Seattle is home to some of the most unique and delicious hole in the wall restaurants you’ll find anywhere. From cozy cafes to hidden gems serving up mouthwatering fare, this guide will help you discover the tastiest under-the-radar eateries in the Emerald City.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Some top hole in the wall restaurants in Seattle include Cafe Munir for Ethiopian food, Dela Curo for Filipino fare, El Tarasco for authentic Mexican, and The Coastal Kitchen for eclectic breakfast and brunch.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to find the most delightful hole in the wall restaurants Seattle has to offer. You’ll learn about the different neighborhoods to explore, the cuisines and dishes each spot is known for, and what to order at some of our favorite joints.
Best Neighborhoods for Hole in the Wall Restaurants
The Central District
The Central District of Seattle is known for its diverse culinary scene, and it’s no surprise that it’s home to some fantastic hole in the wall restaurants. With a mix of international cuisines and local favorites, this neighborhood offers something for every palate.
Whether you’re in the mood for mouthwatering barbecue, savory Vietnamese pho, or authentic Mexican tacos, you’ll find it all in the Central District. One must-visit spot is King’s Deli, a hidden gem that serves up delicious sandwiches and homemade soups that will leave you craving more.
Capitol Hill is a vibrant neighborhood known for its trendy bars and eclectic dining options. Within this bustling area, you’ll find a number of hole in the wall restaurants that are sure to satisfy your taste buds. From cozy Italian trattorias to intimate sushi bars, Capitol Hill has it all.
A popular spot among locals is Harry’s Fine Foods, a charming eatery that offers a rotating menu of seasonal dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Don’t let its unassuming exterior fool you – the food at Harry’s is truly exceptional.
Located in the northwest part of Seattle, Ballard is a neighborhood with a rich Scandinavian heritage. It’s also home to a thriving food scene, with a variety of hole in the wall restaurants that cater to every palate.
Whether you’re craving fresh seafood, comforting pub grub, or innovative fusion cuisine, Ballard has you covered. For a truly unique dining experience, check out The Walrus and the Carpenter, a renowned oyster bar that serves up some of the best bivalves in the city.
Pair your oysters with a glass of wine or a craft cocktail for an unforgettable meal.
As its name suggests, the International District is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. This vibrant neighborhood is a must-visit for food lovers, with a plethora of hole in the wall restaurants serving up delicious dishes from around the world.
Whether you’re in the mood for authentic dim sum, flavorful pho, or mouthwatering sushi, you’ll find it all in the International District. One standout restaurant is Phnom Penh Noodle House, a family-owned establishment that has been serving up Cambodian and Vietnamese specialties for over 30 years.
Don’t miss their famous house specialty, the Phnom Penh Noodles.
Georgetown may be a small neighborhood, but it’s big on flavor. Tucked away in the southern part of Seattle, Georgetown is a hidden gem that boasts a number of hole in the wall restaurants. From casual burger joints to upscale farm-to-table eateries, you’ll find a diverse range of dining options in this quirky neighborhood.
One standout spot is Jules Maes Saloon, a historic tavern that has been serving up delicious comfort food since 1888. Enjoy a hearty meal and soak in the old-world charm of this beloved neighborhood institution.
Top Hole in the Wall Restaurants by Cuisine
Ethiopian – Cafe Munir
If you’re craving authentic Ethiopian cuisine, look no further than Cafe Munir. Located in the heart of Seattle, this cozy hole in the wall restaurant serves up delicious traditional dishes that will transport you straight to Ethiopia.
From injera, a sourdough flatbread, to doro wat, a spicy chicken stew, Cafe Munir offers a wide variety of flavorful options. Don’t forget to try their signature coffee ceremony for a truly immersive dining experience.
Filipino – Dela Curo
For a taste of the Philippines, head over to Dela Curo. This hidden gem is known for its mouthwatering Filipino dishes that are sure to satisfy your cravings. From adobo, a savory meat dish, to lumpia, a Filipino-style spring roll, Dela Curo serves up authentic flavors that will transport you to the streets of Manila.
Don’t miss their halo-halo, a refreshing shaved ice dessert topped with a variety of sweet ingredients.
Mexican – El Tarasco
When it comes to Mexican cuisine, El Tarasco is a must-visit. This hole in the wall restaurant offers a menu filled with classic Mexican dishes made with fresh ingredients and bold flavors. From tacos to enchiladas, you’ll find all your favorites here.
