1. Big Chickie
5520 Rainier Ave S, 946-1519
Dining options in Hillman City continue to expand, and the neighborhood got a new favorite when Big Chickie opened in September. The specialty at this old converted gas station is "Peruvian-inspired pollo a la brasa," aka charcoal-roasted chicken, which comes with a side of fries or beans and rice. They consistently have a line out the door.
2. Canterbury Ale House
534 15th Ave E, 325-3110
The old Canterbury was the stuff of Seattle legend: stiff drinks, fried food, professional drinkers, and an interior imbued with decades of cigarette smoke and human funk. The new Canterbury is nothing short of a feat: a wide-open space, a great selection of beers, and decent pub food (try the fried Beecher's cheese curds with tomato chutney). Parents, take note: The Canterbury is all ages until 9 p.m.
1734 12th Ave, 695-2588
Gabriel Chavez cooked Northern Italian food for years at Wallingford's Cantinetta. Thankfully, his employers have given him the opportunity to cook his own native cuisine—that of his home state of Durango, Mexico. These are dishes that came out of Chavez's upbringing, including guacamole with chicharrón.
4. Coyle's Bakeshop
8300 Greenwood Ave N, 257-4736
Former Cafe Presse baker and proprietor of the successful pop-up Coyle's Bakeshop, Rachael Coyle finally got her own brick-and-mortar space. Devotees swoon over her four-layer chocolate cake, cretzel (a cross between a croissant and a pretzel), and other sweets. Watch for savory lunch items to be added soon.
5. Hitchcock Deli
6003 12th Ave S, 582-2796
You no longer have to travel to Bainbridge Island for Hitchcock's cured meats and house-made sauerkraut and mustard. With a new location in Georgetown (instantly improving that neighborhood's already sound culinary reputation), the deli brings its superb sandwiches and small plates that much closer. Its daily oyster happy hour still feels like a well-kept secret. Also worth noting: Hitchcock's small but wonderful selection of wines (also available to go).
6. Hotel Albatross
2319 NW Market St
The owners of new bar Hotel Albatross are the same people behind neighboring Ocho (known for its excellent tapas) and bar Hazlewood—in other words, they take their crafts seriously. But the food offerings (including tortas, tamales, and totchos) also reflect a healthy sense of humor. Its late-night walk-up window is called Sexy Alley Puffy Taco, and its oyster night goes by the name Bearded Clam.
7. Jude's Old Town
9252 57th Ave S, 420-4889
Jude's promises to be a solid neighborhood bar; it's owned by Rainier Beach resident Beau Hebert, who's mastered a winning local watering hole formula at his other business, Lottie's Lounge in Columbia City. Like Lottie's, Jude's has fresh pub food, craft beers on tap, wine, and a few cocktails.
8. Lark, Bitter/Raw, Slab
952 E Seneca St, 323-5275
Like Trove, the remodeled Lark contains multiple concepts in one space. Chef John Sundstrom slightly expanded the size of the original Lark, but added charcuterie and oyster bar Bitter/Raw, and morning/lunch counter Slab Sandwiches and Pie under the same roof, as well as a private events space. All the food is stellar.
9. Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
609 S Weller St, 623-6700
The long-standing Asian tradition of hot pot—communal dining in which diners share the responsibility and pleasure of cooking meats and veggies in a bubbling cauldron of broth—is especially fun (and accessible) at this global chain. The selection of ingredients is vast, and the all-you-can-eat policy includes unlimited refills of the excellent house-made broths.
3621 Stone Way N, 294-3331
The vision of longtime employees of Renee Erickson's the Walrus and the Carpenter and the Whale Wins, Manolin focuses on seafood prepared in its wood-fired oven. The dishes are unfussy and straightforward, with a respect for ingredients and hints of inspiration the owners gleaned from a road trip through the Yucatan Peninsula: plantain chips, ceviche, tequila, and fresh juices.
11. Nate's Wings & Waffles
9261 57th Ave S, 722-9464
If you're looking for delicious wings—crackly and light and perfectly deep-fried—the breaded version at this Rainier Beach eatery (named for University of Washington alum, NBA All-Star, and co-owner Nate Robinson) is where it's at. Robinson's favorite dish, Nate's Special Sandwich (grilled cheese with chicken tenders, barbecue sauce, and onion rings) is also a worthy indulgence. Plus, you won't find a more diverse, family-friendly vibe (not to mention great music) in the city on a Friday night.
1519 14th Ave, 257-0312
At first glance, a menu that pulls from cuisines around the world and touts modernist touches such as liquid nitrogen ice cream might seem dubious. But Nue's renderings of traditional dishes (Barbados pig tails, Filipino duck embryo, Thai water beetles) actually feel less like a stunt than you might imagine.
13. Omega Ouzeri
1529 14th Ave, 257-4515
For better or worse, Thomas Soukakos's original Vios Cafe on Capitol Hill is known as much for its kid-friendly atmosphere as it is for its Greek food. Ouzeri is entirely different: adult-focused and designed for the new face of Capitol Hill—sleek, modern, airy, and awash in blue and white. The menu feels like a love letter to Soukakos's Greek roots and includes an all-Greek wine list.
14. Pizzeria Gabbiano
240 Second Ave S, 209-2231
Chef Mike Easton knows what he loves and exactly how to do it well. Just like his fervently worshipped house of handmade pasta, Il Corvo, Pizzeria Gabbiano is open only for lunch and features a daily rotation of the best seasonal ingredients (or whatever happens to inspire him that day). Pizza is sold by weight and cut with scissors, so you get to decide exactly how much you'd like.
15. Quality Athletics
121 S King St, 420-3015
Initially, Joshua Henderson said he didn't want his latest venture (which is within walking distance of CenturyLink and Safeco Fields) to serve typical sports-bar fare. But since Quality Athletics' opening in September, his menu has shifted toward just that, featuring a burger, a fried-chicken sandwich, and apple crisp, among other things. Don't worry, you can still get chicken liver pâté and jerk-spiced duck wings.
16. Single Shot
611 Summit Ave E, 420-2238
As upscale as it is casual, with great cocktails, ambitious pub fare, and excellent service, Single Shot feels like a new breed of restaurant in the city. More, please.
300 E Pike St, 557-7273
Stateside chef and owner Eric Johnson spent years in China and Paris cooking for revered chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. He chose to settle in Seattle, and he came with a specific vision: to cook Vietnamese food—the meeting point between Chinese and French cuisines. The food, not to mention the space, is lovely and well executed. The details feel thoughtful, never excessive.
1205 NE 65th St, 525-0654
With so many great local breweries opening in town, does Seattle really need an outpost of the legendary San Francisco bar known for its selection of craft brews? It's worth at least one visit to this Ravenna spot pouring 40 different beers to find out.
500 E Pike St, 457-4622
When it comes to flavor, Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi deliver the unexpected. With Trove, the couple adds another layer of creativity, combining four concepts—noodle bar, ice cream truck, beer-focused bar, and Korean tabletop-barbecue joint—into one massive, high-energy space.
20. Zhu Dang
1715 E Olive Way, 535-7270
Seattle has never lacked Chinese food—just take a walk through the International District. But now it's also got soaring, high-designed Zhu Dang, which promises "updated Chinese food with a Northwest vibe." Is there a demand for General Tso's veal sweetbreads or kung pao frog legs? I'm curious to find out.