This is where you should be eating right now.
While the Eater 38 is a resource that covers old standbys and neighborhood essentials across the city, it is not necessarily a chronicle of the “it” places of the moment. Thus, the Eater Heatmap, which changes every month to highlight where the food nerds are flocking.
The Heatmap is a reflection of the buzziest restaurants and places so new, they might not be on the collective radar yet. It’s the answer to the eternal question, “Where should I eat right now?” This month, the answers include the latest fried chicken-filled outpost of Rachel’s Ginger Beer, Lady’s Yum‘s fancy SLU parlor of Champagne and macarons, Lake City’s daring Brother Barrel taproom, Bellevue’s ultra-modern Lakehouse, and an authentic New Orleans sandwich experience from B’s Po Boy in West Seattle. Departing the list are Cycene, Wood Shop BBQ, 85°C Bakery, Ono Poke, Adana, Paseo, and Fob Poke Bar.
1 Brother Barrel
Elliott Bay Brewing, typically considered a family-friendly brewery, went 21+ with its daring new Lake City taproom. Brother Barrel, as the name suggests, focuses on sour and barrel-aged beers, two of the beer world’s hottest — and most time- and labor-intensive — categories. The tap list is a beautiful blend of house and guest options; the clever cocktails hold their own; and the food menu, from smoked fish spread to ricotta and spring pea ravioli to a clam bake, is no mere afterthought.
Seattle, WA 98125
Native Floridian Edouardo Jordan didn’t want to get pigeonholed as “black Southern chef,” so his first restaurant, acclaimed Salare, blended European and American cuisines, rather than fully exploring his heritage. This highly anticipated follow-up, though, is a deep dive, meant to tell the story of Jordan’s family and ancestors. Dishes on the opening menu include chicken gumbo over Mississippi rice; charred okra with Virginia peanuts; and fried catfish with purple grits, spinach, and apples. While diners wait in line (reservations are only for parties of six or more), they can feed their minds with the restaurant’s online encyclopedia of terms, places, and dishes that play a role in the cuisine.
Seattle, WA 98115
3 Rachel’s Ginger Beer
Rachel Marshall’s U Village ginger beer outpost hits all the familiar notes that drive crowds wild — a range of flavors, soft-serve floats, cocktails on tap, boozy frozen slushies, growlers to go. But instead of the successful Sunset Fried Chicken Sandwiches available in Capitol Hill, this location has Nashville hot chicken-inspired options from West Seattle’s masterful Ma’ono. Well played.
Seattle, WA 98105
4 Din Tai Fung Dumpling House
For many people, the best xiao long bao, or soup dumplings, are wrapped at Taiwanese chain Din Tai Fung, which opened its latest outposts at Pacific Place downtown and the Southcenter Mall. A perpetual line makes it tough to verify, but certainly the wait is worth it.
Seattle, WA, 98101
5 Lady Yum
This is the Kirkland-based sweet-shop’s first location in Seattle-proper, but its second expansion of 2017, as a kiosk opened at Sea-Tac Airport this spring. As with the original store, the fancy new Denny Triangle parlor sells Champagne and 20 flavors of macarons daily, often showcasing locally sourced ingredients. Popular flavors like salted caramel, raspberry chardonnay, and honey lavender are on the menu with rotating seasonals, and happy hour runs a staggering six hours, from 4 to 10 p.m. daily.
Seattle, WA 98121
At the home of the Seattle Mariners the focus is on good old-fashioned baseball (obviously). As far as food goes, make sure you try one of the local vendors, like Sweet Iron Waffles that makes mouth-watering Belgian treats.
Seattle, WA 98134
6 Navy Strength
Around the corner from revelatory beer bar No Anchor, the owners of Rob Roy have followed up with a Tiki bar with a globally-inspired menu, including a “travel” section that currently showcases co-owner Anu’s Indian heritage. The food will be less of a focus than at No Anchor, but still thoughtful, with items like smoked clam dip and a barbecue duck sandwich on a sweet Hawaiian roll. The arrival of live jellyfish in two tanks is imminent, too.
Seattle, WA 98121
7 Cafe Hitchcock
Chef Brendan McGill (Hitchcock, Hitchcock Deli, Bruciato, Verjus) weaves together threads from his other popular restaurants for this latest endeavor, his take on an all-day cafe. Down cold-pressed juices with breakfast sandwiches made with leaf lard and bacon from McGill’s own Mangalitsa pigs, try duck confit with crispy potatoes for lunch, nab discounts during a long happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m., and stay for dinner featuring the likes of lamb neck osso bucco.
Asian influences are often quietly blended into Seattle menus, but the French-Japanese mix is more explicit at Iconiq, which has picked up steam in its few short months, especially thanks to a three-star review in The Seattle Times. Chef-owner Toshiyuki Kawai channels his experience from Book Bindery and Harvest Beat, as well as his Japanese heritage, to provide a seasonal experience that takes diners from Japanese clam chowder to morel risotto with yuzu foam to matcha parfait.
Seattle, WA 98144
9 B’s Poy Boy
With B’s Po Boy, West Seattle is one of the few places in town where diners can scarf an authentic New Orleans-style sandwich loaded with meat, dressed appropriately (lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mayo), and served on Leidenheimer bread actually baked in the Big Easy. In the height of summer, diners are delighted to have a strong new food option along Alki Beach.
Seattle, WA 98116
This “chemistry-inspired” cocktail bar, the first of a two-pronged attack that will soon include nearby restaurant Vine and Spoon from the same chef-owners, is leaning heavily on house-made ingredients and flashy presentation to complement a wide range of spirits. Low-proof and no-proof options are given their due alongside the full-strength signature drinks, and the food is snacky and creative, featuring the likes of deviled eggs with creme fraiche, bacon, and cured and smoked yolks.
Seattle, WA 98116
11 Tu Cantinas
The price of having freshly made corn tortillas in a tiny space? Long waits. Worth it, though, at divey Tu Cantinas, from the owners of Brass Tacks next door. The menu is concise to fit the space, with just three options for taco fillings: chicken, pork, and vegetarian, though there are plans to rotate other flavors in.
Seattle, WA 98108
12 Taco Street
Near Othello Station, Taco Street is driving diners wild with soft tacos, burritos, and tortas, filled with the likes of carnitas and carne asada, as well as breakfast burritos, plates of chile colorado or chilaquiles with eggs, and even solid vegetarian options. The restaurant recently added beer, definitely embraces Taco Tuesday, and challenges diners with an iron gut to take on El Monstruo Burrito, weighing in at over 2.5 pounds.
Seattle, WA 98118
13 Beer Star
White Center continues to heat up, and the owners of this massive beer hall a la Chuck’s Hop Shop hope its family-friendly presence will help rejuvenate the neighborhood. Fans are already eagerly soaking up the sun on the 80-seat patio, and two in-house restaurants, a new outpost of burger favorite Li’l Woody’s and a Chinese takeout window, will make things even more appealing.
Seattle, WA 98106
14 The Lakehouse
When James Beard Award-winning chef Jason Wilson opens a swank new restaurant and cocktail bar (Civility and Unrest) in Bellevue, diners take notice. Elegant dishes of grilled octopus or wild mushrooms set the Northwest scene. Despite the name, The Lakehouse is less rustic, more modern — white, black, glossy, angular — with virtually every item, from the menu cover to the knives, custom-made.
Bellevue, WA 98004