The 20 Best Restaurants In South Lake Union

Whether you’re craving an exquisite seafood platter, a sizzling steak, or a vegan feast bursting with plant-based goodness, South Lake Union’s culinary scene caters to all tastes, nationalities, and diet preferences. The top eateries of the neighborhood showcase the Pacific Northwest’s bountiful offerings, delivering exceptional multicultural dishes that highlight the region’s culinary prowess.

A journey to find the 20 best restaurants in South Lake Union will take you here:

1. The Butcher’s Table

2. Portage Bay Café

3. Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria

4. Art Marble 21

5. Willmott’s Ghost

6. Kati Vegan Thai

7. Marination

8. Rubinstein’s Bagels

9. Wild Ginger

10. Molly Moon

11. And more …

1. The Butcher’s Table

2121 Westlake Avenue, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 209 5990

Website: www.thebutcherstable.com

The Butcher’s Table is an all-round fine-dining experience where guests enjoy premium quality fare and exceptional wines in luxurious dining areas. The double-level restaurant features a deli, raw bar, cocktail bar, butcher shop, and elegant private dining areas, including the high-end Gold Dust Room.

Meat is the prime focus of this upscale restaurant serving the most exquisite steaks, smoked meats, and other delectable options. The in-house butcher shop sources its Mishima Reserve American Wagyu steaks from American family-owned ranches.

You will be spoiled for choice with the many cuts available, and if you can’t make up your mind, a great option is selecting from the Tasting Flight, where you can try 4 oz of various cuts of meat.

Guests are not limited to meat at The Butcher’s Table, as seafood and vegetarian dishes are also available on the menu for those less carnivorous visitors wanting to enjoy the dining experience. To complement the culinary journey, The Butcher’s Table features an extensive wine list carefully curated to pair harmoniously with the exceptional menu.

Whether celebrating a milestone, having a romantic dinner, or seeking an unforgettable dining experience, The Butcher’s Table won’t leave you disappointed with its welcoming ambiance and culinary excellence.

2. Portage Bay Café

391 Terry Avenue N, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 462 6400

Website: [email protected]

Portage Bay Café, situated in this vibrant neighborhood of Seattle, is a well-loved dining destination renowned for its farm-to-table ethos and delicious, sustainable fare.

Portage Bay Café is famous for its legendary breakfast and brunch offerings. Whether you’re craving classic buttermilk pancakes, fluffy French toast, or creative egg dishes brimming with fresh ingredients, their menu offers the most delicious breakfast delights.

But what sets Portage Bay apart is its famous toppings bar, where guests can choose from an array of delicious toppings for their pancakes, waffles, or French toast, including seasonal fruit, delectable syrups, and nuts, creating a personalized breakfast masterpiece.

With its dedication to organic, sustainable, and delicious fare, Portage Bay Café is THE place to go for breakfasts and brunches.

3. Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria

2200 Westlake Avenue, 112 Ste, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 624 4422

Website: www.tuttabella.com

Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria earned the first VPN certificate in the Pacific Northwest. The abbreviation stands for Verace Pizza Napoletana (true Neapolitan pizza). The restaurant’s founder went to Naples to learn how to master the creation of true Italian pizzas, returning to Seattle to open one of the most successful pizzerias in the Pacific Northwest.

At Tutta Bella, the art of pizza-making is taken to new heights. The restaurant follows strict Neapolitan traditions, using only the finest ingredients and giving preference to local farmers and artisans.

Each wood-fired baked pizza is cooked to perfection, resulting in a soft and delicately charred crust that embodies the essence of Neapolitan pizza. An Italian restaurant is incomplete without pasta; the lasagna and rigatoni with roasted garlic and cream are two firm favorites not to be missed.

Tutta Bella also goes beyond the typical salad options at other restaurants, offering fresh and creative options such as the Wateratermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad, a heavenly side dish with any main course, or even on its own when you order the larger size. Finish your meal off with a Chocolate Almond Torta, and you’ve achieved culinary Nirvana!

4. Art Marble 21

731 Westlake Avenue N, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 223 0300

Website: www.artmarble21.com

Art Marble 21 is a restaurant/bar popular with young professionals, visitors, and residents of the South Lake Union neighborhood. The two-level venue has something to please all its customers: great food, music, and an enormous games room.

