Steve reviews the best restaurants in the southern half of downtown Seattle and ranks them in price categories.
Soaring ceilings, elegant furnishings, and top-notch service make this Seattle’s best restaurant for special occasions. Consider dressing up a bit.
Enjoy French-inspired Northwest cuisine like Dungeness crab bisque, Alaskan salmon, filet of Angus beef, and black and white soufflé. Healthy options and three-course specials.
Free valet parking (dinner only). No dinner Sunday and Monday.
Seattle’s oldest steakhouse is still #1. Prime dry-aged steak is seared over mesquite charcoal and cooked to perfection. Seafood is also excellent.
Club-like decor appeals to the city’s movers and shakers. Pretend you’re one as you order a martini from the polished waiter in tuxedo then sink back in the comfortable banquette.
A first-rate happy hour draws crowds.
The late Carmine Smeraldo began offering Italy’s best in 1984: Warm, attentive service; a room like a fine Italian country villa; delicious food.
Most dishes are classic northern, like Ossobuco Milanese (veal over risotto) and Anitra Alle Ciliege Amarene (duck with wild cherries). A few are from the south, like Gnocchi Sorrentina (potato dumplings with mozzarella).
Free parking after 5 pm. Closed Sun.
Named for the historic building that it occupies, the Brooklyn has old-school elegance, dark wood and tile floors. In front is a round oyster bar. In back are upholstered booths and a row of
high-backed chairs at a dining bar.
Try four varieties of oysters paired with beers or wines, Alaskan salmon cooked on an Alderwood plank, wild halibut, scallops, or a nice steak.
Seattle’s busiest Asian restaurant is a sight to behold. The huge main floor holds stylish booths, tables, and several bars. An overhead loft has a few more tables and private rooms.
Attentive staff serve popular dishes from across Asia. Order some of the best and share: satays with dipping sauce, Mongolian noodles, fragrant duck, a curry dish, seven-flavor beef.
Stellar wine list. Vegetarian menu.
A tower of wine bottles greets you as you enter the dramatic building of glass and steel. With a dining area and bars on two floors, it gets loud.
Try an entree like lobster baked mac and cheese or pan-seared albacore tuna. Better yet, order small plates: gorgonzola stuffed dates with pine nuts and saba, or baked brie with apricot preserves and caramelized onions, plus manila clams or beef tenderloin. Add a Northwest wine.
This family-run restaurant has nicer ambiance than average for the International District. Walls are light green with bamboo accents. Second floor is less charming but quieter.
All food is authentic, flavorful, and reasonable. Share some Vietnamese pancakes topped with shrimp and pork. Try the pho (beef soup), spring rolls, vermicelli, lemongrass chicken, all outstanding. Open daily to 10 pm.
Maneki Neko means beckoning cat. You’ll see plenty of ceramic and fabric cats at this homey place. Owner Jean Nakayama will treat you like family (provided you wait nicely for a table).
Maneki is more than 100 years old and winner of an America’s Classics award from James Beard.
The menu has amazing variety. Best to order a la carte, mixing appetizers and sushi. Groups of 4 to 10 can book a tatami room. Closed Mondays.
If a hot sandwich of lamb, porchetta, or meatballs makes your mouth water, you won’t mind waiting in line and eating outside if the dining room is full. You’ll gladly pay $7.50 for a sandwich of mozzarella and mole salami (spiced with chocolate, ancho, cinnamon, and chipotle peppers).
The Batali family sells house-cured meats, sandwiches, soup, pasta, and olives from a tiny corner store. Open Tues. to Fri., 11 am to 3:30 or 4 pm.
Tat’s is crowded at lunchtime for good reason. It’s the best place in town for Philadelphia-style sandwiches.
Try a CheeseSteak with peppers, onions, and mozzarella. The signature Tat’strami has hot pastrami with coleslaw, melted Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing. Add freshly made soup, salad, or French fries.
To keep the line moving, plan your order while waiting. Open to 7 pm. Closed Sundays, except pre-game.
This classy basket is tied with an elegant bow and delivered with a personlized gift card. It’s loaded with Northwest specialties like Chukar cherries, smoked wild salmon and Seattle cookies. See it at Amazon.
Tom Douglas founded many of Seattle’s best restaurants, like Dahlia Lounge, Palace Kitchen, and Lola. Here he helps you “create your own Seattle in your kitchen” using fresh, in-season ingredients. Cook, eat, enjoy. See it at Amazon.
Get the inside scoop on Seattle’s food scene from the editor of the food blog FranticFoodie.com. She shares the best Seattle restaurants, food shops, farmers’ markets, food festivals, and recipes that use local ingredients. See it at Amazon.
The best Seattle travel guide, meticulously researched and updated annually with favorite finds and insider tips. Discover the best restaurants, hotels, and shopping, plus hiking, biking, kayaking, and fishing. Top sights, plus side trips to the San Juan Islands, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. St. Helens. Pocket map. See it at Amazon.
This pocket-sized map of Seattle is laminated for durability and easily folds up accordion style. It includes an index of streets, hotels, points of interest, shopping, education, culture, transportation and parks. The area covered extends from Lake City in the north to the airport in the south, from Bellevue in the east to Puget Sound in the west. See it at Amazon.
This colorful guide has clear maps and details about restaurants and attractions in each neighborhood. It focuses on the top 10 in many categories: places to see, best parks, children’s attractions, museums, hotels, performing arts, architecture, and even the top 10 things to avoid in Seattle. See it at Amazon.
This set of 50 heavy-duty cards features 50 walking tours packed with insider tips. Have fun exploring Seattle on foot, including places like the Space Needle, Pioneer Square, Pike Place Market, and Discovery Park. The author is a local teacher. See it at Amazon.