Covered with canopies and roofs to shield diners from the weather and equipped with fireplaces and portable heaters to keep them warm, Seattle’s outdoor dining rooms enter their second winter stronger, more comfortable, and with even more options. The success of the free, expedited outdoor café and parklet permits put in place in May 2020 by the City of Seattle, which allowed restaurants to use street parking space for a dining area, inspired the city to extend the program until at least May 2022.
When the program began allowing restaurants to increase their capacity in a pandemic-safer fashion, restaurateurs got creative as they turned small cement swatches into cozy covered courtyards. Parklets and patios invigorate every neighborhood of the city, lending a breath of fresh air—quite literally—to beloved diners, coffee shops, and bars.
The iconic Pike Place Market has a plethora of options for alfresco dining. Consider rooftop igloos at Maximilien Restaurant* (81A Pike Street) or patio seating at Old Stove Brewing* (1901 Western Ave., Ste. A) or The Pink Door (1919 Post Alley). Up the hill, the plant-filled pavement outside Oddfellows Café + Bar (1525 10th Ave) matches the trendy cafe’s indoor feel, while the reservations-only secret garden table hides in back. Across town, sip craft cocktails and nibble housemade Cambodian sausages at Oliver’s Twist (6822 Greenwood Ave N), break vegan breads with a view of Mount Rainier at Beacon Hill’s Flora Bakehouse (1511 S Lucile St), and dig into Nue’s (1519 14th Ave) slate of street food from around the world on the side of 14th Avenue on Capitol Hill.
Wider street closures allow for bigger pop-up patios, like the one on Queen Anne’s Crockett Street, where Big Max Burger Co. (1935 Queen Anne Ave N) serves up their locally sourced beef and bacon burgers to enjoy indoors, outdoors, or for takeout. On Broadway Court, Optimism Brewing* (1158 Broadway) serves its brews in the street; diners can bring their own food—and kids and dogs—to the sprawling beer garden or order from a food truck often parked on-site.
In restaurant-crowded corridors like Ballard Avenue, the combined effect of many restaurants sharing the same street gives the feeling of a European plaza. Stop for antipasti and prosecco at San Fermo (5341 Ballard Ave NW) or grab a covered table at Asadero (5405 Leary Ave NW) for housemade guacamole and smokey carne asada.
Along Lake Washington, dig into an oozy cinnamon bun and Bloody Mary at Meet the Moon (120 Lakeside Ave) in Leschi; in nearby Columbia City, tuck into a plate of coconut curry mussels at Island Soul Rum Shack (4869 Rainier Ave S), a family-owned, Caribbean-inspired soul food institution.
* Visit Seattle Partner
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