Seattle is known for its rainy days, progressive lifestyles, local breweries, and delicious food. This city-by-the-sea has something delicious cooking around every corner! Here are a few cheap but irresistible options.
1. Momiji & Umi, Capitol Hill/Belltown
Momiji and Umi are sister sushi restaurants that share the same menu and the same gorgeous ambiance. Momiji and Umi have a reputation for being the best sushi joints in town. The raw ingredients they use are incredibly fresh, and their happy hour menu is one of the most affordable in Seattle. It’s baffling how they’re able to combine the highest quality ingredients with the lowest prices. Happy hour goes every day from 4-6 pm, and from 4-7 pm at the bar. Basic rolls are a mere $5.50! The sashimi plates are only a couple of dollars more.
If you’re a meat lover, don’t pass up the grilled garlic short ribs. The two restaurants also feature a full range of signature rolls, ranging in price from $17 to $32. You’ll have as much fun reading the menu as you will eating off of it. Try ‘the Bird of Paradise’ if you’re feeling adventurous. It features spicy yellowtail, soy paper, shibazuke, asparagus, and cilantro topped with white king salmon, Atlantic salmon, shishito pepper, lime, and jalapenos. Spicy and delicious!
2. Local 360, Belltown
Local 360 has quickly made a name for itself as a destination for alternative, hearty American cuisine. They have one of the most progressive business models around: 90% of their raw ingredients come from within 360 miles of the restaurant. Locally-sourced food means a significantly reduced carbon footprint. They’re probably best known for their brunch, featuring fried chicken and waffles smothered in red pepper jelly. But the real treat is washing it down with a limoncello and thyme or apple and ginger mimosa. For most customers, it’s the first time they’ve even heard of such flavors.
Local 360’s willingness to cook outside the box is what sets them apart from other American-style restaurants in town. Happy hour is from 4-7pm every day. Come early! Their oysters start at $0.50 each from 4-5pm and get $0.50 more expensive every hour. The average dinner plate will run you $22. Expect to spend at least $30 per person, and don’t forget the 20% built-in service charge.
3. Taco Chukis, Capitol Hill
And the winner for best taqueria is….Taco Chukis! Taco Chukis is that hip, local joint that you’d never know existed without an insider’s tip. Well, here you go. You’ll find Taco Chukis on Broadway just north of the Olive Way/John St. intersection on Capitol Hill, but it isn’t quite that easy.
Look for a big, vertical neon sign that says “ALLEY” hanging over the entryway of the brick building on the west side of the street. Park, pay, and let the taco-munching begin. Walk up the stairs and to the far back left corner of the building. You’ll smell the deliciousness before you see it. Tacos here are only $1.90! Choose from thinly sliced carne asada (steak), adobada (marinated pork), pollo asado (adobe-marinated chicken breast), frijoles (vegetarian pinto beans), and nopales (grilled prickly pear).
4. Dick’s Drive-In, Multiple Locations
It would be a crime to come to Seattle without swinging in for a burger at the world-famous Dick’s. The first Dick’s Drive-In opened in the Wallingford district in 1954. College students from the nearby University of Washington couldn’t get enough, and the rest is Seattle history. For locals, the burger chain is as iconic to Seattle as the Space Needle.
The Lower Queen Anne Dick’s sits in the Needle’s shadow, so you have no excuse for missing out when visiting Seattle Center. The menu hasn’t changed since 1954. The most exorbitantly-priced item is the Dick’s Deluxe — ringing in at just $2.70. Wash it down with a chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry milkshake for $2.15. Their fries are barely a buck and have just the right amount of grease, just as they should be.
But be forewarned: this is an old-school burger joint. Condiment options are limited and non-negotiable, and some diners find that irksome.
5. Amazing Thai Cuisine, University District
Amazing Thai Cuisine on Roosevelt is another hidden gem. Even if you happened to stumble upon it, you’d likely take one look and pass on by. It has the look of a place that could be the worst meal you’ve ever had… or the best. You never know until you make that leap. Amazing Thai Cuisine is a small, family-owned operation that have kept locals coming back for over two decades.
The building is run-down, and the interior is cramped. Barely a half-a-dozen tables line the wall. But the food…incredible. The service…endearing.
Their Phai Thai is cooked in the traditional Thai-style with tamarind sauce and no tomato. If you’re a fan of wide rice noodles, the Pad Khi Mao with pan-fried rice noodle, tender broccoli, carrot, onion, bamboo shoots, sweet basil, tomatoes, soy sauce, and egg is only $7.99 on the dinner menu. In fact, all of their entrees are roughly the same price. Visit Amazing Thai Cuisine once when you first arrive in the city and then stop by again before you leave. They’ll be ecstatic to see you, and it’ll give you a chance to taste whatever you almost ordered the first time.
From Belltown to Capitol Hill and beyond, these local Seattle spots are rich in flavor, personality, and style. A hidden surprise awaits you if you decide to grab some sushi at Momiji or Umi. I don’t want to spoil it entirely, but ask to sit towards the back of the restaurant. It’s especially fun in the middle of winter.