Don’t forget to try their homemade salsa and guacamole for an extra kick of flavor. With its vibrant atmosphere and delicious food, El Tarasco is a go-to spot for Mexican food lovers.
Breakfast/Brunch – The Coastal Kitchen
Start your day off right with a visit to The Coastal Kitchen. This cozy hole in the wall restaurant is known for its delicious breakfast and brunch options. From fluffy pancakes to savory omelettes, The Coastal Kitchen has something for everyone.
Don’t miss their famous Dungeness crab eggs benedict or their mouthwatering French toast. With its charming decor and friendly staff, The Coastal Kitchen is the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely brunch.
Ramen – Betsutenjin Ramen Broth Noodle Bar
If you’re in the mood for a warm and comforting bowl of ramen, look no further than Betsutenjin Ramen Broth Noodle Bar. This hole in the wall restaurant specializes in authentic Japanese ramen made with flavorful broth and handmade noodles.
From classic tonkotsu ramen to spicy miso ramen, Betsutenjin offers a variety of options to suit every taste. Don’t forget to customize your bowl with your choice of toppings and enjoy a satisfying and delicious meal.
Indian – Shanik
For a taste of India, head over to Shanik. This hole in the wall restaurant serves up flavorful Indian dishes that will delight your taste buds. From butter chicken to vegetable biryani, Shanik offers a wide range of options for both meat lovers and vegetarians.
Don’t miss their freshly baked naan bread and their aromatic chai tea. With its cozy ambiance and attentive service, Shanik is a top choice for Indian cuisine in Seattle.
Thai – Thai Tom
When it comes to Thai food, Thai Tom is a hidden gem in Seattle. This hole in the wall restaurant is known for its authentic Thai flavors and generous portions. From pad Thai to green curry, Thai Tom offers a variety of dishes that are packed with bold and spicy flavors.
Don’t miss their refreshing Thai iced tea or their crispy spring rolls. With its casual and lively atmosphere, Thai Tom is the perfect spot for a flavorful Thai meal.
Chinese – Seven Stars Pepper
If you’re craving Chinese cuisine, Seven Stars Pepper is a must-visit. This hole in the wall restaurant specializes in Sichuan cuisine, known for its bold and spicy flavors. From mapo tofu to kung pao chicken, Seven Stars Pepper offers a variety of dishes that will excite your taste buds.
Don’t miss their handmade dumplings or their fiery hot pot. With its authentic flavors and cozy atmosphere, Seven Stars Pepper is a go-to spot for Chinese food lovers.
Pizza – Big Mario’s New York Style Pizza
For a taste of New York in Seattle, head over to Big Mario’s New York Style Pizza. This hole in the wall pizzeria is known for its delicious thin crust pizzas that are reminiscent of the Big Apple. From classic margherita to pepperoni, Big Mario’s offers a variety of toppings to satisfy every pizza lover.
Don’t miss their garlic knots or their homemade meatballs. With its casual atmosphere and friendly staff, Big Mario’s is the perfect spot for a slice of authentic New York-style pizza.
Seafood – Ballard Annex Oyster House
If you’re a fan of seafood, Ballard Annex Oyster House is a must-visit. This hole in the wall restaurant is known for its fresh and delicious seafood dishes. From oysters on the half shell to seafood chowder, Ballard Annex offers a variety of options that highlight the flavors of the Pacific Northwest.
Don’t miss their mouthwatering crab cakes or their flavorful fish tacos. With its nautical-themed decor and waterfront location, Ballard Annex Oyster House is the perfect spot to indulge in some seafood delights.
What to Order at the Best Hole in the Wall Restaurants
Cafe Munir – Lamb Tibbs, Sambusas
When dining at Cafe Munir, be sure to try their mouthwatering Lamb Tibbs. Cooked to perfection, the tender lamb is seasoned with aromatic spices that will leave you craving for more. Don’t forget to also indulge in their Sambusas, crispy pastry filled with a savory mixture of meat and vegetables.
These appetizers are the perfect way to start your meal at this hidden gem in Seattle.
Dela Curo – Sisig, Lumpia, Halo Halo
Dela Curo is known for its authentic Filipino cuisine, and there are a few must-try dishes when you visit. Start with their Sisig, a sizzling dish made with diced pork and tangy flavors. For appetizers, don’t miss out on their crispy Lumpia, filled with a delicious mixture of meat and vegetables.
