16 Famous Foods in Seattle You Need to Try (From a Local)

seattle famous food
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Seattle might not be flaunting any Michelin stars, but anyone who’s tasted the city’s bites knows it’s a food haven – Seattle’s basically sitting on a foodie gold mine. Through my many (and I mean many) food escapades here, I’ve watched this place go from “pretty good” to “I need more of that in my life!” Safe to say, I’ve now tried all the famous foods in Seattle multiple times.

What’s the secret? Seattle’s got this amazing combo of fresh local produce and an infusion of global flavors. Every group that’s made this city home has sprinkled a bit of their culinary genius into the mix. As an ever-curious eater, this city has never stopped surprising me, so if you’re prepping for your inaugural Seattle food marathon, get ready to have your taste buds pleased.

I cover a wide variety of food in this article, from seafood dishes to ramen bowels to even hot dogs (you’ll understand soon). To make it easier for you, I even tell you the best restaurants in Seattle to get all of this food at so you can make your next dinner reservation ASAP.

With that, here is what food Seattle is known for so you can try them next time you’re in town!

1. Oysters

seattle famous food manolin

Washington farms the most oysters in the US, so getting this famous food in Seattle is a must. Some of the most popular producers are Hama Hama Oysters and Taylor Shellfish Farms, both of which offer farm tours out on the coast, which make a great Seattle one day trip if you’re looking for a foodie adventure.

Keep an eye out for their name on restaurant menus around town (including Taylor Shellfish’s very own Seattle restaurants).

My favorite place to get oysters is The Walrus and the Carpenter, regarded as one of the best places to eat in Seattle by many. It’s a beautifully-designed French restaurant owned by James Beard-winning restaurateur Renee Erickson, and you’ll find a variety of other seafood dishes here.

They host a happy hour from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, which is worth going to because the oysters are cheaper (perfect for finding inexpensive things to do in Seattle). Make sure to get there right at 4 p.m. so you can get the first seating or use their online waitlist if it’s available (sometimes it goes offline).

If The Walrus and the Carpenter isn’t in the cards, other good options for oysters and general Seattle cuisine include Westward or White Swan Public House for stunning Seattle views of Lake Union, Vinnie’s Raw Bar for a convenient downtown location, and Bar Melusine for Renee’s Capitol Hill oyster spot. This is a fun spring activity in Washington if you can get a nice day to walk around after.

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2. Dungeness Crab

summer in seattle crab pot

Dungeness crab is synonymous with the culinary delights of the Pacific Northwest, and Seattle is a prime spot for one of the best famous foods in Seattle. Harvested from the cold, pristine waters of the region, this crab variety boasts sweet, tender meat, elevating it to a celebrated status among seafood enthusiasts. Numerous establishments in Seattle offer this coveted crustacean, but some hold a special place in my heart.

The Crab Pot is my absolute favorite and a place I always insist on bringing my out-of-town visitors to try this famous Seattle food. The allure isn’t just the delicious seafood but also the interactive dining experience.

Armed with hammers, you’re encouraged to crack open the crab by yourself, with the Dungeness crab undoubtedly taking center stage. The Seafeast is one of the must-try Seattle foods, where crab is paired with corn, potatoes, and more.

Beyond my personal love for The Crab Pot, Ray’s Boathouse is another standout. With waterfront views of Shilshole Bay, you’re not only treated to amazing Dungeness crab dishes but are also immersed in the stunning scenery of Seattle. This is the perfect date night idea in Seattle when you’re looking for a new restaurant.

If you’re about to head out on a road trip from Seattle to San Diego, you’ll definitely want to fill up on the city’s seafood first.

3. Lobster Rolls

lobster roll

Lobster rolls might scream East Coast vibes, but Seattle has put its own cool spin on them. The city’s already a big deal when it comes to seafood, so why not rock the lobster roll? Imagine biting into juicy lobster chunks with a hint of dressing, all packed in a crispy bun – it’s like the East Coast went on vacation and decided to hang out in Seattle.

Every time I’m strolling downtown, especially when I’m near Pike Place Market, Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls is the place I go (even with the Pike Place Fish Market so close). It’s not just some random seafood spot. At Mason’s, it feels like the East Coast and Seattle had a food baby, and it’s absolutely delicious. The rolls are an awesome mix of East Coast vibes and Seattle’s fresh touch.

