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The back bar at Champagne Diner with a mirror and a row of liquor bottles.
Champagne Diner has spaces out front in a tucked-away Interbay lot.
Champagne Diner/Facebook

12 Solid Seattle Restaurants Where Parking Isn’t a Complete Nightmare

No need to circle the block forever

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Champagne Diner has spaces out front in a tucked-away Interbay lot.
| Champagne Diner/Facebook

There’s no way around it: the parking situation in Seattle is approaching apocalyptic proportions. However, that doesn’t mean going out to eat needs to be ruined by driving around interminably or paying exorbitant garage fees. Here’s a selection of some fantastic restaurants in the city where there are usually easy-to-find spots. (Though there are plenty of restaurants that offer valet services, this list tries to lean toward free parking; those near garages were considered if at least some time was gratis or validated). If you think we missed something, feel free to send us a tip.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Cafe Munir

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This Lebanese restaurant is known for small dishes of warm hummus and ground lentils, along with other popular items like baba ghanoush and a spicy muhammara. It also helps that it’s in a heavy residential part of Ballard, away from many of the main drags, which means that street parking nearby is usually available without having to search forever.

A plate with hummus with pine nuts and garlic at Cafe Munir.
Hummus with pine nuts and garlic.
Cafe Munir/Facebook

Perched in the usually sleepy Sunset Hill neighborhood, this upscale bistro has a warm, intimate setting with fire-roasted vegetables and a crispy duck to die for.  Even better is that, even during prime dinner hours on Fridays and Saturday nights, one can still find a decent spot around the general vicinity, either right on 32nd Avenue NW, or a block up on the quieter NW 65th Street.

Charred carrots on a white plate.
Charred carrots from Samara.
Samara/Official

Bamboo Sushi

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This Portland-based sushi chain is known for its thoughtful seafood dishes sourced sustainably (there’s even a menu guide to that has a detailed map where everything is caught). The parking situation also should set diners’ minds at ease, since it’s located right in the U Village, which has a huge free lot. But the best bet is to attend on weekend nights, when shoppers aren’t as numerous.

Bamboo Sushi’s kitchen with a colorful mural in the back depicting surfers.
Bamboo Sushi specializes in sustainable dishes.
Suzi Pratt for Eater

Off The Rez Cafe

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Known for its fluffy fry breads, Off the Rez — considered the first Native American food truck in Seattle — recently opened this permanent outpost inside the New Burke Museum on the University of Washington’s campus. Which is convenient, since that means there’s a huge lot right outside. Parking also happens to be free after 12 p.m. every Saturday and all day Sunday.

A closeup view of a pile of Off the Rez Cafe’s pulled pork fry bread taco inside a paper bowl, topped with coleslaw.
Pulled pork fry bread taco.
Off the Rez Cafe

Pomodoro

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Eastlake’s Pomodoro is an intimate Italian restaurant, with skillfully crafted pasta plates (pork belly linguini alla carbonara) and several excellent gluten free and veggie options. It’s also fortunate enough to have a garage located in its building, with free parking and an ample amount of spaces.

Champagne Diner

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Interbay’s new upscale greasy spoon — which features well-crafted cocktails and refined comfort food, including a satisfying pork belly “BLT” — can be hard to spot from the busy Elliott Avenue thoroughfare, but once you find it, parking’s a snap. It has a free lot right outside that it shares with some local dental businesses, and spots are easy to come by. Plus, diners can conveniently get a cleaning right after lunch.

The back bar at Champagne Diner with a mirror and a row of liquor bottles.
Champagne Diner has its own parking lot outside.
Champagne Diner/Facebook

The Dolar Shop Seattle

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For true hot pot fans, Bellevue’s The Dolar Shop — one of the city’s best Chinese restaurants — is about as good as it gets, with simmering bowls of broth, such as pork leg bone, mushroom, Szechuan hot and spicy, or tomato and oxtail. It’s located at the massive Bravern complex, which has a self-park indoor lot, and the Dolar Shop will validate up to six hours. No need to rush through dinner.

Hot pot with a variety of meats and sides at the Dolar Shop in Bellevue.
The Dolar Shop is all about hot pot.
The Dolar Shop/Facebook

Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar

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The Queen Anne outpost of Seattle’s iconic oyster destination is located right near the Seattle Center and Space Needle, which means there are plenty of lots around. And the good news is that Taylor’s offers one-hour free validated parking — just enough time to down some of the many Kumamotos, tiny native Olympias, or other bivalves, and maybe a glass of wine or two.

