Coming to Seattle for New Years
Coming to Seattle to celebrate the New Years, and have planned dinner for the 5 nights we'll be in Belltown. Any comments/suggestions on our plans?
Arriving Sun night, dinner at Tavolata
Mon night, Spinasse (a longtime favorite)
New Years Eve, SeaStar
New Years Day, Matt's (a comfortable favorite)
Last night, Boat St Cafe (another longtime favorite)
I've never eaten at Tavolata or SeaStar....are these good choices, and is SeaStar the right place for a nice, but not over-the-top dinner?
Thanks for any advice!
I think I'd call t make sure Matt's is open on NY Day. It very well may be, but I'd check just to be sure.
Tavolata is good enough but nothing special, nowhere near Spinasse quality—and do you want two Italian dinners in a row? I've been to Seastar for happy hour, which was good enough, and I'd like to go back for the shellfish bowl. People here don't rave about it particularly, but it sounds solid.
Are you looking for Belltown/South Lake Union specifically?
We were prepared to be annoyed by Tanakasan, the latest Tom Douglas, but we found it delicious and pretty fun.
Bear in mind that the nicer splurge places will do a special New Year's Eve tasting menu and not offer an a la carte menu that evening.
I know you're considering Spinasse for the Monday night... I'd recommend you not do the New Year's Eve special menu there. Went with a group of six last year at and we were all severely disappointed. Their regular menu is always solid but somehow, they struck out with the NYE offerings. Small portions, exotic dishes that just didn't come together... I can dig up the menu if you're interested. Needless to say, I left hungry and scratching my head.
I tried Tanakasan shortly after they opened and was underwhelmed. The Tonkotsu Ramen and the Crab Foo Yung were both rather bland and underseasoned. Maybe they've revised the dishes since then, but given that I'm not a big fan of the TD empire, I wouldn't hold my breath.
Tavolata is so incredibly mediocre to me. I think of them as the weakest link in the Ethan Stowell stable of restos. I tried a selection of pasta dishes during my lone visit and found each to be dry and uninspired. If you want made-in-house fresh pasta, do Il Corvo at least once for lunch.
Never been to SeaStar. If you're looking for seafood, I did Blueacre during Restaurant Week and was pleasantly surprised with the quality and portions.
For Belltown/Downtown/South Lake Union, I know Mistral is hit-or-miss with a lot of folks, but I did the tasting menu (in the "Jewel Box" section of the restaurant) a couple of months ago and was really blown away. Barolo has also been consistently wonderful (another Italian option) but the place is so incredibly loud during prime time. And then there's always Le Pichet if you're up for French bistro fare.
Thumbs up on Matt's and Boat Street, although I'd recommend The Whale Wins over the latter. If I were you, I'd do Matt's for a lunch and then maybe Altura for a splurge special NYE dinner. TWW (Fremont) and Altura (Cap Hill) would each be a short cab ride away from Belltown. Nell's (Green Lake) is another one I'd consider for their NYE tasting menu.
+ one on a lunch at Il Corvo; ahead in the running to be Eater SEA's resto of the year for 2013.... It's MOBBED at lunch. Go at 11 when they open, or wait till after 1pm, and be prepared for them to have run out of a couple of the days choices. 2013's Salumi/ Walrus & Carpenter kind of scene/lines these days for lunch:)
+1 on Altura for NYE - tho maybe not as 'fancy' as you would like, but I have not had a miss there. I like to sit at the counter, so the wierd small duece top's don't bug me (sometimes, it feels like 2 couples are at 'each 1/2 of a 4 top, from what I hear).
I am also for Boat Street over Whale wins.
Lunch at Bar Sajor would be a great choice too. Best Matt Dillon spot IMHO....
I'd echo a lot of these comments. I would pass on Tavolata, Sea Star, and Tanakasan. I've been overwhelmed at all. Mistral is definitely hit or miss, so it's a good choice, but I think you could do better. I don't think you can go wrong with either the Whale Wins or Boat Street, but I personally would opt for Boat Street.
Lunch at Il Corvo is a great call. Also, you might consider Sitka & Spruce instead of Tanakasan, which is close to the downtown core. I saw Le Pichet thrown out as an idea as well. I think it's a great option for a nice, but not over-the-top dinner.
And, if you can swing Walrus & Carpenter, do it, but arrive early or risk waiting forever. As an alternate, grab oysters at Taylor Shellfish before dinner at Sitka & Spruce.
Just my 2 cents. But it sounds like you'll have a great time!
Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions! Here is my revised plan for dinners, the week of New Year. Whale Wins for first night (sunday), Monday Matt's in the Pier, NY eve Altura, NY day picnic at home, last night Boat St Cafe. Any ideas for a better line-up are welcoome! We are staying in Belltown but plan on taking cabs everywhere and exploring during the day as weather allows.
These are solid choices; I can't fault any of them (except perhaps Altura for its "2"-tops). They're all on *many* people's Top Ten lists.
Refining things further would necessitate you giving more information on your own culinary and atmo preferences. Personally, for the NYE/early winter season, I like smaller, darker, un- or post-buzzy places--the kind where you can shake off your raincoat, settle in, and just *be*. Examples worth your consideration in Belltown would be Branzino and The Innkeeper.
Thanks, everyone, for your wonderful suggestions. We had a fabulous dinner at the Whale Wins our first night and were wow'ed by their roast chicken -it was amazingly delicious. The restaurant is fun and the food was great. The next night at Matt's was unfortunately missed because of unexpected illness, and I totally messed up on NY eve. I had gotten very excited by the tasting menu at Altura and believed that I had a reservation there. Took a cab there, only to find out they had never heard of us and after a lot of confusion we realized I had accidentally made the reservation at Artusi instead (I guess this has happened to them before as the hostess figured this out). This was a bit of a mess as taxi's were hard to come by, but Artusi was fun and the food was good. Next trip I'll try to get it right and we'll try Altura. We cooked at home NY day and went to Boat St cafe for our last dinner. We were quite disappointed by it, particularly as it had been a long-time favorite. We had a dreadful appetizer of 'smoky' octopus and squid which was so chewy as to be almost inedible and the only smokiness was due to over-use of espelette pepper. The steelhead trout was perfectly cooked but undersauced and the house pickle plate was wonderful. Service wasn't very good but the appetizer was comped (without asking), which was thoughtful. Had two great lunches at Il Corvo which was a wonderful new find for us, had a great lunch of the daily chowder at Lecosho and then had a good-bye Seattle lunch at Matt's which was fabulous. Had the fried catfish sandwich and a window seat from which to enjoy our first good weather day. Hated to say goodbye to Seattle, but will return soon.