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NW Seafood

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I need some help on which Seafood type restaurant to go to for a business dinner. Things keep pointing to Canlis, but the last time I was there (over 5 years ago) I had such a bad experience I've never wanted to go back. It was an Anniversary dinner, we were seated at a tight table, it was a view table. The service was super rushed, and it seemed the owner or whomever, knew a bunch of people seated around us, so there was a lot of bumping us and reaching over us to shake hands and such. Basically it was like we were in the way. Don't get me wrong the food was great, but the rest of the experience was brutal.

So with that in mind here are my choices for a great NW Seafood meal:

Canlis (should I give it another chance?)
Waterfront Seafood Grill
Ponti
Ray Boathouse
Blueacre

What are your thoughts?

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  1. I know people think Etta's is boring, but we had a delicious meal there recently.

    1. Ponti's is very good now that Alvin Binuya is back in the kitchen. Service there has, in my experience, always been good.

      1. Canlis is worth another shot, but not if you are really interested in seafood for this meal. Ray's and the Waterfront both have good service, reasonably good food and amazing views. I am not a huge fan of Ponti's, but it has been awhile and as people have mentioned the old chef is back, so it might be worth checking out.

        Etta's is actually a good suggestion for NW seafood and I also like Blueacre a lot - although service there can range from very good to enthusiastic, but absentminded. Never had really bad service there - just untrained.

        However, my current favoriate place for seafood in Seattle is Seastar. The decor is great, the service always very good and the food is excellent. We have not had a meal there that we have not really enjoyed.

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        Canlis Restaurant
        2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

        7 Replies
        1. re: PaqpIn

          I recently ate at Seastar and it was very good, but the place just didn't blow me away...especially at the price they were asking. The food was fresh and good, but it didn't break any new ground in the taste department. I actualy thought about Etta's but I would like a nicer room.

          1. re: FoodDoog

            That's my exact thought on Seastar. Don't really get why people love it so much.

            1. re: GreenYoshi

              I think CH is usually anti-Seastar. To me, they're just an expensive Anthony's.

            2. re: FoodDoog

              I love the coconut pie at Seastar, but agree than none of their other food has blown me away. I don't like their ceviches at all - they are always totally rubbery and so acidic they are impossible to enjoy. The last time there we got their cold seafood platter which was extremely disappointing especially for the $$. For $65 there were 6 oysters, 6 shrimp, 6 scallop *halves* that were inedible "ceviche", plus 6 crab pieces that were each about 2 inches long and as big around as my thumb. Very disappointing. When it came out I was very surprised because we had asked the waitress if the plus a "omakase" sushi & sashimi sampler would be too much for the two of us and she seemed to think we could finish it all if we were really hungry. Hrmm. The "omakase" sushi & sashimi platter was much better than the seafood platter, but still kind of a ripoff since one of the two rolls was filled with broccoli (only) and topped with a little seared salmon. Oh well.

            3. re: PaqpIn

              Had Alvin Binuya not returned, I would not have recommended Ponti's either. But he's there and it's good again!

              1. re: PAO

                To be fair, I have never visited Ponti either with or without this chef, but I can't help but notice that the current online menu reads very mid-90's pan-asian/"fusion", which strikes me as sort of dated, like Wild Ginger. I am overlooking something here?

                1. re: equinoise

                  It was kind of invented there (don't hate me for suggesting that - at least in Seattle, I'd say they were among the earliest) and worked well, so they haven't messed with the formula. A restaurant that has survived on signature dishes since 1990, despite some days of less than stellar word of mouth, is going to stay true to itself. I really love the setting, though I would be more interested in trying The Book Bindery almost next door before returning. The Malias also know how to provide service (I am sure some have experienced exceptions), a quality not well known in this city.

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                  Book Bindery
                  198 Nickerson Street, Seattle, WA 98109

            4. I have done business dinners at Canlis and at Waterfront Seafood Grill and had great experiences at both places. If your party is very large (>6 or 8), I'd definitely go to Waterfront Seafood Grill. They seem to manage larger groups really well if you make a reservation in advance. I think Ray's is outstanding and definietly a little less expensive than either Canlis or Waterfront - I'd probably go there with a smaller party or if cost is an issue. Ponti, Blueacre, Seastar would not be my choice from this group.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bourbongal

                Etta's is very good, you may also want to consider Six Seven @ the Hotel Edgewater. They have a beautiful dining room with gorgeous views of the water, a very classy place with lots of fireplaces and glass windows. :)

              2. I am a little surprised reading the other comments. All good restaurants (and sorry about the bad Canlis experience - love that place), but for great, inventive seafood you have to stick with Blueacre. Best of the bunch, and can handle a large table with no problem. Just took some out of town guests there to dinner last week and blew them away. Be sure and order a couple of extra appitizers to share with the table.

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                Canlis Restaurant
                2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

                1 Reply
                1. re: The Shepherd

                  Really wanted to love Blueacre and have had a nice time in the lounge several times, but the last dinner there was mediocre to inedible and the service was coffee shop level.

                2. Thanks for all the great discussion. I've settled on Ponti. I like the room and the menu looks pretty good.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: FoodDoog

                    We have enjoyed a few happy hours at Ponti, and look forward to your report.

                  2. I had my business dinner and Ponti and it was great. We sat outside and had a great meal. The service was very good and relaxed. The food was very good we had tuna and sockeye, with the crab spring rolls and calamari apps...they were all very good. Thanks for all the suggestions.