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SEA - Wedding Gift Dinner

I live in Los Angeles, and have a friend who just got married and is moving to the Queen Anne area of Seattle tomorrow. I would like to get her a gift certificate to a "nice" Seattle restaurant as a wedding gift, and am looking for suggestions:

- reasonably close to Queen Anne area

- nice atmosphere (romantic?), but not so fancy that a $100 gift certificate will leave the couple with a big balance to pay at the end of the evening (don't consider wine, as that could kill the $100 all by itself!)

- someplace that says "you are in Seattle now, not in Los Angeles"

Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. WestsideLisa, Seattle's "summer weather" will tell your friends they're not in L.A. anymore long before any restaurant will. I suggest Nell's on Greenlake. But my first recommendation would be Made-In-Kitchen in the International District. (Which is not that far from Queen Anne.) Great Asian food, fun and excellent service. If you want to use your Chowhound expertise and really provide a unique Seattle destination, try The Alki Homestead Restaurant in West Seattle. One of the region's oldest--and most charming --continuously running restaurants filled with the heritage of Puget Sound. It's below the radar of many people who have lived here all their lives.

    1. Cucina De Ra.....very good, authentic Italian food.....great view of the Seattle Art Museum sculpture garden and Puget Sound sunsets and just at the edge of Belltown & Queen Anne.

      1. Without doubt the best restaurant on Queen Anne is How to Cook a Wolf, and $100 would cover a good dinner there. But your friends will have plenty of opportunity to explore their neighborhood; why not get them to one of the other top spots in town? Seattle's not LA; it doesn't take that long to get across town. If they're serious foodies I'd suggest Lark, which has small plates of superb NW cuisine. The only drawbacks are (a) they don't take reservations and (b) some people (not I) dislike having to choose from such a large assortment of small plates. Another option, which is also closer than Lark, takes reservations, and has a somewhat more conventional menu (still focusing on top-quality local ingedients) is Tilth, which the NY Times just called one of the 10 best US restaurants outside of NY.

        If they just like good food but aren't serious foodies, I have yet another suggestion: Sky City, which rotates atop the Space Needle (located in lower Queen Anne). Sure, it's touristy, and the food's not in the same league as the above places (or should I say "below" places, if you get my drift). But I think the price is reasonable for decent food and an incredible view -- especially for a newcomer. $100 would cover weekend brunch but not dinner.

        1. Thanks for the advice -- Nell's looks like a great choice!

          2 Replies
          1. re: WestsideLisa

            A caveat about Nell's......it's not what I would call a romantic atmosphere. The dining room is very dated and worn.

            I would recommend Matt's in the Market. Can't get much more Seattle than that.

            1. re: WestsideLisa

              I agree with Lauren's comment re: NELLS...not a place I would choose to 'spark' a life together in Seattle.The food in my experience dining there has been well-executed but not very interesting.

            2. I would second Matt's in the Market and Chez Shea (right next to Matt's, a touch more romantic) would be another recommendation. Both very, very "Seattle" with views of the water and Pike Place Market. They are classics.

              2 Replies
              1. re: lemiller610

                Veil is a great dining venu in Lower QA with fabulous food. Northwest food, very creative, romantic and close to their new home.

                I also concur on Matt's for NW (great!) food and Chez Shea is very romantic enviroment, was our date night standby years ago.

                1. re: bluedog67

                  Matt's, and they will be in Seattle. If not Matt's consider Place Pigalle in the market.

              2. I must say, they'll know by driving around Queen Anne that they aren't in LA - such a great area. I must say that Canlis highlights Seattle in view, cuisine, and service. I'd go there.
                Another cute hole is Portage right up on the hill. Great mulles.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Reorrico

                  But I don't think $100 will provide much more than a start at Canlis. How about Restaurant Zoe.

                  Or take them to the eastside (they'll discover Seattle proper just by living there) to Cafe Juanita.

                2. I second How To Cook A Wolf. It's in the Queen Anne neighborhood - the food is amazing - and it's a cool trendy little spot...without being obnoxious.

                  1. If you really want a place that says "you are in Seattle now, not in Los Angeles" any place Mexican will do :)

                    Canlis, Ray's Boathouse or Etta's Seafood would offer very Seattle experiences. Just don't make reservations on Prom night.

                    1. I also suggest Matt's in the Market- it has a very Seattle view as it looks down on the market and you have to climb up into market buildings to get to it. The food it delicious and sourced from the Pike Place Market.

                      For amazing food in Queen Anne area- How to Cook a Wolf!! is intimate and blew my mind. The owner also created Union and Travolta. Google it :) There is also Portage and Veil.

                      I have heard great things about Restaurant Zoe and it is #1 on my list to try- It is downtown in a section of Belltown kinda out of the main vibe of the city.

                      1. Your not in LA anymore spot? Portage is your call on Queen Anne: really cool space in a really cool neighborhood.