clock menu more-arrow no yes

11 Under-the-Radar Restaurants and Bars to Try in Seattle

View as Map
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Seattle’s social media addiction makes it barely legal to eat a sandwich without Instagramming it. In the age of oversharing, sometimes the best thing about a restaurant is when you know something that all of Twitter doesn’t. Whether your dream under-the-radar destination is a taco shop in the back of a Mexican market, a suburban fish joint, or a sprawling Hawaiian patio joint, this list sheds a little light on the places toiling away without the recognition (and Insta-fame) they deserve.

Read More

1. Jawhara Café

Copy Link
17550 NE 67th Ct
Redmond, WA 98052
(425) 608-6969
Visit Website

One of Redmond’s best lunches comes from inside a mosque. The Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) hosts this Moroccan and Indian café on their campus, and each weekday it serves up rotating specials like lamb curry, olive chicken, gyros, and even a cross-cultural gyro paratha roll. Particularly known for friendly service, the restaurant serves each meal with free mint tea.

2. La Conasupo

Copy Link
3614, 8532 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 782-0533
Visit Website

You’ll have to shove a few chile peppers out of the way as you walk through the narrow aisles of this Mexican market, but when you get to the back, it opens up into a taco shop, which — on weekends only — serves Hidalgo-style pit-cooked lamb. Barbacoa, as the dish is known, is a Sunday morning tradition in central Mexico, and, for those who know where to find it, Greenwood.

3. Needle and Thread

Copy Link
1406 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 322-9734
Visit Website

Drink one-of-a-kind Prohibition-era cocktails in the luxe overstuffed seating and low-light nooks and crannies at this trip back in time. Opened at the beginning of the speakeasy craze, this upstairs section of Tavern Law has survived the ups and downs of said trend and the sale of the business. Its secret — besides hiding behind an old bank vault door — is the menuless bar: Each order is a customized drink from a conversation between customer and bartender. (After entering, go to the right behind the bank vault door near the phone.)

4. PB Kitchen at the Polish Cultural Center

Copy Link
1714 18th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 322-3020
Visit Website

Friday nights are made for pickle soup, pierogi, and pork hocks. That’s the night that PB Kitchen sets up in the basement of the Polish Home and serves up their traditional food, like dumplings filled with mushrooms, meat, or cheese, crepes, stews, and giant hunks of pork. Open to all with a $1 temporary membership, there’s also a bar serving Polish beers and bison grass vodka. (Note that it’s only open on Friday nights, and closed in August.)

5. The Downstairs Bar at Meskel

Copy Link
2605 E Cherry St
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 860-1724
Visit Website

Meskel, located in an old Central District craftsman, already tops the competitive field of Seattle’s best Ethiopian restaurants. But for nights when you’re looking for something a little more casual, head downstairs (or enter through the back) to the bar. A projector screen covers one wall, nearly always tuned to soccer, and off-duty cab drivers wave down the bartender for whiskey. You can order from the full dinner menu down here, the only difference is the crowd. (Turn right as you enter and go downstairs.)

6. Vientiane Asian Grocery

Copy Link
6059 Martin Luther King Jr Way S
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 723-3160

In a South End strip mall, this mini-mart holds much more than its name implies: Come for your Lao traditional clothing, stay for the pork intestine soup. Dig into crispy rice, papaya salad, grilled fish wraps, sour pork sausages, and sticky rice in the aisles of this Lao general store, where orange chairs and a checkerboard of tables hold silverware, napkins, and a broad array of condiments to top the food straight from Southeast Asia.

7. Pono Ranch Restaurant & Bar

Copy Link
4502 Shilshole Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 258-2162
Visit Website

In a weird little corner of Ballard, this barebones, oversized patio keeps things cool under the sailcloth that provides shade. Decorated like somebody raided a junkyard and created a frat-house dream, rusty equipment provides an odd atmosphere to eat Hawaiian-style food in, but the cornhole, firepit, and live music somehow keep it all working — in a quirkily awesome fashion. Grab an Elysian Space Dust IPA and settle in for a laid-back night.

8. El Corazón

Copy Link
109 Eastlake Ave E
Seattle, WA 98109

The venues that once housed Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains have mostly closed, fleeing a changing Seattle. But this little sub-freeway holdout keeps the spirit of independent music alive. More recently, folks like Macklemore have graced the stage of El Corazon on their way to wider fame. Come, drink, listen, and then—in a few years—claim your hipster badge of having heard someone way back when.

9. Jupiter Bar

Copy Link
2126 2nd Ave A
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 448-2043
Visit Website

When people think of drinking at an art gallery, stuffy openings with white wine tend to come to mind—this spot is the polar opposite: murals and art works line the walls of the former jewelry warehouse, but so too do arcade games, pinball machines, and pool tables. The food and drinks also buck the reputation of galleries with their affordable prices and playful names. Order an Elysian brew with cheap eats and your weekend is made.

10. Owl N' Thistle

Copy Link
808 Post Ave
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 621-7777
Visit Website

Irish pubs dot the entire planet, bringing little more than a bit of faux brogue and basic beer, but this little alley gem shows the incredible potential for places that do it well. The historic location in a 1930 building and the old-timey décor combine for a cool, laid back scene—but the fun live music gets people up and moving.

