In a city known for unpretentious entrepreneurs and iconic musical geniuses casually strolling the streets, it’s no surprise that some saucy secret eateries are hiding in plain sight as well. With such devoted foodie followers that they never have to advertise, these cafes, bistros and cookeries fly so far under the radar that most locals don’t even know they exist. Here’s a peek at three of the best “famously secret” restaurants in Seattle.
In the SWOOSH of life that re-creates itself every day on Queen Anne Avenue, there’s nothing about the façade of Betty restaurant that gives away the sophisticated comfort food and “Cheers”-like back bar ambiance inside. It’s a place where locals have “their” tables and a certain famous tech billionaire plops down with friends at a cozy table without a second glance. It’s only open for dinner, so call ahead to reserve a spot. Order the roasted garlic chicken, and say hi to Angie, the Queen Betty of Queen Anne.
Imagine a totally nondescript location and an exterior that looks more like a laundromat, and you have Babirusa Bar over on Eastlake Avenue. Named after a wild pig from Indonesia that can impale itself with its own teeth, this cheeky little American Gastropub is known for its eclectic cocktails and an uppercrust Painted Hills burger that you can’t even describe – it’s that good. It shares a wall with its co-conspirator, the Blind Pig, which has its own chef-inspired menu. But most folks still squeeze back into the Babirusa and bid adieu with the nightly Kitchen Booz.
Just behind Archie McPhees novelty shop in Wallingford, you’ll stumble upon the aptly named Bizarro Italian trattoria. You can’t miss it actually, with an enormous Italian-village mural, and multi-colored windows draped with hanging flowers, peppers and vines. But it’s the inside that makes this the quirkiest restaurant in Seattle. Dangling above each table and draped across the ceilings, walls, windows and restrooms are some of the classiest and bizarre collectibles you can imagine. It’s an unspoken rule not to describe it to someone who’s never been – so just go. Order up piles of handmade pasta or elk Bolognese, or show up for the cafe’s real treat: Sunday meatball night. Cell phones are not allowed, and they aren’t kidding. It can get you thrown out.
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Guest blog contributed by Wendy Leigh