Jackie Varriano from Eater.com visited Seattle Southside and found the hidden dining gems.
Less than 20 minutes from Downtown sits the area known as Seattle Southside. So much more than just the airport, Southside encompasses Tukwila, SeaTac and Des Moines, an area where 70 languages are spoken and hundreds of restaurants await. From an Ethiopian coffee bar in SeaTac to a bustling Filipino deli on the edge of a shopping mall, here are seven gems that will impress your friends.
This Ethiopian restaurant is tucked away in a little strip mall that's a stone’s throw from the airport. Go here for a crash course in vegetable dishes like shiro wat (split peas), misir alicha (lentils) and fosolia(string beans) spiced to your liking with berbere and scooped up with addictive injera bread. There are also great beef and lamb options, and the coffee service is divine.
16005 International Blvd; 206-695-2751
Set inside the Cedarbrook Lodge, Copperleaf is a calm oasis (complete with spa) hidden at the end of a residential road. The on-site garden provides herbs for seasonal cocktails as well as vegetables for the dining room’s tasting menu. À la carte options are also available — don’t miss the poulet bleu, a heritage chicken served with gnocchi, or the halibut, which comes with fresh strawberries. Plan ahead and take the light rail as Cedarbrook's shuttle will pick you up and drop you off at the station (with phone confirmation).
18525 36th Ave. S; 206-214-4190
Perched on the edge of Southcenter Mall, Seafood City is a Filipino food lover’s dream. Not only can you grab giant jackfruit and all the ingredients needed to make halo-halo, but you can also eat to your heart's content in the expansive bakery and grill area. Grab whole grilled fish, platters of pancit and skewers of barbecued pork or chicken. Come on the weekends for a Filipino street food pop-up, featuring a wide variety of things skewered up and served sizzling, ranging from hot dogs to balut, a boiled, fertilized egg.
1368 Southcenter Mall #100, 206-316-4258
If you happen to get a bit thirsty on your trip to Southside, take a pit stop at Odin Brewing and drink like a Viking. This means enjoying one of the balanced brews like Odin’s Gift amber or the Asgard IPA, which will help wash down with brisket, dry rubbed ribs and sausage hoagies you'll also want to order.
402 Baker Blvd; 206-241-1013
It would be easy to discount this family-owned Mexican spot, which anchors a primo spot in the Southcenter Mall, as fancy mall food. But then you would be missing out on freshly made tortillas wrapped around steelhead; sizzling mocaljetes packed with prawns; and tableside queso flameado. Even better is the custom blended Dobel tequila, best sipped while munching on chips and salsa.
1150 Southcenter Mall, 206-557-4757
The ramen broth at this swanky strip-mall spot is simmered for 16 hours to get the flavors just right. There’s a large menu featuring everything from black garlic ramen to spicy miso and a cold sweet soy ramen to help cool you on summer days. Make a bowl of ramen into a combo by adding a side salad and appetizer (we’d go for the takoyaki).
17045 Southcenter Pkwy; 253-220-8722
To Southsiders at least, this perpetually packed spot isn’t a hidden gem, but it is a must-stop for anyone who loves Thai food. Originally opened in 1989, Bai Tong first attracted crew from Thai Airways looking for a taste of home. The owners have opened additional locations, but go to the original for mee krob, larb and strong Thai iced tea.
16876 Southcenter Pkwy; 206-431-0893