Some of the best places to eat in Washington aren’t out in plain sight. A lot of our five-star restaurants are tucked away upstairs, or down an alleyway, and you only really hear about them through word-of-mouth. But their food is just way too good to miss – which is why we wanted to let you in on these 12 local hidden gems. You might be wondering how you passed by some of these places every day, and didn’t even know they were there.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Backdoor at Roxy's, Seattle, Fremont
(462 N 36th St)
Hidden behind Roxy's Diner, this speakeasy offers the perfect place to go for date night in the heart of Fremont. You can find their unmarked entrance in the back of the parking lot, leading inside to an elegant, dimly-lit lounge, complete with an angel statue, chandeliers, live music, elaborate murals and an extensive cocktail list.
In addition to their drinks, they serve a vast selection of lunch, dinner, and late night dishes - like the Backdoor Burger with fries, as pictured.
2. Russell's, Bothell
(3305 Monte Villa Pkwy)
Russell's is concealed among industrial offices, but it's not in just any old building. The restaurant is set inside of a restored barn, with a stunning cathedral-like ceiling and a 2nd floor loft that can even be rented out for weddings.
On the menu, you'll find a delicious selection of American-style dishes like grilled sandwiches, wraps, seafood and steak, along with an extensive list of local Washington wines.
3. Over The Moon Cafe, Tacoma
(709 Opera Alley)
Over The Moon is hidden down Opera Alley in Tacoma's theatre district, with a warm atmosphere and comfort food that you just won't be able to get enough of. A few of their most popular favorites include the Shepherd's Pie, sandwiches, and lasagna, all topped off with some warm, gooey Cinnamon Roll Cake.
4. Carousel French Cuisine, Yakima
(25 N Front St #6)
Carousel brings world-class French cuisine right here to Yakima, hidden inside of a former opera house. Their entrees range from duck to lamb, seafood, poultry and beef, and of course, plenty of Northwest wines to pair with.
Pictured is their Filet Mignon, with roasted redskin potatoes and steamed vegetables. Bon appétit!
5. Needle & Thread, Seattle, Capitol Hill
(1406 12th Ave)
What could be more top-secret than food and cocktails behind an old bank vault door? Needle & Thread serves the same quality grub from Tavern Law downstairs, but up in a more private, romantic setting. But you can't just walk in right away. Reservations are required ahead of time by calling a super-secret number (that you can find on the bottom of their website
6. Knee High Stocking Co., Seattle, Capitol Hill
(1356 E Olive Way)
To get into this speakeasy on Capitol Hill, you'll want to ring the doorbell first (or knock). The small, triangle-shaped restaurant is hidden in plain sight, serving up both hand-crafted cocktails and a variety of appetizing small dishes and desserts.
At the moment, some of their most popular dishes include seared steak, and meatballs.
7. Maltby Cafe, Snohomish
(8809 Maltby Rd)
Maltby Cafe is hidden downstairs in an old 1937 school gym. But it's no secret how excellent the food is here - their homestyle cooking has won them all sorts of "Best Breakfast" awards. They're known in particular for their signature cinnamon rolls that are "bigger than your head".
8. Casa Luna, Poulsbo
(18830 Front St NE)
It's easy to walk right by Casa Luna. After all, it is hidden down a charming, narrow alley that will make you feel like you're actually in Spain. But that really just adds to the overall experience. Inside you'll be able to taste authentic, homemade dishes, from fajitas to enchiladas and traditional favorites, like carne asada.
9. The Grant House, Vancouver
(1101 Officers Row)
Vancouver's best kept secret is here inside of an old historic building, tucked away on Officers Row. The restaurant's a favorite among many for their extensive selection of wine, whiskey, and fantastic American dishes.
10. Oly Underground, Olympia
(109 Legion Way SW)
Oly Underground is a cozy bar & grill under the old "Breathe Yoga" building on Legion Way. It's not really a family-friendly restaurant, but it is a solid place to go for drinks and comfort food to pair with - like pizza, sandwiches, burgers, and wraps.
11. Tacos Chukis, Seattle, Capitol Hill
(219 Broadway E)
You may not know about Tacos Chukis if you've never been inside the Broadway Alley Building. The small taqueria is nicely tucked away upstairs on the second floor, quietly and reliably cooking up some of the freshest dishes on Capitol Hill. They even recently announced they're expanding to South Lake Union!
Order a plate of their house tacos, with marinated pork. Your taste buds will thank us later.
12. Whidbey Pies Cafe, Greenbank, Whidbey Island
(765 Wonn Rd, Greenbank)
Whidbey Pies Cafe is a small 12-table cafe nestled away in the Greenbank Farm. They feature a full menu for lunch (with options like this grilled cheese & soup) - along with craft beer and local wines. And of course, some of the most wonderful, freshly baked pies. The crust will melt in your mouth alone. Try the Loganberry. Or the Salted Caramel Apple. Or maybe a slice of both?
Know of any amazing, secret restaurants in Washington? We’d love for you to share them with us!