Food & Drink

2022 Seattle Restaurant Highlights

Best New Restaurants and Openings to Look Forward To in 2023
December 27, 2022
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You'll find lovingly executed Korean comfort food at Wes Yoo's Ballard restaurant WeRo. (WeRo)
The end of the year is traditionally a time for reflection, so we're taking stock of the year in food, including some of the most exciting additions to Seattle's restaurant scene (including Seabird, Sohn Mat By Tae, and WeRo) and things to look forward to in 2023 (hello, Kilig and Ludi's). Read on to discover more culinary highlights. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.

BEST OPENINGS OF 2022

Arc Add to a List
North Star Diner and Shanghai Room Add to a List  owner Travis Clark and longtime Tom Douglas Restaurants veteran Todd Hamm aim to emulate the Mexican Korean cuisine found in Los Angeles' Koreatown with this funky restaurant and lounge, which opened in the former Park Pub Add to a List space in May. Mexican American chef Brandon Lancaster, who grew up in LA, serves dishes like "kimcheese" fries, drunken mojo stew, huarache con carnitas, and grilled cabbage with lemon aioli and chili crisp.
Phinney Ridge
Pickup, dine-in


Asean Streat Food Hall Add to a List
Inspired by ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), this downtown food cart hall, which opened last month, aims to approximate the flavors of a Southeast Asian street food market with menus from Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. Stranger contributor Meg van Huygen writes, "Basically, it’s now my plan to eat one of everything at ASEAN StrEAT, and so should yours be. THIS is how you repurpose a giant 7,600-square-foot mall space here in the 21st century, folks. I’m so into it."
Downtown
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Baekjeong Korean Barbecue Add to a List
Carnivores, rejoice: The acclaimed Los Angeles-based Korean barbecue chain opened its eighth US location inside Lynnwood's Alderwood Mall in September. The franchise, named for the Korean word for "butcher," is owned by comedian and retired wrestling star Kang Ho-dong and has been featured on famed LA food critic Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants list. The meaty menu features appetizers, pork, beef, offal, bowls, bibimbap, fried rice, noodles, stews, and more. 
Lynnwood
Pickup, delivery, dine-in


Bar Bacetto Add to a List
Mike Easton, the chef behind the sought-after Italian spot Il Nido Add to a List and the dearly departed Il Corvo Add to a List , recently opened his new 12-seat venture Bar Bacetto, an "airy little pasta bar that lets the seasons write the menu," in the small Eastern Washington town of Waitsburg.
Waitsburg
Dine-in

Bar Solea Add to a List  
Chef and restaurateur Brendan McGill reopened his downtown Roman-style pizza shop Bar Taglio Add to a List as a new Italian trattoria concept called Bar Solea in early November. Bar Solea features a pizzeria with "Neo-Neapolitan" pizza (made with imported 00 flour and local Cairnspring Mills hard red wheat) and a bar with cocktails from beverage director Tony Lombardi, prominently featuring grappa, amaro, and aperitivo.
Downtown
Pickup, delivery, dine-in


Bar Sur Mer Add to a List
FlintCreek Cattle Co. Add to a List chef Eric Donnelly's highly anticipated tapas bar, inspired by a trip to San Sebastian, debuted last summer with a seafood-focused menu of small plates, plus Spanish wines, sparkling wine, and jamon iberico.
Greenwood
Dine-in

Ben & Esther's Add to a List
A new shop is here to help feed Seattle's bottomless hunger for bagels. The popular Portland-based vegan Jewish deli Ben & Esther's, which also expanded to California in 2022, opened its first Seattle outpost in the former Capitol Coffee Works Add to a List space in November. The selection includes bagels (available with dairy-free schmears or as sandwiches with toppings like smoked carrot "lox"), deli sandwiches, salads by the pound, matzo ball soup, and baked goods like babka, hamantaschen, and black and white cookies, with plenty of gluten-free options. Will Casey writes, "I’m a firm believer that vegan food is at its best when it owns up to being purely plants instead of imitating something you’d expect to have meat in it, but this cream cheese would fool even the most discerning patron of a classic Brooklyn establishment into thinking it was the real thing. I’ve sampled both the lemon-dill and scallion schmears, and I honestly can’t decide which was better. Try them for yourselves, you won’t be disappointed. And if you see a line snaking around the corner on a weekend, know it’s worth the wait."
Capitol Hill
Pickup, delivery, dine-in


Carnelian Bay Add to a List
This summer, the owners of Fremont's splashy neon Dreamland Bar & Diner Add to a List transformed the cocktail bar's patio into a separate sci-fi-themed concept called Carnelian Bay, complete with a grotto wall, a tiger fountain with menacing light-up eyes, neon-accented booths, "tropical space-age cocktails" like toasted marshmallow daiquiris, and "oceanic bites" like honey walnut torpedo shrimp.
Fremont
Pickup, dine-in