A collection of oysters against a gray slate background.
Taylor Shellfish has great oysters and validated parking.
Taylor Shellfish/Facebook

One of the best ramen restaurants in the city is a small spot right above QFC on Harvard Avenue. The trick is to use the lot right behind the building, earmarked for all the businesses around Harvard Market (and usually fairly barren during weekdays). For those who can slurp those tender noodles down fast, the first 30 minutes are free.

Shoyu pork ramen in a white and blue bowl topped with egg.
Shoyu pork ramen.
Jay Friedman/Eater Seattle

Pho Bac Súp Shop/Pho Bac Restaurant

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Pho Bac Sup Shop shares a Little Saigon parking lot with venerable sibling restaurant Pho Bac — the iconic boat that just reopened recently. Although if spots are taken, South King Street nearby usually has a few no-pay-required spots available. All the better to linger and try not just the wonderful soup noodles, but also bites like prawn ceviche, Viet sliders, and chicken wings with tamarind sauce — along with maybe a cocktail or two at both locations.

Marination Ma Kai

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This fast casual West Seattle outpost of the dynamite Marination restaurant group is basically the flagship of a mini mobile empire, serving up popular tacos with Korean-Hawaiian tacos, loco moco, and musubi. The restaurant’s large patio overlooks the Seattle skyline, and there’s a lot right outside with free spots — although a heads up that it tends to fill up fast when the weather gets warmer.

Marination Ma Kai’s scenic patio overlooking Seattle with orange umbrellas and tables.
Marination Ma Kai has a scenic patio.
Marination/Facebook

Bang Bang Kitchen

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Weekend brunch without all the hassle? This cozy spot tucked into a corner of Othello delivers excellent New Mexico-inspired cuisine, from breakfast burritos to huevos rancheros with red and green hatch chile. And if there isn’t street parking, a good backup plan is pull into the indoor garage right next door, which has spaces reserved for the area’s retail (free for the first hour).

A table full of colorful cocktails at Bang Bang Kitchen.
Diners can find excellent cocktails and New Mexican cuisine at Bang Bang Kitchen.
Bang Bang Kitchen/Facebook

Cafe Munir

A plate with hummus with pine nuts and garlic at Cafe Munir.
Hummus with pine nuts and garlic.
Cafe Munir/Facebook

This Lebanese restaurant is known for small dishes of warm hummus and ground lentils, along with other popular items like baba ghanoush and a spicy muhammara. It also helps that it’s in a heavy residential part of Ballard, away from many of the main drags, which means that street parking nearby is usually available without having to search forever.

A plate with hummus with pine nuts and garlic at Cafe Munir.
Hummus with pine nuts and garlic.
Cafe Munir/Facebook

Samara

Charred carrots on a white plate.
Charred carrots from Samara.
Samara/Official

Perched in the usually sleepy Sunset Hill neighborhood, this upscale bistro has a warm, intimate setting with fire-roasted vegetables and a crispy duck to die for.  Even better is that, even during prime dinner hours on Fridays and Saturday nights, one can still find a decent spot around the general vicinity, either right on 32nd Avenue NW, or a block up on the quieter NW 65th Street.

Charred carrots on a white plate.
Charred carrots from Samara.
Samara/Official

Bamboo Sushi

Bamboo Sushi’s kitchen with a colorful mural in the back depicting surfers.
Bamboo Sushi specializes in sustainable dishes.
Suzi Pratt for Eater

This Portland-based sushi chain is known for its thoughtful seafood dishes sourced sustainably (there’s even a menu guide to that has a detailed map where everything is caught). The parking situation also should set diners’ minds at ease, since it’s located right in the U Village, which has a huge free lot. But the best bet is to attend on weekend nights, when shoppers aren’t as numerous.

Bamboo Sushi’s kitchen with a colorful mural in the back depicting surfers.
Bamboo Sushi specializes in sustainable dishes.
Suzi Pratt for Eater

Off The Rez Cafe

A closeup view of a pile of Off the Rez Cafe’s pulled pork fry bread taco inside a paper bowl, topped with coleslaw.
Pulled pork fry bread taco.
Off the Rez Cafe

Known for its fluffy fry breads, Off the Rez — considered the first Native American food truck in Seattle — recently opened this permanent outpost inside the New Burke Museum on the University of Washington’s campus. Which is convenient, since that means there’s a huge lot right outside. Parking also happens to be free after 12 p.m. every Saturday and all day Sunday.

A closeup view of a pile of Off the Rez Cafe’s pulled pork fry bread taco inside a paper bowl, topped with coleslaw.
Pulled pork fry bread taco.
Off the Rez Cafe

Pomodoro

Eastlake’s Pomodoro is an intimate Italian restaurant, with skillfully crafted pasta plates (pork belly linguini alla carbonara) and several excellent gluten free and veggie options. It’s also fortunate enough to have a garage located in its building, with free parking and an ample amount of spaces.