The menu has great meat, fish, chicken, and vegetarian options, which should always be paired with or followed by one of AM 21’s signature cocktails.

While the owners list several meals as “sandwiches” on the menu, in reality, these are elaborate feasts filled with mouthwatering ingredients in between various types of delicious breads or buns. The Cali Chicken Sandwich is a temptation you should not ignore. The combination of chicken, bacon, cheese, guacamole, and other layers is truly delightful.

As a pasta fanatic, another favorite signature dish is the AM21 Pasta. The Fettucine and herb cream sauce comes in vegetarian, chicken, salmon, steak, or shrimp varieties, and it’s impossible to decide which is the best.

AM 21 is well-known for its traditional and original cocktails. The Malibu Barbie is particularly satisfying on a hot summer day, the taste reminiscent of a tropical island getaway.

5. Willmott’s Ghost

2100 6th Avenue, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 900 9650

Website: www.willmottsghost.com

It must be said; intriguing names add a little extra charm to restaurants. You might expect the eatery’s history to include a spooky tale, but its name derives from the plant botanist Ellen Willmott would sneak into her friends’ gardens!

Willmott’s Ghost is located in the Amazon Spheres. It has an otherworldly charm as guests enjoy their dinner inside the glass restaurant, giving the impression of being in an aquarium or a conservatory.

Owned by acclaimed chef Renee Erickson, the restaurant serves all things Italian. The menu changes every week to get the best ingredients available.

The Hama Hama manila clam pizza is delicious, or if you’re more in the mood for a meaty panini, the Porchetta, salsa verde, and lemon aioli is a must-try dish. Willmott’s Ghost also serves a delightful range of cocktails, with Fragola Tonico being a favorite, a strawberry and rhubarb gin and tonic.

6. Kati Vegan Thai

1190 Thomas Street, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (323) 989 1968

Website: www.kativeganthai.com

Although a vegan restaurant may not be the first choice for meat lovers, Kati Vegan Thai has established itself as a beloved restaurant that delights vegans and non-vegans alike. Its philosophy is to keep the food simple and healthy, focusing on sustainability and staying faithful to nature. 

Drawing inspiration from traditional Thai recipes, the restaurant’s skilled chefs create dishes that burst with vibrant flavors, textures, aromas, and aesthetic appeal; a sensory overload, but in a good way!

The restaurant crafts an exquisite Pad Thai, creating everything from scratch. The classic Thai staple consists of stir-fried rice noodles, fresh vegetables, tofu, and a tangy tamarind sauce, resulting in a harmonious medley of sweet, sour, and savory flavors.

If you’re a sweet tooth, the Coconut Fancy is a must-try dessert; banana and coconut rolls served with coconut ice cream and homemade caramel are a treat that stands out above the rest.

Whether you’re a vegan food enthusiast, an adventurous eater, or simply looking for a memorable dining experience, Kati Vegan Thai showcases the incredible possibilities of plant-based Thai cuisine.

7. Marination

2000 6th Avenue, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 327 9860

Website: http://marinationmobile.com/

Marination South Lake Union has garnered a loyal following with its unique blend of Hawaiian and Korean cuisine. Marination’s roots lie in its iconic food truck, which quickly gained a cult following among the tech crowd working in the neighborhood. This food truck heritage contributed to its success, infusing the restaurant with a sense of adventure and street food charm.

Marination’s menu boasts a variety of signature dishes that have become instant favorites among patrons. One must-try is the SPAM Musubi, a Hawaiian classic with a Korean twist. This delicious combination of SPAM, rice, and nori, accompanied by Marination’s secret sauce, presents a unique and addictive flavor that keeps us coming back for more.

Another standout dish is the Kalbi Beef Tacos, a perfect mix of Korean BBQ and Mexican street food. Tender, marinated beef is served on a warm tortilla and topped with Marination’s signature slaw and a tangy sauce.

The perfect fusion of Hawaiian and Korean fare and the vibrant ambiance make this restaurant a must-visit in South Lake Union.

8. Rubinstein’s Bagels

2121 6th Avenue, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 550 1666

Website: https://rubinsteinbagels.com/

At the heart of Rubinstein Bagels’ success lies its dedication to crafting the perfect bagel. Each bagel is hand-rolled, boiled, and baked using traditional methods to achieve a chewy interior with a crisp, golden crust.

