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The Essential 38 Seattle Restaurants, April 2014

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It's time to update the Eater 38, the answer to any question that begins, "Can you recommend a restaurant?" Not to be confused with the Eater Heatmap, this group covers the entire city, spans a myriad of cuisines, and collectively satisfies all of your restaurant needs. Every quarter, we'll be adding pertinent restaurants that were omitted, have newly become eligible (restaurants must be at least six months old), or have stepped up their game. (As a reminder, these restaurants are not ranked, they're alphabetized.)

This month, three new inclusions: mkt., RockCreek, and Westward. And because we had to make room for the newbies, three eliminations: Bar Del Corso, Crush, and the now closed Madison Park Conservatory.

Is your favorite restaurant not on the list? Feel free to nominate it for inclusion in the comments or send it to the tipline.


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Art of the Table

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1054 N 39th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 282-0942
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Chef Dustin Ronspies quietly runs his weekly supper club that offers a special occasion dining experience at terrific prices. He's also instituted a full bar and more casual, no reservation nights. A coveted chair at the open kitchen is the best seat in the house.

2. Bar Sajor

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323 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 682-1117
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Matt Dillon's first Pioneer Square project, credited for helping to revitalize the neighborhood, is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant that is big, bright, airy and downright gorgeous. Plates are just as pretty: chilled Dungeness crab with garlic mayo, king salmon cured in honey & camomile, and lamb leg cooked on the rotisserie have all made an appearance on the menu. Don't leave without ordering the homemade sourdough bread.
[Photo Credit]

3. Cafe Campagne

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1600 Post Aly
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 728-2233
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A longtime favorite respite for locals who like to duck into Seattle's answer to Paris for a carafe of wine and some frites, this quaint Pike Place Market bistro is a little slice of baguette heaven complete with cobblestone patio for those rare sun-soaked extended lunches.

4. Canlis

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2576 Aurora Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 283-3313
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A full-on dinner here is definitely a blow-your-paycheck event. Thank goodness for the bar menu, which offers some moderately priced bites. You can also order a plate or two from the main menu and experience the talents of chef Jason Franey without the triple-digit tab. Though the food and service has no peers in Seattle, the cocktails from bar manager James MacWilliams are worth a trip alone.

5. Delancey

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1415 NW 70th St
Seattle, WA 98117
(206) 838-1960
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Brandon Pettit's perfectly fired seasonal pizzas and cunningly simple sides make this a Seattle institution. Don't miss the desserts, either. Some come for the salted chocolate chip cookies alone.

6. Fonda La Catrina

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5907 Airport Way S
Seattle, WA 98108
(206) 767-2787
One of the most common complaints heard is that Seattle lacks authentic Mexican food. This Georgetown semi-newcomer is where you should bring the complainers who can watch as their tortillas are made fresh right in front of them. The pozole and pork tamales are clear winners.
[Photo Credit]

7. Gastropod

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3201 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98134
Epic Ales' tiny brewpub in SoDo is constantly rotating their tap handles and menu. Chef Travis Kukull, formerly of Solo Bar, Elemental and Tilikum Place Cafe, cooks "out there" food, like profiteroles stuffed with nettle and ricotta; duck breast prosciutto, fennel french toast, and maple syrup; and Italian parsley tagliatelle with rabbit and cardoon ragu.

8. Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant

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418 8th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 340-1388
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There are a lot of hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurants in Seattle, but this is the spot discerning diners keep coming back to. There's something very comforting and satisfying about the food. The fresh salads, noodle dishes and spring rolls have a cult following. The portion sizes here are plentiful and cheap, so come hungry.
[Photo Credit]

9. How To Cook A Wolf

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2208 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 838-8090
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It's not Ethan Stowell's newest restaurant, but How to Cook a Wolf encapsulates the chef's unfussy, Italian-via-Northwest style. The wood-wrapped, copper-punctuated space also stands out as one of the most unique dining rooms in Seattle.

10. Il Corvo

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217 James Street
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 387-3556
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Mike Easton's hand made pasta and charcuterie has become a regular habit for lunch goers, who now have more than twice as much space to nosh in (and stand in line) with Il Corvo's new home in Pioneer Square.

