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Birthday dinner—a blast but not too pricey

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I moved here recently and am celebrating my 40th birthday with four girlfriends in early January. Since they likely will treat, I don't want it to be too expensive—I have looked at menus online but it's hard to tell how much a place will truly set you back unless you've been there, especially where small places are concerned. It must be delicious, though, and we'd love a warm vibe. I have plenty of time to try out places with my husband that might be great but too expensive for this particular group. I have been considering Joule, Lark, Poppy, Monsoon and Spinasse and would love a sense of which deliver bang for less of a buck.

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Spinasse
Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

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  1. Marrakesh is an amazing place to go for a celebration. $20 gets you a five course meal, with salad, appetizer, entree, dessert and tea. They have a belly dancer and it's an entire cultural experience, not just a dinner. The food there is amazing. I highly recommend it.

    1. Osteria La Spiga may fit the bill...Poppy would be great, too and you can predict the price better b/c the thali prices are sort of like a prix fixe.

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      La Spiga
      1429 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

      1. The food at any of the places you mentioned would be good, but what has me scratching my head is the desire for a “warm vibe.” As much as I enjoy the food at all of your choices, I don’t think of any of them as having a particularly “warm vibe.” In the warm-vibe department, Café Juanita comes to mind, but it’s too expensive. Molly Ward Gardens in Poulsbo fits the bill, but it’s too far away. How about Chez Shea or Boat Street Cafe? I’m not coming up with a big list, so I’ll be interested in other suggestions for places that offer a warm, cozy, comfortable vibe.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Tom Armitage

          when i think comfortable (and a little more casual for a great meal and conversation) i'd go to quinn's, tilikum cafe and matt's in the market are both super cute and cozy, and palisade has great food and a great view. palace kitchen is pretty warm and comfortable inside also.

          joule and poppy i thought were great, but have more modern interiors that weren't extremely comfortable to dine in. monsoon...i honestly thought was overrated. if you like indian food, roti has a nice, rich-feeling interior :) good luck and happy birthday!

          1. re: Tom Armitage

            I don't mean that it has to be cozy—just nothing too sleek, and four chicks laughing won't be out of place. I just arrived from Washington, D.C., where some terrific restaurants would be great for such a gathering and other equally good ones wouldn't, because they are too cool and fussy.

            1. re: sweetpotater

              Marrakesh is as relaxed as it gets. The music is loud enough that nobody will be distracted by your laughing, but quiet enough that you'll be able to hear each other. The service is phenomenal. I've heard that it is popular for bacholerette parties, so I'm sure your birthday would work just as well.

              1. re: Teknotic

                Unless the food at Marrakesh has changed greatly - I wouldn't recommend it for anything other than an ironic party place.

          2. Some of my favorite mid-range places with a nice vibe:

            La Medusa: Really excellent Italian food in Columbia City. Bills itself as Sicilian soul food. It's one of my favorites for treating out of town guests.

            Boat Street Cafe: Right next to where I work, I frequently take business associates here. They have an outstanding kitchen serving Provence influenced dishes, in a cozy environment. If you can handle sour pickles, be sure to try the pickle plate. I've never had anything like it elsewhere.

            Cafe Campagne: Less expensive, and more cozy than the main restaurant, this is one of my favorite restaurants for my own celebrations.

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            Cafe Campagne
            1600 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101

            La Medusa
            4857 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98118

            Boat Street Cafe
            3131 Western Ave Ste 301, Seattle, WA 98121

            1. Pasta Freska.
              Informal, tasty, quirky as all get out, a good value, lovely atmosphere, a good time, very warm.
              Mike will take care of you.
              .

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              Pasta Freska
              1515 Westlake Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109