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Cardboard takeout containers containing a puffy piece of fry bread topped with pulled pork and cabbage, wild rice topped with shredded bison and aioli, and chunks of orange sweet potato.
A fry bread taco, sweet potato salad, wild rice bowl, and chili from Off the Rez cafe.
Jade Yamazaki Stewart/Eater Seattle

Where to Eat in Seattle's University District

A guide to University of Washington's neighborhood, for Huskies and visitors alike

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A fry bread taco, sweet potato salad, wild rice bowl, and chili from Off the Rez cafe.
| Jade Yamazaki Stewart/Eater Seattle

With more than 40,000 students and 20,000 faculty and staff, University of Washington is one of the biggest urban universities in the country. The University District, known as the U District, functions like a big college town tucked inside a city, and The Ave (aka University Way) is its main street, where Huskies gravitate when they’re craving an off-campus meal. Most of the restaurants in the area are affordable, casual spots, and the options are eclectic with lots of good Asian food; there are regional Chinese restaurants, gyro windows, pho shops, dive bars, a brewery, and over 20 boba tea shops. Here are some favorites.

Send us a tip by emailing seattle@eater.com. As usual, this list is not ranked; it’s organized geographically.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Taste of India

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5517 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 528-1575
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This Roosevelt Way standby serves a wide survey of Indian cuisine and has a large heated and covered outdoor dining area. The aloo gobi, okra masala, and Tandoori prawns are good, but don’t leave without trying the butter chicken — enough food for two hungry people, with a creamy sauce that’s the perfect balance of tangy and sweet. Open for dine-in and takeout.

2. Xi'an Noodles

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5259 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 522-8888
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Diners come to Xi’an for one thing: wide, chewy biang biang noodles, made by hand every morning, at their best when adorned simply with chili oil. The pork dumplings and cucumber salad also make for excellent starters. Open for outdoor seating and takeout.

3. Morsel

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5000 University Way NE suite d
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 268-0154
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This U District biscuit shop offers the kind of folkloric biscuits that breakfast lovers dream of — warm, pillowy interior, crispy exterior, flaky bite — but ups the ante by making everything on the menu, including its staple baked good, gluten-free. The “fast break,” Morsel’s primary breakfast sandwich, is a behemoth stack of eggs, fatty bacon, and cheddar cheese on a biscuit of your choice that’s smeared with earthy tomato jam. You can also opt to grab one of its buttermilk biscuits plain with butter and jam on the side; there’s strawberry balsamic jam, chocolate hazelnut jam, and raspberry jam, among others. The restaurant has not reopened its dining room since the start of the pandemic; takeout hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

4. Red Pepper

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4545 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 906-9679
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This small restaurant on The Ave focuses on food from China’s Sichuan province. The lazi chicken, popcorn chicken covered in an equal amount of chopped dried chili peppers, is electrified by generous amounts of ground Sichuan peppercorn. The griddle-cooked meat pots, filled with vegetables and a choice of meat, are fragrant with cumin and chili powder. But the star dish here is the boiled fish with green pepper oil — made with soft fish filets, snappy bean sprouts, crunchy slices of lotus root, slippery glass noodles, and more — in a light Sichuan peppercorn broth. With a couple of sides of rice, the dish is a full meal for two or three people. Open for dine-in and takeout.

Fish filets in broth with vegetables.
The boiled fish with green pepper oil at Red Pepper.
Jade Yamazaki Stewart

5. Udon

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4515 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 453-3788
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Choose your own toppings as you work your way through the cafeteria line at the bustling U District outpost of Seattle’s handmade udon mini chain, served with a variety of hot and cold broths and sauces. The chewy noodles are delicious with the classic bukkake sauce, made with a balanced soy-sauce-based broth or in hot broth with thinly sliced beef. There are some worthy deep-fried dishes, too, including the tempura chikuwa, a fishcake in the shape of a tube, and snacks like spam musubi and salmon onigiri.

6. The Mountaineering Club

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4507 Brooklyn Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 634-2000
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The Mountaineering Club opened in 2019 on top of the new Graduate Hotel, offering some of the best views of Seattle from any bar or restaurant. The spirits and cocktail list is expansive, with good choices for Bourbon, Irish, Canadian, and Japanese whiskeys as well as brandy, tequila, gin, and rum. There’s also a list of house cocktails. The food features appetizers like shrimp cocktails as well as several sandwiches and entrees like baked lamb ziti and a boil made with shrimp, corn, potato, and sausage served with bread. Reservations are recommended.

