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Romantic Seattle/Eastside 25th Anniversary Dinner???

We just relocated to Trilogy/Redmond, WA from CA. Therefore are clueless to everything in the state, So please tell us something about anything and everything even the PRIME CARD opnion and opinions of places thatmight be any good?? We have been using the Prime Card, in hopes of to save a buck. So got any ideas??

In-addition, we have the big 25th anniversary coming up next week. My lovely wife is a real Foodie, therefore likes places like The Herbfarm & French Laundry by Thomas Keller in Napa $300 PP. Which we have been too many times and can afford that for this important day. So we are looking for anything as good or better. Please rate all the flowing in anything you suggest. Romantic, European, Californian, View, and FOOD within an hour or less of Redmond.

We have been to The Herbfarm years ago on vacation, Cost me over $2000 for table of 4, but is was worth it, becuase she loved it. Is it still as good, or is there anything better anywhere??

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  1. Try the chef's tasting menu with wine at Chez Shea in Pikes Market. I've been to Herb Farm and loved it, but for a great view and romantic atmosphere and menu, Chez Shea can't be beat. http://www.chezshea.com/

    1 Reply
    1. re: ljohaines

      I second Chez Shea, ljohaines. It's tried and true, been around for years and still draws the clientele.

    2. I've not been to the Herbfarm yet (cannot wait to when I've got the $$$$ and the reason), so I cannot speak to it. Other ideas that immediately come to mind include:

      Cafe Juanita

      8 Replies
      1. re: BallardFoodie

        all good choices, although if creative food is what floats her boat, i would reserve seats at the bar at Crush (right in front of the chefs and the kitchen action) and get the tasting menu-- tell them it's your 25th anniversary and they might even slip you an extra dish or two

        1. re: barleywino

          Hey barleywino - we miss you! Canlis has a new chef now and you would be shocked at how good it now is. One of the most envelope pushing menus I've had in Seattle. Too bad they lost their pastry chef.

          1. re: Lauren

            wow, that is interesting news-- thanks for the update!

            1. re: Lauren

              Is the new menu shown on the Canlis website?

              1. re: equinoise

                The current tasting menu is on the web site. But it's my understanding that it changes often.

                1. re: Lauren

                  Tasting menu looks quite interesting, with understated descriptions. What did you have that pushed the envelope?

            2. re: barleywino

              I don't find Crush romantic for a 25th anniversary dinner. Loud and crowded place. Parking is a royal pain and the food is okay but not stellar.

            3. re: BallardFoodie

              These are the 3 best choices - all are fabulous. One more place I'd consider is Union downtown.

            4. The Barking Frog (next door to the Herbfarm) is good but I don't think it sounds like it fits your needs. I have not heard much about the Herbfarm since Jerry Traunfeld left to start up Poppy in Seattle (which I liked a lot but I wouldn't say it is very romantic). I would say that Cafe Juanita would be pretty ideal for you guys. It is superb food in a quaint setting and impeccable service. I have heard Cafe Juanita's chef/owner Holly Smith compared to Alice Waters on several occasions if that helps you. I have eaten 5 meals at Cafe Juanita and have thoroughly enjoyed it each time.

              And a place that would not be good for your anniversary but is near to you and is very good would be Pomegranate Bistro.

              1 Reply
              1. i happen to think the tasting menu at the bar at Crush is better than Herbfarm, and better value, but since you seem to be so set on Herbfarm, why not just go back there?

                1 Reply
                1. re: barleywino

                  Barleywino, please feel free to suggest anything. We are open minded and will be going out a lot.

                2. Check out Canlis. The tasting menu I had recently was fantastic and it truly is an occasion-worthy restaurant.

                  1. I totally agree with the other posters about Canlis (view), Herbfarm (experience), Chez Shea (romantic), Crush (food) and I'd like to add another Seattle institutions. Rover's in Madison Park has consistently had amazing food approaching the Thomas Keller class. Their website will give you a good idea of menu & price (high). Alternatively on the semi-foodie front, the Salish Lodge has good food and you can stay the night in a wonderful atomosphere.

                    1. The Herbfarm is on the Prime card. But they'll only deduct $30.

                      Other special occasion dining on the card includes the Waterfront Grill, El Gaucho and Rover's. Those should all get you a complimentary entree...unless you do a tasting menu at Rover's.

                      Ray's, Ponti, Salish Lodge, Sostanza and Troiani are other nicer restaurants that accept the card. If that's your priority.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: ethereal

                        Thanks to all the great feed back!! Especially "Ethereal" that was great info, thanks! For those that understand us,


                        We are just like you, we want R.O.I and lots and lots of TMI. We all are trying to find the best of the best, especially value and quality. So info on HOW to save a buck, get a deal and where to use the PRIME CARD is HELPFUL. But we want to go to more than just to Coho and the Herbfarm for all our dinning on the eastside LOL :)

                        We do want to go to everyplace just which ones first and which one for this BIG NIGHT!!