Dough Joy
The popular vegan and LGBTQ-owned doughnut business Dough Joy, which operates a food truck in Ballard, opened a brick-and-mortar location on Capitol Hill back in January, followed by an outpost in the Junction in West Seattle at the end of June. The shop offers whimsical flavors ranging from cookie butter to banana French toast.
Capitol Hill, West Seattle
Pickup, dine-in

Gemini Room Add to a List
Earlier this month, co-owners Tanner McLaughlin, Jackie Proctor, and loana Andrei launched Gemini Room, a splashy new '70s-inspired lounge, in the former space of the beloved Cafe Pettirosso Add to a List . The trio is backed by Joey Burgess and Murf Hall, the married couple who owns Queer/Bar Add to a List , Elliott Bay Book Company Add to a List , The Cuff Add to a List , Big Little News Add to a List , Grim's Add to a List , and the Oddfellows Cafe Add to a List . By day, the spot serves coffee and items like breakfast burritos, grain bowls, and fig and brie toast; at night, it shifts into a bar with retro craft cocktails and snacks like macaroni bites and pickled deviled eggs.
Capitol Hill
Dine-in

Hamdi Add to a List
Berk Güldal and Katrina Schult's Turkish and Anatolian pop-up Hamdi, which gained an ardent following after it launched last year, was one of the most hotly anticipated openings of the year—so much so that it fully booked up for a month just two hours after opening reservations in November. (Luckily, the spot also accepts walk-ins.)
Ballard
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Hi Life Add to a List
Looking for a day trip destination? Rondo Add to a List and Tamari Bar Add to a List 's sister restaurant Hi Life opened next to the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal in March and is now serving up dreamy bento boxes, poké bowls, and its namesake whiskey highballs, which are carbonated in a special Suntory Toki machine. Other offerings include a Japanese curry with wagyu and kurobuta pork and a bowl of Pike Place Chowder Add to a List 's signature clam chowder topped with house-made chili oil.
Bainbridge Island
Pickup, dine-in

Kamp Social House Add to a List
This Madison Valley bar hopes to lure the "sober-curious" with an inclusive menu that features non-alcoholic options for cocktails, beer, and wine alongside alcoholic drinks. Executive chef Bridgett Lewis's food menu includes flavorful bites like green plantain shrimp tostadas, sliders, and pineapple rum-glazed chicken wings, with soft serve for dessert.
Madison Valley
Pickup, delivery, dine-in


King Leroy Add to a List
Famed Seattle chef and restaurateur Renee Erickson opened this bar in the former Kiki Ramen Add to a List space in South Lake Union last summer, near Erickson's Amazon Spheres spots Deep Dive Add to a List and Willmott's Ghost Add to a List . The establishment pays homage to classic Northwest dives with bar snacks, beef jerky, sandwiches, fried chicken wings, a full bar serving classic cocktails, a pared-down wine list, and a selection of beer and cider by the bottle and can. The spot also donates a portion of proceeds to fund culinary school scholarships at Seattle Central Community College. 
South Lake Union
Pickup, dine-in


MaĂ­z Molino Add to a List
Pike Place Market's Mexican street food restaurant Maíz Add to a List , which has accrued rave reviews since opening in November 2021, expanded with a new sit-down location in Denny Triangle during Hispanic Heritage Month in September. The space focuses on heirloom Mexican masa and offers handmade antojitos, fresh seafood, craft cocktails, and more.
Denny Triangle
Pickup, dine-in

MĂ©tier Brewing Company Taproom Add to a List
The celebrated Black-owned brewery MĂ©tier Brewing unveiled its long-awaited taproom in the Central District in June. The brewery also features a cafe from fellow Black-owned business Umami Kushi Add to a List , known for its savory Japanese stuffed buns and other baked goods. Beer options include MĂ©tier Pale Ale, Coconut Porter, Horizon IPA, Pilsner Kolsch, and United IPA.
Central District
Dine-in

Oxbow Add to a List
Brothers Jesse and Kit Schumann, the owners of the acclaimed Sea Wolf Bakers Add to a List opened this highly anticipated cafe spinoff next to Cafe Lago Add to a List last spring. Options include bagels, coffee, quiche, spreads, and "other humble offerings." Local food writer and noted bagel enthusiast J. Kenji López-Alt granted the bagels his coveted seal of approval.
Montlake
Pickup

Rough & Tumble Pub Add to a List
Seattle now has its very own watering hole in which to watch OL Reign and Seattle Storm games: Owner Jen Barnes officially opened the highly anticipated women-focused sports bar Rough & Tumble on Ballard Avenue earlier this month. The spot prioritizes women's games, displays women's sports memorabilia, and highlights drinks from women-owned breweries, wineries, distilleries, and cideries. Additionally, the menu pays tribute to famous female athletes with dishes like "Abby Wambroccolini" and "Billie Jean King chicken wings."
Ballard
Pickup, dine-in

