Unique Restaurants in Seattle: 12 Coolest Seattle Places to Eat

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Seattle, Washington
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Are you looking for the most unique restaurants in Seattle, WA? Here’s your ultimate guide to the best places to eat in Seattle.

If you’re a food lover wondering where to eat in Seattle, you’re in for a treat. Seattle, Washington, is a city that’s as rich in its food as it is in its culture and history. From Pike Place Market to the serene waterfront, the city is a treasure trove of unique dining experiences waiting to be discovered.

Seattle’s food scene is a fusion of its rich cultural diversity and the abundance of fresh produce from its surrounding waters and farmlands. The city is renowned for its seafood, sourced from the cold, pristine waters of the Pacific Northwest. But beyond the seafood, there’s a world of culinary specialities that make Seattle one of the best places to eat in the US.

If you’re a local looking for new places or a tourist wanting to experience the city’s gastronomy, this guide will take you on a culinary journey through the most unique restaurants in Seattle, Washington. From hidden gems in the city’s vibrant neighborhoods to upscale dining establishments with breathtaking views of the city skyline, there’s something for every palate.

Prepare to embark on a culinary adventure as we explore the best restaurants in Seattle, WA. Each eatery offers a dining experience that goes beyond just good food. They tell a story, offering a glimpse into the city’s culture. They truly offer a dining experience that you’ll remember forever.

Stay tuned as we delve into the heart of Seattle’s culinary scene, exploring the city’s coolest restaurants, one bite at a time. Here’s all you need to know about the most unique restaurants in Seattle.

The top restaurants in Seattle, Washington right now
This article on the Unique Restaurants in Seattle, Washington will blow your mind

Unique Restaurants in Seattle, WA: 12 Memorable Seattle Eateries

Are you ready to discover the most unique restaurants in Seattle? As mentioned earlier, there’s a wide array of places to eat in Seattle that will please everyone. Keep reading to find out where to eat in Seattle, Washington.

Are you looking for freshly caught fish served on the waterfront? Or would you prefer to sample new and unusual flavor combinations? Whatever your palate desires, Seattle can accommodate your needs. Here’s your in-depth guide to the most unique restaurants in Seattle, WA.

1. The Pink Door

Tucked away in the heart of Pike Place Market, The Pink Door is a gem that offers a dining experience as unique as its name. This Italian-American restaurant is a beloved institution in Seattle, known for its eclectic decor, live entertainment, and, of course, its delicious food.

The Pink Door is a testament to the city’s love for creativity and good food. The restaurant’s interior is a charming mix of vintage and modern, with a cozy atmosphere that makes you feel at home. The menu is a celebration of Italian-American cuisine, with dishes made from locally sourced ingredients.

From the classic lasagna to the innovative seafood dishes, every item on the menu is a culinary delight. The Pink Door also offers a selection of fine wines to complement your meal. The restaurant hosts live entertainment, including cabaret, trapeze, and music performances, adding an extra layer of excitement to your dining experience.

If you’re looking for unique places in Seattle to eat, The Pink Door should be on your list. It’s a restaurant that offers a taste of Seattle’s vibrant culture and culinary scene.

The Pink Door features creative Italian-American charm, blending vintage and modern with locally sourced dishes.
The Pink Door features creative Italian-American charm, blending vintage and modern with locally sourced dishes.

2. Canlis

Perched atop a hill with a breathtaking view of Lake Union, Canlis stands as a testament to Seattle’s fine dining scene. Since its inception in 1950, this restaurant has been a beacon of culinary excellence, offering a dining experience that’s as memorable as the panoramic city and water views it provides.

At Canlis, the menu is a celebration of the Pacific Northwest’s rich bounty. Meticulously crafted, each dish highlights the region’s finest ingredients. The commitment to quality and sustainability is palpable in every bite, securing its spot as one of the best restaurants in Seattle, WA.

The exceptional service at Canlis is another aspect that sets it apart. The dedicated staff ensures every guest feels valued, adding a personal touch to the dining experience. Be it a special occasion or a casual night out, Canlis promises an unforgettable gastronomic journey.

Canlis has a dress code that leans towards the formal. When planning your visit, be sure to dress appropriately to fully enjoy this unique dining experience.