7. Off The Rez Cafe

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4300 15th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 414-8226
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Seattle’s only Native American-owned food truck opened its first restaurant in 2019 at the Burke Museum on the University of Washington campus. Its menu is vibrant as ever, offering fluffy fry bread tacos topped with 12-hour smoked pulled pork, braised bison, or vegetarian chili, plus wild rice bowls. Diners can order on the official website for takeout or delivery or eat the food on site.

8. Mark Thai Food Box

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1313 NE 43rd St
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 432-5902
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This U District counter service gem serves many popular dishes, from the mellow khao mun gai, with its poached chicken over ginger rice, to the fiery pad krapow gai kai dao, with its minced chicken, Thai basil, and chilis. The restaurant is open for takeout and delivery and also serves sealed bento boxes of popular dishes and pantry items like a house-made chili oil.

A view of a dish with ground pork, served with a fried egg on top of white rice.
A ground pork with rice dish at Mark Thai Food Box.
Jay Friedman/Eater Seattle

9. Thanh Vị

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4226 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 633-7867
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Thanh Vi is among a number of Vietnamese restaurants on The Ave, including an outpost of Pho Thanh Brothers, but it stands out for options not available at the others, like banh xeo (Vietnamese crepes) and tom nuong (charbroiled shrimp) served with spring-roll wrappers, vermicelli, and vegetables to make DIY rolls on a tray. The banh xeo, made with rice flour, coconut cream, and turmeric, has a wonderfully crisp crust and soft, airy interior and is studded with pieces of shrimp, filled with bean sprouts, and served with sprigs of cilantro and basil. Open for dine-in and takeout.

shrimp, bean sprouts, spring roll wrappers, sliced cucumber, shredded carrots, a bowl of fish sauce, and cilantro and Thai basil on a tray.
Charbroiled shrimp with DYI springroll ingredients at Thanh Vi.
Jade Yamazaki Stewart

10. Sultan Gyros Grill

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4222 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 632-7844

Most UW students have an opinion on the best late-night gyro spot on The Ave, but it’s hard to beat Sultan Gyros Grill for its Falafel Super sandwiches, loaded with feta, hummus, vegetables, and falafel that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The greek fries, served with feta and tzatziki sauce, are a satisfying snack after a couple of drinks. Open for dine-in and takeout.

11. Byrek and Baguette

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4209 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 632-3864
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Byrek and Baguette is a popular study spot. There are live succulents or vines on every table, and a small room to the side of the entrance has a couch and two teal armchairs. The namesake byrek, the Albanian word for a typically savory filo dough pastry popular in the Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe, makes for a satisfying snack. And the baguette sandwiches come with creative fillings like honey-cured ham between baguette halves slathered in mascarpone and apricot jam.

Matthew Lombardi for Eater

12. Samurai Noodle

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4138 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 547-1798
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Samurai Noodle is to go-to spot for ramen in the U District, with broth choices like tonkotsu, miso, and shoyu, with spicy versions of the miso and shoyu tonkotsu ramen broths. The restaurant also serves snacks like takoyaki, gyoza, and kaarage, as well as rice and meat bowls and Japanese-style shaved ice.

13. Big Time Brewery & Alehouse

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4133 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 545-4509
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Big Time Brewery and Alehouse is one of the best hangouts on The Ave, with a few covered outdoor tables on the street and inside tables and bar seats where UW staff and students chat or come study with a laptop (the brewery offers good wifi). The beers on tap tend to be hoppy and pair well with well-executed bar food like chicken tenders and burgers and massive portions of salad.  Open for dine-in and takeout.

14. The Alley Korean Restaurant

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4129 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 545-6968

Out of the several Korean restaurants in the U District, The Alley stands out for its generous portions of banchan: the green onion pancakes are crispy; the potatoes are a perfect balance of sweet and savory; and the kimchi is crunchy while still bringing zinginess. The bibimbap, japchae, and kimchi fried rice — served sizzling in a cast iron skillet — are all excellent choices.  Open for dine-in and takeout. 