While Mason’s is top-tier, don’t miss out on other amazing spots for one of the signature Seattle foods. Market Grill, tucked away in Pike Place, also throws down a mean lobster roll. Having a lobster roll isn’t just lunch; it’s a whole mood for this must-eat in Seattle.

4. Pike Place Chowder

pike place chowder

Pike Place Market is the iconic spot in Seattle where you can catch flying fish, roam through endless stalls of fresh produce, and – my personal favorite – dive spoon-first into some of the most drool-worthy chowder ever.

When you think of Pike Place, you might first think of its historic significance or the crafty vendors or maybe some of the best things to eat in Seattle. But if you’re a soup lover like me, “chowder” is the magic word for one of the more famous foods in Seattle. To sample the creamy goodness available from the numerous stalls and shops in and around the market is almost a rite of passage when you’re in Seattle.

Top of the list for Seattle seafood restaurants? Pike Place Chowder. They’ve got a lineup of chowders that’ll make any seafood lover’s heart skip a beat. From classic clam chowder to some more daring options like gluten-free or even a vegan version, they’ve pretty much got it all.

I know there are other good chowder places out there, but I can’t help myself from going back here over and over.

Want more food near Pike Place? You’ll love this Pike Place Market food tour.

5. Sushi

sushi in seattle

There are some great sushi restaurants in Seattle, but my favorites when looking for what to eat in Seattle are Sushi Kashiba or Wataru. Both source fish from Japan as well as locally, but they’re both authentic.

Chef Shiro Kashiba, who previously owned Shiro’s, is the owner of Sushi Kashiba. It’s delicious but quite expensive, so I prefer Wataru slightly more as one of the best sushi restaurants for the cost-to-quality ratio.

sushi sake

Another popular option for sushi when you’re downtown is Japonessa Sushi Cocina. You’ll want to make a reservation in advance for dinner, but it’s well worth it. They have an extensive menu of appetizers, sushi, sashimi, and more, in addition to cocktails that pair well with them, especially on a cozy date during the winter in Seattle.

6. Poke

poke

Perhaps surprisingly, poke, born and raised in Hawaii, is now quite a popular food in Seattle. If you’re wondering how serious Seattle is about poke, just look at their dedication to coffee – it’s on that level. With the city’s unbeatable seafood reputation, they’re acing this delectable raw fish game.

Among the sea of poke spots in Seattle, there’s a big wave called Sam Choy’s Poke To The Max that you can’t miss. Chef Sam Choy, known as the “God Father of Poke,” brought his magic touch to the city, and let me tell you, it’s been a hit. Serving everything from traditional bowls to their signature poke-loaded nachos, they’re reshaping how Seattle views poke.

And now, for a spot that holds a special place in my heart: Ono Poke in Edmonds. It might be a smidge away from Seattle, but it’s worth the detour. I have been here dozens of times right when they open, and there’s still a line out the door.

It’s hardly a shocker – while I’ve been in line, I’ve witnessed chefs eagerly unbox deliveries, immediately getting to work on fish that had just been swimming in Hawaiian waters that very morning. After you grab your lunch, head down to the beach to explore the best things to do in Edmonds.

For even more food, check out all the St. Patrick’s Day festivals in Seattle.

7. The Seattle Dog

seattle hot dog

Cream cheese has become a thing associated with Seattle and is, maybe strangely, a top food to eat in Seattle when combined with other items. You usually see it on sushi menus around the US as part of the “Seattle roll” that has salmon and cream cheese.

However, I’d say the most famous use of cream cheese in our city is actually putting it on a hot dog, now a Seattle signature food. It sounds crazy, but the heat of the hot dog and grilled onions melt the cream cheese slightly and create the most irresistible street food that is one of Seattle’s famous foods.

This is a cheap thing to do in Seattle when you want a quick meal, and you’ll always find me at the food stands outside Lumen Field filling up on one before a Sounders game.

Hot dogs are the traditional way it’s served, but I prefer it with sausage. My two favorite places to get a Seattle dog are Dante’s Inferno Dogs food truck at the Ballard Farmers Market and Jack’s BBQ in South Lake Union.

You can only get Dante’s on Sundays and Jack’s BBQ’s on Friday during their happy hour, but both are worth the effort. However, there are many food trucks around the area that serve these, especially after a night of exploring the best things to do in Capitol Hill.