11. Joule

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3506 Stone Way N
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 632-5685
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It may no longer be the buzziest restaurant in town (although Bon Appetit named it one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in America 2013, along with neighbor Whale Wins), but this French/Korean fusion restaurant continues to inspire. Weekend brunch is also notable: an urban barbecue format that features a communal table filled with all sorts of buffet goodies.

12. Kedai Makan

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1510 E Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98122
The popular farmers market Malaysian street food outfit became a brick and mortar back in January 2013. Some describe this take-out only hole-in-the-wall as the best drunk food in Seattle, but it's good anytime the hunger pangs hit. Hearty dishes you'll want to inhale include Kedai's signature fried rice dish, Nasi Goreng, served with your choice of tofu and sprouts or roast pork, and topped with a runny egg.

13. La Bête

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1802 Bellevue Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 329-4047
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Chef/owner Aleks Dimitrijevic impresses with hearty steaks, Merguez sausage and pork rinds, but exhibits that same talent with a more delicate crudo or, say, a sesaonal tomato tart. The menu feels a little French, the dining room feels a little like a fairy tale.

14. La Carta De Oaxaca

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5431 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 782-8722
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The only thing better than the mole, the salsa bar and the damn delicious casual Oaxacan food — how little it costs to eat yourself silly. Brace yourself for a crowd, but the end result is well worth it.

15. La Medusa

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4857 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 723-2192
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Columbia City and its environs are rather short on dining destinations, but La Medusa offers a frequently changing market-driven menu of Sicilian fare that would be a gem in any neighborhood.

16. Lark

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926 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 323-5275
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Considered required eating by many a food type around town, Lark is elegant, intimate and special without being pretentious. The small plate style of dining takes the stress out of ordering, as it's protocol here to order a bunch of things and share, family-style. The menu is heavy on vegetables, grains, meat and fish: all innovative, classic, familiar and delicious.
[Photo Credit]

17. Le Pichet

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1933 1st Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 256-1499
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This French bistro possesses both a legendary roast chicken and an informal charm that makes you want to linger all afternoon with some charcuterie and cheese.

18. Little Uncle

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1509 E Madison St
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 329-1503
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Perhaps no other restaurant represents Seattle's love affair with pop-ups more than one of the original success stories. Little Uncle was founded by chefs PK and Wiley Frank (former sous chef at Lark), who started their Thai mecca as a pop-up called Shophouse. Now, Little Uncle is the go-to for some of the best Thai food in the city. And as of June 2013, the little shack on Madison now has a much larger subterranean sibling in Pioneer Square.

19. Mamnoon

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1508 Melrose Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 906-9606
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Located across from the Melrose triangle, where good food is easy to come by, Mamnoon has created its own scorching hot rep with its Lebanese/Syrian cuisine. While the menu can be unfamiliar to those who have not tried this type of food, the entire thing is pretty much rock solid. You can't go wrong with any of the dips or salads - great starting points as you work your way down to more adventurous entrees.

20. Maneki

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304 6th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 622-2631
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Getting seats at this 107-year-old Japanese restaurant can be an utter puzzlement, but should you crack the code, the mind-boggling list of specials are where it's at.

21. Ma’ono Fried Chicken & Whisky

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4437 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116
(206) 935-1075
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Every night, by reservation only, patrons who plan ahead are rewarded with Ma'ono's immensely popular fried chicken dinner. As one of the four flavor options, the Korean-style doles up crispy chicken in a tangy gochujang sauce. Aside from their chicken, the kalbi short ribs are also a tempting option.

22. Matt's in the Market

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94 Pike St
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 467-7909
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The place hasn't lost any of its popularity since founder Matt Janke sold the restaurant to Dan Bugge in 2006. The seafood is absolutely fresh and the location overlooking Pike Place Market's famous sign is also about as Seattle as it gets.

23. Mistral Kitchen

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2020 Westlake Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 623-1922
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Chef William Belickis's white-linen Mistral has been reborn as a many-nooked restaurant that offers a bar scene, plain old dinner, or a restaurant-within-a-restaurant fine dining experience. The food hasn't faltered since he opened in December 2009.

