The 10 Best Restaurants In South Lake Union, Seattle

Photo of Catrina Pang
9 February 2017

Near downtown Seattle, the recently revitalized South Lake Union neighborhood holds a wealth of shiny new skyscrapers, the new Amazon campus, and a glorious lakefront park. An influx of trendy young workers has sparked the development of many incredible new restaurants. Whether you want to explore the cool new restaurant scene or are looking for more homey neighborhood joints, you’ve got to check out our picks for the best restaurants in South Lake Union, Seattle.

© Mark McElroy/Flickr

Serious Pie and Biscuit

Pizzeria, Restaurant, Bar, Cafe, Charcuterie, American, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Fast Food, $$$
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One of several popular Seattle restaurants owned by Tom Douglas, Serious Pie and Biscuit is a multi-storied building brimming with delectable pizzas, buttery biscuits, and a very serious bar. Their biscuits are topped with everything from fried chicken and gravy to seasonal jams, and their pizzas have deliberately browned crusts topped with ingredients like housemate charcuterie, foraged mushrooms, and imported cheeses. In addition, the bar features 22 rotating taps and 60 bottles and cans. The restaurant is composed of two areas – one section is more like a cafe, where you can pick up an order of delicious coffee and a light breakfast, and the other is more of a sit down place with a bar area, mainly serving pizza and salads. Patrons especially love to come during happy hour, when they can order a few smaller pizzas and taste more than one of the unique tasty pies. They also have great daily specials on interesting pizza concoctions, and the Southern-style biscuits blow everyone away.

Daniel’s Broiler

Restaurant, Steakhouse, American, Vegetarian, $$$
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Daniel's Broiler - Lake Union, Seattle
Daniel's Broiler - Lake Union, Seattle | © Remon Rijper/Flickr
Thanks to its location on the shores of South Lake Union, guests at Daniel’s Broiler can enjoy waterfront dining with stunning views of Lake Union, Gasworks Park, and Queen Anne, as well as seaplanes and sailboats. The restaurant has happy hour twice daily, live piano music, an outside deck, private dining rooms, and an award-winning wine list. It exclusively serves USDA Prime Steaks, the top two percent of all graded beef in the nation, complemented with traditional steakhouse favorites like cold water lobster tails, fresh North Pacific King Salmon, and other specialties including lamb and chicken. Folks love to dine at Daniel’s when celebrating special occasions thanks to the classy ambiance, great service, and amazing food. Besides the steaks, patrons also rave about the lobster mashed potatoes, popcorn shrimp, and truffle fries, as well as the coconut fudge sundae and Granny Apple tart with homemade caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream for dessert.

The Wurst Place

Known for their fantastic bratwurst, The Wurst Place serves gourmet traditional and game sausages, ranging from German brats to Nurnberger style to smoked elk with cheddar and jalapeños to veggie brats as well as Belgian style double fried frites with house-made dipping sauces. They also have a great collection of craft, local, and European beers on draft, in addition to sours and more in bottles. Gluten-free bread, sausage, frites, dips, beer, and cider are also available for those with specific dietary needs. Patrons love the cozy, casual, and unique environment of the place, which includes loud music, eclectic art, and a large collection of garden gnomes. The staff are all extremely knowledgable, and the The Wurst Place is the perfect hangout spot to relax and unwind after work. It’s especially popular among Amazon employees, so if you’re looking to avoid lines, you’ll have to go when it’s not lunchtime during the week. Cheese fans love the cheddarwurst dog, and fans of spicy food love the spicy bison and the hell sauce.
Address & telephone number: 510 Westlake Ave N, Seattle, WA, USA, +1 206 623 3548

Novilhos Brazilian Steakhouse

Restaurant, Brazilian, American, $$$
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Inspired by the food of the Brazilian Gauchos, Novilhos Brazilian Steakhouse offers a modern take on the traditional pierced large pieces of meat that the Gauchos slowly grilled over open flamed pits. The restaurant has a fixed price menu featuring their unique style of barbecue, which includes continuous service of sixteen selections of beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and sausage, all slowly spin-roasted, preserving their natural flavors and textures. After being perfectly grilled, the delectable cuts are brought to guests directly from the grill and expertly served by the restaurant’s carvers, all dressed in Gaucho outfits. Along with the meats, Novilhos also offers an elaborate and sumptuous salad buffet with a a variety of fresh cut vegetables, gourmet salads and side dishes, as well as imported cheeses, cold cuts, and other tasty seasonal items. With over 30 types of meat to choose from, this upscale all-you-can-eat restaurant is the perfect place for meat lovers and Brazilian Churrasco fans.

Cactus Restaurant

Bar, Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
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Cactus South Lake Union, Seattle
Cactus South Lake Union, Seattle | © jeffreyw/Flickr
A small Seattle chain restaurant, Cactus Restaurants started in Madison Park in 1990, where it became Seattle’s first tapas bar. Since then, the success of the innovative and exciting Southwestern, Mexican, and Spanish food has led to the opening of four other restaurants. The one in South Lake Union opened in the fall of 2011, and it has become an incredibly popular place. It does have an upstairs, though, so it can fit a good amount of people. Tex-Mex lovers flock to Cactus for the delicious butternut squash enchiladas, smoked chicken quesadilla, steak fajitas, and shrimp tacos, just to name a few of their popular menu items. Their homemade sauces and inventive flavors makes Cactus stand out among other Mexican restaurants, and the friendly and attentive service keep customers coming back again and again. Patrons love the complimentary chips and salsa, the happy hour deals, and the great cocktails, which include prickly pear mojitos, sangria, and Bloody Marys.

