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Pioneer Square.
Pioneer Square.
DeymosHR/Shutterstock.com

Navigating the Food of Pioneer Square, Seattle's Original Neighborhood

Your guide to the booming exposed-brick borough directly south of Downtown

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Pioneer Square.
| DeymosHR/Shutterstock.com

Once known for sordid affairs and "da clubs," Pioneer Square, the original neighborhood when Seattle was founded in the 1850s, has become the city's "It" location for restaurants over the past few years. It makes sense, given the area's proximity to Downtown, Pike Place Market, CenturyLink Field (home of the Seattle Seahawks football team and the Seattle Sounders soccer squad), and Safeco Field (where the Seattle Mariners play baseball). The landscape of this exposed-brick borough is shifting constantly.

So, here is Eater's list of current neighborhood favorites, from old standbys to new winners, from gourmet Indian food to cocktails and sake. Before a game, during lunch hour vegging out in Waterfall Garden Park, after a tour of the historical underground scene, sipping wine along the art walk route — there's no longer a time of day to avoid Pioneer Square.

Note: Map points are ordered geographically and are not ranked by preference. What's your favorite haunt in this bustling neighborhood? Show it some love in the comments, send an email, or start a forum thread in its honor.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Biscuit Bitch

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621 3rd Ave
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 728-2219
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Rejoice, the Bitch has landed in Pioneer Square! That means one more place to get Seattle’s favorite breakfast-all-day biscuits while supporting female empowerment. Maybe it will make the lines shorter at the other two locations? Probably not, but at least the line leads to great rewards.

2. Il Corvo

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217 James St
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 538-0999
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"Every neighborhood needs an Il Corvo," Eater's roving restaurant critic, Bill Addison, insists. This delightful weekday-only, lunch-only joint knocks it out of the park with three $9 plates of handmade pasta each day. The menu rotates, but never disappoints. Il Corvo has quickly become a Seattle rite of passage, so expect a line no matter when you arrive. On the plus side, this is such a well-oiled machine, the line moves quickly.

3. Nirmal's

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106 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 388-2196
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While most diners know the gut-busting beauty of endless buffets and chicken tikka masala, Nirmal's is a different type of Indian restaurant than Seattle is used to. It's based in India's rich history of food and inspired by chef and namesake Nirmal Monteiro's more than 30 years of worldwide cooking experience. What’s particularly arresting about this 90-seat destination is the experimentation that takes place in its tiny kitchen. Leave your expectations at the door.

4. Tat's Delicatessen

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159 Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 264-8287
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In the land of kale and evergreens, Tat’s brings much-needed East Coast flair in the shape of delicious sammies, subs, steaks, hoagies, grinders — whatever you want to call them. Seriously, skip the trip to Philly this year and just head down to Yesler Way for the real deal.

5. Manu's Bodega

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100 Prefontaine Pl S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 682-2175
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In a sea of sandwich shops, some great and some forgettable, Manu Alfau's namesake bodega stands out with the Dominican delicacies of Alfau's childhood. And his empanadas will make you forget sandwiches all together. Bonus: Alfau is now also serving terrific tacos inside Flatstick Pub and from a street-level window next to the bar's entrance.

6. Casco Antiguo

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115 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 538-0400
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The Pacific Northwest meets Mexico at Casco Antiguo, another exposed-brick gem. At this locale, drinking in the alley is highly encouraged. The bar serves draft margaritas on the back patio 'til late, and hosts an impressive happy hour everyday from 3 to 6 p.m.

7. Damn the Weather

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116 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 946-1283
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This little bar has packed a big punch since day one. It feels like it would fit in on any bustling side street in NYC: The music is hip, the space is dark, and service is top-notch. The best thing about Damn The Weather is that it’s always innovating, whether creating a list of all natural wines or extending its hours to draw the lunch crowd recently.

8. Sake Nomi

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76 S Washington St
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 467-7253
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Saké Nomi is unlike anything else in Pioneer Square. It doesn’t open for lunch hours. It doesn’t close early. it doesn’t even serve food — but you can bring your favorite from the neighborhood or have it delivered to the door. Simply put, this bar is a haven for premium saké, a place to learn about the romance and tradition of the Japanese beverage with your best nomidachis: Japanese for "drinking buddies."

9. E. Smith Mercantile

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208 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 641-7250
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Is there anything more delightfully Seattle than a shop that sells mustache pomade and also has a dozen-seat, top-notch craft cocktail bar? Naturally, legendary barman Murray Stenson did a stint here. E. Smith Mercantile is impeccably decorated and surprisingly earnest — the tender little bar invokes a Cheers-like vibe as you and your seatmates "ooh" and "ahh" together over the handcrafted drinks.

10. The London Plane

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300 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 624-1374
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Matt Dillon’s beautiful cafe/bakery/florist transcends genre and has become a quintessential Pioneer Square experience. Sit down for brunch or pick up a pre-ordered lunch box during the week. Whatever else you're after, the London Plane is providing something special in this neighborhood: subtle, city elegance and really, really great baked goods.

