Seattle is a city with no shortage of restaurants, from high-end dining experiences down to cheap eats at food trucks. But when you want a nice night out and a ritzy restaurant isn’t in the budget, never fear! Seattle’s bevy of dining establishments includes plenty of places with great atmosphere, delicious food, and yet affordable prices.
Expect plates at about $15-20 at these restaurants below, meaning your bill will not be dirt cheap but will be more reasonable than Seattle’s most expensive restaurants. If you want to keep your costs even lower, look for lunch menus and happy hours. Prices are subject to change so check the restaurant's website for current pricing.
Etta’s is just one of Seattle star chef Tom Douglas’s restaurants, but it’s a solid choice for affordability, location and Northwest cuisine. The best deals for affordability are on the lunch menu, but any time of day you can find salads, fish and chips, and appetizers for $15-20 (but be aware that prices do go up above $30 on most of the entrees). Monday through Friday, you can also enjoy Crabby Hour—a seafood-slanted twist on happy hour. The atmosphere is modern and casual, and the food is fresh and good. Save room in your budget for the coconut cream pie. You won’t regret it. The restaurant’s location near Pike Place Market makes is especially well-placed for out-of-towners or locals showing guests around town.
Location: 2020 Western Avenue, Seattle
Also very close to Pike Place is The Pink Door, a romantic and cozy Italian restaurant tucked away behind a secret entrance. You won’t find a sign outside, but you will find what you might expect—a pink door. Venture in and you’ll be met with a warm and romantic atmosphere, candles on the tables, and a cirque vibe. In warmer months, you can sit outside and enjoy a view of the water. Sit inside and you’ll often find live music or trapeze artists performing. The menu features Italian food and sources as much as possible from small, local organic farms.
Location: 1919 Post Alley, Seattle
FareStart is a restaurant with a cause—to train adults and youth at or below the poverty line who want to have careers in the culinary industry. The results are stellar for those who go through the program, but also for anyone dining at the restaurant as the food is delicious and much higher quality than the price. Lunch is the main meal of the day and runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, but every Thursday night is Guest Chef Night. The weekly guest chef is assisted by students at the restaurant and together they create a three-course gourmet meal for about $30. The atmosphere is comfortable and open with exposed air ducts and large windows.
Location: 700 Virginia Street, Seattle
Wasabi offers casual ambiance and lovely décor paired with sushi, sashimi, noodle dishes and other Japanese cuisine. What could be better! Happy hour offers even better deals, but the regular menu features plenty of rolls and plates for under $15. The dessert menu has some unique treats on it, too, including Green Tea Tiramisu.
Location: 2311 2nd Avenue, Seattle
Deep red curtains and bold colors set the stage at Tango, where you’re in for bold flavors. Located in Capitol Hill, Tango serves Spanish tapas and cuisine. Tapas plates are small and start at around $3 each so it’s easy to customize the price of your meal. Larger tapas bites range from $10 to $15. Expect lots of interesting flavor combos. Larger items include paella as well as full entrees, if small bites just don’t do it for you. Happy hour brings out several plates at great prices as well as cocktail specials.
Location: 1100 Pike Street, Seattle
Toulouse Petit’s dinner menu is less on the affordable spectrum unless you have a small appetite, but if you come during lunch or happy hour, you can dine in a beautiful space for a reasonable cost. Votive candles line the walls, tables and the bar, creating a warm glow (they say they light more than 250 votives each night). Decorative accents are creative and highlighted by tall, divided windows that reach toward the ceiling. Cuisine is New Orleans style, from po’ boys to gumbo and jambalaya to beignets. Happy hour features a bit of everything at prices of $10, plus or minus. Breakfast is also a fabulous meal to enjoy at Toulouse Petit—affordable and with some unique menu items with a Cajun and Creole twist.
Location: 601 Queen Anne Avenue N, Seattle