                        To us the Herbfarm should be topped, its just by who! So we would like to know. Let's just use Herbfarm as a starting or references point ,to judge others by. As well as the French Laundry.
                        So the first answer should be, have you have been to either or both, Next do you know the restaurants on the prime card? Last, which ones are the best of the best?

                        I could name 100 places in and out of town in hopes of getting more of this great feed back!! So we apologize for bring up The Herbfarm again and again. We just are looking more great info, places, choice and recommendations.

                        What about these Tastes or Tours of Seattle thing or any of the dinner Cruises, remember we are new to town.

                        1. re: AMG PHD

                          Having been to both the Herbfarm (wasn't impressed) and The French Laundry (loved it), I really think that Canlis is the place for you.

                          1. re: Lauren

                            Lauren ... Why did you not like the Herfarm and why are so many others, higher on the Herbfarm over Canilis like in reviews and awards? Canilis is what kind of place? Is it soft quite and upscale is everyone dressed up?

                            1. re: AMG PHD

                              You may be disappointed if looking for local places where "everyone" is "dressed up." Most people in T-shirts won't be comfortable at Canlis, but many are likely to be without jacket and tie.
                              For quiet and romantic, look at Rover's, Le Gourmand, Chez Shea, Stumbling Goat, Art of the Table, Elemental.

                              1. re: AMG PHD

                                The food and the decor at the Herbfarm are too 'precious' for my tastes. And having to sit through the whole 'meet everyone from the dishwasher though to the chef' was more than I could handle. I have heard that presentation has changed so ymmv.

                                Canlis is a Seattle institution. It's had its ups and downs over the years and I haven't enjoyed it much until the new chef came. I think they are really trying to make a name for themselves, food-wise. The dining room is beautiful in an understated Northwest Asian kind of way. Most people are dressed up but, being Seattle, you'll always have your jeans crowd. Jackets are suggested and a lot of folks don't follow that suggestion.

                          2. re: ethereal

                            Ethereal thank you. The Prime Card is just someting to get more info on. What do you think of the places on the prime card? I mean, I only know the Herbfarm and Coho's, so how do the rest line up in order of best to worst? Moreover how do they line up to others that do not take the card?

                            We really like tapas, tastings and tasting menus.

                          3. We will have our 20 year ago along as well!!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: AMG PHD

                              It's not nearly as fancy as Canlis and Herbfarm, but I always like to recommend Stumbling Goat in Greenwood for a romantic dinner. The food is great, and a lot of it local, and the atmosphere is very intimate and romantic. I love it there.

                              1. re: burritobelle

                                Might try out the GOAT some time but is seams as if the other two might be more like it, RIGHT???

                            2. Went to Herbfarm on our 20th anniversary and was very disappointed. More like a floor show than dinner. Too much theater. Plus they misspelled "anniversary" on the little "card" they gave us. Sad to say I was also disappointed at Rover's recently. Food was stellar, but WAY too much time between courses - kind of ruined the experience. I'm intrigued by the Canlis recommendations as we have a 25th coming up as well. But good memories of Chez Shea over the years might send us there instead. Unless we go to the Inn at Langley for what I hear is an incredible dinner (has anyone been?).

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Jeffo405

                                I've generally heard similar stories about the Herbfarm - most people I've talked to say it's a place to skip, especially if you're not going on someone else's dime. Too bad about Rover's, that's surprising. I haven't been to the Inn at Langley, but a friend of mine went recently and LOVED it.

                                1. re: akq

                                  Just make sure Chef Costello is in the kitchen at the Inn at Langley when you go. Otherwise, very disappointing. We were also not impressed with the selection of wines that they matched with the courses.

                              2. We had the Crush tasting menu last night for our anniversary and loved it. the service is quite different from the lux service at French Laundry--t is more informal in atmosphere at Crush, plus we chose to sit in the "lounge" so more bustling. but in terms of making sure we were taken care of, the service is stellar. we had a very nice chat with the sommelier and about wine to go with the menu. all 11 courses were excellent. I had the best foie gras I have had in several years. so well prepared and unusual, with the tartness of rhubarb. we ordered 2 bottles of wine instead of the pairing offered, plus they gave us an initial champagne plus a pairing with the foie. For pure foodie-ness, in an atmosphere that I enjoy for special occasions, Crush is my favorite in Seattle right now. I have not been to canlis in years, so cannot comment on comparison. I really like herbfarm for the food alone, but I have not been since Traunfeld left. It's been over a year since I was at Chez Shea, but I did not think the food was as good as at Crush. no contest.

