Bakeries, Bars, and Seafood Make Seattle One of the Best US Cities for Food and Drink

A unique bounty of fresh ingredients, from produce to seafood, and a diverse population make Seattle the best city in the United States to eat your heart out.

<p>Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images</p>

Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Try eating your way through Seattle without falling in love — I dare you. In my opinion, the city has two gifts: a unique bounty of fresh ingredients (produce and seafood) and a chip on its shoulder. Seattle is an underdog, and it feels like every spot is trying to prove that it shouldn’t be. It’s this mindset, paired with a diverse population, that makes Seattle the best city in the United States to eat your heart out, to indulge in a wide span of food and drink you may not have ever known existed, that may not exist anywhere else. Some say that people in Seattle run on a time of their own, and I don’t know about that, but I do know the food has no contemporary.

Let’s start with the basics: Canlis and The Walrus & the Carpenter are classics that have managed to evolve with the times and are still worth a visit even among some of the trendiest and best new restaurants in the country. And Seattle has beyond its fair share of those. Off Alley has awfully excellent offal (sorry), you’ll end up ordering everything off of Paju’s menu of Korean hits, and Archipelago and Musang are Filipino standouts, the latter led by 2022 F&W Best New Chef Melissa Miranda. I dream of the polpette at Bar Del Corso in Beacon Hill, which may just be the perfect neighborhood Italian restaurant, and you cannot visit Seattle without indulging in a bowl of pho. I’ve yet to have a bad one.

Seattle is a seafood-lover’s paradise. Hit up Taylor Shellfish for oysters and geoduck and Local Tide for battered Dover sole and crab rolls, but keep in mind that no city does sushi like Seattle. It’s the home of Shiro Kashiba who is credited with bringing Edomae-style sushi to the city (and if you don’t know what edomae-style is, here’s another tidbit: He trained under Jiro Ono of the Netflix documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi). While he is no longer behind the counter at his namesake Shiro’s (although it’s still excellent), Kashiba can be found occasionally at Pike Place’s Sushi Kashiba. Even if you can’t book a dinner there, the city is packed with some of the best (and most affordable) sushi I’ve ever had. Sushi Kappo Tamura, Mashiko, and Ltd Edition Sushi will blow you away.

Related: 10 Top US Cities for Food and Drinks, According to the Experts

While there are excellent coffee shops aplenty — check out Monorail, The Scene in South Park, ROOT, and Cafe Allegro — one of the most underrated aspects of Seattle (and the Pacific Northwest in general) is its bakeries. The high-quality of wheat grown outside of the city is transformed into laminated, flaky, crumbly, rich pastries by bakers who are always pushing the boundaries. Saint Bread is a shrine to carbs (and serves a great cheeseburger), and Fuji Bakery fosters a unique blend of French, American, and Japanese techniques that result in beef curry buns and ube-custard malasadas. Ellary Collins makes great biscuits which can currently be found at Layers Green Lake — come here for the sandwiches, too, like banh mi piled into a Dutch crunch roll.

The city’s bar scene is filled with dives and cocktail lounges, ensuring there is something for every kind of drinker. There are the historic dives like Sloop Tavern, home to the “slooper-size,” which is 33.8 ounces of beer at a very low price, and Hattie’s Hat, which has been operating since 1904, always has a weird VHS playing, and is crowded with dock workers and college kids alike. As for craft cocktail lounges, Canon has the largest spirit list in the country and Rob Roy serves classic drinks infused with a punk mentality. The breweries are excellent, too, and while there are over 150 of them, Hellbent, Fremont, Metier, Perihelion are some of my favorites.

After a thorough exploration of Seattle’s food and drink scene, there’s only one way to end any trip to the Emerald City — by wandering through the streets of Capitol Hill and grabbing a “Seattle Dog.” It’s a hot dog topped with grilled onions and slathered with — no joke — cream cheese. It’s different, unique, and funky. Kind of like Seattle.

Global Tastemakers is a celebration of the best culinary destinations in the U.S. and abroad. We asked more than 180 food and travel journalists to vote on their favorites, including restaurants and bars, cities, hotels, airports, airlines, and cruises. We then entrusted those results to an expert panel of judges to determine each category's winners. In many categories, we've included a Plus One, hand-selected by our expert panel, to shout out more culinary destinations we don't want our readers to miss. See all the winners at

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