Cask & Trotter

Restaurant, Bar, American, $$$
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A friendly and welcoming restaurant-bar with a barbecue backbone, Cask & Trotter serves up a variety of items cooked fresh daily. They are known for their slow cooked meats and friendly staff, and with an upscale barbecue joint feel, the restaurant is a great spot to relax in with friends and family. The meats are all tender and flavorful on their own, though you can add any of four incredible sauces, the most popular of which is the Carolina, a tangy vinegar-based sauce. Each table gets bottles of all four sauces so that guests can try any and all of them. They also serve perfectly cooked truffle fries with their popular brisket sandwiches and sliders, and another favorite is the mac and cheese side. Vegetarians love the portobello burger, the salads are popular among the more health-conscious folks, and the s’mores brownie is an excellent dessert. Patrons also love the fact that every table comes with a cup of crayons and a paper placemat on which to draw, making for fun doodles during the wait for the arrival of the food.


Pub, Restaurant, German, Beer, Pub Grub, $$$
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Feierabend, Seattle
Feierabend, Seattle | © Martin Cron/Flickr
The third German pub started by Chris Navarra, Feierabend opened in February 2006 with the mission of serving traditional and modern German food and beer to the neighborhood. The restaurant gets its name from a German phrase meaning ‘quittin’ time,’ because it is the perfect spot for relaxing and enjoying wonderful food and drink. The menu, created by Chef Ryan Sullivan, was designed to be a marriage of German and Northwestern cuisine, with items including both traditional German fare and food adapted to Seattle tastes. They use local purveyors and imported items to produce the best quality food, and all eighteen of their tap beers are imported from Germany. Popular dishes include the ham hock, the schnitzel sandwich, bratwurst sandwiches, the Käsespätzle, spaetzl, and the pommes frites with curry ketchup. They also have a great Chicken Adobo Salad and Salmon Caesar, as well as wonderful cucumber salad, red cabbage, and schweinshaxen. Regulars love that they also have punch cards and great specials.

Nollie’s Café

Cafe, Bakery, American, Coffee, Tea , Pastries, Fast Food, 0

Established in 2009, Nollie’s Café is a cute little bakery and sandwich shop run by a hardworking and loving family, serving up fresh baked goods, breakfast, espresso, and even vegetarian options to the community. The cafe was started by Nollie’s youngest son and daughter-in-law, their daughters, and lifelong friend and trained chef Clifford Fuller, who set out to find out what the people in the neighborhood want and need. The place has since become known for their fair prices, generous portion sizes, and fantastic food. Patrons love the coffee, pastries, pies, soups, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, and daily specials. Some of the most popular menu items include the ultimate grilled cheese and the light and fluffy English muffin sandwiches. Breakfast is served all day long, and locals love the homey feel of the place, one of the few left in the area that doesn’t cater mostly to the wealthier people working for Amazon. The workers are all friendly, sweet, and welcoming, and the cafe is even dog friendly, making Nollie’s the perfect neighborhood spot.

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Ten on 9th

Bar, Restaurant, Cocktails, Beer, American, $$$
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Ten on 9th, 9th Avenue North
Ten on 9th, 9th Avenue North | © Keith Rowley/Flickr
Former saxophonist and music orchestrator Chef J. Charles showcases an extensive menu of updated American comfort classics featuring locally produced ingredients at Ten on 9th. He has also enlisted mixologists Lisa Marie Woodward and Ralaina Smith of Venik Lounge to create and produce a drinks menu of custom and vintage-style craft cocktails and a selection of ten seasonally rotating in-house infused liquors. With an eclectic collection of art on the walls, a classy and comfortable bar, and several tables for dining, this small recently opened restaurant is starting to become new local favorite. Patrons fall in love with the tacos, the lamb sliders, the Belgian frites, mac and cheese, and the boneless buffalo bites. They also make amazing house sauces, including buttermilk dill, chipotle aioli, and garlic aioli. Visitors enjoy trying all of the unique cocktails and hanging out after work during happy hour. The bartenders are very friendly and knowledgeable, and they always remember the regulars.

Pam’s Kitchen

Restaurant, Caribbean, $$$
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With two locations in Seattle, Pam’s Kitchen aims to educate the neighborhoods about what Trinidadian food is and how to eat it. Over 20 years ago, owner and chef Pam Jacob was living in her native country of Trinidad and operating a small establishment called Pam’s Snack Shack, but she dreamed of coming to the Pacific Northwest to open a full restaurant. Though she moved to Seattle in 1994, it wasn’t until 2006 that she was finally able to open the first Pam’s Kitchen in the University District, thanks to the support of local fans of her cooking. The first restaurant was so successful that in late 2013, she opened up the South Lake Union location. Locals have since flocked to the restaurant, eager to get their hands on the delicious jerk chicken, geera pork sandwich, aloo pie, chicken and goat curries, coconut fried baked sandwiches, and of course, the famous tender and soft roti. They also have fantastic sorrel that is blended in-house, as well as an amazing rum cake with house made Guinness ice cream for dessert. If you love Trinidadian food, Caribbean food, or even simply spicy food, Pam’s Kitchen is the place for you.

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