15. Little Duck

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4100 Roosevelt Way NE UNIT B
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 695-2564
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This tiny, inconspicuous spot is a hidden gem serving some of the U District’s best Chinese food, with an emphasis on the cuisine of northeast China. The cabbage and pork dumplings are tender and juicy; the mapo tofu is balanced and packed with umami; and the chicken fried rice is some of the best in the city.

Matthew Lombardi/Eater Seattle

1. Taste of India

5517 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

This Roosevelt Way standby serves a wide survey of Indian cuisine and has a large heated and covered outdoor dining area. The aloo gobi, okra masala, and Tandoori prawns are good, but don’t leave without trying the butter chicken — enough food for two hungry people, with a creamy sauce that’s the perfect balance of tangy and sweet. Open for dine-in and takeout.

5517 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

2. Xi'an Noodles

5259 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

Diners come to Xi’an for one thing: wide, chewy biang biang noodles, made by hand every morning, at their best when adorned simply with chili oil. The pork dumplings and cucumber salad also make for excellent starters. Open for outdoor seating and takeout.

5259 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

3. Morsel

5000 University Way NE suite d, Seattle, WA 98105

This U District biscuit shop offers the kind of folkloric biscuits that breakfast lovers dream of — warm, pillowy interior, crispy exterior, flaky bite — but ups the ante by making everything on the menu, including its staple baked good, gluten-free. The “fast break,” Morsel’s primary breakfast sandwich, is a behemoth stack of eggs, fatty bacon, and cheddar cheese on a biscuit of your choice that’s smeared with earthy tomato jam. You can also opt to grab one of its buttermilk biscuits plain with butter and jam on the side; there’s strawberry balsamic jam, chocolate hazelnut jam, and raspberry jam, among others. The restaurant has not reopened its dining room since the start of the pandemic; takeout hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

5000 University Way NE suite d
Seattle, WA 98105

4. Red Pepper

4545 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
Fish filets in broth with vegetables.
The boiled fish with green pepper oil at Red Pepper.
Jade Yamazaki Stewart

This small restaurant on The Ave focuses on food from China’s Sichuan province. The lazi chicken, popcorn chicken covered in an equal amount of chopped dried chili peppers, is electrified by generous amounts of ground Sichuan peppercorn. The griddle-cooked meat pots, filled with vegetables and a choice of meat, are fragrant with cumin and chili powder. But the star dish here is the boiled fish with green pepper oil — made with soft fish filets, snappy bean sprouts, crunchy slices of lotus root, slippery glass noodles, and more — in a light Sichuan peppercorn broth. With a couple of sides of rice, the dish is a full meal for two or three people. Open for dine-in and takeout.

4545 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

5. Udon

4515 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

Choose your own toppings as you work your way through the cafeteria line at the bustling U District outpost of Seattle’s handmade udon mini chain, served with a variety of hot and cold broths and sauces. The chewy noodles are delicious with the classic bukkake sauce, made with a balanced soy-sauce-based broth or in hot broth with thinly sliced beef. There are some worthy deep-fried dishes, too, including the tempura chikuwa, a fishcake in the shape of a tube, and snacks like spam musubi and salmon onigiri.

4515 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

6. The Mountaineering Club

4507 Brooklyn Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105

The Mountaineering Club opened in 2019 on top of the new Graduate Hotel, offering some of the best views of Seattle from any bar or restaurant. The spirits and cocktail list is expansive, with good choices for Bourbon, Irish, Canadian, and Japanese whiskeys as well as brandy, tequila, gin, and rum. There’s also a list of house cocktails. The food features appetizers like shrimp cocktails as well as several sandwiches and entrees like baked lamb ziti and a boil made with shrimp, corn, potato, and sausage served with bread. Reservations are recommended.

4507 Brooklyn Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98105

7. Off The Rez Cafe

4300 15th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105

Seattle’s only Native American-owned food truck opened its first restaurant in 2019 at the Burke Museum on the University of Washington campus. Its menu is vibrant as ever, offering fluffy fry bread tacos topped with 12-hour smoked pulled pork, braised bison, or vegetarian chili, plus wild rice bowls. Diners can order on the official website for takeout or delivery or eat the food on site.

