two on the Eastside and three in Seattle, including a fancier Ballard restaurant with the addition of sushi), Katsu Burger serves a slew of panko-breaded, deep-fried meats for its burgers. While beef, chicken, and even tofu are options, pork is classic for katsu, fantastic with mayo and tonkatsu sauce along with the standard toppings of cabbage, tomato, red onions, and pickles. Add nori fries and a green tea milkshake to round out a satisfying fast-food meal that’s made to order.

Tsukushinbo

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This unmarked, easy-to-miss place in the International District’s Nihonmachi is reminiscent of many family-owned restaurants in Japan that somehow manage to cook a little bit of everything, really well. There’s an eight-seat sushi bar where diners can order excellent sashimi and nigiri, but Tsukushinbo stands out for its snacks like the ochazuke (rice stew), topped with salted salmon and salmon roe, and its agedashi nasu, made with tender deep-fried eggplant drenched in a perfectly balanced broth. Go soon; word is, the restaurant is closing this summer to make way for two new restaurants.

Seattle’s oldest sushi restaurant has been open since 1904, surviving the incarceration of its owners during WWII. Maneki remains as resilient as ever: Since the pandemic started, the Japantown restaurant has offered online takeout orders for its large menu of sushi rolls, udon noodles, and Japanese comfort food. Indulge in the beef sukiyaki or unagi donburi, or make a takeout meal out of snacks, like the spicy cod karaage, potato croquettes, and onigiri (rice balls).

Fuji Bakery

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Fuji Bakery, with locations in Interbay, Bellevue, and the International District combines ingredients and techniques from Japan and France to create wonders like the yuzu bacon epi. Many people visit Fuji for its savory breads and pastries, such as kare-pan (curry bun) and brioche saumon (salmon brioche). Others prefer the sweets, like anpan, green tea Danish, year-round panettone, and best-selling crunchy cream doughnut.

Fort St. George

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This Chinatown-International-District staple serves the type of low-brow comfort food that generally doesn’t get much love outside of Japan, but which its citizens can’t live without.

This includes Japanese-style pasta, served with cod roe, enoki mushrooms, topped with a fried chicken or pork cutlet or a hamburger patty. You can also get omurice and Japanese curries here or opt to get bentos with grilled mackerel, karaage, or vegetable croquettes. There is soba and udon here too.

Sandwich House TRES

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Sandwich House TRES in Bellevue focuses primarily on doing one thing and doing it right: beloved crustless sandwiches made with soft and spongy white bread. (Crouton alert: Customers can help themselves to crusts from the “free” bin.) This sparse spot with just two tables does bustling to-go business, offering an extensive sandwich menu featuring four “zones”: meat, seafood, vegetable, and fruit. It’ll take two sandwiches to fill most diners; make one a pork cutlet.

At this Mt. Baker restaurant, chef Toshiyuki Kawai serves Japanese fine-dining with a Frenchified Pacific Northwest fine-dining twist. Dishes on the current menu include risotto with black cod tempura, iberico shabu shabu with ratatouille, and an ahi tuna tartare with watermelon gazpacho.

Tokara

Diners should pay special attention if they want to sample the Japanese confections known as wagashi from Phinney Ridge’s tiny Tokara. Due to limited supply, call ahead to order and arrange a time to collect desired treats such as sakuramochi, made with pink mochi, filled with red bean paste, and wrapped in a salted, pickled cherry leaf — typically available during cherry blossom season. In Kyoto fashion, diners should enjoy them with tea.

Modern

The desserts at Modern, such as smiley chiffon cupcakes, are from nearby Setsuko Pastry.
Modern/Instagram

Yes, patrons can get savory selections like Japanese curry, udon, and sushi here, but the bigger draw are the desserts from Setsuko Pastry. They’re sweet, but not too sweet, often balanced by a hit of bitterness from matcha and other ingredients. Favorites include green tea roll cake (sponge cake wrapped around azuki bean paste and fresh cream), strawberry shortcake, purple sweet potato cheesecake, and mochi brownies.

The desserts at Modern, such as smiley chiffon cupcakes, are from nearby Setsuko Pastry.
Modern/Instagram

Udon

Diners at this U District hot spot grab a tray and slide along the line, cafeteria-style, to place a noodle order. The next step is to choose some deep-fried delights a la carte, like the excellent tempura chikuwa, a fishcake in the shape of a tube. With two locations (the other is on Capitol Hill), this mini-chain is the first in Seattle to serve udon made on-site, with the cold preparations showing off the chewiness of the al dente noodles best; diners can even watch them being made while they wait to order.

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.

Issian Stone Grill

This izakaya in Wallingford is a perfect place for a group to enjoy drinks and share small plates. Dishes include grilled mackerel, grilled tuna collar, a variety of yakitori, fried chicken cartilage, kushikatsu (tonkatsu on a stick), and even French fries with wasabi mayonnaise. Yakinonigiri (soy-sauce-glazed grilled rice balls) are the perfect dish to fill up at the end of a meal.

Kamonegi

A bowl full of soba noodles, topped with sliced avocado and shiso leaf.
Kamonegi makes soba noodles and tempura into an art form.
Bill Addison/Eater

Star chef Mutsuko Soma makes soba from scratch every day at this Fremont destination, which was chosen as one of Eater’s Best New Restaurant in America in 2018. Soma serves traditional soba shop dishes like seiro soba (cold with dipping sauce) and super-crunchy tempura but also more creative dishes like soba with oysters and gochujang broth and oreo tempura served with mini toasted marshmallows. Make a full night of it by sampling some sake and snacks at next-door sibling bar Hannyatou before heading over to Kamonegi for dinner.