Champagne Diner

The back bar at Champagne Diner with a mirror and a row of liquor bottles.
Champagne Diner has its own parking lot outside.
Champagne Diner/Facebook

Interbay’s new upscale greasy spoon — which features well-crafted cocktails and refined comfort food, including a satisfying pork belly “BLT” — can be hard to spot from the busy Elliott Avenue thoroughfare, but once you find it, parking’s a snap. It has a free lot right outside that it shares with some local dental businesses, and spots are easy to come by. Plus, diners can conveniently get a cleaning right after lunch.

The back bar at Champagne Diner with a mirror and a row of liquor bottles.
Champagne Diner has its own parking lot outside.
Champagne Diner/Facebook

The Dolar Shop Seattle

Hot pot with a variety of meats and sides at the Dolar Shop in Bellevue.
The Dolar Shop is all about hot pot.
The Dolar Shop/Facebook

For true hot pot fans, Bellevue’s The Dolar Shop — one of the city’s best Chinese restaurants — is about as good as it gets, with simmering bowls of broth, such as pork leg bone, mushroom, Szechuan hot and spicy, or tomato and oxtail. It’s located at the massive Bravern complex, which has a self-park indoor lot, and the Dolar Shop will validate up to six hours. No need to rush through dinner.

Hot pot with a variety of meats and sides at the Dolar Shop in Bellevue.
The Dolar Shop is all about hot pot.
The Dolar Shop/Facebook

Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar

A collection of oysters against a gray slate background.
Taylor Shellfish has great oysters and validated parking.
Taylor Shellfish/Facebook

The Queen Anne outpost of Seattle’s iconic oyster destination is located right near the Seattle Center and Space Needle, which means there are plenty of lots around. And the good news is that Taylor’s offers one-hour free validated parking — just enough time to down some of the many Kumamotos, tiny native Olympias, or other bivalves, and maybe a glass of wine or two.

A collection of oysters against a gray slate background.
Taylor Shellfish has great oysters and validated parking.
Taylor Shellfish/Facebook

Ooink

Shoyu pork ramen in a white and blue bowl topped with egg.
Shoyu pork ramen.
Jay Friedman/Eater Seattle

One of the best ramen restaurants in the city is a small spot right above QFC on Harvard Avenue. The trick is to use the lot right behind the building, earmarked for all the businesses around Harvard Market (and usually fairly barren during weekdays). For those who can slurp those tender noodles down fast, the first 30 minutes are free.

Shoyu pork ramen in a white and blue bowl topped with egg.
Shoyu pork ramen.
Jay Friedman/Eater Seattle

Pho Bac Súp Shop/Pho Bac Restaurant

Pho Bac Sup Shop shares a Little Saigon parking lot with venerable sibling restaurant Pho Bac — the iconic boat that just reopened recently. Although if spots are taken, South King Street nearby usually has a few no-pay-required spots available. All the better to linger and try not just the wonderful soup noodles, but also bites like prawn ceviche, Viet sliders, and chicken wings with tamarind sauce — along with maybe a cocktail or two at both locations.

Marination Ma Kai

Marination Ma Kai’s scenic patio overlooking Seattle with orange umbrellas and tables.
Marination Ma Kai has a scenic patio.
Marination/Facebook

This fast casual West Seattle outpost of the dynamite Marination restaurant group is basically the flagship of a mini mobile empire, serving up popular tacos with Korean-Hawaiian tacos, loco moco, and musubi. The restaurant’s large patio overlooks the Seattle skyline, and there’s a lot right outside with free spots — although a heads up that it tends to fill up fast when the weather gets warmer.

Marination Ma Kai’s scenic patio overlooking Seattle with orange umbrellas and tables.
Marination Ma Kai has a scenic patio.
Marination/Facebook

Bang Bang Kitchen

A table full of colorful cocktails at Bang Bang Kitchen.
Diners can find excellent cocktails and New Mexican cuisine at Bang Bang Kitchen.
Bang Bang Kitchen/Facebook

Weekend brunch without all the hassle? This cozy spot tucked into a corner of Othello delivers excellent New Mexico-inspired cuisine, from breakfast burritos to huevos rancheros with red and green hatch chile. And if there isn’t street parking, a good backup plan is pull into the indoor garage right next door, which has spaces reserved for the area’s retail (free for the first hour).

A table full of colorful cocktails at Bang Bang Kitchen.
Diners can find excellent cocktails and New Mexican cuisine at Bang Bang Kitchen.
Bang Bang Kitchen/Facebook

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