8. Thai

thai food

Seattle’s food scene is a lively mix, and Thai food has a special spot on the roster. Pulling from the fresh vibes of the Pacific Northwest, our local Thai spots know how to serve authentic dishes with a touch of local flair. I can’t tell you how many Friday nights I’ve started by devouring a tasty plate of Pad Thai before starting the weekend.

This may seem strange to include on a list of famous foods in Seattle, but you’ll get it as soon as you have your first bite.

Have you heard of Thai Tom over in the U-District? This place is as genuine as it gets. It’s small but always buzzing with energy. With an open kitchen setup, you can catch chefs in action, adding a layer of drama to your meal. Their Tofu Pad Thai is one of my favorites, but their Pad See Ew is a close second.

Then, for those moments when you feel like leveling up the dining game, there’s Noi Thai in downtown Seattle. It strikes the perfect balance between upscale and relaxed. If you’re in the mood for something exquisite yet down-to-earth, their Massaman Curry and Pineapple Fried Rice are my top choices.

Buying a Seattle CityPASS is a great way to save money on ticket costs, as you’ll be able to see multiple Seattle attractions for one price!

9. Ramen

ramen sake

There are many Seattle food specialties, and ramen holds its own unique spotlight. There’s something about the city’s cool, misty air that makes diving into a steaming bowl of ramen feel just right. Given the local love for fresh ingredients and authentic flavors, it’s no wonder Seattle’s ramen joints are thriving.

Been to Ooink on Capitol Hill? It’s the real deal. It’s a snug place where every bowl feels like a labor of love. You can practically taste the hours that go into their broth. I recommend getting the spicy vegetarian miso ramen and adding the toppings of your choice, but you’ll be happy no matter what you choose.

And don’t even get me started on Yoroshiku in Fremont. They’ve blended the best of traditional ramen with a hint of Seattle’s signature flair. Their Spicy Miso ramen is a must-try (I like spicy, if you haven’t gotten that yet). The whole place has a relaxed yet hip vibe, making it perfect for catching up with friends.

In Seattle without a car? It’s easy to get around Seattle without a car if you know how.

10. Pho

seattle food pho

Seattle has a large Vietnamese population thanks to Governor Dan Evans, who, after the Vietnam War in the 70s welcomed Vietnamese refugees being held in a San Diego camp to relocate to our city. One of their gifts to our city is pho (pronounced “fuh”), now an iconic Seattle food.

Pho is the Vietnamese version of chicken noodle soup. While it’s not always served with chicken, it’s one of their comfort foods, often eaten when you’re sick.

You’ll find this delicious soup throughout the city, but one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle for this is Pho Than Brothers. It’s cheap, flavorful, and comes with a cream puff dessert at the end. Pho Bac Sup Shop is another very popular place to go for pho in the city. I always love getting this for lunch on a cold, rainy day in Seattle.

11. Teriyaki

teriyaki in seattle

Seattle also has quite a large Japanese community. You would think their immigration here after WWII would be the reason teriyaki is so ubiquitous in our city, but the truth is the first spot was opened in the 70s by one Japanese transplant.

Seattle teriyaki isn’t super traditional but rather a recipe combining flavors from a few Asian cuisines. For example, Seattle teriyaki uses sugar to make it sweeter than traditional recipes.

The chicken teriyaki is always a big hit with my friends, and I recommend heading to Toshi’s to try it from the guy who started it all.

12. Dick’s Burgers

dicks drive in burgers

Alright, let’s get real – Dick’s Burgers is a goldmine of memories for me and easily one of the most famous foods in Seattle. During my 20s, after some epic nights out at the bars, my friends and I would often end up at Dick’s. Because nothing says “amazing night,” like capping it off with fries and milkshakes, right? The vibes, the smells, the feels – it was the late-night spot.

Fun fact: many years ago, I waited outside of the Dick’s on Broadway for hours, watching Seattle natives Macklemore and Ryan Lewis film their music video “White Walls” on top of the roof of the restaurant. While we may not have gotten free burgers (there were hundreds of us), it was a blast watching the behind-the-scenes of two up-and-coming (and now very successful) artists film the video for their latest song.