4300 15th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98105

8. Mark Thai Food Box

1313 NE 43rd St, Seattle, WA 98105
A view of a dish with ground pork, served with a fried egg on top of white rice.
A ground pork with rice dish at Mark Thai Food Box.
Jay Friedman/Eater Seattle

This U District counter service gem serves many popular dishes, from the mellow khao mun gai, with its poached chicken over ginger rice, to the fiery pad krapow gai kai dao, with its minced chicken, Thai basil, and chilis. The restaurant is open for takeout and delivery and also serves sealed bento boxes of popular dishes and pantry items like a house-made chili oil.

1313 NE 43rd St
Seattle, WA 98105

9. Thanh Vị

4226 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
shrimp, bean sprouts, spring roll wrappers, sliced cucumber, shredded carrots, a bowl of fish sauce, and cilantro and Thai basil on a tray.
Charbroiled shrimp with DYI springroll ingredients at Thanh Vi.
Jade Yamazaki Stewart

Thanh Vi is among a number of Vietnamese restaurants on The Ave, including an outpost of Pho Thanh Brothers, but it stands out for options not available at the others, like banh xeo (Vietnamese crepes) and tom nuong (charbroiled shrimp) served with spring-roll wrappers, vermicelli, and vegetables to make DIY rolls on a tray. The banh xeo, made with rice flour, coconut cream, and turmeric, has a wonderfully crisp crust and soft, airy interior and is studded with pieces of shrimp, filled with bean sprouts, and served with sprigs of cilantro and basil. Open for dine-in and takeout.

4226 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

10. Sultan Gyros Grill

4222 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

Most UW students have an opinion on the best late-night gyro spot on The Ave, but it’s hard to beat Sultan Gyros Grill for its Falafel Super sandwiches, loaded with feta, hummus, vegetables, and falafel that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The greek fries, served with feta and tzatziki sauce, are a satisfying snack after a couple of drinks. Open for dine-in and takeout.

4222 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

11. Byrek and Baguette

4209 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
Matthew Lombardi for Eater

Byrek and Baguette is a popular study spot. There are live succulents or vines on every table, and a small room to the side of the entrance has a couch and two teal armchairs. The namesake byrek, the Albanian word for a typically savory filo dough pastry popular in the Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe, makes for a satisfying snack. And the baguette sandwiches come with creative fillings like honey-cured ham between baguette halves slathered in mascarpone and apricot jam.

4209 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

12. Samurai Noodle

4138 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

Samurai Noodle is to go-to spot for ramen in the U District, with broth choices like tonkotsu, miso, and shoyu, with spicy versions of the miso and shoyu tonkotsu ramen broths. The restaurant also serves snacks like takoyaki, gyoza, and kaarage, as well as rice and meat bowls and Japanese-style shaved ice.

4138 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

13. Big Time Brewery & Alehouse

4133 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

Big Time Brewery and Alehouse is one of the best hangouts on The Ave, with a few covered outdoor tables on the street and inside tables and bar seats where UW staff and students chat or come study with a laptop (the brewery offers good wifi). The beers on tap tend to be hoppy and pair well with well-executed bar food like chicken tenders and burgers and massive portions of salad.  Open for dine-in and takeout.

4133 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

14. The Alley Korean Restaurant

4129 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

Out of the several Korean restaurants in the U District, The Alley stands out for its generous portions of banchan: the green onion pancakes are crispy; the potatoes are a perfect balance of sweet and savory; and the kimchi is crunchy while still bringing zinginess. The bibimbap, japchae, and kimchi fried rice — served sizzling in a cast iron skillet — are all excellent choices.  Open for dine-in and takeout. 

4129 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

15. Little Duck

4100 Roosevelt Way NE UNIT B, Seattle, WA 98105
Matthew Lombardi/Eater Seattle

This tiny, inconspicuous spot is a hidden gem serving some of the U District’s best Chinese food, with an emphasis on the cuisine of northeast China. The cabbage and pork dumplings are tender and juicy; the mapo tofu is balanced and packed with umami; and the chicken fried rice is some of the best in the city.

4100 Roosevelt Way NE UNIT B
Seattle, WA 98105

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