Canlis is an iconic hilltop gem since 1950, offering culinary excellence with memorable city and water views.
Canlis is an iconic hilltop gem since 1950, offering culinary excellence with memorable city and water views.

3. Marination Ma Kai

For a taste of Hawaii in the heart of Seattle, look no further than Marination Ma Kai. Located on the waterfront in West Seattle, this casual eatery offers stunning views of the city skyline, making it one of the most scenic places in Seattle to eat.

Its Hawaiian-Korean fusion cuisine has made Marination Ma Kai well-known. The menu is a delightful mix of flavors, with dishes like kimchi fried rice, kalbi beef tacos, and the ever-popular “SPAM sliders”. Each dish is a burst of flavor, showcasing the restaurant’s innovative approach to fusion cuisine.

What sets Marination Ma Kai apart is not just its delicious food, but also its laid-back, friendly atmosphere. The staff are welcoming, the views are incredible, and the food is affordable. It’s the perfect place for a casual lunch or dinner, where you can enjoy good food while taking in the beautiful views of Seattle.

In addition to the food, Marination Ma Kai offers a selection of local beers and Hawaiian-inspired cocktails. If you’re enjoying a sunny day on the patio or taking a break from exploring the city, Marination Ma Kai offers a unique dining experience that’s hard to beat.

Marination Ma Kai is an iconic Hawaiian-Korean fusion eatery with a menu bursting with innovative dishes.
Marination Ma Kai is an iconic Hawaiian-Korean fusion eatery with a menu bursting with innovative dishes.

4. The Walrus and the Carpenter

Nestled in the historic neighborhood of Ballard, The Walrus and the Carpenter blends the elegance of a French seafood bar with the casual vibe of a Pacific Northwest fishing pub. This unique combination has made it one of the coolest places to eat in Seattle, Washington.

They source oysters from local waters and serve them fresh, making The Walrus and the Carpenter famous for this specialty. The menu changes daily, reflecting the seasonality and freshness of the seafood. Other popular dishes include smoked trout, steak tartare, and their famous bread pudding for dessert.

The restaurant’s interior features a long wooden bar, antique mirrors, and a wall of windows that let in plenty of natural light. The relaxed atmosphere makes it an excellent choice for either a casual dinner or a special occasion.

Despite its popularity, The Walrus and the Carpenter has maintained its commitment to providing high-quality, sustainable seafood. It’s a restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious meal, knowing that you’re also supporting local fisheries and sustainable farming practices. As such, I recommend everyone visiting Seattle to consider this restaurant.

The Walrus and the Carpenter: Local oysters, changing menu, iconic dishes like smoked trout and steak tartare.
The Walrus and the Carpenter: Local oysters, changing menu, iconic dishes like smoked trout and steak tartare.

5. Salumi

In the heart of Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square district, you’ll find Salumi, a small, family-owned eatery that’s become a local favorite. Founded by Armandino Batali, father of celebrity chef Mario Batali, Salumi offers a taste of Italy in the Pacific Northwest.

Its reputation is built on the house-made cured meats, all crafted using traditional Italian methods, making Salumi best known for this specialty. From salami and coppa to prosciutto and mortadella, each product is a testament to the art of Italian charcuterie. The menu also features a selection of sandwiches, soups, and pasta, all made with the same attention to quality and flavor.

The atmosphere at Salumi is warm and welcoming, with a rustic interior that feels like a slice of old-world Italy. Despite its small size, the restaurant has a big heart, with a commitment to serving high-quality, delicious food.

Visiting Salumi is all about experiencing the love and tradition that goes into Italian cooking. It’s a must-visit for any food lover in Seattle, offering a unique dining experience that’s as memorable as the food itself.

Salumi: Italian cured meats masterpiece, house-made with sandwiches, soups, and pasta of equal quality.
Salumi: Italian cured meats masterpiece, house-made with sandwiches, soups, and pasta of equal quality.

6. Maneki

Maneki, one of Seattle’s oldest restaurants, has been serving traditional Japanese cuisine since 1904. Located in the International District, this restaurant has witnessed the city’s transformation over the years, while maintaining its commitment to authentic Japanese flavors.