A favorite is their Everything Bagel, generously coated with a savory blend of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic, onion, and salt. This flavorful creation pairs perfectly with a schmear of cream cheese or as a base for a mouthwatering breakfast sandwich. On the other hand, if you’re in the mood for something sweet, the Chocolate and Cherry Bagel is a must-try option.

9. Wild Ginger McKenzie

2202B 8th Avenue, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 707 0396

Website: https://www.wildginger.net/

With a menu inspired by the diverse cuisines of Southeast Asia, Wild Ginger offers a dining experience that celebrates the region’s vibrant culinary traditions. The menu features an array of dishes derived from Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, and Chinese cooking cultures.

Wild Ginger crafts its signature dishes to deliver an explosion of flavors that leave a lasting impression. One standout dish is the Seven Flavor Beef, featuring tender slices of beef wok-tossed with a medley of spices, herbs, and aromatic vegetables.

The Fragrant Duck is also a must-try dish, a succulent roasted duck infused with fragrant spices, served with steamed buns and hoisin sauce.

What makes Wild Ginger stand out is its ability to transport diners to the vibrant streets of Southeast Asia through its fragrant, flavorful creations catering to various palates and dietary preferences.

10. Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream

1622.5 N 45th Street, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 708 7947

Website: www.mollymoon.com

While many food critics and chefs may object to an ice cream café being included on a “Best Of” list of restaurants, there are those who could eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, particularly Molly Moon’s sweet and creamy varieties.

Molly Moon’s is renowned for its artisanal approach to ice cream, handcrafting each batch using locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible.

From timeless flavors like vanilla and chocolate to imaginative creations like honey lavender and matcha strawberry, there’s an option to satisfy every craving. Even vegans have delicious choices like Vegan Coconut Chunk or Vegan Blueberry Pie.

Molly Moon’s is also famous for its unique and innovative flavor combinations that push the boundaries of traditional ice cream. A must-try is the Scout Mint, a refreshing take on the classic mint chocolate chip featuring house-made chocolate cookies and green mint ice cream. The Sundaes on offer are also to die for, and you might have a hard time choosing between them.

11. Little Water Cantina

2865 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 397 4152

Website: https://littlewatercantina.com/

Little Water Cantina is a one-of-a-kind restaurant serving traditional Mexican cuisine and snacks with a modern twist. The menu showcases a range of dishes that incorporate authentic flavors, locally sourced ingredients, and artistic presentations, resulting in a feast for both the eyes and the palate.

Little Water Cantina exudes a lively and welcoming ambiance that reflects the spirit of Mexican culture. The rustic décor (including the gramophone horns used as lampshades and a wall made of recycled tequila bottles) and warm lighting create an atmosphere that transports guests to a lively cantina south of the border.

An unmissable dish on the menu is the flavorful Carnitas Tacos, featuring tender, slow-cooked pork accompanied by tangy pickled onions, fresh cilantro, and zesty salsa. Complementing the delectable cuisine, Little Water Cantina boasts a selection of craft cocktails and an extensive array of tequilas and other agave spirits. It is THE go-to place for a Mexican fiesta in South Lake Union.

12. Lunchbox Laboratory

1253 Thomas Street, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 621 1090

Website: https://www.lunchboxlab.com/

Lunchbox Laboratory has established itself as the go-to destination for those craving innovative and mouthwatering burgers, shakes, and comfort food classics, taking the art of burger-making to new heights. With décor reminiscent of a school cafeteria, the restaurant creates a fun and retro ambiance.

The items on the menu have quirky names, adding to the playful vibe. You can’t resist the allure of the Burger of the Gods, a towering masterpiece that combines juicy beef, tangy gorgonzola, sweet caramelized onions, and a touch of balsamic glaze. The Veggie Burger will also please those not looking for carnivorous options.

In addition to its delectable burgers, Lunchbox Lab is renowned for its indulgent milkshakes that take desserts to a new level. From familiar favorites like chocolate and vanilla to inventive creations like the Caramel Macchiato, these thick and creamy shakes are the perfect complement to the bold flavors of the burgers. And if you’re old enough, the Boozie Shakes are a must-try!

13. Bizzarro Italian Café

1307 N 46th Street, Seattle. WA

Telephone: (206) 632 7707

Website: https://www.bizzarroitaliancafe.com/

With its eccentric charm, authentic Italian cuisine, and vibey atmosphere, this restaurant has drawn crowds since 1986, when the original owner transformed an auto workshop into a quirky eatery. The fun but slightly bizarre décor (like a bicycle hanging from the ceiling) adds to the charm. Due to its popularity, there is often a 20 -45 minute wait for a table, but it’s well worth it.

