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A fried pork cutlet topped with grated daikon radish next to a pile of cabbage on a plate.
Kobuta and Ookami serves excellent katsu dishes made with chicken and pork.
Kobuta and Ookami

Where to Find Japanese Dishes in Seattle That Go Beyond Sushi and Ramen

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

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Kobuta and Ookami serves excellent katsu dishes made with chicken and pork.
| Kobuta and Ookami

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.

King County requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours for everyone ages 12+ at indoor establishments, restaurants, and bars. Studies indicate there is a lower exposure risk when eating outdoors, and the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. Please visit King County’s COVID website for resources and current information.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Modern

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6108 Phinney Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 420-4088
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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

2. Tokara

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6208 Phinney Ave N, Seattle
WA, 98103
(206) 784-0226
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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.

3. Karaage Setsuna

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2421 2nd Ave, Seattle
WA, 98121
(206) 448-3595
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Setsuna was once a beloved Japanese izakaya near Northgate. After a short absence, it reemerged as Karaage Setsuna in Belltown, with a smaller venue and menu. Food sometimes skews Hawaiian with poke, loco moco, and a saimin-like soup, but the item to prioritize is the namesake karaage, available in three portion sizes. Try it spicy, with shichimi toogarashi (a toasty seven-spice blend) or in the traditional style, made with boneless chicken thigh marinated with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.  

4. Wa'z

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411 Cedar St
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 441-7119
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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.

Wa’z has a rotating menu that includes small bites, soup, and a braised dish.
Suzi Pratt for Eater

5. Kamonegi

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1054 N 39th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 632-0185
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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.

Kamonegi makes soba noodles and tempura into an art form.
Bill Addison/Eater

6. Issian Stone Grill

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1618 N 45th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 632-7010
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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.

7. Yoroshiku

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1911 N 45th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 547-4649
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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.

8. Kokkaku

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6904, 2208 N 45th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 588-1568
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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.

9. Tsukushinbo

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515 S Main St, Seattle
WA, 98104
(206) 467-4004

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. 

10. Maneki

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304 6th Ave S, Seattle
WA, 98104
(206) 622-2631
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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).

11. Fuji Bakery

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526 S King St
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 623-4050
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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.

12. Taku

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706 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 829-9418
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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.

13. Ishoni Yakiniku

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611 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102
(425) 455-0898
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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.

14. Katsu Burger

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1410 12th Ave
Seattle, WA
(206) 941-5317
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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.

15. Udon

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4515 University Way NE, Seattle
WA, 98105
(206) 453-3788
Visit Website

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.

16. Kobuta & Ookami Katsu and sake house

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121 15th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 708-7856
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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.

17. Umami Kushi

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9099 Seward Park Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 723-1887
Visit Website

Harold Fields’ Rainier Beach cafe makes the Seattle area’s only okazu pan — Japanese savory filled buns breaded in panko and flash-fried until crispy. The fillings at the shop include beef curry, lentil (a vegan option), and chicken adobo. Fields also serves yakitori and a selection of sake. It’s primarily a grab-and-go cafe, but there’s a couple of tables available, and the okazu pan is available at Uwajimaya and about a dozen local businesses listed on the website.

18. Sandwich House TRES

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1502 145th Pl SE
Bellevue, WA 98007
(425) 643-7333
Visit Website

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.

1. Modern

6108 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103
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.

6108 Phinney Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103

2. Tokara

6208 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA, 98103

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.

6208 Phinney Ave N, Seattle
WA, 98103

3. Karaage Setsuna

2421 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA, 98121

Setsuna was once a beloved Japanese izakaya near Northgate. After a short absence, it reemerged as Karaage Setsuna in Belltown, with a smaller venue and menu. Food sometimes skews Hawaiian with poke, loco moco, and a saimin-like soup, but the item to prioritize is the namesake karaage, available in three portion sizes. Try it spicy, with shichimi toogarashi (a toasty seven-spice blend) or in the traditional style, made with boneless chicken thigh marinated with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.  

2421 2nd Ave, Seattle
WA, 98121

4. Wa'z

411 Cedar St, Seattle, WA 98121
Wa’z has a rotating menu that includes small bites, soup, and a braised dish.
Suzi Pratt for Eater

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.

411 Cedar St
Seattle, WA 98121

5. Kamonegi

1054 N 39th St, Seattle, WA 98103
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.

1054 N 39th St
Seattle, WA 98103

6. Issian Stone Grill

1618 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103

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.

1618 N 45th St
Seattle, WA 98103

7. Yoroshiku

1911 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103

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.

1911 N 45th St
Seattle, WA 98103

8. Kokkaku

6904, 2208 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103

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.

6904, 2208 N 45th St
Seattle, WA 98103

9. Tsukushinbo

515 S Main St, Seattle, WA, 98104

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. 

515 S Main St, Seattle
WA, 98104

10. Maneki

304 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA, 98104

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).

304 6th Ave S, Seattle
WA, 98104

11. Fuji Bakery

526 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104

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.

526 S King St
Seattle, WA 98104

12. Taku

706 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122

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.

706 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122

13. Ishoni Yakiniku

611 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102

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.

611 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102

14. Katsu Burger

1410 12th Ave, Seattle, WA

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.

1410 12th Ave
Seattle, WA

15. Udon

4515 University Way NE, Seattle, WA, 98105

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.

4515 University Way NE, Seattle
WA, 98105

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16. Kobuta & Ookami Katsu and sake house

121 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112

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.

121 15th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98112

17. Umami Kushi

9099 Seward Park Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118

Harold Fields’ Rainier Beach cafe makes the Seattle area’s only okazu pan — Japanese savory filled buns breaded in panko and flash-fried until crispy. The fillings at the shop include beef curry, lentil (a vegan option), and chicken adobo. Fields also serves yakitori and a selection of sake. It’s primarily a grab-and-go cafe, but there’s a couple of tables available, and the okazu pan is available at Uwajimaya and about a dozen local businesses listed on the website.

9099 Seward Park Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118

18. Sandwich House TRES

1502 145th Pl SE, Bellevue, WA 98007

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.

1502 145th Pl SE
Bellevue, WA 98007

Related Maps