Eat Like a Local at the 10 Best Restaurants In Kirkland, WA

Kirkland certainly has a lot of variety on offer when it comes to exploring the culinary scene of the suburb. From burgers, pizza, and seafood to spicy Indian, Mexican, or Italian cuisine, there are many choices to whet just about any appetite!

Boasting fine dining, romantic settings, or modern, laid-back venues, Kirkland has that special something to create the perfect intimate setting or just to simply curb the hunger pangs in the most satisfying way.

The 10 Best Restaurants in Kirkland, WA are: 

  1. Café Juanita
  2. DERU Market 
  3. Kathakali
  4. El Encanto
  5. Cactus
  6. Arleana’s 
  7. COMO
  8. Pizzaiolo Wood Fired 
  9. Nick’s Grill 
  10. The Box & Burgers Eatery 

Where To Find The Best Restaurants in Kirkland, WA

Here are 10 best restaurants in Kirkland, offering a little something to satisfy any palate. We’ve provided an array of cuisine and all the deets you need to know about what to expect and where to find them.

1. Café Juanita, Juanita

9702 NE 120th Plaza

Café Juanita may not be the most affordable restaurant on this list. Still, it certainly is one of the more sublime choices regarding white-tablecloth, Northern Italian fine dining.

Tucked away in a grove of gorgeous mature trees, this restaurant welcomes a formal dress code and delights diners with four prix-fixe tasting menus:

  • Omnivore
  • Pescatarian
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Expect exquisite, innovative cuisine, impeccable service, and an intimate dining experience perfect for any special occasion.

2. DERU Market, Norkirk

723 9th Avenue

This eatery/neighborhood artisan market is tucked away in a rather unsuspecting location, serving anything from sandwiches, pizza, and Victrola coffee to cakes and cookies made from fresh, locally, and sustainably sourced ingredients.

This off-the-beaten-track gem captures the essence of unbelievable, soul-warming delights, complete with simple yet inviting décor creating an urban modern style café.

You can’t go wrong ordering anything here, really, but some of the stand-out choices are the following:

  • Smoked Turkey sandwich with a fresh farm salad
  • Fried chicken and gravy
  • Salted Peanut butter cake
  • Coconut cake (oh, the cake!)
  • Snickerdoodle and chocolate chip cookies

3. Kathakali, Juanita

11451 98th Avenue NE

Another charming addition to the list of best restaurants in Kirkland is Kathakali. This tiny Indian shop prepares Kerala (South Indian) cuisine to absolute perfection and true to its original flavors.

The vegetarian and seafood options are stand-out dishes, with the tangy Meen Pollichathu (whole fish and spices wrapped in a banana leaf), Vegetable Ishtoo, Kappa and Chili Chutney, or the Mango Pulisery being some of the more popular picks.

Although Kathakali serves delicious food, the waiting times can be long, particularly over the weekends. Be sure to plan accordingly, and don’t let this put you off from sampling their delectable housemade Jackfruit ice cream on your way out!

4. El Encanto, Carillon Point/Lake View

1170 Carillon Point

If Mexican food, breathtaking lakeside views, and spectacular picturesque sunsets are up your alley, then El Encanto is your ideal eatery.

Inspired by all-time favorite Mexican dishes passed down through generations, this restaurant promises to tantalize your taste buds with the tastiest traditional guacamole to savor and the best margarita refreshments.

Diners are free to relax and lounge on couches, overlooking the stunning Lake Washington, as well as delighting in some of their many moreish dishes such as:

  • The Cubana Sandwich
  • The Quesadillas
  • Ribeye Al Carbon
  • Deshebrada (Short Rib Tacos)
  • Campechiana (Seafood)
  • Esquites (Roasted Corn)
  • Gorditas (Pork Belly)

5. Cactus- Park Lane, Downtown

121 Park Lane

Cactus has undoubtedly earned its spot on the list of best restaurants in Kirkland. Successfully delivering drool-worthy food and drinks to the table, this restaurant also offers delicious Southwestern Mexican food with a modern twist and an appealing list of tequilas!

It is a delightful spot with a vibrant atmosphere, boasting several Mexican all-time favorites and culinary delights. A few of the must-try menu items are:

  • Camarones (The incredible shrimp tacos)
  • Seafood Enchiladas
  • Smoked Brisket Tacos
  • Roasted Butternut Squash Tamales
  • Chicken Cactus Fajitas
  • Macho Mango Margarita
  • Three Milk Cuban Flan
  • Churros

6. Arleana’s- On Central Way

312 Central Way

Arleana’s is a perfect spot for seafood, serving up some of the most delicious and carefully prepared Caribbean dishes infused with innovative French influences, such as:

  • Fried Catfish
  • Curry Mussels
  • Lamb Skewers
  • Oxtail
  • Crab cakes
  • Blackened Salmon

Be sure to leave space for the yummiest, fluffiest, soul-soothing beignets as an end to a great meal!

7. COMO, Carillon Point/Lake View

1270 Carillon Point

For a genuinely satisfying Italian dining experience with sweeping views of Lake Washington, look no further than COMO, renowned for its great food, drinks, and handmade pasta.

Featuring gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows with a waterfront view, this restaurant is ideally suited for an evening wind down or an intimate, romantic date night with all the right Italian vibes.

Look out for their signature dishes, particularly the following menu items:

  • Fall Truffle Pizza
  • Charred Octopus Antipasti
  • Dungeness Crab Risotto
  • Tiramisu
  • Chocolate Fondant

8. Pizzaiolo Wood Fired, Downtown

11836 98th Avenue NE

Craving a slice of pizza worthy of sinking your teeth into? Pizzaiolo won’t disappoint when it comes to creating the perfect slice of pizza: a thin base, chewy texture, plentiful, tasty toppings, and a delightful charred wood-fired taste.

Savor their mouthwatering Margherita or Sofia pizza, the flavorful Meat Lovers Calzone, or the decadent and perfect tiramisu and Cannoli Cream for dessert.

Pizzaiolo is by far the most fantastic little gem of a Pizza place in Kirkland!

9. Nick’s Grill, Totem Lake

11613 124th Avenue

Try Nick’s Grill for the most delicious burrito and tater tots you’ll ever find!

This chilled, funky spot serves the most amazing Tex-Mex foods, such as burritos, burgers, sandwiches, quesadillas and more.

Be sure to come hungry, as the large portions offer great bang for your buck. One highly recommended item is their colossal Chicken Burrito, big on taste and flavor and big for sharing, too!

10. The Box & Burgers Eatery, Totem Hill Plaza

12305 120th Avenue NE # C

Last but not least on our list of best restaurants in Kirkland is The Box & Burgers Eatery, an attractive establishment that whips up creative, unique, and gourmet burgers and noteworthy baos.

Tucked away in an unassuming location behind a gas station, this restaurant is big on burgers and taste. If burgers are your thing, there are several choices on the menu boasting superb flavors, giving a special shout-out to the Miso Belly (Braised Pork Belly) Burger.

There are a few options for bao fans, too, such as the Kalua Pork Bao, which sports an Asian, Hawaiian, and Mexican fusion.


As seen in the list above, Kirkland is home to some exceptional restaurants to visit and enjoy. The Kirkland restaurant scene is definitely worth exploring: a variety of eateries, some superb waterfront views, great food, friendly staff, and impeccable service.

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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