A bowl full of soba noodles, topped with sliced avocado and shiso leaf.
Kamonegi makes soba noodles and tempura into an art form.
Bill Addison/Eater

Ishoni Yakiniku

Ishoni Yakiniku, which opened in 2021, is one of several Japanese barbecue restaurants that have opened in recent years in the Seattle area. Tables are outfitted with their own grills, where diners can sear beef cuts like short rib, tongue, and finger meat, or splurge on some A5 Wagyu. Also available to grill are various pork, duck, lamb, chicken, seafood, and vegetable options. There are also snacks like grilled mackerel, takoyaki, and fried chicken.

Kobuta & Ookami Katsu and sake house

This small Capitol Hill dine-in-only restaurant consistently draws crowds for its perfectly executed katsu dishes. The fried pork and chicken cutlets are prepared in multiple ways: topped with grated daikon radish, drowned in sweet miso sauce, or laid atop bubbling clay pots of vegetable and mushroom stew. Don’t leave without trying the tomato and cheese katsu or the curry katsu — whose sauce, made with dark chocolate, tastes toasty and complex like a good mole negro. For most dishes, diners can choose between four different types of pork, the most expensive being the Iberico pork loin. Reservations are only open for parties greater than six and wait times can be over an hour.

Wa'z

Several plates of food in ceramic and lacquered plates, with plenty of sashimi.
Wa’z has a rotating menu that includes small bites, soup, and a braised dish.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

One of Seattle’s only dedicated kaiseki restaurants, located in the shadow of the Space Needle, makes food almost too beautiful to eat. The premium kaiseki option takes diners on a journey that includes small bites, soup, sashimi, a braised dish, a grilled dish, a rice dish, and dessert. In keeping with kaiseki’s emphasis on seasonality, the menu changes monthly, and customers covet the counter seats, where the chef can tell diners the story of each dish, from ingredients to preparation to picturesque plating.

Several plates of food in ceramic and lacquered plates, with plenty of sashimi.
Wa’z has a rotating menu that includes small bites, soup, and a braised dish.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

Taku

At his lively Capitol Hill restaurant, Shota Nakajima (of Top Chef fame) focuses on marinated, battered, and twice-fried karaage with dry and wet seasonings including curry, teriyaki, and salt and pepper. A “Fuckit Bucket” easily feeds three or four people with three full pounds of chicken over a pound of fries and some shredded cabbage, and a late-night dine-in-only menu with Japanese egg sandwiches and fried rice is available until 1:30 a.m.

Katsu Burger

Now with five locations (two on the Eastside and three in Seattle, including a fancier Ballard restaurant with the addition of sushi), Katsu Burger serves a slew of panko-breaded, deep-fried meats for its burgers. While beef, chicken, and even tofu are options, pork is classic for katsu, fantastic with mayo and tonkatsu sauce along with the standard toppings of cabbage, tomato, red onions, and pickles. Add nori fries and a green tea milkshake to round out a satisfying fast-food meal that’s made to order.

Tsukushinbo

This unmarked, easy-to-miss place in the International District’s Nihonmachi is reminiscent of many family-owned restaurants in Japan that somehow manage to cook a little bit of everything, really well. There’s an eight-seat sushi bar where diners can order excellent sashimi and nigiri, but Tsukushinbo stands out for its snacks like the ochazuke (rice stew), topped with salted salmon and salmon roe, and its agedashi nasu, made with tender deep-fried eggplant drenched in a perfectly balanced broth. Go soon; word is, the restaurant is closing this summer to make way for two new restaurants.

Maneki

Seattle’s oldest sushi restaurant has been open since 1904, surviving the incarceration of its owners during WWII. Maneki remains as resilient as ever: Since the pandemic started, the Japantown restaurant has offered online takeout orders for its large menu of sushi rolls, udon noodles, and Japanese comfort food. Indulge in the beef sukiyaki or unagi donburi, or make a takeout meal out of snacks, like the spicy cod karaage, potato croquettes, and onigiri (rice balls).

Fuji Bakery

Fuji Bakery, with locations in Interbay, Bellevue, and the International District combines ingredients and techniques from Japan and France to create wonders like the yuzu bacon epi. Many people visit Fuji for its savory breads and pastries, such as kare-pan (curry bun) and brioche saumon (salmon brioche). Others prefer the sweets, like anpan, green tea Danish, year-round panettone, and best-selling crunchy cream doughnut.

Fort St. George

This Chinatown-International-District staple serves the type of low-brow comfort food that generally doesn’t get much love outside of Japan, but which its citizens can’t live without.

This includes Japanese-style pasta, served with cod roe, enoki mushrooms, topped with a fried chicken or pork cutlet or a hamburger patty. You can also get omurice and Japanese curries here or opt to get bentos with grilled mackerel, karaage, or vegetable croquettes. There is soba and udon here too.

Related Maps

Sandwich House TRES

Sandwich House TRES in Bellevue focuses primarily on doing one thing and doing it right: beloved crustless sandwiches made with soft and spongy white bread. (Crouton alert: Customers can help themselves to crusts from the “free” bin.) This sparse spot with just two tables does bustling to-go business, offering an extensive sandwich menu featuring four “zones”: meat, seafood, vegetable, and fruit. It’ll take two sandwiches to fill most diners; make one a pork cutlet.

iconiq

At this Mt. Baker restaurant, chef Toshiyuki Kawai serves Japanese fine-dining with a Frenchified Pacific Northwest fine-dining twist. Dishes on the current menu include risotto with black cod tempura, iberico shabu shabu with ratatouille, and an ahi tuna tartare with watermelon gazpacho.

Related Maps