Sankaku Add to a List
Named for the Japanese word for "triangle," this onigiri cafe and bar (previously a pop-up) officially opened inside Capitol Hill's Melrose Market at the beginning of January. The Stranger's Jas Keimig writes, "On a recent afternoon visit, I had two of Sankaku's classic onigiris: the ume konbu (salty pickled plum with kombu, a type of edible kelp) and the tuna mayo (flaky albacore tuna doused in kewpie mayo with sesame seeds). Unlike traditional onigiri that has all the filling in a compacted center, Sankaku disperses it throughout the ball so that each bite is a delicate mix of rice and filling...I found myself in a satisfying rhythm of rice ball, cucumber, rice ball, cucumber, ascending to a kind of textural heaven."
Capitol Hill
Pickup, dine-in

Seabird Add to a List
Brendan McGill's seafood and vegetable-focused restaurant Seabird opened in the former space of his Bainbridge Island restaurant Hitchcock last spring and was named one of the country's best new restaurants by Esquire in November. Executive chef Grant Rico's menu includes Dungeness crab custard, uni French toast, Chinook salmon crudo, sablefish, a "seacuterie" platter, wood-fired halibut, whole roasted yelloweye rockfish, and king salmon, with desserts like seaweed ice cream (!) and honey sorbet with milk granita. The restaurant also features a raw bar with local oysters, spot prawns, geoduck, green sea urchin, Dungeness crab, and more. Drinks range from the "Seabird Old Fashioned" (rye whiskey, sorghum syrup, and wild cherry bark and kombu bitters) to the "Parabolic Martini" (shellfish-rested Highside gin, vermouth blend, and Suze). 
Bainbridge Island
Dine-in

Sohn Mat By Tae Add to a List
Food lovers all over Seattle (and beyond) mourned when the nationally lauded hand roll counter By Tae Add to a List , which earned a spot in Bon Appetit's list of the 50 best new restaurants in the country in 2019 and received a James Beard nomination in early 2020, announced that it was departing its pint-sized Chophouse Row space in early 2021. Much to the delight of its many fans, the restaurant returned in a new incarnation on Beacon Hill in September. The revival, Sohn Mat By Tae, is a casual bar specializing in comfort food alongside cold beers, sake, soju, and cocktails, with a bigger space that includes a kitchen, bar, yard, and wood fire.
Beacon Hill
Pickup, dine-in


Sushi by Scratch Restaurants Add to a List
Seattle has a new intimate sushi destination with plenty of buzz. The "omakase speakeasy" Sushi by Scratch, which operates locations in Miami, Austin, Los Angeles, and Montecito (and has a Michelin star at its Montecito location), opened in South Lake Union in September. To give you an idea of the hype surrounding this place, co-owner Phillip Frankland Lee, a former Top Chef contestant, told Seattle Met the spot's Austin location has a 15,000-deep waitlist, while its Miami outpost's waitlist clocks in at over 20,000.
South Lake Union
Dine-in


Stevie's Famous Add to a List  
Shane Abbott and Justin Harcus, the co-owners of the Fremont pizzeria Lupo Add to a List , opened this new East Coast-inspired spot in Burien last month, serving pies, slices, sandwiches, and salads.
Burien
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

T55 Pâtisserie Add to a List
The Chinatown-International District dessert cafe Susu Add to a List , which got its start as a Thai-style rolled ice cream spot and during the pandemic pivoted to a bakery serving some of the finest baked goods in town, launched a dedicated bakery in Bothell last fall.
Bothell
Pickup

Takai by Kashiba Add to a List
The iconic James Beard Award-winning sushi chef and Sushi Kashiba Add to a List founder Shiro Kashiba, who trained under the famed Jiro Ono of Jiro Dreams of Sushi, opened this restaurant in Bellevue in September. The restaurant, which is run by Kashiba's longtime apprentice Jun Takai, focuses on omakase and Edomae-style sushi and features a sushi counter with 10 seats.
Bellevue
Dine-in

Tio Baby's
This "high-quality bar food" pop-up, which specializes in deluxe versions of snackable favorites like nachos, hot dogs, and chicken wings, recently debuted its first brick-and-mortar in the former space of the pie-focused Bar Charlie Add to a List  on Stone Way in Fremont. Look for munchies like cheese-smothered waffle fries and an elevated version of the classic McRib sandwich.
Fremont
Pickup, dine-in

Vivienne's Bistro Add to a List
This sleek Asian bistro opened in the former Islander Add to a List space in downtown Mercer Island in January. Chef Danna Hwang's menu showcases Cantonese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese-American influences and includes char siu, kalbi short ribs, deep-fried oysters, spicy pork wontons, roast duck, and pork belly with pickled mustard greens.
Mercer Island
Pickup, dine-in