11. Good Bar

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240 2nd Ave S Ste 101
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 624-2337
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With its seasonal, handcrafted cocktail menu, strong draft list, and killer happy hour offerings, the name Good Bar is a bit of a misnomer — "Great Bar" would be more accurate. Almost as good as the drinks is the setting, a 114-year-old building that once housed a bank. Its marble bar top and open, high ceilings are a wonderful accompaniment to the bitter-lovers menu and tasty small bites.

12. Radici

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314 2nd Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 467-4541
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Once Tinello, now Radici, this restaurant is a food lover’s Southern Italian dream. The family-owned joint pairs handmade pastas and locally-sourced ingredients to create a blissful marriage between Seattle and Calabria.

13. Salumi

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309 3rd Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 621-8772
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Like its neighbor Il Corvo, Salumi boasts long waits and lunch-only, weekday-only hours. Tourists and locals alike stand in a substantial line for a taste of the house-cured meats and legendary meatballs made at the shop founded by Mario Batali's father and now run by Mario's sister, Gina, and her husband. Amidst nationwide accolades, this little meat shop continues to quietly and successfully do exactly what it wants.

14. Rain Shadow Meats Squared

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404 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 467-4854
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Leave your vegetarian friends at home and enjoy the entire animal at Rain Shadow Meats Squared, one of the community-focused butcher shop's two locations (the other is in Capitol Hill). Truly nothing is wasted here: Some parts are more obvious than others — like the unbelievably good meats on any of the sandwiches — but Rain Shadow utilizes even the bones to make stock.

15. Intermezzo Carmine

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409 1st Ave
Seattle, WA
(206) 596-8940
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Intermezzo Carmine’s got the look: large, leather banquets, a mirrored bar filled with goodies, bird cages adorning the ceiling. It’s the kind of place you’d go even if the food wasn’t good — luckily, the food is great, and the drinks are even better.

16. The Sovereign

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119 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 257-4655
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In the grand tradition of Pioneer Square, The Sovereign is the neighborhood’s newest underground addition. This subterranean bar is Art Deco- and Art Nouveau-influenced, from decor to cocktails, and serves up an inspired collection of snacks, including a rotating deviled egg menu.

17. Altstadt

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209 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 602-6442
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Altstadt has quickly grown to be a favorite in the neighborhood, what with its German specialties given the PNW-ingredient treatment, its crisp pommes frites, and its big beers from German brewers as well as locals like Chuckanut channeling the best of Deutschland. Opt for any of the usual satisfying suspects, like brats or schnitzel, but make sure to order the Maultaschen, unexpected and fantastic duck-filled chestnut pasta.
Courtesy of Altstadt

18. Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar

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410 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 501-4060
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Is there anything more Seattle than slurping down Shigoku oysters and getting rowdy on local beer and wine before a Seahawks game? Venerable Taylor Shellfish Farms’ Pioneer Square bar is the perfect pre-game haven, weekday happy hour, or weekend destination for the freshest seafood on the West Coast.

1. Biscuit Bitch

621 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
Rejoice, the Bitch has landed in Pioneer Square! That means one more place to get Seattle’s favorite breakfast-all-day biscuits while supporting female empowerment. Maybe it will make the lines shorter at the other two locations? Probably not, but at least the line leads to great rewards.
621 3rd Ave
Seattle, WA 98104

2. Il Corvo

217 James St, Seattle, WA 98104
"Every neighborhood needs an Il Corvo," Eater's roving restaurant critic, Bill Addison, insists. This delightful weekday-only, lunch-only joint knocks it out of the park with three $9 plates of handmade pasta each day. The menu rotates, but never disappoints. Il Corvo has quickly become a Seattle rite of passage, so expect a line no matter when you arrive. On the plus side, this is such a well-oiled machine, the line moves quickly.
217 James St
Seattle, WA 98104

3. Nirmal's

106 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
While most diners know the gut-busting beauty of endless buffets and chicken tikka masala, Nirmal's is a different type of Indian restaurant than Seattle is used to. It's based in India's rich history of food and inspired by chef and namesake Nirmal Monteiro's more than 30 years of worldwide cooking experience. What’s particularly arresting about this 90-seat destination is the experimentation that takes place in its tiny kitchen. Leave your expectations at the door.
106 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

4. Tat's Delicatessen

159 Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98104
In the land of kale and evergreens, Tat’s brings much-needed East Coast flair in the shape of delicious sammies, subs, steaks, hoagies, grinders — whatever you want to call them. Seriously, skip the trip to Philly this year and just head down to Yesler Way for the real deal.
159 Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98104

5. Manu's Bodega

100 Prefontaine Pl S, Seattle, WA 98104
In a sea of sandwich shops, some great and some forgettable, Manu Alfau's namesake bodega stands out with the Dominican delicacies of Alfau's childhood. And his empanadas will make you forget sandwiches all together. Bonus: Alfau is now also serving terrific tacos inside Flatstick Pub and from a street-level window next to the bar's entrance.
100 Prefontaine Pl S
Seattle, WA 98104

