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What are Seattle's best ?

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  • Arnie Feb 16, 2010 12:13 PM

Help! I'm a Bostonian headed for Seattle for the first time in early April. Staying downtown for a convention so am looking for restaurants no more than a reasonable cab ride away. We'll be there 3 nights and would like to go to 3 upscale/ fine dining restaurants. Order of preference is New American, Pacific Northwest/Seafood, Italian. (Old, stuffy hotel restaurants are not high on our list).Tasting menus are fine but not a necessity. Abou $150/person would be the upper limit for food, wine and a drink. An example of what I consider a superb restaurant is Gary Danko in SF. So, what do you recommend ? Are Canlis, or Barolo, or Ray's Boathouse on the list?

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  1. Canlis definitely -- Love it !
    Ray's----too casual.
    Don't know Barolo.

    1. For really formal dining--Canlis, Rover's. Rover's is French, but plenty of local touches.

      For less formal, but great food--Crush (I guess new American), Dahlia (PNW). With Gary Danko as the comparison, not Ray's. The downstairs is formal, the upstairs casual, but the food is more standard than super special. Campagne in the market might be another good choice. Maybe Union. I don't love it, but most people on this board do.

      1. Add Chez Shea to the list. It's at the Market. Great food and setting.

        1. Union is perfect for Pacific NW/Seafood. And they recently brought back their tasting menu.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Lauren

            We loved Union, we did the tasting menu when we were there this past June. Other Seattle favorites include: Salty's on Alki Beach, Dahlia Lounge, Etta's, Six Seven @ the Hotel Edgewater, Cafe Campagne, The Georgian Room @ the Fairmont where stayed. Enjoy Seattle! :)

            1. re: syrahgirl

              For the price, I've never really been blown away by any of Tom Douglas's restaurants...
              Union is solid, but certainly not life-changing.

              For the same price as Union, add Tilth to your list. It's in a cute little house and the tasting menu is fantastic and not a bad deal for the quality of food you get. It really showcases Pacific NW flavors and organic, locally-sourced produce. Went with the boyfriend for our first anniversary and been going back ever since. He recently went to Daniel Bouloud's Lumiere in Vancouver and decided that he actually preferred Tilth. Highly recommended!

          2. Canlis is in a different league than either Barolo or Ray's Boathouse. Better food, much better service, and more expensive. I think you would have a hard time getting out of Canlis at or under $150 per person. You can look at the menu and wine list on-line, and figure out the approximate cost in advance. Depending on your selections, I think you will be looking at around $175 per person and up.

            1. I would omit Rover's. Terrific service, but also amazing lapses in service last time I went. You might consider one of the Pike Place Market restaurants - Chez Shea, Matt's, or Art (which isn't in the Market, but just south in the new Four Seasons hotel. The chef had a great restaurant of his own for many years (Cascadia). (NB: Matt's is not Gary Danko-esque, but has a great view and original food.)

              1. Don't forget Restaurant Zoe, on Second Ave in Belltown. I find it hard to drag DH out anywhere else, he loves it so. Excellent and consistent, very knowledgeable and gracious staff. I highly recommend it- if you have only three nights, it should be on your list.
                As a previous poster mentioned, the chef/owner of Cascadia, Kerry Sears, is now in charge of Art in the Four Seasons. Haven't tried it yet, but from the menu it seems a bit more restrained (corporate?) than when he owned his own place. But we plan to go there the next time we have kids to impress, his Space Needle Sundae is legendary.

                1. Consider-
                  Canlis
                  Crush (new american/northwest)
                  Matt's in the Market (new american/northwest)
                  Chez Shea (french)
                  La Spiga (italian)

                  1. Anchovies & Olives -Capitol Hill
                    Matts In the Market - Downtown
                    Lark - Capitol Hill

                    You could walk to all three. I think you will be disappointed with the restaurants you mentioned.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: landguy

                      Aside from the cost, why would Arnie be disappointed with Canlis? Just curious.

                    2. Had lunch there this week on the "Dine Around seattle" special--but even at regular rates, this is a terrific place. I ordered pheasant with figs on polenta--totally to die for. A divine dessert. Service was so good I didn't even have to request a check--it was brough promptly as I was finishing my dessert (well, maybe this was because it was a very late lunch). The place is elegant, and miracle of miracles, it's quiet enough there so you can hold a conversation.

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                      Barolo
                      1940 Westlake Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101

                      1. I am a fellow Bostonian with the great privilege of regular visits to Seattle for work and this board has been a huge help to me.

                        My favorite spots to dine have been Salumi (short hours, long lines, and lunch only at this storefront, but oh what food - started by Mario Batali's dad), Matt's in the Market (ideally for lunch with Robbie at the bar for a catfish sandwich, but dinner was really good as well if pricey), Lark (off the beaten track but worth the detour for the locavore small plates), and Elliott's on the waterfront for oysters at the raw bar only (this seems a bit controversial but was just as good as Neptune in Boston for me for oysters). I also happen to have had great experiences at Dahlia Lounge recently as well as 15 years ago, but I know opinions on it are divided - and there are a lot of expense account tourists there - eating at the bar was preferable to the dining room.

                        If you have any inkling of an attraction to cocktails, Murray at Zig Zaq on the hill climb behind Pike Street is a MUST to visit - he's an awesome guy and one of the best bartenders EVER! I don't miss this as a stop, even if I have to stop there immediately upon arrival or on my way to the airport for the redeye return flight. The food there is surprisingly good as well but neither upscale nor a destination. I also really enjoyed a visit to Pyramid brewery for a tasting flight of their many draft beers.

                        Stumptown and Caffe Vita had the best coffee. I also had awesome sushi at a suburban spot not too far out - less than $20 cab ride and really, really good with some unique Pacific specialties. I wish I could recall the name.

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                        Matt's In the Market
                        94 Pike St Ste 32, Seattle, WA 98101

                        Stumptown
                        1115 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

                        Zig Zag Cafe
                        1501 Western Ave Ste 202, Seattle, WA 98101

                        Elliott's Oyster House
                        1201 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101

                        Caffe Vita
                        4301 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103

                        Caffe Vita
                        5028 Wilson Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118

                        Salumi
                        309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                        Dahlia Lounge
                        2030 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121