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Friends Relocating to Seattle: Best restaurant to send them to?

Some good friends here in Portland (Maine) are relocating to Seattle in a few weeks...he got a promotion...and off they go immediately.

As a congratulations/going away gift we wanted to get them a gift certificate to a restaurant in Seattle...what would be your recommendation?

We've had many a fun dinner with these people both here and traveling...they enjoy food and are adventurous. Just no raw fish...he had to have a kidney transplant and raw fish is now off the table...

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Based on my recent experience - Canlis. And do ask for a window table. Good food, fine wine list and the best service I have experienced for a long while.

    1. What kind of food do they like/hate, budget and part of town they will be living in? Seattle is a foodies paradise with a lot to offer, Lawshark!

      7 Replies
      1. re: firecracker

        For food type...they are pretty wide open to anything with the exception of raw fish (and meat) due to his health considerations. I would prefer to send them somewhere in the fine dining vein...although I'm sure that there are many casual gems in the area. Not limiting the budget on this one...so anywhere is okay.

        They aren't sure where they will land yet...just received word of the promotion on Friday...but did mention that it appeared many of the best school districts were on the east/northeast side?

        Canlis looks great...the menu is making me hungry...do I remember it popping up on a Top Chef episode?

          1. re: Lawshark

            Yes, Canlis was a venue for Top Chef (I recall the contestants were challenged to recreate the 1950's era house salad).

            The suggestion strikes me as perfect. Canlis is a historic Seattle restaurant with an outstanding view, and arguably our only semi-formal "fine dining" experience. A perfect Seattle gift.

            1. re: Lawshark

              Canlis is a great choice as stated by Charles and Gizmo. Another fine dining choice on the Eastside would be The Herbfarm. A distance away is fine dining at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island.

              1. re: firecracker

                I would also recommend Cafe Juanita on the Eastside - some people find the "cuteness" and "show" at Herbfarm offputting.

                1. re: FoodDee

                  I've done the Herbfarm only once... this after Jerry Traunfeld's tenure. I found the wine flight much more memorable than the food.

                  The ambiance at Canlis is like no other spot in the city, and they do treat you like royalty, but the food is hit-or-miss. Whereas Cafe Juanita's menu is solid from top to bottom, and their service has also been outstanding during each of my many visits. Their venue is perfect for a romantic date night -- classy but not stuffy.

                  1. re: gumption

                    Yes! Its a pity that a fine dining establishment like Canlis has food that is 'hit-or-miss'. However, I am starting to find this type of inconsistency becoming the norm even in Michelin 3 stars all over the world. Chefs becoming complacent? No more do I see an entire meal filled with 'wow factor' from start to finish as in the good old days. Similar 'hit and miss' I had most recently include 3 stars by famed chef like Jean George Vigoritcten, Pierre Gagnaire and even Robuchon. However, years ago, a meal at say Troigros or George Blanc can be almost perfect!

            1. High priced places:

              Harvest Vine
              Altura
              Spinasse
              Lloyd Martin
              Spur (Not for everyone, sous vide might be a no-go for your friends too, but I really enjoy Spur, their cocktails are amazing)

              Not quite as pricey but still very good:
              Rock Creek
              Whale Wins
              La Medusa
              Le zinc

              2 place I have not been but feel confident in throwing out there:
              Westward
              Aragona

              1. Hi, Lawshark:

                Look into Westward in addition to Canlis.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1. Ponti Seafood (mostly cooked, I believe) Grill has veranda seats overlooking the canal by the Fremont bridge near Fishermen's Terminal and the Locks. It's fun when the bridge goes up, the grill is on fire and all of it is fabulous and one of the Seattlest places I can think of. Get introduced with a Happy Hour Caeser.

                  1. Another vote for Canlis -- one of my favorite restaurants on the West Coast . . .