Alki Beach is one of Seattle’s most treasured places. 2.5 miles of sandy beaches give an incredible viewpoint of ferries coming into downtown Seattle. In the summer, Alki is one of the best places to sit out in the sun, people watch, and maybe even play a little volleyball.
Yet, if you’re planning on visiting Alki you’re probably wondering what kind of food is available. In the list below we’ll review 10 of the best Alki Beach restaurants. This list will include everything from bars, to casual sit downs, to places you can enjoy a fancy meal. Let’s get started!
The 10 Best Restaurants in Seattle’s Alki Beach
- Il Nido
- Alki Pho & Bar
- Harry’s Beach House
- Alki Spud Fish and Chips
- La Rustica
- Marination Ma Kai
- Salty’s on Alki Beach
- Fire Tacos & Cantina
1. Cactus Alki Beach
Let’s face it, if you’ve just finished a long walk down the beach or just enjoyed a long day in the sun, it’s hard to beat an outstanding margarita. That’s where Catcus comes in.
Cactus is a chain that now has seven locations across the Puget Sound area. The food is more southwestern than authentic Mexican. For example, you’ll find both Navajo Fry Bread and Spicy Ahi Tacos on the appetizers in addition to Tex Mex Queso. If you’re looking for what a dish looks like at Cactus, you can see a taco plate we sampled on a recent visit. As you can see, the tacos are aiming to be a bit upscale of more traditional options.
Beyond food, Cactus has a comfortable outdoor area that includes a fire pit that makes it more all season. Their bar features more than 30 types of tequilas and an assortment of margarita options (even served slushy, if that’s your preference). Whether stopping in for a drink or a full dinner, Cactus is a top option in the Alki area.
A list of restaurants in Alki wouldn’t be complete without some value. There are a couple of beloved fish n chips spots on Alki (we’ll get to another later), but Sunfish deserves a spot on this list because:
1.) Prices are extremely valuable. A combination of halibut that includes 2 prawns, oysters, and a piece of fish and fries is $17.85. Given its location and the price of seafood, and size of portions, trust us when we say this is a very good deal.
2.) It’s a family-run business so you’ll be supporting a local small business.
3.) The fish is of very high quality and breaded well without being too greasy. In addition, you can be assured that sides like clam chowder are made from scratch every day.
3. Il Nido
Il Nido will be the most upscale selection on our list. The restaurant opened in 2020 and created a buzz when it was a James Beard semifinalist for ‘Best New Restaurant of 2020.’ As of late 2022, that buzz translates to dinner reservations that are still fairly hard to come by.
So, if you’re looking to eat at Il Nido, you have a few options. The first is booking early. The restaurant books in 30-day windows and reservations toward the end of the month have more availability. The second option is dining on weekdays, when you can generally find more options. Our final piece of advice would be that the bar is exclusively walk-in and offers full dinner service.
With that out of the way, you’re likely wondering about the food. Put simply, the star of the show is the pastas. You’ll have a choice of antipasti and salads, pasta, and mains. The mains are generally options such as ribeyes, fish, duck, or pork. Pastas include meaty ragus, spaghettis, gnocchi, mushroom pastas, and ones heavy on pesto.
With an incredible ambiance (the restaurant is inside a rustic homestead), stellar pastas, and impeccable service, Il Nido could be the reservation you’ve been looking for. Combine all this with the fact that you can take a moonlit stroll along Alki after dinner, and it’s not to be missed if you’re looking for some of Seattle’s best upscale dining.
4. Alki Pho & Bar
Pho is simply delicious. Especially on a cool winter night, its hard to top a hearty and warm bowl of pho. However, what you’re probably not used to is pho places that take their drinks seriously.
Which is why Alki Pho & Bar is such an important addition to the neighborhood. The restaurant features more than a dozen cocktails, and trust us when we say they’re made to be Instagram-worthy!
Beyond the cocktails, the menu is rather expansive. As you’d expect there’s a variety of pho options, but you can also enjoy rice dishes (teriyaki, curries, short ribs, and more), salads, sandwiches, and small bites if you’re looking for a little food to go along with an afternoon cocktail.
5. Harry’s Beach House
Looking for brunch on Alki? Sure, there are more traditional spots (such as Salty’s which we’ll discuss below), but for our dollar, the best place to visit is Harry’s Beach House.
What’s to love? First off, it’s an inviting space with artwork on the walls, chandeliers, modern chairs, and a chic bar. Harry’s just has a nice vibe to it. Second, the food has pleasers for everyone.