6. Casco Antiguo

115 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
The Pacific Northwest meets Mexico at Casco Antiguo, another exposed-brick gem. At this locale, drinking in the alley is highly encouraged. The bar serves draft margaritas on the back patio 'til late, and hosts an impressive happy hour everyday from 3 to 6 p.m.
115 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

7. Damn the Weather

116 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
This little bar has packed a big punch since day one. It feels like it would fit in on any bustling side street in NYC: The music is hip, the space is dark, and service is top-notch. The best thing about Damn The Weather is that it’s always innovating, whether creating a list of all natural wines or extending its hours to draw the lunch crowd recently.
116 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

8. Sake Nomi

76 S Washington St, Seattle, WA 98104
Saké Nomi is unlike anything else in Pioneer Square. It doesn’t open for lunch hours. It doesn’t close early. it doesn’t even serve food — but you can bring your favorite from the neighborhood or have it delivered to the door. Simply put, this bar is a haven for premium saké, a place to learn about the romance and tradition of the Japanese beverage with your best nomidachis: Japanese for "drinking buddies."
76 S Washington St
Seattle, WA 98104

9. E. Smith Mercantile

208 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
Is there anything more delightfully Seattle than a shop that sells mustache pomade and also has a dozen-seat, top-notch craft cocktail bar? Naturally, legendary barman Murray Stenson did a stint here. E. Smith Mercantile is impeccably decorated and surprisingly earnest — the tender little bar invokes a Cheers-like vibe as you and your seatmates "ooh" and "ahh" together over the handcrafted drinks.
208 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

10. The London Plane

300 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
Matt Dillon’s beautiful cafe/bakery/florist transcends genre and has become a quintessential Pioneer Square experience. Sit down for brunch or pick up a pre-ordered lunch box during the week. Whatever else you're after, the London Plane is providing something special in this neighborhood: subtle, city elegance and really, really great baked goods.
300 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

11. Good Bar

240 2nd Ave S Ste 101, Seattle, WA 98104
With its seasonal, handcrafted cocktail menu, strong draft list, and killer happy hour offerings, the name Good Bar is a bit of a misnomer — "Great Bar" would be more accurate. Almost as good as the drinks is the setting, a 114-year-old building that once housed a bank. Its marble bar top and open, high ceilings are a wonderful accompaniment to the bitter-lovers menu and tasty small bites.
240 2nd Ave S Ste 101
Seattle, WA 98104

12. Radici

314 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
Once Tinello, now Radici, this restaurant is a food lover’s Southern Italian dream. The family-owned joint pairs handmade pastas and locally-sourced ingredients to create a blissful marriage between Seattle and Calabria.
314 2nd Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

13. Salumi

309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
Like its neighbor Il Corvo, Salumi boasts long waits and lunch-only, weekday-only hours. Tourists and locals alike stand in a substantial line for a taste of the house-cured meats and legendary meatballs made at the shop founded by Mario Batali's father and now run by Mario's sister, Gina, and her husband. Amidst nationwide accolades, this little meat shop continues to quietly and successfully do exactly what it wants.
309 3rd Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

14. Rain Shadow Meats Squared

404 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
Leave your vegetarian friends at home and enjoy the entire animal at Rain Shadow Meats Squared, one of the community-focused butcher shop's two locations (the other is in Capitol Hill). Truly nothing is wasted here: Some parts are more obvious than others — like the unbelievably good meats on any of the sandwiches — but Rain Shadow utilizes even the bones to make stock.
404 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

15. Intermezzo Carmine

409 1st Ave, Seattle, WA
Intermezzo Carmine’s got the look: large, leather banquets, a mirrored bar filled with goodies, bird cages adorning the ceiling. It’s the kind of place you’d go even if the food wasn’t good — luckily, the food is great, and the drinks are even better.
409 1st Ave
Seattle, WA

Related Maps

16. The Sovereign

119 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
In the grand tradition of Pioneer Square, The Sovereign is the neighborhood’s newest underground addition. This subterranean bar is Art Deco- and Art Nouveau-influenced, from decor to cocktails, and serves up an inspired collection of snacks, including a rotating deviled egg menu.
119 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

17. Altstadt

209 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
Courtesy of Altstadt
Altstadt has quickly grown to be a favorite in the neighborhood, what with its German specialties given the PNW-ingredient treatment, its crisp pommes frites, and its big beers from German brewers as well as locals like Chuckanut channeling the best of Deutschland. Opt for any of the usual satisfying suspects, like brats or schnitzel, but make sure to order the Maultaschen, unexpected and fantastic duck-filled chestnut pasta.
209 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

18. Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar

410 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
Is there anything more Seattle than slurping down Shigoku oysters and getting rowdy on local beer and wine before a Seahawks game? Venerable Taylor Shellfish Farms’ Pioneer Square bar is the perfect pre-game haven, weekday happy hour, or weekend destination for the freshest seafood on the West Coast.
410 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

Related Maps