And to end your meal on a sweet note, indulge in their refreshing Halo Halo, a dessert made with shaved ice, various fruits, and sweet beans. Dela Curo will surely transport your taste buds to the Philippines.
El Tarasco – Tacos al Pastor, Chile Relleno
El Tarasco is a hole in the wall restaurant that serves up delectable Mexican cuisine. Their Tacos al Pastor are a must-try, with tender marinated pork topped with fresh cilantro and onions. Another popular dish is their Chile Relleno, a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with cheese and served with a flavorful sauce.
With each bite, you’ll be transported to the streets of Mexico.
The Coastal Kitchen – Crab Cake Benedict, Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
At The Coastal Kitchen, breakfast is taken to a whole new level. Indulge in their Crab Cake Benedict, a delicious twist on the classic Eggs Benedict. The perfectly poached eggs sit atop a crab cake, drizzled with hollandaise sauce. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss their Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.
These fluffy pancakes are infused with lemon zest and served with a dollop of ricotta cheese. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and tangy flavors.
Betsutenjin Ramen – Tonkotsu Ramen, Gyoza
If you’re a ramen lover, Betsutenjin Ramen is a must-visit. Their signature dish is the Tonkotsu Ramen, a rich and creamy pork broth soup that is simmered for hours to extract the flavors. The noodles are perfectly cooked, and the toppings are generous.
Don’t forget to order a side of their flavorful Gyoza, pan-fried dumplings that are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. It’s a match made in ramen heaven.
Shanik – Samosas, Butter Chicken
Shanik is a hidden gem that offers delicious Indian cuisine. Start your meal with their flavorful Samosas, crispy pastries filled with a spiced potato and pea mixture. For the main course, their Butter Chicken is a must-try.
The tender chicken is cooked in a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce that is full of aromatic spices. Pair it with some fluffy naan bread, and you have a meal that will leave you satisfied.
Thai Tom – Pad Thai, Tom Yum Soup
Thai Tom is a small and unassuming restaurant that serves up some of the best Thai food in Seattle. Their Pad Thai is a crowd favorite, with stir-fried noodles, tofu, bean sprouts, and crushed peanuts. The flavors are balanced perfectly, making it a dish you won’t forget.
Another must-try is their Tom Yum Soup, a spicy and tangy broth filled with shrimp, mushrooms, and fragrant herbs. It’s the perfect dish to warm you up on a rainy Seattle day.
Seven Stars Pepper – Mapo Tofu, Cumin Lamb
For lovers of spicy Sichuan cuisine, Seven Stars Pepper is the place to go. Their Mapo Tofu is a classic dish that combines soft tofu with a spicy and numbing sauce. The flavors are bold and intense, making it a favorite among locals.
Another standout dish is their Cumin Lamb, tender slices of lamb stir-fried with aromatic spices. The combination of flavors and textures will leave you wanting more.
Big Mario’s – Margherita Pizza, Meatball Sub
Big Mario’s is a hole in the wall pizza joint that serves up delicious New York-style pizza. Their Margherita Pizza is a classic choice, with a thin and crispy crust topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil. The flavors are simple yet delicious.
If you’re in the mood for a hearty sandwich, don’t miss their Meatball Sub. The meatballs are flavorful and juicy, topped with marinara sauce and melted cheese. It’s the perfect comfort food.
Ballard Annex – Oyster Shooters, Crab Cakes
For seafood lovers, Ballard Annex is a must-visit. Start your meal with their Oyster Shooters, a unique way to enjoy fresh oysters. Served in shot glasses with a tangy cocktail sauce, it’s a refreshing and flavorful appetizer. For the main course, their Crab Cakes are a must-try.
Made with fresh crab meat, they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Pair it with a side of their delicious coleslaw, and you have a meal that celebrates the flavors of the Pacific Northwest.
Seattle is a diverse foodie haven with no shortage of delightful hole in the wall eateries to explore. From American comfort foods to authentic international cuisines, you’ll find hidden gems tucked away that serve up mouthwatering fare. Use this guide to discover some of the best under-the-radar restaurants in Seattle’s many neighborhoods. Expand your palate and support local businesses by trying the top picks for Ethiopian, Filipino, Mexican, ramen, seafood, and more. Whatever you’re craving, the Emerald City has a cozy cafe or takeout spot that will satisfy your appetite and have you coming back for more.