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Sep 17, 2008 06:48 AM

Suggestions for parents' 50th anniversary?

Hello there,

Besides Canlis, which we are already considering for a small family dinner to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary, we're hoping for recommendations for a special occasion restaurant in Seattle or possibly nearby 'burbs. The food does not have to be conservative, as in what I gather to be the case with Canlis!

Here are our parameters:
--Noise level fairly low
--Elegant setting
--A private room we could book would be a plus!
--Portion size neither nouvelle cuisine nor American style huge slabs o' meat
--Nice wine list, sure -- but not a place that is really centered on the wine component (my parents don't drink -- though their two daughters and son in law certainly will!)
--As for ethnic preferences -- they lived in Italy and Germany for several years each -- so northern Italian or German/Alsatian would add a touch of nostalgia to the meal. But generally we would be open to any possibility, as long as it fulfills the elegant/fine dining requirement.

Thanks so much for everyone's help. We had originally planned to take them on a river cruise in Europe for their 50th, but a while back had to cancel that plan because they can't travel that much any longer. So then, we tried arranging it in San Francisco followed by a couple of days in Carmel, but unfortunately it appears that we will have to stay local, since even a hop over to SFO would be hard for them. I hate to approach Seattle as a disappointing conclusion in our plans, but this is our context. We all have long-term connections here -- I lived in Seattle for 15 years (now in New England), my sister has lived in the city for at least as long and is still living in Queen Anne, my parents also live in the area. Funny with all this context, but we're really drawing a blank on ideas for the level of formality and specialness that we hope for, for our parents.


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  1. So far as I know none of these has a private room but should otherwise meet your criteria:

    Cafe Juanita in Kirkland (Italian)

    Rovers in the Madison Valley of Seattle (nouveau French)

    Le Gourmand in Ballard (closer to classic French than Rover's) (doesn't have a website to my knowledge


    The first two are in older houses. The third is in a small building where it and it's "sister, "Sambar" (bar and light meals/snacks) are the only tenants. I think the noise level is fine in any of them.

    The one thing I can't remember is portion size at Rover's, since the last few times I've been there, I've ordered from their limited time only "French classics" menu. I'm sure others on the board can tell you.. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, there is no high end German or Swiss-German or Austrian place since Reiner's/Geneva closed and was replaced by an Italian restaurant.

    Best wishes to your parents.

    3 Replies
    1. re: PAO

      Chez Shea in the Market is nice, and I'm sure they could arrange for something special for you - they have great service.

      The Herbfarm is also highly recommended for special occasions. A little ways outside of the city, but worth it.

      Cremant (French) apparently has private dining options but I have never been so I can't vouch for it. I have heard great things though.

      1. re: PAO

        They don't 'quite' have a website yet but apparently are working on one:

        1. re: PAO

          PAO, I checked out the menu for Cafe Juanita on their website, and to me it is very impressive -- really draws on classic dishes of Liguria and Piemonte -- especially the Rabbit in Arneis with Farinata (the chick pea crepe -- specialty of my favorite city in the world, Genova!) and the rabbit raviolini. Plus, they have a private room. Thanks for the tip -- this just might work.....

        2. My first thought was Le Gourmand. We took my mother there for her birthday (we were looking for a lot of the same parameters as you) and my family all loved it.

          Thinking about the German/Alsatian preference - I was reminded of Szmania's. It's been years since I've eaten there but I loved it when I did and have heard good things about it recently. I'm sure they would work with you to put together a memorable meal.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Lauren

            Thanks so much, PAO, lemiller, jamesbra and Lauren --
            We've now really gravitated towards the idea of having a private dining room.....this is hard to find for a small group like ours. However, I have a new lead -- the new place called Juno (3rd and Cherry, apparently in a new boutique hotel) which has a small room that they allow folks to reserve. I'll be posting separately on the board to see if anyone has been there yet.