You don’t need big bucks to eat well in Seattle. You’ll find cheap eats scattered throughout the city, many with the same dedication to locally sourced, sustainable ingredients as Seattle’s top tables.
Cheap Eats in Seattle
From Pacific Northwest classic clam chowder to fantastic pho, here are 10 local restaurants that dish up cheap eats in Seattle.
There’s nothing humble about the pizzas at Humble Pie, with a perfect amount of chew in the wood-fired crust. They’re sprinkled with top-shelf ingredients like local Beecher’s cheese, pickled onions, and pork smoked on site.
Pike Place Chowder
Sometimes the best-known spots for cheap eats in Seattle are the best spots. So is the case with this tiny shop in Pike Place Market’s Post Alley. Prepare to wait, then order a big bowl of briny comfort, with choices that include smoked salmon, crab and oysters, or seafood bisque.
The Caribbean comes to Fremont and South Seattle courtesy of Paseo, beloved for its Cuban sandwiches of roast pork, banana peppers, and caramelized onions piled high on soft Cuban bread. You’ll find plenty of other island flavors on the menu, like the Caribbean Plato with chicken, jasmine rice, corn, and black beans.
Red Mill Burgers
Seattle’s favorite burger joint originally began in the 1930s, was resuscitated in the 1990s, and has been winning awards ever since. What’s the key? Quality beef, quality toppings (particularly the pepper bacon), and killer onion rings. The classic malts and shakes are good, too.
Emerald City Fish and Chips
Combine a couple of Seattle brothers with New Orleans roots, the city’s high-quality cod, salmon, and halibut, and a good panko batter seasoned with cayenne, and the result is mighty fine fish and chips. Emerald City also cooks up a mean gumbo on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Easy Street Records
Pair a vintage music shop that sells vinyl, CDs, and old movies with a breakfast cafe, and you get this hot spot for cheap eats in Seattle. Breakfast burritos with fresh salsa and jalapeno-spiced Horton Heat Hash are favorites. There’s often a wait, but with walls and bins filled with Seattle music memorabilia, you’ll hardly even notice.
It isn’t easy to find, but anyone who loves good Japanese cooking can direct you to this gem in Seattle’s international district. Come for the weekday lunch bargains like ramen and beef curry udon, or sit at the sushi bar and let the chef serve you specials (on the blackboard in Japanese only) that will expand your raw fish horizons.
Tilikum Place Cafe
The bargain at this Belltown bistro is the Dutch Baby, a fluffy thick pancake of a meal. Whether you order it savory or sweet (flavors change seasonally) or just the classic with lemon and powdered sugar, it arrives at your table piping hot, erupting out its cast-iron skillet and caramelized to buttery perfection.
Senor Moose Cafe
The owners of this Ballard favorite gathered family recipes from the small roadside restaurants in central Mexico and brought them back to Ballard. It stays true to comida tipica with homemade chorizo, smoky mole, and chilaquiles with smoky tomatillo salsa.
The Than brothers were clearly onto something when they opened their first pho (Vietnamese rice noodle soup) restaurant in the 1990s. They haven’t expanded the menu, but have expanded their presence to more than a dozen Seattle locations, serving cheap, hot, and delicious pho, with their signature cream puff for dessert.
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- 10 Seattle Museums You Need to Visit
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—Original reporting by Tina Lassen