Voi CĂ  PhĂŞ Add to a List
With spots like Phin Add to a List , Hello Em Add to a List , Coffeeholic Add to a List , and Sip House Add to a List launching in Seattle over the last couple of years, the city's Vietnamese coffee scene is booming. This sustainable café  showcases specialty coffee produced by Vietnamese farmers and roasters and supports Animals Asia, an organization working to reintroduce wild elephants in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The menu features phin-brewed coffee (served black, with sweetened condensed milk, or iced with cinnamon and microfoam) as well as an aromatic pho-spiced latte, espresso drinks, Thai iced tea, and bánh mì.
Georgetown
Pickup

WeRo Add to a List
Wes Yoo, who had bought the Ballard cocktail bar The Gerald Add to a List two years earlier, reconnected with his love of Korean comfort food in 2020 during the advent of the pandemic. Inspired by the food he ate growing up in Seoul, he started a Korean takeout pop-up, which quickly gained popularity. In March, Yoo reopened the Gerald as WeRo (a Korean word meaning "comfort," "upwards," and "to the stomach"), serving modern Korean food and cocktails.
Ballard
Pickup, dine-in

UPCOMING OPENINGS FOR 2023

Dark Room Add to a List
Chef Amy Beaumier and bartenders Matthew Gomez and Matt Hassler revealed on Instagram in late November that they will be taking over the former Teachers Lounge Add to a List  space in Greenwood to open a new bar called Dark Room. According to the Teachers Lounge website, the lounge is set to open in early 2023. 
Greenwood

Doe Bay Wine Company Add to a List , Holy Mountain Brewing Add to a List , and Ben's Bread Add to a List
The Orcas Island-based bottle shop and tasting room Doe Bay Wine Company plans to open a second location in Phinney Ridge in early 2023, sharing a building and courtyard with an all-ages tasting room from the cult favorite Holy Mountain Brewing and a bakery from the celebrated baking business Ben's Bread.
Phinney Ridge

Fable Add to a List
The quaint Beacon Hill wine bar Petite Soif Add to a List , started by natural wine pioneers Lauren Feldman and Shawn Mead, sadly closed its doors in May, but all is not lost: The owners of Moonshot Coffee are planning to open a new all-day cafe called Fable, which they describe as sharing "many of the same elements Petite Soif is known for, such as natural wine, delicious food, and kind people who are happy to see you," in addition to "specialty coffee, beer with an emphasis on saisons and farmhouse ales, and expanded food menus."
Beacon Hill

The French Guys Add to a List
This roving French bakery operation is set to take over the former space of the beloved Joe Bar Add to a List on Capitol Hill in 2023.
Capitol Hill

Kilig Add to a List
Musang Add to a List chef Melissa Miranda, who was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s best new chefs in America in September, is planning to open Kilig, a 30-seat, fast-casual "panciteria and bulalohan," in Chinatown-International District this winter. According to the Seattle Times, the spot will specialize in wok-fried pancit noodles and bulalo (a Filipino beef shank soup).
Chinatown-International District

Ludi's Add to a List
Some very, very good news: The iconic downtown diner Ludi's, known for its legendary Filipino-inspired breakfasts, is returning to a new location in the former Long Provincial Vietnamese space, just two blocks north of their original shop. Co-owner Rita Glenister told Meg van Huygen in May that they hope to open by early 2023. We can't wait to reunite with the famous ube pancakes draped in a deep, royal, Prince-worthy purple coconut milk sauce.
Downtown

Moto Add to a List
The West Seattle pizzeria Moto Add to a List , which has racked up praise for its naturally fermented Detroit-style pies and soft-serve ice cream in hand-baked cones, plans to expand with outposts in Belltown and Edmonds.
Belltown, Edmonds

Ms. Helen's Soul Food Bistro Add to a List
For years, the Central District icon Helen Coleman, better known as "Ms. Helen," served the neighborhood at her beloved establishments Helen's Diner and Ms. Helen's Soul Food. Now, her daughter Jesdarnel “Squirt” Henton plans to carry on her legacy, opening Ms. Helen's Soul Food Bistro in August in the Central District's Midtown Square building, very close to where the original restaurants stood. Henton will primarily run the establishment along with her family, but Ms. Helen herself, now 86, is reportedly excited to get back into the kitchen.
Central District

Otherworld Wine Bar Add to a List
The team behind the pop-up Juice Club, which Stranger contributor Jordan Michelman called "a roaming series of natural-wine bottle parties with an experiential, interactive bent," may be close to opening their upcoming wine bar in the former Artificial Limb Co. space: Capitol Hill Seattle reports that the state approved the business's liquor license in October.
Capitol Hill

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