Check Out These 10 Seattle Restaurants & Bars to Make the Most of Your Summer 2021 Staycation

August 5, 2020
Paddle through Portage Bay with a kayak rental from Agua Verde Paddle Club, then refuel with Baja-style Mexican food and margaritas at Agua Verde Cafe. (Agua Verde Cafe)

If a trip to somewhere warm and beachy simply isn't in the cards for you right now, don't discount the power of the staycation. These local restaurants and bars will make you feel transported—minus the hassle and cost of airfare. Read on for details on local spots that should be on your bucket list if they're not already, and find even more options in our list of patios to check out Add to a List and our food and drink guide.

Agua Verde Cafe and Agua Verde Paddle Club Add to a List
Agua Verde Cafe, a colorful Baja-style Mexican spot with a patio, bar, and cantina overlooking Portage Bay, feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A cocktail menu from the team behind Rumba Add to a List and Inside Passage Add to a List adds to the tropical feel. Not only that, but you can conveniently rent a kayak or paddleboard from the Agua Verde Paddle Club at the same location to complete the experience. Way back in 2002, The Stranger's Min Liao wrote, "There is something distinctly soothing about Agua Verde, and when I'm here I feel like I'm on vacation. The place's resort-town sensibilities feel thousands of miles away from my First Hill studio: brightly painted tropical colors; scrubbed floorboards; hand-scrawled signs; a modest kitchen where busy, laughing cooks work in shorts; photos posted in the hallway of friends, babies, grinning staff members. Being here makes me wistful for places I have not yet discovered, but that are somehow familiar thanks to postcards or Travel and Leisure."
University District
Pickup, dine-in

Bongo’s Cafe
This perpetually underrated spot in Phinney offers super-solid Caribbean and Cuban food (try the Desi sandwich) and a stretch of white sand with colorful patio furniture that The Stranger's Paul Constant likened to a "relaxing vacation."
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Infinity Pool + Bar
It doesn't get much fancier than the outdoor infinity pool and bar at the Four Seasons Add to a List . Ethan Stowell's Goldfinch Tavern, also located in the five-star hotel, has a special poolside menu with things like jumbo prawn cocktail, Dungeness crab lettuce wraps, lobster rolls, burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and fruity mousse popsicles, paired with smoked, shaken, and stirred libations. Call to check pool availability and arrange al fresco dining.

Little Water Cantina Add to a List
The collage of vintage postcards on the wall of this modern Mexican standby is enough to stoke your daydreams of faraway places. Better yet, the restaurant boasts a view of Lake Union's many marinas, with Gas Works Park in the distance, that you can gaze upon while you sit on the patio and eat ridiculously fresh guacamole alongside rotating summer food specials. You're going to want a fruit-shrub margarita, too.
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Of this beachside restaurant started by a group of Renee Erickson alums, former Stranger writer Angela Garbes wrote, "Manolin feels like a beach vacation—not the cheesy kind with blended drinks and fresh towels, but the kind of oasis you might discover at the end of a bumpy ride down a dusty road, where you take up residence in a palapa and subsist on fresh fruit, seafood, and warm tequila for weeks." After closing temporarily in September, the restaurant has been mainly focused on its bagel pop-up Old Salt Fish and Bagels Add to a List , but it's since brought back its original vacation vibe with a new summer Beach Party pop-up in its outdoor covered courtyard, running every night from Wednesday-Saturday. Soak up the sun with a yacht-rock soundtrack, beachy cocktails, and a menu by chef Elisabeth Kenyon (which includes the spot's famous rockfish ceviche). A dress code of Hawaiian shirts and floral print is encouraged, and reservations are recommended.

Magnuson Cafe & Brewery
This cafe and brewery brought to you by Dexter Brewhouse and Mollusk Brewing boasts a spacious patio with an unrivaled view of Lake Washington.
Sand Point
Pickup, dine-in

Marination Ma Kai Add to a List
There's no better place to contemplate the Seattle skyline and pretend you're on an island getaway than the local Hawaiian-Korean franchise Marination's West Seattle outpost Ma Kai. The restaurant's beer garden patio offers a breathtaking view of Alki. Order some "aloha fries" (hand-cut twice-fried fries, kalua pork, mayo, kimchi sauce, furikake, and a sunny-side-up egg) and frosé.
West Seattle
Pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating

Miri’s at Golden Gardens
If you're hitting the beach at Golden Gardens, this charming "snack shack" from Miri Plowman and Gabe Skoda (you might have seen them slinging poffertjes, mini Dutch pancakes, at farmers markets around Seattle) offers fresh, tasty refreshments like strawberry lemonade, fruit slushies, chicken kebabs, roasted cauliflower and hummus wraps, popsicles, and of course, poffertjes.

Navy Strength
If you're in the mood for some tropical tipples, this modern tiki bar serves an eclectic mix of libations just right for summer days. Stranger contributor Naomi Tomky writes, "It evokes a summer afternoon on a patio in 1958 more than the typical plastic and pupu platter tiki bar: elegant but fun, both tasteful and tasty."
Pickup, dine-in

Ray's Boathouse
The mind-boggling view at dockside restaurant Ray's Boathouse remains a Seattle classic.
Pickup, dine-in

Perch beside a fire pit on one of the famous Adirondack chairs at this seafood-centric Mediterranean restaurant (which was purchased and renovated by Renee Erickson's restaurant group Sea Creatures in 2018) and admire the view of Lake Union. Former Stranger writer Bethany Jean Clement once wrote, "It is directly on the shore of north Lake Union, so there's an unbeatable view of the downtown skyline, looking like a distant dream of busyness across the sparkling water...It's so wonderful, you might pass out."
Pickup, dine-in

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