24. Miyabi 45th

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2208 N 45th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 632-4545
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The former Chez Shea chef is producing handmade soba noodles, but the entire menu shines. Don't miss the smaller snacks (uni shooter, smoked hamachi kama) and salads. Best bet: order omakase style and let the kitchen cook for you. Always a good bet.

25. Mkt.

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2108 N 55th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 812-1580
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Ethan Stowell's tiny Tangletown restaurant sandwiched between a doughnut shop and a pub opened last August, and predictably the 600-square-foot space has been filled ever since. Sit at the chef's counter for full view of the kitchen crew preparing, tangine, ceviche, and bowls of vegetable fritters with pesto.

26. Paseo Caribbean Restaurant

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4225 Fremont Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 545-7440
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The messy Cuban-style sandwiches have developed an epic fan base, and a reliable line of people waiting for their fix.

27. Revel

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403 N 36th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 547-2040
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The continued hype surrounding Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi's Fremont spot is well-deserved. This follow-up to the popular Joule is casual, largely Asian street food inspired and a fantastic (reasonably priced) experience for brunch, lunch or dinner. Grab a cocktail at adjacent bar Quoin after dinner.

28. RockCreek

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4300 Fremont Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
Former Toulouse Petit chef Eric Donnelly has given Seattleites what we've been waiting for—expertly prepared seafood in a space that's equal parts accessible and stunning. RockCreek's ultra fresh menu doesn't disappoint. Neither does brunch.

29. Salumi

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309 3rd Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 621-8772
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Braving the lines for cured meat sandwiches and hot fare like porchetta is a Seattle rite of passage. Salumi is open just a handful of days and only for lunch, so come prepared for crowds. And yes, it's worth it. At least once. And probably more.

30. Shiro's

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2401 2nd Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 443-9844
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Sushi joints are a dime a dozen in this city, but Shiro's will always be at the top of the heap. Shiro Kashiba trained under master Jiro Ono (of Jiro Dreams of Sushi).

31. Sitka and Spruce

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1531 Melrose Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 324-0662
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This is about as Seattle as it gets: Chef Matt Dillon; Northwest ingredients; and dishes that seem disarmingly simple, until you realize you could never recreate them yourself. Sitka's location inside the Melrose Market is also absurdly quaint.

32. Spinasse

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1531 14th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 251-7673
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Jason Stratton has made this trattoria inexorably his own with memorable pastas and Piedmont-influenced fare. Plus its recent expansion makes it (slightly) easier to get a table. Make sure to stop by the adjoining Artusi bar for a cocktail before you say, 'Ciao.'

33. Spur Gastropub

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113 Blanchard St
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 728-6706
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This Belltown destination has major cocktail credibility, but chef/owners Brian McCracken and Dana Tough make sure their crew produces food with a modernist flair that feels memorable, not gimmicky.

34. Terra Plata

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1501 Melrose Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 325-1501
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One of the anchors of the Melrose Triangle, Terra Plata is about a commitment to local producers. In chef/owner Tamara Murphy's words: "We’re not Spanish. We’re not Italian. It’s about what’s fresh and what we feel like cooking that day. The menu will always be changing, always evolving". Don't miss the rooftop garden, where Murphy is often found grilling during the warmer months.
[Photo Credit]

35. Tsukushinbo

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515 S Main St
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 467-4004
A tiny, unmarked hole in the wall, Tsukushinbo is the go-to for authentic Japanese food in the International District. There's a sushi bar and a handful of tables that fill-up within moments of the doors swinging open. If you don't have a reservation, your wait might be a long one (and there's no waiting room). Needing your GPS to find the place is part of its charm, because you won't want people knowing where it is.

36. The Walrus and the Carpenter

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4743 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 395-9227
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Yes, the oysters are delicious (just ask Frank Bruni). But Renee Erickson's oyster bar also offers seemingly simple small plates of seafood and beautiful in-season fare that keep the tucked-away dining room reliably packed. Show up the minute doors open or settle in for waits of an hour or more.

