In a metropolitan area like Seattle, surrounded by water in just about every direction and tightly nestled between breathtaking snow-capped mountain ranges, finding good food and drink with transcending views is not few or far between.
When the days are longer and the weather warmer, one could find a memorable dinner locale in just about any neighborhood. But if you are visiting the area or trying to find a dinner spot that will impress, then give the following restaurants consideration:
- Matt’s In the Market
- Salty’s on Alki
- Ray’s Boathouse
- Water’s Table
- Agua Verde
- The Pink Door
1. Matt’s In The Market
If you want the quintessential Seattle dining experience, Matt’s In The Market has everything you want. Located in the heart of Pike Place Market, Matt’s interior has large radius windows giving you a close look at the market and its iconic pink neon sign. The real treat is the sightlines of Elliott Bay, and ferries make the trip back and forth from Bainbridge Island, topped off with the snow-capped Olympic Mountains in the backdrop.
We enjoy dining for lunch when the market is bustling and vendors are haggling with the crowds of people below. While the views are worth the visit alone, the fresh seafood, particularly the clams and mussels, are crowd pleasers. The lunch menu will have more sandwich options and a cheeseburger that is not readily available for dinner.
If crowds are not your speed, dinner with a view will run you a few more bucks, but the seasonal menu is always inviting, or the tried and true favorite Pan roasted halibut will always win over a seafood lover’s heart.
With a trendy all-season rooftop and glass-enclosed dining room serving middle eastern and Mediterranean dishes, mbar has top-notch panoramic views of Lake Union to the north and incredible vistas of the new Amazon development in South Lake Union.
Top Chef star Jason Stratton is the culinary mastermind behind the menu, which offers classic mezze dishes like baba ganoush and delightful green chickpea hummus. In addition, as well as small and large plates, including a beet salad, we would be remiss not to point out (try it, you will be back for it again)!
If you are looking for a later afternoon pick-me-up, mbar has food and drink specials Sunday through Thursday from 4-6 PM, but show up on the earlier side because the place will fill up quickly, and outside seating with fireplaces will go fast.
3. Salty’s on Alki
Located in Alki Beach in West Seattle, Salty’s has the most scenic dining experience in the Seattle area, with sweeping views of downtown. The restaurant has ample outdoor seating and an expansive indoor space offering plenty of room to enjoy your meal while taking in the breathtaking vistas. Located next to the West Seattle Water Taxi, diners could shuttle from the Downtown Water Front to Alki for an extra memorable experience.
The view is the true gem, but brunch drives large crowds to Salty’s on Saturdays and Sundays. If you plan to brunch, please call ahead and reserve your spot early. Otherwise, you will likely not get a table. Also, we recommend reservations for lunch and dinner, primarily if you are not already in West Seattle.
The cuisine is Northwest seafood, and dinner options will run the gambit of fish entrees and Dungeness crab, scallops, and prawn options. There are a few meat entrees, but the focus will be fresh seafood.
2120 made this list more for its location and architectural views, not the natural splendid Seattle imagery the other restaurants on this list bring. 2120 is located in Denny Triangle next to The Spheres, three separate 80 to 95 feet spherical indoor garden domes in the Amazon complex. New and chic interior, we recommend a table outside (covered in the winter) to get the best atmosphere, but if the weather is not cooperating, the indoor space is pleasant, but you lose the view.
The food at 2120 is New American with seasonal additions from locally sourced ingredients. The food is creative and succulent, the atmosphere and service are excellent, and the entree portions are more significant than expected for the price you pay.
2120 keeps its menu local with Northwest-style seafood and good steak and chop options. The local wine and beer menu also highlights a good sample of Washington and Oregon options. Still, if cocktails are your drink of choice, 2120 has a good staple list of drinks and a few seasonal offerings, but cocktails here are on the pricey side.
5. Ray’s Boathouse & Cafe
Ray’s is truly an iconic Seattle restaurant situated on the water’s edge in Ballard with long views of the Olympic Mountains perched above Puget Sound. It is a close walk from Golden Gardens and gives beachgoers an upscale seafood option at Ray’s Boathouse and a more affordable option upstairs at Ray’s Cafe.
Ray’s Cafe is in all its glory when the sun is out, particularly if you can land a patio table that fills up fast, notably when the sunlight drops behind the mountains. The crowds come for the spectacular views and beverages, while the food is secondary.
