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Jan 12, 2013 07:31 AM

Madison Park Conservatory? Lark? Book Bindery?

Making a trip to Portland and Seattle in 3 weeks - most of the meals are planned out but I'm torn on my last dinner in Seattle. Doing Canlis one night and have lunches planned for Paseo and Sitka and Spruce. Was up in your neighborhood 13 months ago and visited a lot of spots, but certainly not comprehensive. I'm open to other thoughts, with the only requirement being that the restaurant be open early enough that I be able to finish by 7:15pm and make it downtown by 8:00.


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  1. Hi, Mike. You can't go wrong with any of the three. I think my favorite is Book Bindery. I've always had terrific food and service there. Lark has been around for several years and my experiences there have been mostly good with the exception of a mediocre at best visit a few years back. I've only been to MPC once so it's a little hard to rate it based upon my limited exposure. Food on my one visit was really good.

    Welcome back to the PNW. Saw your post on the Portland board, as well. I'm with the locals ... Voodoo Donuts - meh.

    1 Reply
    1. re: firecracker

      Yeah yea on Voodoo. Still gonna go. :-)

      I really like the look of all three restaurants, but I hear the chef at MPC recently left?

    2. This may or may not have any bearing on your decision, but Lark just released a really beautiful cookbook about the 3 seasons of the Pacific NW. Only available directly through them, so might be worth checking out as a souvenir.

      1 Reply
      1. re: reiney

        I saw that online actually, looks beautiful, and of the three it looks like the most PNW menu.

      2. My vote goes to Book Bindery also... although I'm also biased since it's my favorite restaurant in town. From top to bottom, everything on their menu is solid, refined and complex... without being fussy. I've been there 5x and have covered the whole menu by now... and each time I'd left the restaurant, I was beaming. The last time I visited (right before Christmas last month), I enjoyed a lobster risotto that just about made me weep.

        MPC is good but having gone there three times now, I've found the food to be a bit simplistic. If you're looking for something in the same vein (Northwest cuisine), I'd recommend Sitka & Spruce, but since you're already visiting them for a lunch, check out The Corson Building... but only if you can make it there on a Friday, which is "a la carte night".

        Lark I've already visited once (for Restaurant Week ages ago) and wasn't particularly blown away. I'll pay them another visit one of these days.

        All three are open by 5 for dinner. MPC also features Happy Hour starting at 4.

        2 Replies
        1. re: gumption

          I'm waiting for BB to get back from vacation to update the menu, then I'll decide.

          Does MPC serve the whole menu during HH?

          1. re: uhockey

            No, MPC does not serve their whole dinner menu during HH. I would recommend going there around 4:30-4:45 and sampling a couple of things from their HH menu... the grilled beef tongue and deviled eggs are must-try items. Then come 5:00, the dinner menu becomes accessible. I've had the pan-fried trout and the pappardelle for dinner and both were wonderful.

            Also, make sure you sit upstairs at the bar. A more mellow vibe compared to downstairs, and if you're lucky and get a clear day, you can step out to the balcony and enjoy an amazing view of the lake.

        2. I had meals at both MPC and Lark within the last few weeks and I have to say that MPC should come off the list. Our meal was really quite bad, including a Dungeness crab pasta that was ruined by the foul tasting fish stock used to make the sauce. On the other hand, Lark was still fantastic.

          I haven't been to Book Bindery in about a year but I've liked it the three times I've been before. Though it may be tougher to get through a meal there in the time constraints you have.

          1 Reply