The menu at Maneki is extensive, featuring a variety of dishes from sushi and sashimi to tempura and teriyaki. Each dish is prepared with precision and care, highlighting the restaurant’s dedication to quality. The sushi is particularly noteworthy, with fresh, locally sourced fish that melts in your mouth.

Stepping into Maneki feels like stepping into a different era. The restaurant’s decor is simple and traditional, creating a calm and inviting atmosphere. The tatami rooms offer a unique dining experience, allowing guests to enjoy their meal in a traditional Japanese setting.

Maneki is a piece of Seattle’s history. It’s a restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious meal while experiencing a slice of the city’s cultural heritage. For those seeking unique places in Seattle to eat, Maneki is a destination not to be missed.

Maneki is one of the unique restaurants in Seattle, Washington.
Maneki is a historic Japanese gem since 1904, preserving authentic flavors in the evolving International District.

7. The Herbfarm

Perhaps the most unique dining experience in Washington State, The Herbfarm in Woodinville, just outside of Seattle, is a destination like no other. This farm-to-table restaurant is situated in a beautiful herb garden, offering an experience that’s deeply connected to the land and the seasons.

The Herbfarm offers a single, nine-course menu with wine pairings, which changes regularly based on the season and the freshest ingredients available. Each dish is a celebration of the Pacific Northwest’s bounty, featuring ingredients sourced from local farmers, foragers, and fishermen, as well as from The Herbfarm’s own gardens.

The dining experience at The Herbfarm is intimate and leisurely, with only one seating per night. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy a garden tour or a glass of wine by the fireplace before dinner. The restaurant’s rustic charm, combined with its commitment to sustainability and quality, make it one of the most unique restaurants in Seattle.

At The Herbfarm, every meal becomes a journey that engages all the senses. As you savor the exquisite flavors, you’ll also gain a deeper appreciation for the land and the bounty it provides. This is not merely dining; it’s a celebration of the Pacific Northwest’s beauty and abundance.

The Herbfarm is one of the unique restaurants in Seattle, Washington.
The Herbfarm: Evolving nine-course menu celebrates Pacific Northwest’s seasonal bounty, sourced locally and from their own gardens.

8. Paseo Caribbean Food

Immerse yourself in the flavors of the Caribbean right in the heart of Seattle at Paseo Caribbean Food. This vibrant eatery, located in the Fremont and SoDo neighborhoods, is known for its flavorful sandwiches and laid-back atmosphere, making it a go-to spot for those seeking unique places in Seattle to eat.

Paseo’s menu is a celebration of Caribbean flavors, with dishes like the Caribbean Roast sandwich, made with slow-roasted pork shoulder coated in Paseo Sauce, and the Smokin’ Thighs, featuring juicy, spice-rubbed chicken thighs. Each dish is packed with flavor and made fresh to order.

The restaurant’s colorful, casual setting matches the vibrant flavors of its food. With its affordable prices and generous portions, Paseo offers a unique dining experience that’s accessible to everyone. It’s a great place for a quick lunch or a casual dinner with friends.

Paseo Caribbean Food proves that you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy a memorable meal in Seattle. It’s an eatery where you can enjoy delicious, hearty food without the hefty price tag, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Paseo Caribbean Food is renowned for flavorful sandwiches and a laid-back atmosphere.
Paseo Caribbean Food is renowned for flavorful sandwiches and a laid-back atmosphere.

9. Dick’s Drive-In

A visit to Seattle wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Dick’s Drive-In. This iconic fast-food chain has been a staple of Seattle’s food scene since 1954, serving up classic burgers, fries, and shakes at affordable prices.

Dick’s Drive-In is known for its straightforward menu and quality ingredients. The burgers are made from 100% real beef, the fries are hand-cut, and the shakes are made with real ice cream. It’s a simple formula, but one that has earned Dick’s a loyal following among locals and tourists alike.

What sets Dick’s Drive-In apart from the competition is its commitment to the community. The company pays its employees above minimum wage, offers scholarships for employees, and regularly gives back to local charities. It’s a place where you can enjoy a delicious, affordable meal while supporting a business that cares about its community.

