There are only a few weeks left of summer, but there's still plenty of time to soak up that precious sunshine. If you're staycationing in Seattle, here are 10 restaurants and bars to add to your bucket list that will make you feel transported—minus the hassle and cost of airfare. Looking for more places to bask in the sun while it lasts? Don't forget to check out our comprehensive list of Seattle restaurants and bars with outdoor seating or our outside events calendar. Plus, visit our complete food and drink calendar for more ideas.
Make sure you never miss a post! Follow Stranger Things To Do's new food Instagram account, @strangerthingstoeat.
Agua Verde Cafe and Paddle Club
At this combination cafe and kayak rental spot, you can take a leisurely paddle through the waters of Portage Bay and refuel with Mexican food and fresh margaritas and aguas frescas upon your return. The Stranger's Min Liao once 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."
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."
Of this beachside restaurant started by a group of Renee Erickson alums, The Stranger's 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." Order some plantain chips and rockfish ceviche and soak up the sun.
Marination Ma Kai
Marination's West Seattle outpost serves dreamy Hawaiian-Korean fusion food like aloha tots (crispy tater tots smothered in kimchi sauce, kalua pork, Japanese mayo, scallions, and a sunny-side-up egg), plus fish and chips and boozy shave ice. Not only that, but there's a beer garden and a view of Alki that The Stranger's Anna Minard called "so deliriously wonderful even non-tourists can't stop taking pictures."
Sip smoky mezcal cocktails and take in views of downtown Seattle on the rooftop bar at the Capitol Hill location of this Mexican bar, which stocks every variety of mezcal legally available in the state.
Miri’s Snack Shack
Hitting the beach at Golden Gardens? This new concession stand from Miri Plowman and Gabe Skoda (you might have seen them slinging poffertjes, mini Dutch pancakes, at farmers markets around Seattle) offers tasty, thoughtful refreshments like paletas, Full Tilt ice cream, kebab sandwiches, acai bowls, rhubarb lemonade, piña colada slushies, and of course, poffertjes.
If you're in the mood for some tropical tipples, this modern tiki bar, which just nabbed a national award for Best New American Bar at New Orleans' Tales of the Cocktail conference, serves an eclectic mix of libations just right for summer days. Stranger contributor Naomi Tomky writes, "Somewhere between the mid-century modern tables and chairs and the turquoise and orange stools at the bar, 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."
The mind-boggling view at dockside restaurant Ray's Boathouse remains a Seattle classic.
This seafood restaurant (which was just purchased by Renee Erickson's restaurant group Sea Creatures) has its own dock. Previously, The Stranger's Bethany Jean Clement 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...Seaplanes taking off and landing will make out-of-towners lose their minds. There are Adirondack chairs for afternoon sun, and fire pits surrounded by oyster shells for eveningtime. The tables have stripy sun umbrellas that flutter picturesquely in the breeze. A jauntily painted run-aground rowboat overflows with flowers. It's so wonderful, you might pass out, and the seafood-centered menu is great, too, though it isn't cheap."