615 19th Ave. E, Capitol Hill
Monsoon is actually a family-run Vietnamese restaurant, but they're known for a great dim sum brunch on Saturdays and Sundays (the menu includes an incredible Bloody Mary with pho broth). It's also the one Seattle dim sum spot on our list that wins points for decór—there's a bar with cool, sculptural wooden lanterns and a sunny rooftop patio in the summer. The dim sum menu is short and sweet, with steamed shrimp dumplings, lotus leaf sticky rice, and barbecue pork buns, plus a sampling of Vietnamese and Western brunch dishes, like drunken chicken with rice and a fried egg, steak and eggs with banana ketchup, and congee with roasted shitake mushrooms and a poached egg.
1517 12th Ave., Capitol Hill
Less than a year after launching their cold-pressed juices, the first Juicebox retail space/café was opened in the fall of 2013 in Capitol Hill. The organic juices here are amazing, as are the salads. You can pop in to get food on the go, but the pretty café is the kind of place you want to hang with a girlfriend for brunch: The sunlit space is threaded with ivy plants and flowers, a collage of framed nature photographs decorates a wall above a perched bar counter, and on another wall, rustic white bookcases hold vintage bowls and plates.
1531 Melrose Ave., Capitol Hill
Pike Place Market gets most of the attention in Seattle, but since its opening in 2010, Melrose Market has gained a reputation as a locals' spot for specialty food items. Chef Matt Dillon helped transform the market by moving in two of his popular restaurants: dinner spot Sitka & Spruce as well as his wine bar and shop, Bar Ferd'nand. Take the time to stroll through and enjoy all the cool little stalls, like the cheese at Calf & Kid and the flowers at Marigold and Mint.
300 E. Pike St., Capitol Hill
A summer 2016 addition to Seattle's drink scene, Foreign National is from the same team behind favorite French-Vietnamese restaurant, Stateside. It's dungeon-dark inside but with plenty of playful touches like a spinning, metallic disco(-esque) ball and faucets carved into the shape of swans. The strong cocktail menu here highlights Southeast Asian ingredients, as do the adventurous bar snacks.
300 E. Pike St., Capitol Hill
Chef/owner Eric Johnson spent a decade-plus working in Paris, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, time that is reflected in the Vietnamese menu at Stateside, which takes cues from French and Chinese cuisine. The vibe here is great, too. The interior is a mix of clean wood and marble, with fun palm frond wallpaper and retro overhead lights. Make a reservation in advance to avoid a long wait. Grab a drink after dinner at next-door Foreign National.
617 Broadway E, Capitol Hill
Altura's Italian-focused, rotating, multi-course tasting menu best suits a special-occasion dinner. The open kitchen atmosphere makes it more of an experience, as do the pairings: You can opt for a traditional wine combination or a more modern matching, which also includes cocktails and beers.
Ernest Loves Agnes (Closed)
600-602 19th Ave. E., Capitol Hill
Ernest Loves Agnes is the perfect combination of an old-school, white-tablecloth Italian restaurant and the cozy neighborhood standby you can always count on. The seasonal, locally-sourced menu is very traditional, with old-school classics like grilled octopus, meatballs, charcuterie, and homemade pizza (funghi, speck, three meat) and pasta (bucatini with marinara, pappardelle bolognese, ricotta agnolotti). The ambience is casual, with light wooden chairs, old-school floral china, and the kind of bar that's easy to sidle up to after work. For those wondering about the name—it's in honor of the romance between Ernest Hemingway and Agnes von Kurowsky, the nurse who inspired the female heroine in Farewell to Arms.
550 19th Ave. E, Capitol Hill
Tallulah's bills itself as a neighborhood café, and with a long, cozy bar and ample patio space that always seem to be buzzing with energy (probably in part because it's outfitted with cozy wool blankets for cold days), the place definitely fulfills that expectation. The vibe is sort of Scandinavian meets vintage, with clean, mid-century furniture juxtaposed against design prints and patinaed brass chandeliers, plus a quirky painting of a cat welcoming you at the entry. The menu is short but sweet, with a selection of small plates like halloumi with local melon, or beet salad and a straightforward roster of locally-inspired mains like a grilled albacore tuna bowl and Samish Bay King salmon; locals recommend getting at least one plate of the hanger steak frites, which are almost always a source of order envy. (P.S. They do excellent weekend brunch and weekday happy hour.)
814 E. Roy St., Capitol Hill
Part gallery, part shop, KOBO carries rare finds from the art and design world, i.e. vintage Japanese tableware, handmade birdhouses, landscape paintings, and special textiles. Their exhibits, which happen six times each year, highlight Japanese artists, as well as artists from the Northwest. The original KOBO location is in Capitol Hill. The second location downtown is located in the former space of the historic Higo Variety Store—and KOBO has kept many of the vintage furnishings in homage to the almost-century-old, family-run business.
1521 Melrose Ave., Capitol Hill
While there’s certainly no shortage of great seafood joints in Seattle, Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bars is our pick for pre-dinner appetizers (their selection of oysters is one of the city’s largest). The fifth-generation family fishing business has expanded to include three oyster bars in Seattle, all of which uphold the family commitment to sustainable fish farming and sourcing locally grown produce. The Shuckers Dozen, a composition of various oysters, is a good entry point. The Capitol Hill location is the first of three (they're now in Pioneer Square and Queen Anne as well).