That aside, this is the place to go for cheap burgers – we’re talking just over $2 for a cheeseburger and only $5 for their biggest burger. You’ll also get some of the best French fries around for under $3, and don’t forget to add one of their signature milkshakes.

13. Doughnuts

general porpoise doughnut

Seattle and donuts – now that’s a match made in foodie heaven. The Emerald City’s donut game is strong, reflecting its innovative culinary spirit, and there’s a spot (or several) for every kind of donut lover.

Let’s talk about Capitol Hill’s General Porpoise first. This place isn’t just about donuts; it’s a chic place to hang out (even the bathroom is pretty). Their donuts are pillowy dough creations filled with seasonal jams, jellies, curds, powered sugar, and creams. Pair one with their meticulously crafted coffee, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect Seattle morning.

If you’re leaning towards the vegan side of life, Mighty-O’s has got your back. It’s not just about ditching the animal products here; it’s about crafting a donut that’s genuinely delicious and just happens to be vegan. From classics like glazed and chocolate to more inventive flavors, you wouldn’t even guess that Mighty-O’s is vegan.

Love donuts? Check out Seattle’s only doughnut tour.

14. Coffee

Coffee is a serious business in Seattle, which most people are aware of. You’ll find local coffee shop or roasters on seemingly every block throughout the city.

Every local has their favorite, but we all agree on one fact about Seattle, Washington: all of them are better than Starbucks. So please ignore the tourist “wisdom” that says you should prioritize visiting the first Starbucks in Pike Place Market (it’s not even true, the first one actually closed!).

There are so many good ones, but here is my short list of favorite Seattle coffee shops:

  • Herkimer
  • Seattle Coffee Works
  • Victrola Coffee Roasters
  • Stumptown Coffee

Most of them have multiple locations around the city, so you can search for which one is most convenient for you to visit. Whether you have one day around Seattle or spend three days in Seattle, you’ll want to check out at least a few of these.

If you’re looking for bags to bring home or buy for Seattle souvenirs, my favorite right now is Onda Origins. They don’t have a storefront but serve in local restaurants or directly to consumers via their online shop.

Find out more about the city’s coffee on this Seattle coffee culture tour.

15. Seattle Craft Beer

Ok, beer and wine aren’t technically food, but the brewery and wine scene are so strong in Seattle that it’d be unfair not to say anything.

Washington is one of the biggest hop-producing states in the country. This may be the reason brewing is so popular in Seattle. Seattle has more local breweries than most cities in the US, beaten out only by a few cities like Chicago and Denver.

It’s also common for someone you meet to be a homebrewer. Brewing is just in this city’s DNA, so it’s hard to pick the best breweries in Seattle.

There are so many good craft beers to try, including everything from IPAs to Belgian-style ales. Some of my favorite breweries are in the Ballard neighborhood.

You can take a Seattle brewery crawl or visit my favorite, Obec Brewing, for their Belgian Dubbel. Another great place is Holy Mountain Brewing, a place that will impress even the most intense beer lovers.

For a brewery with a view, I love going to Old Stove Brewing near Pike Place, which lets you watch the boats go in and out of the Sound.

There are also many kid-friendly Seattle brewpubs, so make sure to check them out when you’re with the family.

Speaking of beer, make sure to check out the top Oktoberfests in Washington come September.

16. Wine

In terms of wine, Washington is the second biggest wine-producing area in the US, behind California. Most of the grapes are grown in eastern Washington, but there are urban wineries located right in Seattle doing amazing things with these grapes.

One of my favorite things to do is visit SODO Urbanworks, which houses multiple wineries in a strip mall, so you can taste a bunch at once. My absolute favorite one is Structure Cellars, so make sure not to miss them!

If you work your way down this list, you’ll have eaten just about all the foods Seattle is famous for. While you eat your way around the city, keep an eye out for dishes that include apples or cherries, two of the biggest crops in Washington that our state is famous for.

You’ll love this winery and Snoqualmie Falls tour.

Need more ideas? Check out my other guides on where to eat in Seattle or explore where to hike for beer around Seattle.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of famous foods in Seattle to try!

This post was in collaboration with Adria Saracino, the founder of The Emerald Palate, a food and travel blog that offers self-guided Seattle food tours and tips for discovering the best flavors, makers, and adventures in the Pacific Northwest.

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