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Jun 6, 2007 11:16 AM

[sea] is there one part of town with more Chinese restaurants than any other?

talking within Seattle City limits here.

This fall, we are moving north from [ahem] an area somewhat south of you. The family favorite for dinners out or birthdays or "I'm too tired to cook" or lets eat breakfast out is Chinese---northern, hunan, szechwan, cantonese, you name it. When we are hungry, we head for the San Gabriel Valley which has more Chinese restaurants per square inch than you can hit with stick.

I don't expect to find the SGV in Seattle but is there a single part of the city with a higher concentration of Chinese food? I'm thinking given our preferences, thats the neighborhood for us1

Thank you.

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  1. the International District (formerly Chinatown). Not only are 99% of the dimsum places there. There is a good variety of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Japanese restaurants.

    1. Most neighborhoods of Seattle are going to have a few Chinese restaurants, but you'll find the biggest concentration by far in the International District. It's just south of downtown and east of the sports stadiums, and it's a dense, urban, mostly-commercial area. Unless you're looking for a condo, you probably won't find much housing there to your liking. The nearest areas that are more residential would be Beacon Hill, Mount Baker, or the near parts of the Central District and Capitol Hill.

      But coming from southern California, you may find that other neighborhoods don't seem as far away, or take as long to travel to, as you've been accustomed to. Seattle is less spread-out, and you will laugh at what we call bad traffic here. You'll be able to get your Chinese food fix pretty successfully living just about anywhere in the Seattle metro area.

      6 Replies
      1. re: MsMaryMc

        Lots of great places in the ID, including Szechuan Noodle Bowl & Canton Wonton Noodle House for noodles, Szechuan Restaurant on 12th and Jackson is delicious for standard chinese and hot pot, Top Gun for dimsum. Tropics is pretty good for thai, Takahatchi is good for japanese curry and maneki for healthier and wider range of japanese. There are tons of others as well.

        1. re: MsMaryMc

          I moved from LA not too long ago, and I wish I was laughing at the bad traffic. LA doesn't have the market on that, unfortunately. So if you want to eat well, OP, don't assume you can live anywhere in the greater Seattle area and go back and forth easily. Because of certain work constraints, we moved to one of what people consider the northern burbs of Seattle - Everett - about 20 miles away from city center. There is absolutely a dearth of good eats in Everett. Dearth. So we do drive to Seattle area on the weekends, but we'll kill a good 30-40 minutes each way doing it, in good traffic.

          1. re: sasha1

            I was leaning towards finding housing on the south side and you've convinced me. We definitely do NOT want to have to deal with a substantial commute for our breakfast---we are way way way too lazy for that.

            If Beacon Hill is a close neighborhood to the ID, then it sounds pretty good -- presume there is other chow there for when we step out of our chinese bubble. I have also heard about Columbia City as having a farmer's market [big plus] and food. One problem I am having is figuring out exactly where these neighborhoods are---worse then trying to define Koreatown versue Mid-City!

            1. re: jenn

              In general, the north end of Seattle (not talking about further-north suburbs like Everett) is more fashionable and has a greater variety of upscale restaurants. The south end is more ethnically-diverse and more affordable (but then, since you're used to California real estate prices, you may not find he north end all that pricey) and has interesting pockets of ethnic restaurants (Mexican and Central American in White Center and Burien, Southeast Asian in the Rainier Valley, East African halal in Tukwila and SeaTac, etc.) Columbia City is lovely, and getting trendier and more gentrified by the day. There are good farmers markets all over the area--have a look at

              I've lived in SeaTac (a near-south suburb, right by the airport) for over seven years, and I can recommend this part of town highly. Burien, right next door, has another new restaurant opening almost every week (one of the local papers called it "the next Ballard" the other day--Ballard being an old Seattle neighborhood that went from frumpy to trendy and full of chic little pubs and restaurants in the last ten years). It's a pretty easy commute to most parts of town, and in two years the light rail will open, making it even easier to get downtown (check out the planned route at to see if the neighborhoods you're looking at are on it--Beacon Hill will have a station). Plus, you can get FAR more house for your money in these parts.

              From one Californicator to another, welcome to Seattle!

              1. re: jenn

                I like Beacon Hill and Columbia City a lot and with the new light rail coming through Beacon Hill in 2009 it makes it even more desirable. Beacon Hill is right next to the ID and just a few miles from downtown. L

                1. re: eternalX

                  This City of Seattle neighborhood map should help you-you can click any part to enlarge:


                  Beacon Hill may not be the most glamourous or beautiful neighborhood in Seattle, but it has relatively low housing costs and is indeed convenient to both the ID and Columbia City. You would want the northern part of the hill if you want to be close to the ID/Downtown. If you want a neighborhood that has a little downtown and more of a community feel, you might consider Columbia City itself-it's still not a long drive to the ID. The Central District and Mt. Baker (more upscale) are also very convenient to these areas. If you can afford it, look at Capitol Hill-still very close to the ID, and everything else (including its own farmer's market).