Downstairs at Ray’s Boathouse, try to get an early reservation at a window table to enjoy an indoor view, plus the menu options are quite a bit better. Ray’s Boathouse has won several awards with local and internationally inspired takes on seafood, from Manila clams in a bacon miso broth to grilled King Salmon.
6. Water’s Table
Water’s Table is another excellent spot for dinner and a view, but the first on the list outside of city limits. Located inside Hyatt Regency Lake Washington in Renton, the setting will not disappoint, with an elegant dining room and second-floor patio overlooking Lake Washington facing Mercer Island and the Seattle skyline.
The restaurant offers farm-to-table classic American dishes at a reasonable price when dining in a resort setting. Both breakfast and dinner plates look tasty but are a bit on the smaller side. Entrees paired with a shared small plate or one of the seafood or vegetable bites will be an excellent idea if you want to end your evening satiated.
Consider whether you have plans for a later dinner or only looking for drinks with a view. In that case, Water’s Table has a nice dockside bar with tables and Adirondack chairs on the lower level where you can walk out to the water’s edge and enjoy libations with family and friends.
The Ascend, located on the 31st floor of Lincoln Square South in Bellevue, is extravagant, and the prices reflect that. The sweeping views of Lake Washington and the Seattle skyline are genuinely remarkable. You could spend several minutes glued to the floor-to-ceiling windows before taking in the grand decor.
Prime-time dinner reservations on the weekends go fast, but you can typically get a small table if you dine early or before close, so plan if you are looking to celebrate a special occasion. The menu is prime steak and top-notch sushi; every item off the grill will not disappoint. The hand-rolled sushi is of some of the finest quality, and the taste is on another level. The steak can range from expensive to absurd, with a Miyazaki A5 wagyu filet mignon at $51 per ounce. Only a few places can procure the quality of ingredients Ascend serves, and the price reflects that.
Dinner at the Ascend is genuinely worth considering to celebrate someone special in your life or an anniversary. If you want the view without the stratospheric prices, try early or late-night happy hour or consider the weekend brunch, where you can enjoy a selected menu at an elevated but more reasonable price point.
Westward is less assuming than most other restaurants on the list, and it feels closer to a Ballard seafood bar than a Lake Union waterfront. Located about half a mile north of Gas Works Park in North Lake and a short drive from Wallingford and the U-District, this nautical-attired joint takes raw bar offerings seriously.
If you enjoy oysters, Westward will be on your short list of places to enjoy them. There are several local oyster options, but Washington oysters tend to be smaller than their east coast counterparts, and the prices are higher than other raw bars. The general take on Westward has above-average views of Lake Union, delicious food, and impeccable service. Some reviewers ding Westward on price, but when you find a gem like this, the extra cost is worth it.
9. Ague Verde Cafe
Agua Verde Cafe is tucked away off the south side of the University of Washington campus and is easy to miss if you aren’t paying close attention to directions. Also, parking is not plentiful. With a small lot across the street from the little outpost, your best bet is finding street parking on NE Boat St.
The restaurant does not have dedicated wait staff, so the pro tip is to wait on the back patio to grab a seat before placing your order at the counter window. It seems like a hassle, but it’s not too bad. Plus, the view from the patio of Portage Bay and the boats resting in the marina are delightful, especially on a nice day when you can enjoy fresh margaritas and authentic Mexican cuisine.
Even after changing ownership in 2019, Agua Verde is a very affordable dining experience. The dining room and patio will fill up quickly. Still, the food comes out fast, and table turnover is constant, so we recommend sticking with it for a good dining experience and solid views at a very reasonable price.
10. The Pink Door
Pink Door might be what your heart and stomach need if you are around Pike Place Market and looking for a hidden gem. The front entry is halfway down the market’s Post Alley. You might not expect much from the outside. Still, when you enter the restaurant, you are hit with a cacophony of delightful Italian aromas, fun decor, and live performances (entertainment is daily here).
The classic Italian menu offers some of the best pasta in Seattle, and the Bolognese and eggplant with smoked mozzarella smothers in rich tomato sauce are two standouts. The prices are reasonable, with pasta and risotto dishes typically in the $25 range, with 16 oz ribeye steak under $60.
The dining room has large panoramic windows with a nice view of Elliott Bay and The Seattle Great Wheel on Pier 57. During the warmer months, the outdoor patio is open to diners, but the space is limited and will require advanced reservations.