37. Westward

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2501 N Northlake Way
Seattle, WA 98103
Josh Henderson's restaurant (and oyster bar Little Gull) on north Lake Union sits across the water from downtown Seattle. Have drinks in an Adirondack chair around the outdoor fire pit, come back for Mediterranean-inspired food like halibut crudo and wood-baked gigante beans in a whimsical, beautiful dining room that was just nominated for a 2014 James Beard nominee for Outstanding Restaurant Design.

38. The Whale Wins

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3506 Stone Way N
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 632-9425
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Erickson's Walrus follow-up made a big splash when it opened in the Fremont Collective in October, 2012. Recently, Bon Appetit named it one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in America 2013. Here, in this charming, cheery place, expect an abundance of delicious seasonal vegetables, wood oven-fired meats and fish, pickled treats and fresh baked desserts — favorites from Erickson's childhood and European travels.

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1. Art of the Table

1054 N 39th St, Seattle, WA 98103
Chef Dustin Ronspies quietly runs his weekly supper club that offers a special occasion dining experience at terrific prices. He's also instituted a full bar and more casual, no reservation nights. A coveted chair at the open kitchen is the best seat in the house.
1054 N 39th St
Seattle, WA 98103

2. Bar Sajor

323 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
Matt Dillon's first Pioneer Square project, credited for helping to revitalize the neighborhood, is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant that is big, bright, airy and downright gorgeous. Plates are just as pretty: chilled Dungeness crab with garlic mayo, king salmon cured in honey & camomile, and lamb leg cooked on the rotisserie have all made an appearance on the menu. Don't leave without ordering the homemade sourdough bread.
[Photo Credit]
323 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

3. Cafe Campagne

1600 Post Aly, Seattle, WA 98101
A longtime favorite respite for locals who like to duck into Seattle's answer to Paris for a carafe of wine and some frites, this quaint Pike Place Market bistro is a little slice of baguette heaven complete with cobblestone patio for those rare sun-soaked extended lunches.
1600 Post Aly
Seattle, WA 98101

4. Canlis

2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
A full-on dinner here is definitely a blow-your-paycheck event. Thank goodness for the bar menu, which offers some moderately priced bites. You can also order a plate or two from the main menu and experience the talents of chef Jason Franey without the triple-digit tab. Though the food and service has no peers in Seattle, the cocktails from bar manager James MacWilliams are worth a trip alone.
2576 Aurora Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

5. Delancey

1415 NW 70th St, Seattle, WA 98117
Brandon Pettit's perfectly fired seasonal pizzas and cunningly simple sides make this a Seattle institution. Don't miss the desserts, either. Some come for the salted chocolate chip cookies alone.
1415 NW 70th St
Seattle, WA 98117

6. Fonda La Catrina

5907 Airport Way S, Seattle, WA 98108
One of the most common complaints heard is that Seattle lacks authentic Mexican food. This Georgetown semi-newcomer is where you should bring the complainers who can watch as their tortillas are made fresh right in front of them. The pozole and pork tamales are clear winners.
[Photo Credit]
5907 Airport Way S
Seattle, WA 98108

7. Gastropod

3201 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
Epic Ales' tiny brewpub in SoDo is constantly rotating their tap handles and menu. Chef Travis Kukull, formerly of Solo Bar, Elemental and Tilikum Place Cafe, cooks "out there" food, like profiteroles stuffed with nettle and ricotta; duck breast prosciutto, fennel french toast, and maple syrup; and Italian parsley tagliatelle with rabbit and cardoon ragu.
3201 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98134

8. Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant

418 8th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
There are a lot of hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurants in Seattle, but this is the spot discerning diners keep coming back to. There's something very comforting and satisfying about the food. The fresh salads, noodle dishes and spring rolls have a cult following. The portion sizes here are plentiful and cheap, so come hungry.
[Photo Credit]
418 8th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

9. How To Cook A Wolf

2208 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
It's not Ethan Stowell's newest restaurant, but How to Cook a Wolf encapsulates the chef's unfussy, Italian-via-Northwest style. The wood-wrapped, copper-punctuated space also stands out as one of the most unique dining rooms in Seattle.
2208 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

10. Il Corvo

217 James Street, Seattle, WA 98104