                                for foodie-ness again, but not necessarily an anniveresary, I would eat at Tilth, Sitka and Spruce, Corson Building, Poppy, Harvest Vine. my favorites for food.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: cocktailhour

                                  I've been to herbfarm twice and it was fantastic but not since Traunfeld left. As you may remember the owners are a little over the top but it's an experience. I've been to Salish Lodge for several anniversaries. The set menu is very good value and the setting is pretty intimate (you can also go for a stroll by the falls). The rooms there are comfortable as well but ridiculously priced in summer. I don't like the spa there at all and the service while usually impeccable is occasionally uneven. I thought Crush was closed?

                                2. Please more info on the EASTSIDE

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: AMG PHD

                                    I have been to French Laundry, Herbfarm, Bouchon, and several other high profile restaurants. I don't have or know about the Prime Card. I know without question you will have a spectacular meal and a romantic/special evening at Cafe Juanita. I haven't been to Canlis in years, but love Chez Shea and Cafe Campagne, along with Rover's. I also love a little Kirkland restaurant called Lynn's - a small french restaurant that offers some pretty good food at an excellent price. But still, I would be hoping for Cafe Juanita.

                                  2. We're doing our anniversary on Monday at Ballard's new Bastille. Early reports are fabulous. Opens Monday, on Ballard Ave.

                                    1. Hey--maybe too late for your anniversary, but if don't know if anything in Seattle can approach French Laundry. For a special, beautiful dinner, I think Cafe Juanita is intimate/delicious Italian, Rover's is more formal/expensive French but wonderfully done. Canlis is a bit more old fashioned/classic Seattle (a bit stuffy to me, but haven't been in years and I hear good things about the chef and great view/service). Corson Building is also wonderful but larger louder space with European seating and fixed menu. Tilth and Olivar are also great choices, but perhaps less fancy/special for your occasion. Sitka and Spruce (Corson Building folks) is too small and in a strip mall--but excellent food. Poppy is run by the person who made Herbfarm great so many years ago, but is a louder restaurant and fixed Indian/large plate menu.

                                      1. Welcome to Washington! You couldn't have come at a better time to enjoy our beautiful summer weather! Without a doubt, the best place you HAVE to try in Redmond is The Stone House. It is located in downtown Redmond, on Cleveland and Leary and it is AMAZING! As the name implies, this restaurant is in a cute little, stone house with a beautiful outdoor patio. They have an incredible happy hour. Try the truffle tremor mac and cheese or the crab cocktail, my favs. For dinner, I haven't had anything that hasn't been to die for. King Salmon with dungeness crab mashed potatoes, asparagus or broccolini (or whatever is in season), YUM! My friends have had the pork tenderloin stuffed with apples and goat cheese and have said it's fantastic. I also LOVE their Chili crusted petit fillet, Duck Bolognese, Wild Alaskan Halibut. Ok, I'm starting to get hungry now! To top it off, they have a wonderful selection of local wines that I really like. Go there while the weather is great and you won't want to leave their patio. Have I raved enough about this place? oh yeah, and their staff is super friendly. Definately check them out at www.stonehouseredmond.com
                                        Good Luck and let me know what other places you find!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: cujess

                                          Please identify your stake in a business when talking it up on Chowhound.

                                          1. re: not the bad Steve

                                            i have no stake in the business. I am a frequent customer with several of my friends. I enjoy the restaurant very much and wanted to share my experience.

                                        2. We've been to the Herbfarm three times. The first time, many years ago when it was still in Fall City, it was fantastic. Then we went for Valentines while it was temporarily located at the Hedges tasting room in Issaquah. It was good, but not nearly as good as before. So we figured we better give them a try at their Woodinville location. Mistake! We were sorely disappointed - the food was good but definitely not worth the ridiculous prices they were charging. And no where near as good as the French Laundry, which I took my husband to for his 50th birthday 10 years ago this month. Our visit was before Traunfield left so I was curious when some friends of ours (the husband is a restaurant chef) went to check out the new chef. They said it was not good so now I have no desire to return to the Herbfarm. My recommendations for a special place - Cafe Juanita and Canlis. Canlis actually has a small, romantic room for 2 that you can rent - a beautiful view to go along with the great food. I've never had anything but wonderful meals at Cafe Juanita (my favorite is the rabbit) and their wine list is great as well. It's been a few years since I've done Rovers or Chez Shea, both enjoyable, but I prefer the atmosphere and food better at Cafe Juanita or Canlis. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest and enjoy whereever you go.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: wawinelover

                                            Unfortunately I have to agree with your friends that the Herbfarm has gone downhill since the changeover. We have a gift certificate to go again and I cannot even motivate myself to use it. Was very underwhelmed the last time we went (after enjoying it several times under the previous chef).

