Let’s get this out of the way, there are zero Michelin Star restaurants in Seattle. But, there’s a simple reason for that: Michelin doesn’t rate any restaurants in Seattle!
In fact, as of 2022 Michelin only awarded Stars to restaurants in California (mostly Los Angeles and San Francisco), Washington DC, Chicago, Florida, and New York.
Cities like Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and yes Seattle are not currently awarded Michelin Stars.
Bur Michelin continues expanding the cities covered in their guides. For example, Florida was just added in 2022. And there have been rumblings that Seattle would be near the top of the list in terms of cities that Michelin could cover next. So, let’s dive into the top 12 restaurants that could prove Michelin-worthy in Seattle!
12 Seattle Restaurants Worthy of a Michelin Star
Here’s our list of 12 restaurants in the Seattle area that are Michelin Star-worthy.
- Sushi Kashiba
- Eden Hill
- Il Nido
- Cafe Juanita
- The Herbfarm
- The Walrus and the Carpenter
- Art of the Table
- The Corson Building
Any list of restaurants with Michelin Star potential in Seattle has to begin with Canlis. The restaurant opened in 1950 and overlooks the city of Seattle from its Queen Anne perch. Over the years, Canlis has become synonymous with high-end dining in the Seattle area. It’s one of the very few restaurants that could even force Anthony Bourdain to wear a suit jacket to dinner.
While Canlis screams luxury, it’s worth noting that the restaurant isn’t stuffy. There’s a piano lounge if you’re looking for a more relaxed setting and the service is top-notch. In recent years, the restaurant has revamped its menu and today serves three-course meals. While the food isn’t as artsy or eclectic as some entries on this list, it’s well-prepared and memorable nonetheless.
One final note, Canlis has won numerous James Beard Awards in recent years, one of which was for its excellent wine program. So if you’re planning a big night out, we recommend pairing your meal with something from their extensive wine list.
2. Sushi Kashiba
The strongest “brand” in Seattle sushi is Shiro Kashiba. Mr. Kashiba learned his craft from Jiro Ono (from the documentary Jiro Loves Sushi) and opened his iconic sushi restaurant – Shiro’s Sushi – in Belltown in 1994.
In 2015 Shiro passed Shiro’s on to a protege as he looked for a new project. That project is Sushi Kashiba, a sushi restaurant in Pike Place Market.
It’s important to note, if you want to eat at the sushi counter at Sushi Kashiba, you’re going to need to line up. There are no reservations for the chef’s counter omakase experience. If you have the time though, our recommendation is to line up more than a couple hours before opening and enjoy the chef counter experience.
The actual experience at Sushi Kashiba is similar to other high-end sushi restaurants you might have experienced (it reminds me of Sushi Nakazawa, another restaurant from a Jiro protege). Fish are expertly selected and prepared. There will be no need to add any soy sauce or wasabi to sashimi, trust me that every bite will be flavored perfectly. Best of all, the omakase menu selects seasonal ingredients that highlight flavors from the Pacific Northwest.
3. Eden Hill
Eden Hill is a restaurant that simply makes beautiful food. This Queen Anne shop is small, featuring only 24 seats. That means that you’ll need to make a reservation well in advance, especially during the summer months.
(But, we should note… You should expect to make reservations in advance for just about every restaurant on this list!)
What’s to love about Eden Hill? For starters, Eden Hill works well with seasonal ingredients. That means your main course will not just be artfully placed on your dish but adorned with fresh vegetables. Whether dining on roasted beets with satsumas and cashew puree or cod in a carrot curry, the menu features balanced and local flavors.
Whatever is on the menu, it will likely be ambitious and creative. If the crispy pig head “candy bar” is still on the menu when you dine, we recommend you take the “risk.” It’s delightful.
4. Il Nido
Let’s just get this out of the way, Il Nido is a controversial restaurant. Its tucked away in a log cabin off Alki and looks fantastic. In fact, it could compete with Canlis for the title of the coolest-looking restaurant in Seattle.
Il Nido opened shortly before the pandemic – which was a lousy time to open a restaurant – but nonetheless, it managed to create plenty of buzz within Seattle as it was named a semifinalist for ‘Best New Restaurant’ by the James Beard Foundation in 2020.
Yet, in recent years there have been some mixed reviews. Il Nido came from the same chef who created Il Corvo, a Pioneer Square restaurant that was beloved for its delicious homemade pasta and reasonable prices. In that regard, Il Nino is in the unenviable position of following in the footsteps of a cult favorite.
Yet, while Il Nido is more expensive, its pastas are still exceptional. Add on wonderful service and the incredible ambiance that comes from being in a log cabin off Alki, and you can see why a dinner at Il Nido is so memorable.
5. Cafe Juanita
Cafe Juanita is the star of the show when it comes to Eastside dining. Sure, Bellevue has some high-end experiences like Ascend Steakhouse and fantastic Asian cuisine, but nothing on the Eastside reaches the heights of Cafe Juanita.
The cuisine is mostly northern Italian, but you will find some other influences, such as Hokkaido sea urchin. The restaurant serves a variety of tasting menus and is accommodating to a number of diets. Whether you’re pescatarian, vegetarian, or vegan, Cafe Juanita will prepare an exceptional dinner.
