The 98188 ZIP code, which encompasses an area around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport smack dab in the middle of Seattle Southside, is not only the most diverse ZIP code in Washington State, but it's also in the top ten most diverse ZIP codes in the country.
It’s no wonder, then, that you can eat your way around the world without ever leaving the Seattle Southside, with culinary experiences ranging from Italian to Japanese, Somali to Mexican, and everywhere in between. Our full dining guide can help you find a restaurant by cuisine, but if you’re not sure where to begin, we’ve got you covered.
The Best International Restaurants in Seattle Southside
Adobo chicken fried rice, crispy pata, and fried chicken at Max's Restaurant.
Max’s Restaurant is a staple of Philippine cuisine with over 225 restaurants worldwide, and here in Seattle Southside we are lucky enough to be home to one of only 17 locations in North America. The fried chicken is the star of the show here, as it is the dish that started Max’s reputation and launched the massive chain. There’s plenty of traditional Filipino dishes like the pancit rice noodles or sizzling sisig dishes, too. And the crispy pata, a ham hock that’s been slowly simmered until it’s tender and almost falling apart before being fried to give the skin that perfect crunch, is meant to be shared…not that you’ll want to let any of it go. For dessert, there’s plenty of options but the star of the show is the halo halo, a Filipino dessert with layers of sweet shaved ice and fruit jellies crowned with a hearty scoop of ube ice cream.
Indian: Indian Curry Palace
An assortment of curries at Indian Curry Palace with garlic naan.
Keep calm and curry on! Choose from a wide array of classic Indian dishes, including Chicken Tikka Masala, Gobhi Aloo, Lamb Korma, and more. Make it spicy or mild with a varied selection of sides and sauces to enhance your meal. For a quick lunch or dinner, try one of their wraps with chicken, lamb, seafood or grilled vegetables tucked into naan with tomatoes, cucumber, onion, sweet chutney, green chutney, raita and lettuce. A large selection of vegetarian dishes are available to choose from as well. Top it all off with homemade Indian ice-cream or rice pudding.
Italian: Via Marina Wood Fired Pizza and Italian Cafe
Pizza, pasta, and delicious beverages await at Via Marina Ristorante.
This quaint Italian eatery is located within sight of the Des Moines Marina and is the place to go if you are looking for delicious Italian food. Via Marina Ristorante follows strict adherence to Vera Napolenta Association Guidelines. This includes using authentic ingredients from Italy as well as baking pizza in an 800 degree oven in less than 90 seconds! The menu is just the right size to offer delicious pizzas, pastas, appetizers and salads without overwhelming. Try their Antipasto Misto with marinated vegetables, Rigatoni All'Amatriciana with a scratch made tomato sauce and bacon, or Frutti di Mare with assorted seafood, capers and Gaeta olives. Top off your meal with one of their delectable desserts.
Japanese: Arashi Ramen
Spicy Tantan Men at Arashi Ramen
If you’ve never had authentic ramen before, Arashi Ramen is a delicious introduction to the dish beyond the dehydrated noodles most are familiar with. Start with the perfectly crisped gyoza, a kind of potsticker, or the honey garlic karaage, which is almost like popcorn chicken except way, way better. For the main course, every single ramen option is amazing. Personally, this author tends to go with the Spicy Tantan Men – it has slightly thicker noodles, a spicy sesame paste, and incredibly rich flavor – though every single flavor on this menu is worth exploring.
Mexican: Arturo's Restaurant
A Michelada and a shot of tequila from Arturo's
If you’re looking for authentic Mexican food, brothers Arturo, Joel, and Salvador have been serving up their mother’s recipes alongside their own at Arturo’s Restaurant in Des Moines since 2011. Not only do they serve classic Mexican dishes like fajitas, chimichangas, and enchiladas, but they also serve amazing cocktails, including a wide variety of margaritas, plus other staples like micheladas, and piña coladas! Don’t miss their happy hour deals on weekdays from 3-6PM, with discounts on both drinks and entrees.
Somali: Mall of Africa Restaurant
Qadafi with chicken at the Mall of Africa Restaurant
The Mall of Africa Restaurant is attached to, you guessed it, the Mall of Africa on International Boulevard. If you’ve never been, it’s an amazing space filled with vendors from all over Africa selling clothes, jewelry, incense, and far more! Off to the side of the bustling mall is the eponymous restaurant, which offers both incredible Somali cuisine in a full-service restaurant as well as a coffee shop. If you’ve never had Qadafi, it’s a lot like a biryani or fried rice, with a mélange of rich savory flavors in long grain rice. They also offer goat, which tastes a lot like lamb but a bit richer and gamier – you just have to try it.
Taiwanese: Din Tai Fung
Xiao long bao from Din Tai Fung
Let me teach you some very important words: xiao long bao. They're these tiny little steamed packages of magic - they put the soup inside the dumpling! - that burst with flavor. I swear, I could live off of these dumplings, but then I would be missing out on the spicy chicken wontons, the wood ear mushrooms in vinegar, and I'm not sure what all goes into the dressing they put on their cucumber salad, but I'm pretty sure it's highly addictive, because that's the only explanation I can give for how much I love them. I always love Dim Sum, but Din Tai Fung is an institution that takes its craft seriously. You can watch the chefs at work lovingly crafting their dumplings as you wait for a table. And yes, depending on when you go, you may have to wait a while for a table. But trust me when I say that it is worth every minute of the wait.
Thai: Bai Tong
A spread of plates at Bai Tong
Reliable, consistent, and delicious: these are the keys to a good Thai restaurant, and Bai Tong has those more than covered. From light and satisfying favorites like Larb Gai to the delicious banana-leaf-wrapped deliciousness of the Gai Hor appetizer, Bai Tong always satisfies, which makes sense given their history. When Bai Tong first opened in 1989, the owner, a former Thai Airways flight attendant, wanted to be able to feed the crew members meals like they ate back in Thailand. This tradition has carried on to the present day with delicious platters of authentic Thai food.
Vietnamese: Old Saigon Pho
Pho Tai and summer rolls from Old Saigon Pho
Old Saigon Pho is a favorite lunch spot among locals for authentic Vietnamese food, and while it might not look like much from the outside, the food inside is the star of the show. Tucked into a humble industrial park next to Westfield Southcenter Mall, this spot is perfect for a hearty bowl of steaming hot pho or a filling banh mi sandwich. The Old Saigon Banh Mi is filled to the brim with a hot n’ spicy chicken and brisket, plus all the veggie fixings you expect from a banh mi like cucumber, pickled carrots, and lettuce. Of course it’s hard to go to a place with pho in the name and not order pho – and you can’t go wrong with any of the options here. The House Special Pho includes all of the beef options for pho: steak, meatballs, brisket, tendon, and tripe, plus all of the traditional fixings to help you make your perfect soup.