Over 13 times as many people call Seattle home compared to Olympia. But the capital city of Washington offers plenty of cultural opportunities for visitors and residents alike.
With a thriving culinary scene inspired by local ingredients and international taste, Olympia offers a wide range of restaurants to discover. But this long list of choices can make it hard to find the best restaurant — especially if you’re unfamiliar with the Olympia area.
Our list of the ten best restaurants in Olympia, WA will help you decide where to enjoy your next meal:
1. 5th Avenue Sandwich Shop
The 5th Avenue Sandwich Shop is an unassuming restaurant that offers diners a cozy atmosphere and delicious food.
5th Avenue’s menu includes deli and hot sandwiches — of course — as well as a curated selection of soups, breakfast platters, homestyle dinners, and burgers. The well-stocked dessert case situated at the front of the restaurant will tempt you to skip “real food” all together!
2. Dockside Bistro & Wine Bar
Located in downtown Olympia, the Dockside Bistro offers an eclectic dinner menu. Hints of the American Northwest, France, and Southeast Asia are found throughout.
While Dockside Bistro fills its menu with plenty of local seafood, offerings like duck breast, lamb, and elk ribeye are also available.
The Dockside Wine Bar serves a short list of house cocktails and beer. But their wine list is practically endless!
3. Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Another downtown staple, Basilico is an authentic tribute to Italian cuisine.
Diners can watch the kitchen prepare fresh, handmade pasta at the restaurant’s “Pasta Station.”
This handmade pasta makes up most of Basilico’s seasonal menu, but dinner platters are also available. Basilico offers an extensive gluten-free menu that closely mirrors its regular one.
4. San Francisco Street Bakery
Originally opened in Seattle, this small shop has been bringing baked goods to Olympia since 1989. In addition to their retail storefront, San Francisco Street Bakery has a permanent stand at Olympia’s Farmers’ Market.
The bakery menu regularly features desserts and pastries, as well as fresh deli items and savory breads. These offerings can be enjoyed inside the comfy bakery itself or outside on the garden patio.
5. Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar
This restaurant is an extension of Chelsea Farms, an oyster farming operation that prioritizes sustainability. The oysters are raised on Eld and Totten Inlet and sent directly to the Oyster Bar in Olympia — a true farm-to-table restaurant.
While the Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar obviously places an emphasis on shellfish dishes, the kitchen also offers delicious non-seafood options. The Oyster Bar offers carefully curated brunch, lunch, and dinner selections. Adventurous souls can also sample the Raw Bar offerings.
6. Gardner’s Restaurant
Gardner’s Restaurant has been family-owned in Olympia since 1983. The restaurant is located in a historical building with a gorgeous stained glass window and candlelit tables. Gardner’s kitchen uses seasonal, local ingredients to create their menu.
Gardner’s dinner menu features salads, soup, pasta, seafood, and an array of meat cuts. The drink menu supplements classic cocktails, beer, and wine with a selection of house cocktails to sample during your visit.
7. Dillinger’s Cocktails & Kitchen
Located in another historical building — The Security Building, built in 1927 — Dillinger’s Cocktails & Kitchen takes inspiration from speakeasies of old.
Although Dillinger’s main focus is their cocktail menu, the bar food menu has made a name for itself all on its own. The menu is described as New-Americana and features dishes from vegan gumbo to Sous Vide chicken.
You can also catch local live music on Monday’s and their curated prix-fixe menu on New Year’s Eve.
8. The Lemon Grass Restaurant
With locations in Tumwater, Lacey, and — of course — Olympia, The Lemon Grass Restaurant brings Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese influence to Washington’s dining scene. Using fresh ingredients sourced from local Asian markets, The Lemon Grass Restaurant gives diners a taste of authentic Asian cuisine without leaving the States.
The Lemon Grass Restaurant serves lunch and dinner. Traditional Asian dishes featuring noodles, rice, tofu, and seafood fill the menu. The kitchen is happy to accommodate diners who love hot, spicy food, as well as those who need something a bit milder.
9. Fish Tale Brewpub
While regulars refer to this restaurant and bar as simply “The Pub”, Fish Tale Brewpub welcomes newcomers with wide open arms. Fish Tale Brewpub was once known as The Fishbowl, just a taproom with beer and cold food. Now this pub features a full dining menu and an array of beers and ciders to be enjoyed alongside it.
From small plates to shepherd’s pie, Fish Tale Brewpub’s food menu has something for everyone. Breakfast is served on weekends and Fish Tale Ales can be bought by the case if you’re so inclined.
10. King Solomon’s Reef
This late night diner combines a retro atmosphere with delicious American fare. Open until 2 am, King Solomon’s Reef is a favorite among both early birds and night owls.
The menu includes all-day breakfast (as all diner menus should), grilled burgers, and bar snacks like wings and tot-chos. Finish things off with a classic malted shake.
King Solomon’s Reef sources ingredients from local suppliers whenever possible, including buying baked goods from number four on our list: San Francisco Street Bakery!
Discover the Best Restaurants in Olympia, WA
If you’re new to the Olympia, WA area, this list is a great place to get started on your dining journey.
If you’ve been a member of the Olympia community for a while now, this list will help ensure you’re not missing out on great restaurants hidden right under your nose!
Did we miss one of your top restaurants in Olympia, WA? Leave a comment below to enlighten us (and our stomachs!).
For more about Olympia and its must-see attractions, check out our other articles about Washington’s capital.
T'is the Season in Washington: 5 Tempting Olympia Events This December - Olympia Clever NeighborDecember 15, 2018 at 11:46 am
[…] out the finest local restaurants and enjoy great local […]
4 of the Best Italian Restaurants in Olympia, Washington - Olympia Clever NeighborJanuary 18, 2019 at 12:37 pm
[…] intolerance. But that won’t be the case here, because Basilico’s also offers gluten-free options. This is very uncommon in the Italian restaurant world. […]