The menu features a delightful array of authentic Italian flavors, unexpected ingredients, and creative presentations, resulting in an unforgettable meal.

A must-taste signature dish at Bizzarro is the Forest Floor Frenzy. It has guests returning time and again for its Pappardelle ribbon pasta, wild mushrooms, walnuts, and a creamy sherry sauce. Another reason patrons flock to the restaurant on weekends is the famous Italian meatballs. Finish the meal with a Tiramisu or dessert port, the perfect ending to a delicious dining experience.

14. Jack’s BBQ

228 9th Avenue N, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 708 7642

Website: https://jacksbbq.com/

Among the many culinary gems in this bustling tech neighborhood, Jack’s BBQ stands out as a must-visit eatery for barbecue enthusiasts. Founded by renowned pitmaster Jack Timmons, the restaurant showcases the rich American barbecue tradition while adding its own unique touch.

From tender brisket and succulent ribs to flavorful pulled pork and smoked chicken, the meat options at Jack’s BBQ are nothing short of outstanding. The pitmasters use a combination of slow-cooking methods, wood-fired smokers, and a carefully selected blend of spices to achieve that perfectly smoky and delicious taste.

The menu also boasts a host of sides, including classic choices like mac and cheese, coleslaw, and soft, delicious breads. It’s a meat lover’s paradise, but there are also a few delightful vegetarian options among the salads and sides.

15. Kisaku Sushi

2101 N 55th St Suite 100, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 545 9050

Website: https://www.kisaku.com/

Kisaku Sushi in South Lake Union is a hidden gem that brings the flavors of Japan to Seattle. With its commitment to tradition, innovation, and outstanding service, the restaurant has earned its reputation as a go-to destination for sushi enthusiasts. Kisaku has a warm and inviting ambiance with its traditional wooden furnishings and subtle Japanese accents.

The menu at Ksaku Sushi bears witness to the masterful craftsmanship and attention to detail. The restaurant focuses on using the freshest ingredients to prepare a wide variety of traditional nigiri, sashimi, and rolls. It also has a huge selection of fish.

The chefs prepare the food in traditional Japanese fashion, and in addition to its excellent flavors, it is beautifully presented; almost too good-looking to eat! Almost, but your tastebuds will compel you. Guests won’t be disappointed by the salmon sashimi with crab, Brussels sprouts, and red snapper nigiri. For an interesting dessert, try the fried sweet potato with ice cream; it’s delicious.

16. The Whale Wins Larder And Café

3506 Stoneway North, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 632 9425

Website: https://thewhalewins.com/

Led by award-winning chef Renee Erickson, this charming restaurant offers a memorable dining experience that celebrates the cuisine from some of her favorite places in England and Southern Europe. The blue and white themed décor, wooden paneling, and high rafters create a cozy, cottagey ambiance.

The menu showcases vegetable dishes from these areas, and it changes daily according to the best ingredients available at the time. However, don’t be afraid that you will only have vegetarian options. Guests can look forward to melt-in-the-mouth meaty choices like smoked lamb (our ultimate favorite), roasted chicken, pork chops, and equally appetizing fish dishes.

To add to the culinary delights, The Whale Wins boasts an impressive wine list, creative cocktails, and a great selection of beers on tap. The restaurant’s commitment to excellence is evident in every aspect. From the warm and knowledgeable staff to the impeccable presentation of each dish, attention to detail is evident throughout the dining experience.

17. Kabul Afghan Restaurant

2301 N 45th Street, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 545 9000

Website: https://kabulrestaurant.com/

Kabul Restaurant in South Lake Union offers an authentic taste of Afghanistan in the heart of Seattle. Kabul does not provide a vast number of menu options, but its philosophy is “less is more.” Although there are still more than enough meat and vegetarian options to keep any customer happy, the owners believe in doing a few things well. And they do.

Whether chicken, lamb, or beef, the kebabs will turn any meat-eater into a repeat customer. The marinated meat is tender and delicious, blended with warm spices and fragrant herbs. Served with Kabuli Palaw, a traditional basmati rice dish topped with carrots, raisins, and nuts, little more is necessary to call it the perfect meal except for dessert, of course.

