12 Foods You Must Try in Seattle

Seattle is a waterfront city
Seattle is a waterfront city | © Andrei Medvedev / Alamy Stock Photo
Seattle is known for its beautiful natural surroundings and its international population, both of which are reflected in its food. In a city that embraces and respects its ecological and cultural diversity, here are 12 foods you’ve got to try when in Seattle.


Starting with the obvious, the port city of Seattle has the freshest seafood around. If you don’t want to go to the docks to buy fish directly from the guys who caught it (yes, that option is available), there are a wealth of restaurants that will serve it to you fresh. Such freshness makes for the best oysters, crab, sushi and chowder that you’ll ever taste. Indeed, Pike Place Chowder is one of the few places outside of New England to win the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport, Rhode Island. Several times. But, if you’re only going to try one type of seafood while you’re in Seattle, make sure it’s the salmon. You’ll never want to eat it anywhere else again!

Fresh oysters on a plate © Oksana Kovach / Alamy Stock Photo


Home a large Vietnamese community, Seattle has many quality Vietnamese restaurants. The most-adored dish throughout the city is pho, with restaurants like Pho 99, Pho Bac, and Pho Ba popping up all over the place to meet the demand. A delicious bowl of hot pho is all that the citizens of Rain City really want.

Vietnamese pho with duck with crispy skin, bean sprouts and egg. © Magdalena Bujak / Alamy Stock Photo

Cream cheese hot dog, AKA the Seattle Dog

Yes, it sounds gross, but it’s actually delicious. Wander the streets of Seattle and keep your eyes peeled for a hot-dog stand. Cream cheese will be an optional topping. Get it.

Homemade Seattle Style Hot Dog with Cream Cheese and Onions © Brent Hofacker / Alamy Stock Photo


Fran’s Chocolates (famous for being one of Obama’s favorite dessert spots) was founded in 1982 in Seattle. The founder, Fran Bigelow, is credited for the renaissance of artisanal chocolate in the US. So, unless you’re part of the small percentage of people who don’t like chocolate, you’ll want to make a stop by one of Fran’s stores.

Truffles From Fran's © Joe Wolf/Flickr


Between the temperate weather, fertile valleys and rolling plains, Washington State is an excellent place to grow delicious food. From grapes for wine to the well-known Rainier cherries, produce in Seattle is hard to beat. And, of course, don’t forget the apples. Crunchy, juicy, and huge, the apples from Washington State apples make up 60 percent of the nation’s apple production.

Fresh fruit on display at Pikes Place Market, in Seattle, WA © Suddes Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

Hom bow

Hom what? Think pork or curry beef wrapped in a soft, toasted pastry. One of the best-known locations for this Chinese specialty is at Mee Sum Pastry in Pike Place Market, though Jade Garden and Yummy House Bakery in the International District are also great. You won’t want to miss out.

Mee Sum Pastry © anokarina/Flickr


Of course. In the city that brought you Tully’s, Seattle’s Best and Starbucks, you’ll find that coffee is a Seattleite’s main meal of the day. Try one of the independent roasters; you’ll have more options than you’ll know what to do with. The baristas tell you where the beans are from and the differences between them. In Seattle, coffee is an art, so don’t leaving without trying it.

Coffee Tags serves a first-class espresso © nuttapong punna / Alamy Stock Photo

Cupcake Royale

This community- and sustainability-driven company was the first US cupcake bakery to open outside of New York City. Whether you love cupcakes or are impressed with green businesses, this is the place to check out. And you might as well try a cupcake (or 20) while you’re there.

Cupcake Royale © Kelli Wong Photography/Flickr


There are tons of peerless dairy products to enjoy in Seattle, but definitely keep your eye out for Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (and their ‘World’s Best’ Mac & Cheese), Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream and Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt.

Beecher's Handmade Cheese © kale.kanaeholo/Flickr


The art of teriyaki has been perfected in the Emerald City. Though you’d struggle to find any bad teriyaki dishes in Seattle, head to Okinawa Teriyaki, Mr. & Mrs. Wok, Yummy Teriyaki or Nasai Teriyaki if you want to try the best.

Asian teriyaki beef with bell pepper © Sergii Koval / Alamy Stock Photo

Craft beer

Along with produce, Washington State also grows excellent hops. In a city where ‘cool’ means local, independent, small batch and artisan, you know the craft beer is going to be exceptional. Plus, with the ever-increasing demand comes the growing supply, so you have lots of options to choose from. Or you could just try them all.

Bartender filling up with craft beer a pint glass © Sunshine Pics / Alamy Stock Photo

Fast food

Yes, Seattleites may be health-conscious hippies who have embraced and expanded the farm-to-table movement, but they still love their fast food. Especially when it comes to Dick’s. This local fast-food-restaurant chain is cheap and open late. Dick’s has been around for so long that they’ve become a Seattle staple so, no, locals won’t turn it down. They’ll just have to go to yoga twice tomorrow.

Fast-food fans should head to Dick’s Drive-In Courtesy of Dick’s Drive-In