Feeling something not so heavy but with lots of flavor? Try the Shakshuka. Wanting to eat Southern? There’s both shrimp and grits and biscuits and gravy. Want to put a twist on a breakfast staple? Our vote is for the duck confit hash. Like we said, there’s simply a lot of variety at Harry’s brunch.
The lunch and dinner is a bit less exciting. As you’d expect being on a beachfront restaurant, the tilt is toward seafood. Mains include fish, mussels, pasta, steak, and a few more related dishes. However, once again, it’s well done and in an inviting restaurant. If you’ve been at the beach all day and want a comfortable dinner that’s a bit more upscale without making a reservation a month in advance, Harry’s is a great choice.
6. Alki Spud Fish & Chips
When it comes to Alki restaurants, Spuds is simply the OG. The fish and chips stand opened all the way back in 1935 and is a true Seattle original. In fact, its the oldest still operating fast food restaurant in Seattle!
If we’re being honest, the clam chowder at Sunfish is likely better. When it comes to the fish and chips, that comes down to a matter of personal preference. If you want extras like calamari and greek salads, Sunfish will be the better pick. If you want to try a Seattle original with great views off its second floor, go for Spud.
Either way, when you’re enjoying delicious fish and chips on the beach (preferably on a warm summer day), you’re not going to regret the decision!
7. La Rustica
We’re about to preview a few restaurants that may not technically be on Alki Beach. Yet, each is worth seeking out.
First up is La Rustica. This quaint restaurant is located about a mile away from Cactus, which is on the western end of Alki restaurants. You won’t find any other restaurants near La Rustica, it simply sits alone with a view overtop the Puget Sound that provides breathtaking sights of the Olympic Mountains.
The food here isn’t going for a Michelin star. It’s not as inventive as Il Nido. Put simply, this is more traditional Italian fare. Our favorites from La Rustica are pretty simple. Their Mostaccioli is delicious and even their pre-dinner salad is well executed and memorable.
But once again, the upside here is a beautiful location far from the crowds of Alki. If you’re lucky enough to stop by Seattle on a warm summer night, La Rustica has a beautiful patio filled with flowers. Believe us when we say enjoying a glass of wine late into the night at La Rustica is a memorable experience
8. Marination Ma Kai
Marination is the combination of two mouthwatering cuisines: Korean and Hawaiian. That might sound like an unlikely duo, but they are a particularly delicious fusion.
Marination is fast casual, but it’s also a fantastic spot to spend a few hours. Located at the West Seattle Water Taxi Pier, the restaurant has outstanding views of downtown Seattle. Beyond their excellent sliders, our favorites were their luau plates. A couple top choices were the Loco Moco luau plate which has delicious brown gravy on top two sunny side eggs, and the Kalua luau plate.
At the end of the day, with tacos, salads, sandwiches, sliders, fried rice, and sides like cole slaw and macaroni salad, Marination should please a very wide audience of palates.
9. Salty’s on Alki
If Spud Fish & Chips is the original Alki fast food spot, then Salty’s is its sit-down counterpart. Salty’s is located away from the main strip on Alki Beach on Harbor Avenue near the West Seattle Water Taxi.
Satly’s has a number of claims to fame. First, it has one of the best views in Seattle. As you can see from the picture above, the restaurant is focused on a downtown view that is one of the top in the city. Second, its long been acclaimed for having one of the best brunches in the city. Finally, Salty’s routinely ranks as one of the most romantic restaurants in the city.
Salty’s has an expansive deck and indoor spaces, but it is also quite busy, so if you’re having brunch here we recommend getting reservations in advance. The menu is fairly standard. Just picture traditional upscale dining with a seafood edge, and you’re picturing Salty’s. Their $60 12 ounce New York strip won’t win any awards, just remember that you’re partially paying for the view and atmosphere.
10. Fire Tacos & Cantina
Finally, we end with a look at Fire Tacos & Cantina. While Alki has Cactus as another margarita spot, it’s worth noting that the drinks here punch well above their weight. We’ll post a picture of a few below, but there are a number of refreshing agua frescas that can also have a shot of tequila added. They’re outrageously refreshing and can be served in plastic cups so you can take them to walk Alki.
Beyond the beverages, the specialty of Fire Tacos & Cantina is their birria. If you haven’t tried birria, they’re tacos served with a stew (consome) that’s made for dipping. Beyond Birria you’ll also find more traditional tacos (steak, pork, carnitas, chicken, shrimp, etc.), quesadillas, burritos, and bowls.