Kabul serves a few traditional Afghan desserts and homemade ice creams with creative flavors. The pistachio rosewater ice cream is a very popular choice. Then again, a dark chocolate mousse wouldn’t make a meal less perfect!

Kabul Restaurant takes its customers on a spicy journey to Afghanistan with its authentic cuisine, and it’s a trip nobody should miss.

18. Charlotte Restaurant And Lounge

809 5th Avenue, Seattle, Washington

Telephone: (206) 800 8117

Website: https://www.charlotterestaurantseattle.com/

The gorgeous Charlotte Restaurant and Lounge is perched on the top floor of the Lotte Hotel, providing guests with panoramic views of the city while savoring top-notch Pacific Northwest cuisine prepared by award-winning chef Artis Kalsons.

Charlotte Restaurant is an excellent venue for special occasions and celebrations, offering breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinners (a la carte or prix fixe). It also hosts a sweet shop where customers can purchase takeouts of Chef’s outstanding desserts and cakes.

The Wagyu NY Strip melts in the mouth, and the grilled ramp, braised potato, and parmesan jus accentuate its flavor. There’s nothing quite like it. The restaurant serves beautifully presented, creative desserts, such as Matchamisu, White Chocolate Chip Soufflé, and the prettiest cakes you’ve ever seen! The Matchamisu is a must-try ending to a meal suitable for royalty.

19. Dukes Seafood Restaurant

1111 Fairview Avenue North, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 382 9963

Website: https://www.dukesseafood.com/

Dukes Seafood on the waterfront in South Lake Union is THE place to go if you’re a seafood fanatic. You can also enjoy the most exquisite views of the boats and seaplanes on the lake, the Space Needle, and the gorgeous Seattle landscape.

Dukes is famous for its scrumptious chowders, and it can be difficult to choose which of the four on the menu. Never fear, though. Each one is a winner, the Ragin’ Cajun Chicken Corn Chowder being a personal favorite, but if you still can’t decide, choose the samplers and try them all.

The Off, The Hook Stuffed Wild Salmon, is an excellent choice for an all-round seafood feast. The salmon is filled with Dungeness crab, imported cheeses, Wild Argentinian Red Shrimp, and other tasty tidbits. What could be more delicious?

If you’re looking for the perfect restaurant for a date night or a family get-together, Dukes will not disappoint.

20. El Camino And Cantina

607 N 35th Street, Seattle, WA

Telephone: (206) 632 7303

Website: https://elcaminorestaurant.com/

El Camino Restaurant and Cantina has been the go-to eatery for Mexican food in the South Lake Union area for more than 25 years, which speaks of its excellent food drawing customers back year after year.

The food is warm, spicy, and delicious, and the margaritas add flavor and fun to the festive ambiance. The vibrant décor, including Mexican artwork, murals, and rustic furnishings, creates an inviting space that reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Happy Hour runs from 4 pm to 6 pm daily and is a great time to take advantage of the discounted margaritas and slushies. El Camino also has great food specials during Happy Hour, so you can take care of dinner at the same time. The tacos are reasonably priced and offer something for everyone, as there’s a vegetarian option as well as pork, beef, and chicken. All are astoundingly moreish.

The house specialty Bistec Al Estilo Capitalino is a meat-eaters delight, comprising of tender skirt steak, cheese enchiladas, and zucchini accompanied by mole coloradito, a Mexican sauce containing chilies, nuts, fruit, and dark chocolate.

With its authentic cuisine, and lively atmosphere, El Camino offers an exciting passage into the vibrant and diverse world of Mexican flavors.

Discover Restaurants in South Lake Union

The 20 Best Restaurants In South Lake Union

For an area not so long ago made up of empty lots, the new tech office area has also sprung up into a hub of restaurants from every culture. From seafood to Italian cuisine and everything in between, there’s a restaurant in South Lake Union to tickle your tastebuds.

About the author

My name is April, and I’m a Seattle-based writer, traveler, and foodie. I started this travel guide blog to share my passion for Seattle with fellow travelers and locals alike.

Whether you’re looking for the best coffee shops, the trendiest restaurants, or the most scenic hiking trails, I’ve got you covered.

When I’m not writing or exploring Seattle, you can find me watching movies with my husband, reading, or gardening with my dog in the backyard.

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