Why Seattle Is One of the Most Exciting Places to Eat Japanese Food Right Now

Sure, we love Seattle for the picturesque hikes and the Chilhuly installations and the seemingly endless Kumamoto oysters. But right now we’re booking it to the Emerald City for its amazingly deep and diverse Japanese food scene. There’s delicate nigiri made with local fish, fresh soba that’ll ruin you for the store-bought kind, and the greatest, weirdest little shop hawking strawberry sandwiches (it’s a thing!). And that’s just the start. Here are seven reasons why we’re eating only Japanese food the next time we’re in Seattle.

Sake-scented clams and cod at Adana.

Photo by Kyle Johnson

The New School Japanese Restaurant Everyone Is Talking About

Ignore the clubby music and look closely at the walls to get a true sense of Adana, a crowd-pleasing spot in Capitol Hill from chef Shota Nakajima. You’ll spy pencil drawings of his dishes in development and sake cups collected during his days off from working 19-hour shifts at the Michelin-starred Sakamoto in Osaka. Nakajima weaves his serious training into his extremely affordable tasting menu ($37 for three courses), in which you might get fat asparagus covered in shreds of Dungeness crab served with egg-enriched tama miso (a clever cousin to gribiche) or craggy fried chicken with potatoes and leeks (an homage to his mom’s recipe).

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All the carbs at Fuji Bakery.

Photo by Kyle Johnson

The Japanese Bakery That’s Become a Local Fixture

Fuji Bakery, a trio of shops from Joël Robuchon–trained pastry chef Taka Hirai, might just be the sleeper hit of power-breakfast spots. Everything is baked at the Queen Anne location, but there’s something sweet about the cramped International District outpost. There’s never a dull moment, with professors, protesters on break, and office workers revolving in and out through the morning for a quick coffee and something carby: squishy savory curry puffs; buttery latticed ham-and-cheese pastries; and the most delicate rectangular croissants crowned with strawberries. Grab a stool at the counter lining the window, people-watch, listen to workplace drama, and stuff yourself silently.