Top Ten Chinese Restaurants in Seattle

Grant YMarch 11th, 2008
By: Grant Y

Our mission at Chef Seattle has always been to find all the best restaurants in Seattle. With thousands of restaurants and only a handful of food critics, our task is challenging at best. That's why when we decided to find the best Chinese restaurant in Seattle, we decided to enlist some help.

To our rescue came the University of Washington's Chinese Students Association. The association consists of hundreds of active student members and thousands more in their alumni and friends network. We asked them if they would be willing to participate in our survey and they were more than delighted to. If the collective wisdom of this group couldn't tell us where the best Chinese restaurants are, then I don't who can.

Our surveys were sent out via email the following week and soon after, the results started pouring in. Tabulating through the results, quite a few restaurants came in where we expected, but there were still a few surprises on the list that defied our best guess work. We seemed to find some hidden gems and perhaps may have debunked the general wisdom on who are the best Chinese restaurant in Seattle. So without further adieu, the top ten list:

Best Chinese Restaurants in Seattle

#10 - Top Gun (12450 SE 38th St, Bellevue)
A consistent favorite that once had a popular following in the International District before it was closed due to health violations. Top Gun is known for some of the best dim sum on the East side and is so popular that neighboring stores plaster 'No Parking' for Top Gun signs all over their lots.

#9 - Bamboo Garden (202 106th Pl NE, Bellevue)
A newcomer to the scene, Bamboo Garden only opened last year in downtown Bellevue but has already made a name for itself in the Chinese community. The menu is impressive in size and features a wide range of authentic Sichuan dishes. Not only that, the interior sports a modern look while still keeping to Asian influences.

#8 - Bamboo Garden (364 Roy St, Seattle)
Not related to the Bamboo Garden in Bellevue, this Queen Anne vegetarian-only restaurant was a surprise top pick. The restaurant specializes in creating fake meat dishes that mimic the flavor and texture while only using vegetable products. While this style of cuisine may sound unconventional in America, it's quite popular in Asia due to strong vegetarian and Buddhist population. Teapot Vegetarian House offers a similar cuisine on the East side.

#7 - Yeas Wok (6969 Coal Creek Pkwy SE, Newcastle)
Another huge favorite on the East Side, Yeas Wok has been dishing up quality Chinese food for over a decade in a tiny strip mall off in the Newcastle / Factoria area. Known for it's noodles, duck and other specialty dishes, Yeas manages to dance to the tune of Hunan, Szechuan, Mandarin and Taiwanese style cooking all at once.

#6 - China Harbor (2040 Westlake Avenue N, Seattle)
Located next to the water on Westlake, China Harbor is most often popular for venues like parties and weddings. They also can deliver a wide seafood ensemble of dishes and prepare Shanghi style meals. This all said, the restaurant is fairly dead any time other than for special events.

#5 - Szechuan Chef (15015 Main Street, Bellevue)
Spicy is the name of the game at Szechuan Chef, where you'll find half the menu is littered with little red pepper icons as little warning signs. Another popular draw is the hot pot, a Chinese style of eating consisting of raw foods cooked in a boiling stove at your own table.

#4 - Sichuan Cuisine (1048 S. Jackson St, Seattle)
Great food for a great deal is the easiest way to describe Sichuan Cuisine. Dishes come in at a staggeringly low $6 to $7 per plate and come loaded to the brim with food. Most Chinese restaurants will charge you $4 for six dumplings, but at this restaurant, you get twenty for that price - and they're just as good. The restaurant is crowded for a reason however, so be ready to wait your turn.

#3 - Sichuan Cuisine (15005 N.E. 24th Street, Bellevue)
If you guessed that this number two Bellevue spot is related to the International District one, then you would be correct. Offering the same menus at very similar prices, the Bellevue version has just as many reasons to draw consistent crowds of followers to this East side location. There is also hot pot and an array of authentic Sichuan dishes to boot at the Bellevue location.

#2 Jade Garden (424 7th Ave S, Seattle)
A huge favorite in the International District, Jade Garden is one of the few Chinese restaurants that serves quality daily dim sum. Popular in part due to the quality, selection and availability of their dim sum, Jade Garden also prepares excellent seafood and other classic Chinese dishes.

#1 - Chiangs Gourmet (7845 Lake City Way NE Seattle, WA 98115)
And the number one spot goes to... Chiang's Gourmet! A dark horse contender in our eyes, Chiang's serves great Sichuan for very reasonable prices at their ordinary looking Lake City location. What can't be seen from outside however are the wonderful hand made noodles or authentic dishes waiting to be had by chef Chiang.

Chef Seattle would like to thank the University of Washington Chinese Students Association for their help once more in our study!

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