Dick’s Drive-In offers more than a quick bite; it’s a quintessential part of the Seattle experience. For locals and first-time visitors alike, a trip to Dick’s is a memorable part of exploring the best places to eat in Seattle, Washington.

Dick's Drive-In: Local favorite earning loyalty for quality and simplicity.
Dick’s Drive-In: Local favorite earning loyalty for quality and simplicity.

10. The Crab Pot

Seafood lovers rejoice! The Crab Pot, located on Seattle’s vibrant waterfront, offers a seafood dining experience like no other. Known for its SeaFeast, The Crab Pot is unquestionably one of the most unique restaurants in Seattle, Washington.

The Crab Pot’s SeaFeast is a seafood extravaganza, featuring a variety of fresh seafood including King crab, Snow crab, shrimp, clams, mussels, and more, all boiled in a flavorful broth and served directly onto your table. It’s a hands-on, messy, and incredibly fun way to enjoy seafood.

The restaurant’s location on the waterfront offers stunning views of the water and the city, adding to the overall dining experience. Plus, it’s just a stone’s throw away from other popular attractions like the Seattle Great Wheel and the Aquarium.

The Crab Pot offers a unique, fun, and delicious dining experience that’s perfect for seafood lovers and anyone looking for a memorable meal in Seattle. It’s a place where you can enjoy great food, great views, and great company.

The Crab Pot offers a messy, fun seafood extravaganza with a variety of fresh seafood served directly onto your table.
The Crab Pot offers a messy, fun seafood extravaganza with a variety of fresh seafood served directly onto your table.

11. Bizzarro Italian Cafe

Enter a world of the extraordinary at Bizzarro Italian Cafe. Nestled in the Wallingford neighborhood, this unique dining spot captivates with its eclectic decor and delectable Italian cuisine. Its distinct character sets it apart as one of the unique places in Seattle to eat.

Bizzarro Italian Cafe presents a menu brimming with Italian classics, each infused with a unique twist. The renowned lasagna and mouthwatering tiramisu are among the many dishes crafted with care and served with flair. With a menu that changes seasonally, Bizzarro ensures a fresh and exciting culinary journey throughout the year.

The restaurant’s ambiance is as captivating as its food. Filled with oddities and art, Bizzarro offers a dining environment that’s fun, casual, and slightly surreal. Amidst the quirky charm of the surroundings, you can savor a delicious meal that’s as memorable as the setting.

Bizzarro Italian Cafe offers a dining experience that is certain to leave a lasting impression. For those seeking a culinary adventure off the beaten path, Bizzarro Italian Cafe stands as a must-visit destination in Seattle.

Bizzarro Italian Cafe features classic Italian dishes with unique twists.
Bizzarro Italian Cafe features classic Italian dishes with unique twists.

12. Un Bien

For some of the best Caribbean cuisine in the Pacific Northwest, Un Bien is the place to go. This family-owned restaurant, with locations in Ballard and Shilshole Bay, is renowned for its hearty sandwiches and vibrant flavors, making it one of the best places to eat in Seattle, Washington.

At the heart of Un Bien’s offerings is the Caribbean Roast sandwich. This crowd-pleaser features slow-roasted pork shoulder, caramelized onions, and aioli, all nestled within a warm baguette. But the culinary delights don’t stop there. The Grilled Fish sandwich is a seafood lover’s dream, while the Paseo Press offers a delectable vegetarian alternative.

Step into Un Bien and you’ll be greeted by a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. It’s the perfect backdrop for a leisurely lunch or a laid-back dinner. Generous portions and reasonable prices make this a go-to spot for locals and visitors alike.

Un Bien isn’t just about food—it’s about experiencing the vibrant flavors of the Caribbean right here in Seattle. With its standout dishes and warm service, it’s a culinary destination that deserves a spot on any food lover’s Seattle itinerary.

Un Bien is one of the unique restaurants in Seattle, Washington.
Un Bien is a family-owned gem for top Caribbean cuisine in Seattle, with hearty sandwiches and vibrant flavors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Most Unique Restaurants in Seattle, WA

Do you have further questions about the most unique places to eat in Seattle? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about the best restaurants in Seattle, Washington.