                                            Canlis is great (the private room is well worth it - although it is not on the Eastside). Something else not on the Eastside, but Prime Card and really a great place both for upscale and for casual dining is Rays. We love dining both upstairs and downstairs and it is worth the annoying trek from Redmond.

                                            Something closer that is good, but not as outstanding as some people think (in my opinion) is Trellis in Kirkland. If you are looking for fresh PNW food it is worth checking out. I have not been that impressed with Cafe Juanita, but everyone else I go with loves it, so I think it is just me.

                                            Moonsoon East in Bellevue is also worth checking out for a semi-nice dining experience.

                                          2. Forget the overly fancy, and enjoy Jak's in Issaquah. The steaks are the best in the area, the service superb and the prices reasonable. Or if it's the fancy you must have, Salty's on Alki is some seriously awesome seafood that has plenty of atmosphere, and a wonderul place for an anniversary dinner.

                                            1. It was almost 1 year ago that my wife and I went to The Herbfarm for a special occasion. This is from my review of our experience that can be found on Yelp.

                                              2 out of 5 Stars

                                              “Pretentious, ostentatious, flamboyant, exaggerated, pompous, and in the end hollow, all describe going to "the show" at The Herbfarm.

                                              Oh wait a second it was supposed to be dinner wasn't it, yeah that's right, did we eat something, I think we did, I just don't really remember it - too much wine perhaps, nah, some of that we didn't even drink, because it wasn't very good.

                                              Enough of the reviewers have spoken about the tour and feeding the pigs, to understand that you are really going to a dinner theater rather then a restaurant. However if you are more interested in the food then there are defiantly much better restaurants to spend that amount of money on.

                                              The food was innovative and different, but there was not one of the 9 courses that actually stood out and screamed wow. In fact several of the courses were dreadfully under-seasoned and lacking in flavor although they looked great the execution fell flat on it's face. As several other yelpers have said, we had several sweet wines that I would not have paired with the courses, but they seem to like doing that.

                                              We were forced to sit with another couple, something that I usually don't mind, but this was to be a special romantic occasion. The other couple also did not like this arrangement and the small forced chit-chat was something I would not want to do again. However we both agreed that the food was just average and we overpaid enormously.”

                                              About 10 months ago we visited Café Juanita here is that review

                                              3 out of 5 Stars

                                              “Friends (another chef and foodie wife) were visiting Seattle so we decided to join them for a weekend of culinary adventure. One of the restaurants they apropos was Café Juanita, since we had met them on a culinary tour of Italy just over a decade ago.

                                              First of all to correct some misconceptions here, this is not exactly authentic Northern Italian cuisine, it is more of Nuevo fusion of Italian and NW cooking. The chef seems to enjoy throwing together unusual items, I guess this for some wow appeal, but many times the pairings simply did not work.


                                              The Beef Tongue was ok but nothing special, we all agreed that Tonnato sauce overpowered it the delicate flavor of the tongue.
                                              Veal Sweetbreads were good
                                              The curried foie gras was okay, but why use curry????? Foie Gras has a beautiful taste that should be complimented and not overridden. The pomegranate went well (acid to cut the fat).
                                              The pear salad was good.

                                              The entrees were better then the apps

                                              Rabbit was excellent
                                              The whole sea bass presentation was something I liked until the server tried to filet like a mad butcher. Perhaps they should give them some lessons, Mark, my friend who ordered it, actually got up and showed him how to properly fillet a cooked bass, I think we embarrassed him but he needed help.
                                              The stuffed chicken with sweet breads, emmer wheat (faro) and foie gras sauce was one of those dishes that had way to many competing flavors for it to work. A definite redo of this dish needs to be done.


                                              The Brussels sprouts with pancetta and anchovy sauce was another dish that did had too many flavors; I don't want vegetables with pork and fish on them.
                                              We disagreed on the cauliflower, I liked the lime, and everyone else thought it didn't belong.


                                              I usually find Italian desserts to be insipid and banal, however we all agreed that the desserts were very good to excellent, although extremely pricey for what you got.

                                              Service was excellent, however as a party of four we spent over $ 450.00 and considering the price - the quality and wow factor were not there.”

                                              For the PURE Foodie experience I would recommend Rover’s no view, not that romantic but the best meals I have had in the Seattle Area by far.

                                              Chez Shea has the views, but is not very romantic and the food is 4 out of 5 stars.

                                              You generally have to prioritize, most really good foodie restaurants spend their money on the ingredients and not the views. If you wife really enjoyed The Herbfarm and you want to try someplace different then try Canlis, they have a view and have a showy pretentious atmosphere that some people really like.