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Sep 8, 2008 01:04 PM

SEA: Canlis or other similar

Just wondering if anyone can give their opinion of Canlis. I've heard several good things about it. Since I'm not from the area I wondered if anyone had a recommendation for a similar restaurant to try. Somewhere where being dressed up wouldn't look out of place. Mostly leaning towards something with northwest cuisine. Thanks.

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  1. Britney, Canlis is just a very expensive version of Sizzler for the blue-haired crowd that wouldn't know pate` from Foie Gras. If you want to dress up and have a special evening with real Chowhound food, try Il Terrazo Carmine (Italian and not Northwest, but exceptional.) Tulio's offers a less expensive venue with similar style. You might also consider 94 Stewart Street and use the money you save on the their exceptional wine offerings. Finally, Nell's at Greenlake is a contender without being pretentious.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Leper

      I think that is a bit, or actually much more than a bit, of an exaggeration. I definitely agree that Canlis is not really a great venue for Chow worthy food, but it is definitely not on the level of Sizzler. As to 94 Stewart, it is a totally different type of restaurant as far as "the experience" Also, my last meal at 94 Stewart was good, but not great. The food was served cold and then overcooked by putting it under the salamander (I certainly do plan to go back and give it another try though). The atmosphere is at 94 Stewart and most really foodie restaurants in Seattle is totally different than that at Canlis. We took a group of British friends there and they were totally blown away - depends what people are looking for,

      1. re: Leper

        When was the last time you were there ?

        I am so tired of hearing folks trash Canlis on the boards. It is a Seattle Icon, The food is damm good, and the service is impeccable. And it has one of the deepest wine lists in the city. As well these guys understand the community - case in point the annual free BBQ at little howe park on Queen Anne that Canlis throws every year.

        Yes, often times you might be there and the table beside you might be old Seattle power brokers - Pre Amazon, Pre Starbucks, Pre Microsoft. but it is a charming and wonderful place. And those old "blue hairs" understand manners and the understated class that was Seattle before the '80's

        I had some of the best lobster Bisque EVER there, I have has a fantastic celebratory birthday for my father there, and have had both memorable special events and regular Thursday nights there.

        Seattle is about diversity, and now there are many other choices, Which I welcome. but dear Leper I think your "compareables" are way off the mark -

        You want dressy NW ? What about Union ? Or the Herbfarm ? or Rovers ?

        I 100% agree with FoodDee below - while the product at Canlis is not the over the top pushing of the envelope, it is well executed in a wonderful setting , with fantastic service !

        1. re: tilt

          Right on, Tilt There is only one reason NOT to go to Canlis and that is because you can't afford it. It is expensive and the food is wonderful but not cutting edge. It is not a value shopper's spot. I love the atmosphere and the reason the old ones flock there is because at a certain age and income level, flawless service and a peaceful atmosphere trump hip food choices. If you want to dress up, it is the best place in the city to do that.

          All that said, I would also consider Rover's. We had a marvelous dinner there on Saturday night. The 5 course tasting menu without wine is $95 per person and the food was spectacular. Highlights = a morsel of duck prosciutto on an herb cracker with a bit of fig, a scallop on a bed of blueberries and corn, snapper with spinach, cantaloupe sorbet, and muscovy duck with foie gras in a savory thyme sauce. A sauce spoon with every course - need I say more?

          I would definitely not go to 94 Stewart. I've had lunch there twice and found it completely medicore. Also, poorly ventilated - I went back to work smelling like a fry cook all afternoon.

      2. I think that for "northwest food", Tom Douglas (Dahlia lounge? Palace kitchen?) is a good choice, but I also like Rays Boathouse for seafood. Those being said, I think there are so many other restaurants that articulate the essence of Northwest cuisine- maybe on a less schmancy scale (Tilth comes to mind, as well as Art of the Table) by focusing on the best the region has to offer every week.

        1 Reply
        1. re: spoton

          I second Ray's. Lovely setting, service, and food.
          Definitely seafood-focused, so you have to be in the mood for seafood.

        2. the powers-that-be at chowhound have specifically forbidden me to discuss (and eliminated from tthe boards) the egregious details of my last (and, indeed, LAST) visit to the overhyped, overpriced overlook that is canlis. there are better ways to spend dining dollars and agree that union (a huge fave) or rover's or dahlia (on a good night...) show off the goods much better. if dressing up is important, please be aware that the georgian room in the fairmont olympic hotel is, easily the most beautiful dining room in town though the food is quite plebian.

          1. Thanks for all of your suggestions. Still thinking about Canlis although I'm also considering Union.

            1 Reply
            1. re: britney2581

              Canlis IS in a class by itself here in Seattle. Union doesn't come close at ANY's absurd to compare the two, IMO.
              The service, decor, view, traditions, customers, tableware, staff, cocktails, wine list, music, parking attendants.....and of course...the wonderful, creative & delicious food ( and the new pastry chef is crafting desserts that are sublime), all beautifully plated at Canlis is beyond compare..i.e., go THERE.

            2. Check out Madison Park Cafe, on 42nd St. AMAZING food, great wine list with some awesome values. Focus on local/seasonal/organic. Less fancy-schmancy than Canlis, but would not be out of placed dressed up. It's a gorgeous, intimate neighborhood spot that is definately worth the trek!