Seattle is home to a diverse range of popular restaurants. Some of the most beloved include Canlis for fine dining, The Pink Door for Italian-American cuisine, Salumi for Italian charcuterie, and Un Bien for Caribbean flavors. For seafood lovers, The Crab Pot and The Walrus and the Carpenter are must-visits.

What food should you not miss in Seattle?

When in Seattle, don’t miss out on the fresh seafood, particularly salmon and Dungeness crab. The city is also known for its clam chowder and artisanal coffee. For a unique Seattle experience, try the Caribbean Roast sandwich at Un Bien or the SeaFeast at The Crab Pot.

Savor the renowned salmon dish, one of the true culinary gems of Washington's vibrant food scene.
Savor the renowned salmon dish, one of the true culinary gems of Washington’s vibrant food scene.

What is a signature dish of Seattle, Washington?

Seattle’s signature dish is arguably its fresh salmon, often prepared simply to let the quality of the fish shine through. The city’s location allows for access to some of the freshest seafood in the country, making it a haven for seafood lovers. Additionally, Seattle’s coffee culture is renowned, with the city being the birthplace of Starbucks and home to numerous artisanal coffee roasters.

Does Seattle have a good food scene?

Absolutely! Seattle has a vibrant food scene, with a diverse range of restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and farmers’ markets. The city is known for its fresh seafood, innovative cuisine, and commitment to locally sourced, sustainable ingredients.

What food is best known in Seattle?

Seattle’s diverse culinary scene reflects its coastal location and the multicultural fabric of the city. Some well-known foods in Seattle include:

  1. Coffee: Seattle is the coffee capital of the U.S., with Starbucks originating there, and a plethora of local coffee shops and roasters.
  2. Salmon: Given its location near the Pacific Ocean, Seattle is famous for its fresh seafood, particularly wild-caught Pacific salmon. It’s prepared in various ways, from grilling to smoking.
  3. Dungeness Crab: This local crab species is another seafood favorite in Seattle, known for its sweet and tender meat.
  4. Oysters: The cold waters of the Pacific Northwest produce some of the best oysters in the world, and you can find them served raw, grilled, or in stews and chowders.
  5. Clam Chowder: Seattle’s take on clam chowder often includes local clams, bacon, and potatoes, and is a creamy comfort food staple in the area.
  6. Teriyaki: Seattle has its unique style of teriyaki, characterized by simple marinated and grilled meats served with rice and salad. It’s a beloved fast-food option in the city.
  7. Craft Beer: Seattle has a thriving craft beer scene, with numerous local breweries offering a wide variety of unique and innovative brews.
  8. Local Produce: The city uses fresh, local produce, often sourced from farmers’ markets like Pike Place Market. This is where you can find local specialties like Rainier cherries and Washington apples.
  9. Asian Cuisine: Seattle’s significant Asian population has contributed to the popularity of various Asian cuisines, including Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai food.
  10. Food Trucks: The food truck culture in Seattle is vibrant, offering everything from gourmet tacos to artisan donuts.

Are there any unique dining experiences in Seattle, WA?

Yes, Seattle offers a variety of unique dining experiences. You can enjoy a meal while taking in the city’s stunning views at Canlis, experience a seafood extravaganza at The Crab Pot, or dine in a quirky, art-filled setting at Bizzarro Italian Cafe. For a taste of the city’s history, visit Maneki, one of Seattle’s oldest restaurants.

Final Thoughts on the Most Unique Eateries in Seattle

So, you’re in Seattle and your stomach’s rumbling. Where should you go? Well, the city’s food scene is as eclectic as it gets. You’ve got everything from the freshest catch at The Walrus and the Carpenter and The Crab Pot, to a Hawaiian-Korean flavor mashup at Marination Ma Kai, and even a Caribbean feast at Un Bien.

These unique Seattle restaurants aren’t just about filling your belly, they’re about giving you a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Whether you’re a Seattle local or just passing through, these spots are sure to leave a lasting impression.

So, next time you’re in the Emerald City and can’t decide where to grab a bite, give these places a shot. They’re not just serving up some of the best food in town, they’re serving up a slice of Seattle’s diverse culinary scene. Trust us, your taste buds will thank you!

The top restaurants in Seattle, Washington for all types of travelers
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