11. Wally's Chowder House Broiler

Copy Link
22531 Marine View Dr S
Des Moines, WA 98198
(206) 878-8140
Visit Website

Some of the best seafood in Seattle is actually a short drive south in Des Moines, where this charming seafood house perches overlooking Puget Sound. It’s the type of place that is everything you want from a seaside shack: plenty of kitschy, nautically-themed décor, nearly two-dozen beers on tap (including the local Elysian Brewing Company), and the kind of sunset views over the water that seem surreal.

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

1. Jawhara Café

17550 NE 67th Ct, Redmond, WA 98052

One of Redmond’s best lunches comes from inside a mosque. The Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) hosts this Moroccan and Indian café on their campus, and each weekday it serves up rotating specials like lamb curry, olive chicken, gyros, and even a cross-cultural gyro paratha roll. Particularly known for friendly service, the restaurant serves each meal with free mint tea.

17550 NE 67th Ct
Redmond, WA 98052

2. La Conasupo

3614, 8532 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103

You’ll have to shove a few chile peppers out of the way as you walk through the narrow aisles of this Mexican market, but when you get to the back, it opens up into a taco shop, which — on weekends only — serves Hidalgo-style pit-cooked lamb. Barbacoa, as the dish is known, is a Sunday morning tradition in central Mexico, and, for those who know where to find it, Greenwood.

3614, 8532 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103

3. Needle and Thread

1406 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Drink one-of-a-kind Prohibition-era cocktails in the luxe overstuffed seating and low-light nooks and crannies at this trip back in time. Opened at the beginning of the speakeasy craze, this upstairs section of Tavern Law has survived the ups and downs of said trend and the sale of the business. Its secret — besides hiding behind an old bank vault door — is the menuless bar: Each order is a customized drink from a conversation between customer and bartender. (After entering, go to the right behind the bank vault door near the phone.)

1406 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

4. PB Kitchen at the Polish Cultural Center

1714 18th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Friday nights are made for pickle soup, pierogi, and pork hocks. That’s the night that PB Kitchen sets up in the basement of the Polish Home and serves up their traditional food, like dumplings filled with mushrooms, meat, or cheese, crepes, stews, and giant hunks of pork. Open to all with a $1 temporary membership, there’s also a bar serving Polish beers and bison grass vodka. (Note that it’s only open on Friday nights, and closed in August.)

1714 18th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

5. The Downstairs Bar at Meskel

2605 E Cherry St, Seattle, WA 98122

Meskel, located in an old Central District craftsman, already tops the competitive field of Seattle’s best Ethiopian restaurants. But for nights when you’re looking for something a little more casual, head downstairs (or enter through the back) to the bar. A projector screen covers one wall, nearly always tuned to soccer, and off-duty cab drivers wave down the bartender for whiskey. You can order from the full dinner menu down here, the only difference is the crowd. (Turn right as you enter and go downstairs.)

2605 E Cherry St
Seattle, WA 98122

6. Vientiane Asian Grocery

6059 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, Seattle, WA 98118

In a South End strip mall, this mini-mart holds much more than its name implies: Come for your Lao traditional clothing, stay for the pork intestine soup. Dig into crispy rice, papaya salad, grilled fish wraps, sour pork sausages, and sticky rice in the aisles of this Lao general store, where orange chairs and a checkerboard of tables hold silverware, napkins, and a broad array of condiments to top the food straight from Southeast Asia.

6059 Martin Luther King Jr Way S
Seattle, WA 98118

7. Pono Ranch Restaurant & Bar

4502 Shilshole Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

In a weird little corner of Ballard, this barebones, oversized patio keeps things cool under the sailcloth that provides shade. Decorated like somebody raided a junkyard and created a frat-house dream, rusty equipment provides an odd atmosphere to eat Hawaiian-style food in, but the cornhole, firepit, and live music somehow keep it all working — in a quirkily awesome fashion. Grab an Elysian Space Dust IPA and settle in for a laid-back night.

4502 Shilshole Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

8. El Corazón

109 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98109

The venues that once housed Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains have mostly closed, fleeing a changing Seattle. But this little sub-freeway holdout keeps the spirit of independent music alive. More recently, folks like Macklemore have graced the stage of El Corazon on their way to wider fame. Come, drink, listen, and then—in a few years—claim your hipster badge of having heard someone way back when.

109 Eastlake Ave E
Seattle, WA 98109

9. Jupiter Bar

2126 2nd Ave A, Seattle, WA 98121

When people think of drinking at an art gallery, stuffy openings with white wine tend to come to mind—this spot is the polar opposite: murals and art works line the walls of the former jewelry warehouse, but so too do arcade games, pinball machines, and pool tables. The food and drinks also buck the reputation of galleries with their affordable prices and playful names. Order an Elysian brew with cheap eats and your weekend is made.

2126 2nd Ave A
Seattle, WA 98121

10. Owl N' Thistle

808 Post Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

Irish pubs dot the entire planet, bringing little more than a bit of faux brogue and basic beer, but this little alley gem shows the incredible potential for places that do it well. The historic location in a 1930 building and the old-timey décor combine for a cool, laid back scene—but the fun live music gets people up and moving.

808 Post Ave
Seattle, WA 98104

11. Wally's Chowder House Broiler

22531 Marine View Dr S, Des Moines, WA 98198

Some of the best seafood in Seattle is actually a short drive south in Des Moines, where this charming seafood house perches overlooking Puget Sound. It’s the type of place that is everything you want from a seaside shack: plenty of kitschy, nautically-themed décor, nearly two-dozen beers on tap (including the local Elysian Brewing Company), and the kind of sunset views over the water that seem surreal.

22531 Marine View Dr S
Des Moines, WA 98198

Related Maps