It’s a fierce battle for the best Italian food in Capitol Hill. Our next two selections are both Italian restaurants in the neighborhood and would both be strong contenders for a Michelin star.
First up is Altura, which opened in 2011 and has consistently ranked as one of Seattle’s top restaurants since. The dinners at Altura are beautiful. Flavors, textures, and the colors of each plating are carefully considered. The restaurant serves a tasting menu (currently at $175 per person) that specializes in Northwest ingredients.
What you’ll find at Altura changes by the season, but you can expect dishes heavy in local seafood and foraged ingredients. The tasting menu begins with smaller bites before moving onto plated dishes, and finishes with a larger entree and dessert. In addition to its food lineup, Altura also features an excellent wine menu.
While Altura focuses on tasting menus, Spinasse allows you to build the dinner of your dreams from its selection of starters, pastas, and main courses.
Spinasse has attracted quite the following – and you’ll find a healthy debate around what’s the best dish they serve. My personal opinion is that you need to focus on their pasta. Try one of their tajarin dishes, which is a thin pasta that’s a house specialty. Beyond tajarin, Spinasse offers incredibly rich risotta and gnocchi. Entrees include standards like duck, fish, and beef check (make sure to check their current menu as options change) which are also delicious.
8. The Herbfarm
The Herbfarm offers another Michelin-worthy restaurant outside the city of Seattle. Located in the suburb of Woodinville, The Herbfarm is just a short drive from dozens of wine rooms.
The Herbfarm was founded in 1986 and serves multicourse menus that are exclusively composed of local ingredients. If you go to their menu page you’ll be able to see a lineup of their menus throughout the year.
For example, 2023 will feature:
- Solace of Winter: A menu specializing in truffles running through January and February
- Cascade to Coast: A seafood-heavy menu in March and April
- Revelry for Spring: An April through June menu full of produce and salmon
- Valley of Eden: Seasonal ingredients that highlight summer from late June to August
Dinners are expensive at $305 per person but include paired beverages. If you’re planning a trip to the Woodinville Wine District, The Herbfarm is a special occasion you’re sure to remember.
Joule takes our list of Michelin-worthy restaurants to the Fremont neighborhood. Joule isn’t as “artfully plated” as other options on this list and it’s on the cheaper side as well. Starters are generally less than $20 while entrees range from $20 to no more than $50 (for meat-heavy options like the ribeye).
What makes the restaurant so impressive is how it fuses Korean ingredients into unexpected dishes. The kombu cured mackerel takes a traditional Korean dish like mackerel and adds papaya and chimichurri to create unexpected flavors. Another favorite is the spicy rice cakes that incorporate chorizo with pickled mustard greens.
Beyond these “fusion” dishes, more straightforward options like short rib and ribeyes are also well executed. Joule is about as easygoing as it gets on this list, but we could see Michelin appreciating how well-executed dishes are at a price point that could even qualify it for Bib Gourmand status.
10. The Walrus and Carpenter
The Walrus and Carpenter joins Joule as a more affordable option that may even qualify for Michelin’s more budget-friendly Bib Gourmand category.
The star of the show at The Walrus and Carpenter is Northwest seafood. If you’re a longtime Seattleite, it should come as no surprise that Seattle has some of the best seafood in the world in nearby waters. Whether you’re looking for delicious (and sometimes gigantic!) oysters, delicious clams soaking in curry, or filets from seafood like halibut and salmon, The Walrus and Carpenter serves up some of the highest-quality seafood in the Seattle area.
One note: The Walrus and Carpenter does not accept reservations. Be prepared for a wait if looking for dinner on a Friday or Saturday.
11. Art of the Table
With a name like “Art of the Table,” you can probably guess what kind of a restaurant this is! Art of the Table features a 5-course Chef’s Tasting Menu (currently $138 per person with an optional $98 wine pairing).
Each dish is beautifully plated, as you’d expect. However, you might be surprised by how hearty many of the dishes are! While the menu changes, staples like the pork belly are surprisingly filling (and accessible to a wide variety of palates). You’ll also likely see a rotation of items like duck confit, panna cotta, foie gras, and tortellini. The menu changes roughly every two weeks though, so if you enjoy your meal odds are you’ll have a very different experience during a repeat visit.
12. The Corson Building
Michelin-level dining in Georgetown? The Corson Building opened in 2008 and is a beautiful building. The restaurant is in what looks like a home, but has an outdoor patio that’s a lovely space for dining during the Seattle summer.
The focus of the food at The Corson Building is local ingredients. Entrees like halibut are accompanied by generous portions of braised celery, roasted mushrooms, and squash. Beyond their a la carte menu there’s also a prix fixe menu and even a ‘Sunday Supper‘ offering.
It might be hard to believe that the most ambient restaurant in Seattle is tucked away by freeway offramp in Georgetown, but The Corson Building is not to be missed!
Other Seattle Restaurants with Michelin Star Connections
- Sushi By Scratch: Opened in Seattle in 2022. Their Montecito location was awarded a Michelin star.
- Din Tai Fung: The Hong Kong location has been awarded a Michelin star. There are four Din Tai Fung restaurants in the greater Seattle area.